There have been 20 items by Raxaimus (Search limited from 22 June 2017)
As an attendee of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event, I got the chance to play the highly-anticipated Kingdom Hearts III alongside other Kingdom Hearts content creators, as well as the opportunity to provide direct feedback to the game’s developers. Before I begin, I’d like to thank Square Enix and the other members of KH13.com’s staff yet again, for allowing me the privilege to attend this event. It was a lot of fun to see some familiar faces, meet a bunch of new friends, and finally get my hands on Kingdom Hearts III. I hope that similar community-focused events will continue to take place in the future!
The two segments of Kingdom Hearts III that we were given the opportunity to play were the Rock Titan boss fight in Olympus, and around 30% of the much more exploration-focused Toy Box. In the short Olympus segment, Sora had access to Second Form, Wonder Balloon, and Big Magic Mountain, and players used these to defeat the Rock Titan. In the Toy Box demo, players explored Andy’s room, Andy’s front yard, and the massive Galaxy Toys toy store, experimenting with the rest of Sora’s abilities.
Within the demo, there were a great deal of positives interspersed with some very noticeable negatives. To provide a more structured critique, I’d like to give my impressions of this demo in the following format; I will be starting with pros, followed by cons, and then a few concerns that I have for Kingdom Hearts III that are unrelated to the demo itself. Keep in mind that Square Enix informed the event's attendees that they would be watching for our feedback in the week following the event. If it seems as though I am bringing up my concerns in a way that would directly address Square Enix and the Kingdom Hearts development team, please be aware that presenting this feedback for the team is one of my primary goals. I hope you enjoy my critique!
First, I’d like to praise the sheer amount of options that are available in Kingdom Hearts III's combat. Between regular combos, Keyblade transformations, Links, Attraction Flows, Flowmotion, and Situation Commands that utilize party members, players are able to construct a very detailed play style that is ideal for their own tastes. In addition, many of these options are currently well-balanced, so a significant portion of the game’s combat system is equally valuable, rather than just a handful of abilities that shine above all others. The Fire/Thunder/Barrier Surge and Balloon/Balloonra/Balloonga commands in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, respectively, both come to mind as examples of absurdly powerful abilities that outranked everything else, and for the most part, it seems that Square Enix has elected to avoid this flaw when designing the intricacies of the combat.
Keyblade transformations are a staple of Kingdom Hearts III’s combat, changing Sora’s attack patterns and allowing for unique play styles to shine. For instance, the magic-heavy Mirage Staff (my personal favorite of the three we got) features movement similar to Kingdom Hearts II’s Wisdom Form, and also allows Sora to attack from farther away. In addition, its Air Slide leaves copies of Sora that will shoot at enemies when prompted. Hyper Hammer, by contrast, is used to deal damage in a wide area of effect, and tends to stun enemies that get caught in its wide swings. These transformations also include additional tiers, bringing new attacks and finishers into the mix. They also change the player's magic spells, to keep them consistent with the design philosophy behind each transformation. All of this is great, and gets even better with my next point.
Alongside Keyblade transformations, Keyblade switching is a new (and hopefully permanent) addition to the Kingdom Hearts series. Within the Toy Box portion of the demo, we were able to switch between the Infinity Badge, Ever After, and Smile Gear Keyblades in the middle of combat (in the middle of a combo, even!). These Keyblades all come with their own transformations, and if the player activates a transformation and then switches their Keyblade, the transformed Keyblade is “stored” for later use, allowing players to go straight from a standard combo to a transformation with the press of a button. In line with this feeling of fluidity, I’m happy to report that combos can be modified with a mix of melee and magic attacks, which is a welcome inclusion from Kingdom Hearts II’s combat system. In addition, Sora now has an aerial guard maneuver, giving players the capability to remain defensive in most situations.
While some players may worry that the Focus gauge may not be utilized enough, I was pleasantly surprised to find that traditional Shotlocks and Flowchain both provide good uses of the Focus gauge, and don’t sacrifice game balance for the sake of flashy, overly stylish attacks. These attacks are all fast and responsive, and most importantly, the damage they deal is quite reasonable.
Compared to previous installments, Sora’s movement options have been expanded and changed for the better. Flowmotion returns from Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, but has been heavily re-balanced. The infamous Flowmotion attacks have become drastically less powerful (Shock Dive no longer produces a large shockwave, for instance), and players can only jump off of walls about two or three times, meaning that it is now impossible to scale giant objects with Flowmotion alone. However, this does not mean that scaling walls is impossible. Certain walls, indicated by an upward-traveling wave effect, can be used to wall-run. This movement is three-directional, allowing Sora to travel upwards or to the left or right. If Sora falls off of a wall, or needs to get onto the wall from midair, simply pressing against the wall while falling will allow players to continue their ascent. Due to the aforementioned factors, platforming has never been more fun to partake in, since Sora’s varied movement options present players with both a great deal of freedom, as well as a significant feeling of responsiveness.
