Disney’s massive fan event D23 Expo has been and gone for 2017 and has left behind a lot of talking points. Perhaps the most notable though was the reveal of a new Kingdom Hearts III trailer, and the announcement of 2018 as the release window. Well, without a release window how could they delay the game again? We did learn a lot about the upcoming and long-awaited sequel however, so here are the key details from this latest trailer.
Sora On The Rails
The trailer opens with Sora moving through the Hercules themed Olympus level on a glowing rail, in the style of Sonic the Hedgehog. Additionally, Sora (or potentially the rumoured second playable character) can target and shoot enemy Heartless as he goes. Whether this is something that can be done throughout the game or only in specific areas is unclear.
The influence of Final Fantasy XV is clear to see in a section where Sora uses his Keyblade to warp from section to section of the landscape in a similar style to that of Noctis. Like the on rails segment, it is unclear whether this will be a persistent ability.
We then get a festival for the eyes as Sora unleashes a sequence of special Keyblades with the ability to transform into other weaponry. Throughout the entire trailer, we see two arrowguns, a lance, a hammer, and a drill punch set of gloves. These weapons appear to have specific special abilities, attacks, and combos adding more variety to the battling. The swordplay looks very close to the fighting of Final Fantasy XV with a focus on fast-flowing combat with weapon switching. These weapons appear to be references to Disney characters or previous Kingdom Hearts characters. For example, the twin arrowguns have been previously used by Organisation XIII member Xigbar. More on Organisation XIII later….
If you carefully pay attention to the battle menu, and not the beautiful graphics elsewhere, you’ll notice some new magic names like Firaza, Thundaza, and Blizzaza. It would seem that Kingdom Hearts III will amp the magic abilities up past the long-established –aga band. Exactly what this means in gameplay terms was not announced.
You’ve Got A Friend In Sora (and Goofy and Donald)
Arguably the biggest reveal of the trailer was the gameplay from a Toy Story themed level. Sora, Goofy, and Donald meet up with Woody and Buzz only to discover that a lot of their friends have disappeared. Interestingly, this section of the game will feature an all new story and won’t follow the film plot as previous games have done with Disney’s properties. In terms of weaponry, the Keyblade transforms into a cactus with a cowboy hat and the Star Command logo in the hilt. We get to see Andy’s room, Andy’s yard, and a toy store called Galaxy Toys. Wonderfully, Sora and pals have all become action-figure like toys to match with the environment which shows the visual flare the series has become famed for. Alongside all of this, Sora shows of an ability to jump into larger toys and use them like giant fighting mechas. The battle gameplay also suggests that guest characters from levels will add to your party, and not replace other characters as was the previous standard.
The Sinister Organisation XIII and Sora
We can also garner some crumbs of plot detail from the D23 trailer as well. Organisation XIII are specifically mentioned by the group as being around when the Toy Story characters began disappearing, and we later see a young Xehanort at the toy store. Add this to the Organisation XIII link in the transforming Keyblades, and there is a hint that Organisation XIII may act in an antagonistic role in the game.
The D23 trailer for Kingdom Hearts III certainly poses more questions than it answers, and seems perfectly designed as rumour-fuel. Despite this, there are some tantalising tidbits in there for fans of the series. Furthermore, the trailer does a fine job of advertising the game to newcomers with exhilarating gameplay and recognisable Disney characters.
If you need to catch up on the series, the best place to start is with the HD collection of the first two main games, and Birth By Sleep. These three games combined are not only amazing to playthrough, but will also catch you up on the essentials of the plot. You can pick up a copy from Amazon here: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 Remix (PS4)