Moving on to the game’s visual presentation, I have to say that I am very impressed by the level of detail on display. The addition of idle animations for the party members and physics-based interactions have given Kingdom Hearts III those extra touches that elevate its already legendary visuals to new heights. For a few examples, individual blades of grass react to the movement of characters, a crumpled paper ball can be juggled, and Sora’s hair blows faintly in the wind. The game’s worlds feel very alive, containing plenty of interactive elements and secrets. Even though there weren’t many NPCs like there will be in the Kingdom of Corona world, there are plenty of little touches and details that make exploring Toy Box a real treat. I’m fairly certain that none of the attendees were able to explore and find everything that the demo had to offer on their own, and with only 30% of Toy Box available to us with this demo, it seems like the exploration aspect of the game will only get much bigger and much better as we explore the final game.
As my final positive point, I’d like to touch on the game’s music. Kingdom Hearts has consistently provided me with some of my favorite musical tracks ever, and Kingdom Hearts III is certainly no slouch in this department. The new tracks present within Toy Box are very catchy, with Toy Story’s famous song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” making an appearance as the field theme. The battle theme is equal parts uplifting and frenetic, in classic Disney fashion. However, we also heard several returning tracks that got a welcome overhaul. “The Deep End” is probably the most notable of these, being fully orchestrated and having entirely new segments interwoven into the familiar melody. However, tracks such as “Hand in Hand” are also present, and have received a slight EDM-style flair. Overall, I think Yoko Shimomura has absolutely given the soundtrack of Kingdom Hearts III everything that she can muster, and I’m extremely happy with the results.
Moving on to discuss Kingdom Hearts III’s current flaws, I’d be doing this critique a disservice if I did not mention the floaty feeling within the combat. After attacking in the air or performing an Air Slide, Sora has a bit of a delay before starting to fall to the ground. This can most closely be compared to Aqua’s physics in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, where any action taken in the air carried a delay of a fraction of a second, before the animation resolved and gravity took over. This floaty feeling was not present in Kingdom Hearts II, where Sora’s actions would be subject to gravity while an animation was in its final frames. In addition, a lot of the attacks themselves feel somewhat sluggish and clunky to transition between, making Sora feel a little stiff to control in the middle of a combo, especially when compared to the quick, fluid, and responsive combos from Kingdom Hearts II. A stronger adherence to Kingdom Hearts II's physics and responsiveness would be very well received by the majority of fans.
One of the other major complaints that has arisen in response to prior trailers and this demo is the frequency of Situation Commands. I’d like to think that the values were tweaked regarding how often these commands appear, as trailers and demos are meant to market a game, and showing off some of the flashier attacks that Sora can use is an effective way of doing that. These values, therefore, may not be representative of the final product. However, when playing Kingdom Hearts III in a more free-form environment, being overwhelmed by a large amount of Situation Commands will present the feeling that these are meant to be the primary form of combat, above all other methods, which I think is an unfortunately shallow representation of the game (see the Surge/Balloon point I made at the beginning of my discussion on the game’s pros).
An ideal philosophy, mechanics-wise, would be for Sora’s innate abilities to have their place in the spotlight, and then to use the secondary abilities and Situation Commands as a complement to Sora’s own power, rather than making them the focus. These abilities should instead feel rewarding to obtain, rather than being handed to players for using one or two spells, for example. By making them the focus and having them be so frequent, Sora's combos, spells, and original abilities are devalued, and players will elect not to use them as a result.
In addition, based on what I played, the various Attraction Flows and Limits (Situation Commands utilizing Sora’s party members) seemed to appear quite randomly, rather than having some easily discernible cause for being given. I initially thought that Attraction Flows showed up based solely on the present location, but these commands have apparently appeared for other players when they are in completely different environments. For instance, the Pirate Ship command only appeared in Andy’s front yard for me, but it is also apparently available in various sections of the toy store, according to other players’ footage of the game.
Due to the aforementioned points, perhaps allowing us to adjust the frequency of Situation Commands, or even completely disable those we don't like, would be a good gameplay element to include. These attacks are an extension of Sora's abilities and those of his friends, so they should be treated as such, rather than becoming the main weapon in their arsenal. They should also be able to be toggled, and their frequency tweaked, just like similar abilities' options in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. Another good course of action, in addition to what I just mentioned, would be to make the seemingly random conditions for activating certain commands more apparent.
I previously believed that summons (referred to as Links in the game) were also overhauled, keeping party members around while the summon is occurring. Unfortunately, this is not the case, even though the party's health bars are still present. These health bars should disappear to avoid causing confusion, as several players made this mistake the first time they saw a summon.
On a related note, though, I'd like to talk about how invincibility frames are handled. During the finishers of several different commands, including the aforementioned summons, Sora is locked into a particular animation, unable to avoid any damage. Players don't have any invincibility during these sections, which can often lead to Sora suffering an unfortunate death through no fault of the player.
This next point may seem minor, but has been a serious concern amongst those who’ve played the demo. The colored wave effect that travels up the entirety of a wall-run compatible surface has often been noted as being “too distracting” and “a case of visual overload”. Since the wave effect travels along any surface that can be climbed, it has capacity to appear far too often, potentially overwhelming the appearance of an area, and distracting players who are exploring or fighting. A more subtle effect would be a much better way to effectively communicate the intended function to the player, without sacrificing the aesthetic of the area or dividing the player’s attention.
As the final negative critique I have, I'd like to bring up the topic of input lag. All of the demo setups at the event had a large amount of delay between pressing a button and receiving a response from the game, making actions feel even more sluggish than they already appear and feel. This could be a result of the specific TV models we were playing on, but it’s a point that has been very commonly complained about by attendees, so it is worth taking into serious consideration. If there is any sort of input delay inherent within Kingdom Hearts III, it should ideally be fixed while optimizing other aspects of performance such as the game’s framerate.
Finally, there are a few concerns that I would like to bring up that are unrelated to the material that I played in the demo. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance started the trend of having to play the game once to unlock the much-beloved Critical Mode, and this trend continued with the release of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-. A large portion of the fanbase, myself included, believe that Critical Mode should be made available from the start of Kingdom Hearts III, rather than being unlocked by beating the game once. Speaking personally, I usually play Kingdom Hearts games on the highest difficulty available, because I love a good challenge. Having to play through a game once to unlock a higher difficulty is usually an unwanted chore that challenge-oriented players just slog through to get what they wanted in the first place. There is no reason for Kingdom Hearts III to feel like a chore, especially when it is meant to be fun for anyone who plays. As a result, Critical Mode should be an immediately available option for players looking to challenge themselves, rather than a reward to be unlocked later.
Similar to the previous point, Critical Mode should also be properly balanced and rewarding. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, Critical Mode not only increased enemies’ damage output, as one would expect, but also took away crucial abilities and halved the player’s MP. This made Critical Mode feel like an unfair and punishing experience, rather than a fair challenge that is fun to proceed through. Instead of making Critical Mode absurdly hard for the sake of being absurdly hard, this difficulty should be developed with the philosophy of offering the player a legitimate and fun challenge.
I hope you've enjoyed what I have to say! Whether you are a developer at Square Enix who is working on Kingdom Hearts III, or just an average fan who wants the best for a series we love, I hope you value my impressions and feedback, as well as the impressions and feedback of everyone else who got to play the game!
What do you think of my impressions of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event demo? Do you have any concerns of your own that you hope Square Enix will address? Let us know in the comments below!
- May 24 2018 02:04 PM
- by Raxaimus
Episode 13 of Everglow's popular Kingdom Hearts Timeline series has been released! This episode marks the second installment in the series' Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep section, and covers the night before Terra and Aqua's Mark of Mastery exam, as well as the events of the exam itself.
You can view Kingdom Hearts Timeline episode 13 below.
What was your favorite part of this episode of Kingdom Hearts Timeline? Let us know in the comments below!
- May 17 2018 05:55 AM
- by Raxaimus
Episode 12 of Everglow's popular Kingdom Hearts Timeline series has been released! This episode marks the first installment in the series' Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep section, and encompasses the time between Xehanort's origins on Destiny Islands and the moments where Ventus began to befriend Terra and Aqua.
You can view Kingdom Hearts Timeline episode 12 below.
If you are confused as to why episode 11 seems to have been skipped over, there's no need to panic! Everglow has stated that since Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross] is still receiving story updates, episode 11's slot has been reserved, so that those upcoming updates can still be presented in the intended order. Having presented the entirety of the original Kingdom Hearts χ[chi] saga, Everglow feels comfortable in postponing this section of the project until the game receives a large amount of additional main story content. In the meantime, he hopes that fans will enjoy what the rest of the series has to offer!
What was your favorite part of this episode of Kingdom Hearts Timeline? Let us know in the comments below!
- May 17 2018 05:48 AM
- by Raxaimus
The wait is almost over! In just a few days, a select group of community members and media outlets will attend Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts III Invitational Premiere Event in Santa Monica, California! This invite-only event will give attendees the ability to play Kingdom Hearts III, as well as share hands-on impressions of their experiences! Several prominent Square Enix staff members will also be present, including Kingdom Hearts co-director Tai Yasue!
We previously announced that KH13 have been given the great honor of being invited to this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and also announced that staff members Toominator and Raxaimus will be representing us at the event! Once again, we would like to thank the staff of Square Enix for this incredible opportunity!
As seen from photos of the venue's exterior, Square Enix will be using the Twitter hashtag #KH3Premiere to promote this event. Several attendees and fans have already started using and spreading this hashtag, including those of us at KH13, so be on the lookout for it! Whenever you see it, you can be sure that information about the event will not be far behind!
The embargo for this event ends on Friday, May 18th at 6:00 AM PT! Staff members Toominator (@ToominatorKH13) and Raxaimus (@RaxaimusKH13) will share information during the event using the #KH3Premiere hashtag, and we will post their full impressions of Kingdom Hearts III and the Kingdom Hearts Invitational Premiere Event shortly after the event concludes! Please be excited, everyone!
IMPORTANT: We would like to stress once again that this event is invite-only. If you do not have an official invitation from Square Enix, we politely request that you do not show up to the venue on the day of the event with the hopes of getting inside. Please wait patiently for information and we will share what we can with you!
What are you most excited to learn about from the Kingdom Hearts Invitational Premiere Event? Let us know in the comments below!
- May 16 2018 08:24 PM
- by Raxaimus
As a long-standing creator of guides and creative videos on the Kingdom Hearts series, Everglow has provided the Kingdom Hearts community with countless hours of enjoyable content. His latest and most ambitious video series, Kingdom Hearts Timeline, serves as a comprehensive look into the entire series’ chronology, from the elaborate schemes of Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, to the most recent voyage that we see Sora and pals embark on in the epilogue of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-.
Kingdom Hearts Timeline sets itself apart from similar projects by featuring each and every story event in absolute chronological order, instead of using flashbacks or revealing information in the order it was originally presented. As an example, during Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, the birth of Vanitas will be shown before the Mark of Mastery exam, despite the fact that this flashback is normally seen during the later hours of Ventus' story. This strict adherence to the series' chronology is emphasized by the intricate timeline that is displayed at the beginning of each episode.
Similar to another of Everglow’s projects, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix: HD Chronicles, the editing in Kingdom Hearts Timeline is both detailed and professional, resulting in perhaps the most visually and audibly appealing representation of the series to date. This detailed editing has already delighted many fans, and it will undoubtedly get even better as the series progresses.
Most recently as of the writing of this article, Everglow has taken a more creative approach to his Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep-related content than ever before. In this instance, since Eraqus' conversation with Aqua about the Land of Departure's secret was only heard through dialogue in the game's final episode, no visual footage of this moment actually exists. However, a special cutscene, which Everglow calls "Case of Aqua", was created completely from scratch to showcase this moment, and will soon be featured in Kingdom Hearts Timeline. You can view this new cutscene below:
Everglow intends for Kingdom Hearts Timeline to be fully available before the release of Kingdom Hearts III. From his description of the series, he states the following:
I did want to deliver this before the release of KINGDOM HEARTS 3, so we could have the perfect road to the final chapter of the Xehanort saga at our disposal and relive, together, all of the chapters in a definitive and never-seen-before way.
We hope that you continue to enjoy Kingdom Hearts Timeline as we steadily get closer to the release of Kingdom Hearts III! For continued updates on the series, be sure to follow Everglow's Twitter account. With the staggering amount of work he is putting into the project, you won't want to miss a thing!
What is your favorite part of Kingdom Hearts Timeline so far? What part are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the comments below!
- May 14 2018 03:45 AM
- by Raxaimus
Impressions of the "Musical Farmer" minigame from the Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross] Dandelion Meeting
On April 15th, Square Enix hosted the first ever Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross] Dandelion Meeting, where fans could participate in various activities and meet fellow fans. One of the featured activities was called “Classics”, and was a demo for the Game & Watch-style minigames that would be featured in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III, collectively titled “Classic Kingdom”. The demo lineup consisted of four available games; Giantland, The Barnyard Battle, Musical Farmer, and The Karnival Kid. In addition, each game was played on a tablet, foreshadowing the later announcement that a selection of the Classic Kingdom minigames would be playable within Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross].
Due to being one of the attendees of the Dandelion Meeting, I am able to give a written summary on the gameplay of the demo I played, as well as my personal impressions of the demo. Since attendees were lined up to play, we were directed to quickly take our seats, unfortunately giving us little to no choice as to the game each attendee was playing. The game I happened to be seated at was Musical Farmer, and I was given five minutes to play.
The Musical Farmer minigame is loosely based on the 1932 Mickey Mouse cartoon of the same name. Within the game, six hens are laying numerous eggs which fall slowly through six pipes. Several of the pipes are joined by a segment that Sora can rotate to complete a given pipe’s path, at the expense of another pipe being blocked off. At the bottom of the three ending pipes, there are three boxes which can each accept up to six eggs. Sora can then descend the ladder and pass the egg boxes to the left or right. If a box is passed to another box’s position, the two boxes swap places.
The goal of the game is to pass egg-filled boxes to Mickey and Minnie on either edge of the screen, increasing the player’s score. After a given number of eggs is reached, the round ends and a new round begins, with a higher amount of eggs needed to complete the next round. If an egg hits one of the aforementioned intersections and cannot continue through the pipe (see pipes 2 and 6 in the above image), the egg breaks and Sora loses one of three lives. The board is cleared, and the player begins again, keeping the same score and amount of eggs collected in the round. A similar situation happens if an egg hits the ground as Sora is passing a box to Mickey or Minnie, or if an egg falls onto a box that already has six eggs. Upon losing all three lives, the game is over, and the player’s score is presumably recorded. (Unfortunately, I can not confirm this last point, as neither I nor the two players adjacent to me lost all of our lives in the time allotted.)
Overall, I enjoyed Musical Farmer quite a lot! While the game is indeed simple in its mechanics, I found it genuinely addictive, and several other attendees I talked to were enamored during their play sessions, as well. The art style is both a faithful recreation of the classic Musical Farmer cartoon (complete with the Timeless River rendition of Sora), and an exact match to the Game & Watch handhelds and others like them. Unfortunately, the venue was quite loud, so I could not hear any music from the game itself, but I would not be surprised if Square Enix decided to use a chiptune version of the music from the cartoon itself, which audibly complements both of the above aspects of the visuals. Hearing something like that would absolutely complete the experience for me! I look forward to playing Musical Farmer again, along with trying the rest of the Classic Kingdom collection!
What do you think of Musical Farmer? Did you get to try one of the Classic Kingdom games at the Dandelion Meeting? Which one do you think will be your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
- Apr 17 2018 11:01 PM
- by Raxaimus
Kingdom Hearts rubber badge clips, masking tape, and notebook available for pre-order through Aitai☆Kuji, releasing April 2018
A large portion of the Kingdom Hearts merchandise which was previously revealed and sold exclusively at D23 Expo Japan 2018 is now available for general pre-order through the independent seller Aitai☆Kuji. Each of these items is available to international customers, and all are being released in April 2018. All of these items will also be available to Japanese customers through AmiAmi, though there are no product listings as of the release of this article.
The masking tape is being sold for $9.00/800 yen, and is available in two styles: character portraits on a white background, or full-body character art on a black, checkered background. Each of the two backgrounds is adorned with the various symbols seen throughout the series.
The rubber badge clips are being sold in three different package sizes: A blind pack containing a single random character, ($7.00), a pack of two pre-selected characters ($12.00, with the choice of Sora & Goofy, Riku & Mickey, Roxas & Donald, or Axel & Kairi), or the entire collection of all eight characters ($50.00).
In addition, a notebook featuring the iconic symbols of the series on a black, checkered background is being sold for $10.00/1,000 yen.
Thanks to KH13 staff member Mio-chan for the translations.
Will you be purchasing any of these items? Which do you like best? Let us know in the comments below!
UPDATE: Rubber badge clips now available for pre-order at AmiAmi!
- Mar 12 2018 06:32 PM
- by Raxaimus
Gummi Ship gameplay in Kingdom Hearts III will feature open world-like exploration and augmented combat style; customization will be richer than previous games
After the conclusion of the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at D23 Expo Japan 2018, Japanese Twitter user and D23 Expo attendee Usamasuku confirmed that Kingdom Hearts III will feature open-world Gummi Ship gameplay, complete with a "search" function for exploration and a "battle" function. In addition, the Gummi Ship remains customizable, just like it did in its previous incarnations! The attendee in question compared the Gummi Ship's battles to those seen in the Star Wars franchise!
GameSpot adds that combat has been augmented, and will have more enemies that in the preceding games in the series. PlayStation Access reported that over 30 types of enemies will be available to battle against.
IGN details that the customization factor of Gummi Ships will be richer in this game. The exploration phase will involve directing the Gummi Ship freely in any direction, at 360°, on a field much like an open world.
Thanks to KH13 Staff Mio-chan for the translations!
Kingdom Hearts III releases in 2018, and you can view the new trailers for the game here.
What do you think of the Gummi Ship's improvements? Are you looking forward to high-intensity open-world Gummi Ship battles? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to catch up with all the news with our coverage article for D23 Expo Japan 2018 and the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event!
- Feb 10 2018 08:06 PM
- by Raxaimus
King Mickey's Kingdom Hearts III outfit revealed and featured in a new Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] medal
King Mickey's Kingdom Hearts III outfit has been revealed through a new medal design for Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]. This design is very reminiscent of Sora's own Kingdom Hearts III outfit. This new EX medal is being released tomorrow (from the time of this article's publishing) as a login bonus for the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]! You can view this new medal, complete with the new design, below.
What do you think of this new design? Do you like that Mickey's new design is similar to Sora's? Are you going to be obtaining this new medal in-game? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow our coverage article for D23 Expo Japan 2018 and the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event!
- Feb 10 2018 06:13 AM
- by Raxaimus
The new Kingdom Hearts III theme song by Utada Hikaru, titled “Chikai”, meaning "Oath" in Japanese, was revealed at the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at D23 Expo Japan 2018. The English version of this song is titled "Don't Think Twice". "Chikai" played during Kingdom Hearts III Theme Song Trailer revealed at the event; you can watch and listen to both songs below.
"Chikai" will be included in Utada Hikaru's seventh studio album, due to release this year.
You can also watch and listen to the Kingdom Hearts III Theme Song Trailer with English subtitles and "Don't Think Twice" playing in the background.
What are your thoughts on this new song? Do you think it will suit the opening to Kingdom Hearts III? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to watch the Monsters Inc. Trailer and catch up with our coverage of D23 Expo Japan 2018!
- Apr 10 2018 06:09 PM
- by Raxaimus
During the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at D23 Japan 2018, a pair of new Kingdom Hearts III trailers were revealed. You can view both Japanese trailers, and those with English subtitles, below.
Kingdom Hearts III – D23 Expo Japan 2018 Monsters, Inc. Trailer [English Subtitles]
Kingdom Hearts III – D23 Expo Japan 2018 Monsters, Inc. Trailer [Japanese]
Kingdom Hearts III Theme Song Trailer – “Don’t Think Twice” by Utada Hikaru
Kingdom Hearts III Theme Song Trailer – “Chikai” by Utada Hikaru
What do you think of the trailers? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to catch up with our coverage of D23 Expo Japan 2018 and the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event!
- Feb 12 2018 07:05 AM
- by Raxaimus
During the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at D23 Japan 2018, Square Enix showcased a trailer for the hit mobile game Final Fantasy Record Keeper. This trailer confirmed that Sora and Riku will be making an appearance as playable characters! You can view this trailer below!In addition to this trailer, the Japanese Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] Twitter account confirmed that the so-called "Gummi Ship Campaign" is commemorating a crossover for both games. Depending on each game's total number of players, the games' respective login bonuses will increase, culminating in a Kingdom Key weapon for FFRK players, and a pair of Illustrated Cloud and Illustrated Sephiroth medals for KHUx players!
What do you think of this news? Are you excited for this crossover? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to follow our coverage article to keep up on everything related to D23 Expo Japan 2018 and the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event!
- Feb 10 2018 09:08 PM
- by Raxaimus
During the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event at D23 Japan 2018, Square Enix revealed a new world for Kingdom Hearts III. Monsters, Inc. assets were previously leaked, but the world is now confirmed to appear in Kingdom Hearts III. This news has been highly anticipated amongst the Kingdom Hearts community, and should be a welcome addition to the series in the upcoming title as a result.
UPDATE [Feb 12, 2018]: According to @tashasounart, the Monsters Inc. world will have its own storyline. It's possible that this could be a retelling of Monsters Inc with the inclusion of Sora or it's completely separate from the movies.
What do you think of this news? Are you excited for Monsters Inc’s inclusion, or are you hesitant toward this reveal? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to follow our coverage article to keep up on everything related to D23 Expo Japan 2018 and the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event!
- Feb 12 2018 06:23 PM
- by Raxaimus
A variety of Kingdom Hearts merchandise has been spotted at D23 Expo Japan 2018! While some of this merchandise has been sold at other events or through Square Enix's various online stores, a large portion of it has never been seen before! These exclusive items include mugs, tote bags, posters, T-shirts, bean plates, masking tape, a King Mickey-themed washcloth, KH-themed rubber grips and three different types of art prints! You can view photos of these items below, courtesy of Twitter user 124Shuya, with the image of the washcloth courtesy of Twitter user Naxkia, and the image of the art prints courtesy of Twitter user Aros_evoL.be sure to follow our coverage article to keep up on everything related to D23 Expo Japan 2018 and the Kingdom Hearts Fan Event!
- Feb 10 2018 09:06 PM
- by Raxaimus
The Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] has been updated to version 2.3.0! This version of the game features a new title screen, five new story quests focusing on the new Foretellers, and the addition of the pet system, which unlocks after clearing quest 14. Several other quality of life features have also been added in this new update (refer to the patch notes below).
Version 2.3.0 update notes:Spoiler
A playthrough of the five story quests is available, courtesy of Everglow, below:
Additionally, a pet system tutorial and an accompanying cutscene have also been provided by Everglow. Take a look!
UPDATE: You can now view our English translated video for this new update here, courtesy of Everglow:
What do you think of the newest update? Are you excited to finally have pets in the game? What are your thoughts on the new story developments? Let us know in the comments below!
- Nov 09 2017 03:29 PM
- by Raxaimus
The second anniversary for the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] is almost here! Currently, the game is featuring "countdown quests" to prepare for the celebration, and during these quests, a new pet feature was teased. While there isn't much information currently available for this new feature, a variety of pets will be available starting in mid-September! Thanks to Mio-chan and Lady Aleister for helping out with the translations.
It isn't currently known how these pets will be obtained, nor if they will be purely cosmetic or provide in-game benefits.
Update 8/27 PT: The second countdown quest teases that a "2nd Anniversary Commemoration Cup" will be held starting September 18th JST, and with it the Union Armor sets last seen in Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]'s 3rd Anniversary event will arrive!Spoiler
Update 8/28 PT: Players will be able to customize and strengthen their pets! Options shown include Head, Ears, Body, Feet, Tail, and Accessories.Spoiler
Update 8/29 PT: Also coming in September, players will be able to increase their level past the previous level cap of 300!Spoiler
Update 8/30 PT: Coming 9/1 is a new EX Medal? Who will it be?Spoiler
This feature is one of many "large-scale updates" coming to the game in the weeks ahead. Be sure to follow our coverage of Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] to find out what will be included next!
Are you excited to have pets accompany you on your adventures? What other features do you want to see added to the game? Let us know in the comments below!
- Nov 09 2017 03:18 PM
- by Raxaimus
GameStop have posted two Kingdom Hearts III pre-order listings on their website. According to their listings, Kingdom Hearts III is being sold for the PlayStation 4 as well as the Xbox One for $59.99 USD. The game has no description available and has a placeholder date of 12/31/2019 (please note that this date is merely a placeholder at this point in time). As the game gets more concrete information, GameStop will update these listings to match.
Will you be pre-ordering Kingdom Hearts III from GameStop? Let us know in the comments below!
- Jul 16 2017 10:16 PM
- by Raxaimus
June 10th, 2017 was a monumental day for the Kingdom Hearts community, due to the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour - holding its first show in the United States on this date. According to many who attended this performance, this experience was "once in a lifetime", and as a fellow attendee, this particular sentiment is definitely shared by the writer of this article.
A surprise appearance by series director Tetsuya Nomura and the unveiling of a brand new Kingdom Hearts III trailer, the two largest contributors to fans' enthusiasm, served as the perfect conclusion to this event. This trailer captured fans' hearts and pushed the excitement for the game to never-before-seen heights, to the point where "Kingdom Hearts III" and "Sora" became trending topics on Twitter. Today, however, we would like to peel away the initial burst of emotion and analyze every aspect of this trailer, in order to find out as much as we can about both the gameplay and story developments of Kingdom Hearts III.
Throughout this trailer, the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour - version of "Wave of Darkness" is played. Furthermore, if you happened to attend this orchestra event in-person on any of the dates that this trailer was shown, the song was played live by the orchestra!
The trailer begins with a quote; "Don't assume your dreams are just fantasy. If you can imagine a world, believe in it...and dive in." The first gameplay segment thereafter is reminiscent of the Dive sections of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. Sora, appearing in his new outfit, is falling toward Olympus Coliseum. As he is about to land, he uses an area of effect attack against the surrounding Heartless. This Dive-esque sequence seems to be seamlessly integrated into the overall world layout, considering that we saw Sora jumping from an alarmingly tall mountain in the E3 2015 trailer. However, considering the quote at the beginning of this trailer, this gameplay element may also be a way of entering each world.
Throughout the Olympus Coliseum portions of this trailer, the bottom right corner of the screen that a four-person party is available. In this instance, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are joined by Hercules. In previous Kingdom Hearts games, a three-person party was the standard, and the capability for guest characters was restricted to certain encounters and boss battles, but it seems to now be a regular feature.
As we see Sora battling the aforementioned group of Heartless, a new command, "Counter Shield" appears above the command menu, in a style identical to that of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-. Activating this Style Change puts Sora into the Counter Shield Command Style, where his outfit becomes the new Guard Form (visually reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts II's Master Form) and his Keyblade takes the form of a shield. Counter Shield uses a large area-of-effect attack as it activates, uses shield bashes as its basic attacks, and can perform a flurry of punches with giant magical fists as a special attack. This is likely a combo finisher, as the "Finish" command is not used.
During this segment, we also get a glimpse at the fact that two Shotlock options will be available for each Command Style, referred to as Unleash and Flowchain. Unleash seems to be the traditional Shotlock variety, consisting of a powerful attack, while Flowchain appears to be the Flowmotion-esque Shotlock seen in the E3 2016 trailer. Counter Shield's particular Unleash Shotlock consists of Sora calling down a ball of energy from the sky, and once it impacts the shield, it unleashes a devastating shower of sparks as an area-of-effect attack.
In the following gameplay segment, we see Sora in another Command Style called "Second Form", which seems to be tied to the Kingdom Key, and is heavily based on Sora's older abilities seen in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. Perhaps this is the successor to the much-beloved Limit Form from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix? In this form, combo finishers such as Magnet Burst make a return, and some combo finishers seem to have a slightly more cinematic tone, as the camera zooms in a small amount when Sora uses Magnet Burst.
Returning to the default Kingdom Hearts III outfit, Sora and Goofy activate a Limit, during which Sora jumps onto Goofy's raised shield, the two launch like a rocket, and Sora throws Goofy into a swarm of Heartless below, dealing massive damage to each enemy in the impact radius.
In the trailer's first story segment, Maleficent and Pete exit a corridor of darkness into Olympus Coliseum, with Pete greeting Hades menacingly. When Hades tries to make the duo leave, Maleficent says that she is merely looking for information, specifically the location of a distinctive black box. The scene ends before Hades can answer the question in detail. When taking into account the events of the secret ending to Kingdom Hearts χ[chi], Maleficent seems to have found Daybreak Town and has learned about the Master of Masters and the mysterious box he possessed in Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover.
The next gameplay segment has often been described as immersive, tense, and gripping. Sora is seen running along a mountain path in the middle of a storm, preparing to confront the Rock Titan. The Titan hurls a boulder in Sora's direction, narrowly missing himdamaging the path in the process. This segment then concludes with Sora using magic against two groups of Heartless. This demonstration of magic continues into the next segment, with Firaga, Blizzaga, Thundaga, and Aeroga all being showcased.
At this point, several different Situation Commands are available to Sora. These commands consist of level 4 magic, with the specific spells being Firaza, Blizzaza, Thundaza, and Aeroza. They appear to have decided to change the "-ja" suffix at the end of the level 4 spells from Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- into a "-za" suffix for Kingdom Hearts III's tier 4 spells. Both the tier 4 spells of the Japanese versions of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- and Kingdom Hearts III translate to the same thing, so it's unknown why they decided to make the names different in the English versions of the two games. Counter Shield is also shown to have an ability reminiscent of Ventus' Faith command in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.
Next, the Kingdom Key's Style Change, "Second Form", is shown yet again. As mentioned previously, the abilities of this Command Style seem to draw from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix's Limit Form, with abilities such as Stun Impact and an aerial version of Sonic Blade being used. However, it is worth noting that one of the melee combos seems to have entirely new animations, suggesting that this form may be a hybrid between old and new techniques. This segment concludes by showing a brief clip of Flowmotion, as Sora makes his way up a slope using a rail.
The following segment showcases the Rock Titan boss fight. Sora is shown running up a cliff, similar to a brief clip seen in the E3 2015 trailer. Sora is mostly kept from attacking the Rock Titan due to its stomps making the top of the cliff hazardous. However, with quick use of Flowmotion, a few melee attacks are possible.
The trailer's final sequence shows Sora, Donald, and Goofy confronting Xemnas and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness near Twilight Town's mansion. Xemnas asks Sora how he expects to bring Roxas back when he should never have existed. The only way to accomplish this seemingly impossible task, according to Xemnas, is for Sora to call upon the darkness and presumably make himself vulnerable to Xehanort's schemes. While Donald and Goofy remain ready to fight, Sora's response is to drop his guard and assume a neutral yet confused stance. Could he be considering the option presented to him?
The trailer concludes with a note detailing that Kingdom Hearts III will appear at D23 Expo 2017 on July 15th, 2017, complete with a new world announcement and a new trailer. Additionally, given Tetsuya Nomura's comments at the orchestra concert on June 11th, 2017, there is a possibility that he will reveal the game's "final information" at this expo, in his own words.
Speaking entirely subjectively, I think that this trailer was absolutely incredible! The music complimented each scene flawlessly, and many scenes were very gripping in their own right! The inclusion of Second Form appeals to my borderline obsessive love for Limit Form, and that Dive sequence looks quite fun! Finally and perhaps most importantly to me, both of the story elements serve to only make me more excited to see the story unfold! I can't wait to see what Nomura will be revealing next month!
What was your favorite part of the trailer? Did you notice anything we missed in our analysis? Let us know in the comments below!
- Jul 16 2017 10:35 PM
- by Raxaimus
The full line-up at the E3 COLISEUM, a collaboration between The Game Awards’ Geoff Keighley and ESA, has finally been revealed. Square Enix are confirmed to be hosting two panels at E3 COLISEUM. The line-up shows that the first panel is scheduled for June 13, 2017 at 3:15pm PST/6:15pm EST/11:15pm BST. During this panel, Square Enix will be demonstrating Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, a PS4 port of the series' arcade iteration. A follow-up developer showcase panel will occur on June 14, 2017 at 5:30pm PST/8:30pm EST/1:30am BST, focusing on a title which will be announced at E3 2017.
The E3 COLISEUM presentations will take place on June 13 - 14, 2017 at The Novo at L.A. Live. The event will be open to fans, and will also be streamed live on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube with the opportunity for fans to ask questions to the panelists via Facebook. Select panels will be also streamed on Microsoft’s Mixer.com and official PlayStation channels. Click here to find out more about the event and how to attend.
At this year's E3, Sony Interactive Entertainment will be hosting The E3 PlayStation Media Showcase on June 12, 2017 at 6pm PST/9pm EST/2am BST. Microsoft will be hosting their Xbox E3 2017 briefing on June 11, 2017 at 2pm PST/5pm EST/10pm BST. Nintendo will not be holding a press conference this year.
What are you hoping to see at Square Enix’s E3 COLISEUM panel? Let us know in the comments below!
- Jul 16 2017 10:54 PM
- by Raxaimus
Enchanted Dominion added to Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross] in 15 new story quests
Fifteen new story quests have been added to the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts Union χ[cross]! Ten of these new quests mark the first appearance of Enchanted Dominion within the game. This is particularly interesting due to Enchanted Dominion's involvement in the secret ending for the original Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]. You can view an translated playthrough of the fifteen new quests below, courtesy of Everglow.
Are you excited to finally explore the long-awaited Enchanted Dominion? Let us know in the comments below!
- Jul 16 2017 11:01 PM
- by Raxaimus