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  1. Viewing Profile: Topics: Raxaimus

Raxaimus

Member Since 14 Aug 2016
Offline Last Active Today, 07:13 AM

Topics I've Started

Tetsuya Nomura makes comments promising more Kingdom Hearts info at TGS 2018

18 September 2018 - 01:12 AM

Shortly after the release of Kingdom Hearts III's extended Tokyo Game Show trailer, Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura made comments on his Twitter about Kingdom Hearts III's presence at Tokyo Game Show 2018.

In the first tweet, Nomura expressed his thoughts on Utada Hikaru's live performance of the Kingdom Hearts III theme song, Chikai. Nomura also confirmed that there will not be any more trailers coming out of TGS, but that there will still be more info, which he encourages fans to look forward to.

Nomura also wanted to reveal the Kingdom Hearts III box art himself in the second tweet, before it was released elsewhere. There will be a large version of this box art on display at the expo itself. While that's all he will be saying, he reinforces that there will be further information revealed during TGS.

Thank you to Goldpanner for translating these tweets!

What do you think of Nomura's comments? What do you think this upcoming info entails? Let us know in the comments below!

Keep up to date with Kingdom Hearts III news at TGS 2018 on our website and via Twitter!

You can also catch up to all TGS 2018 news via our full coverage of the event!

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Kingdom Hearts Sora Nendoroid figure available for pre-order; releasing in December 2018

26 July 2018 - 01:32 AM

A Kingdom Hearts Sora Nendoroid figure is being released by Good Smile Company! This chibi-style figure includes interchangeable Keyblades, several swappable heads with different facial expressions, a paopu fruit accessory, and a posing stand. Among the Keyblades included are the Kingdom Key and the Pumpkinhead. Additionally, one of the promotional images shows the figure holding a Kingdom Key and shooting a beam of light into a Keyhole, though it is unclear whether this Keyhole is able to be attached to all Keyblades, or if it is part of a second Kingdom Key as a single piece.

Sora Nendoroid 1Sora Nendoroid 2Sora Nendoroid 3Sora Nendoroid 4Sora Nendoroid 5Sora Nendoroid 6

The Kingdom Hearts Sora Nendoroid figure is available for pre-order from Aitai☆Kuji for $40 USD. Each order comes with a free gift, though there are no details on this gift at this time. This figure is scheduled to release in December 2018.

What are your thoughts on this new Sora figure? Would you like to see more Kingdom Hearts Nendoroid figures? Let us know in the comments below!

[UPDATE]: @gsc_enon hinted on Twitter the intention of releasing new Kingdom Hearts Nendoroid figures in the future!

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Kingdom Hearts June Merchandise Roundup; Figures, backpacks, and more!

03 July 2018 - 01:03 AM

Welcome to KH13’s roundup for Kingdom Hearts merchandise revealed during the month of June! Pictures, links, and descriptions for each piece of new merchandise revealed during June are available below!


KH Crew Sweater 1KH Crew Sweater 2KH2 Blue MugKH Sora Tactical BackpackKH2 Logo Collar PinKH Stud Earring SetKH Icons Backpack

Hot Topic introduced several items this month, including a Kingdom Hearts “Heart” plus-sized crew sweater, available for $36.90. As the name suggests, the design is mainly themed around the series’ heart icon, which is prominently featured on the breast, right sleeve, and back, alongside other Kingdom Hearts symbols. The “Heart” design was previously featured by Hot Topic on a girls’ pullover hoodie for $44.90.

A blue Kingdom Hearts mug is available for $12.90. Using the box art for Kingdom Hearts II, the mug features King Mickey and the Kingdom Hearts II logo on one side, while the other side includes Sora, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, and Roxas.

Looking to rock Sora's style? A Kingdom Hearts tactical backpack is available for $59.90, and is directly inspired by the colors and design of Sora’s Kingdom Hearts II outfit!

If you're looking for something more subtle, a Kingdom Hearts stud earring set is available for $10.90. It includes four different varieties of studs; Heartless emblems, Kingdom Key Ds, black faceted gems, and Mickey Mouse emblems.

In other jewelry-related news, a Kingdom Hearts logo collar pin set is available for $12.90, featuring the Kingdom Hearts II logo as the pin design, and connected by three silver-tone chains.

A Kingdom Hearts icons backpack is available for $34.90. Its print features an assortment of icons from the series, scattered thoroughly across the backpack's entire print.

Lastly from Hot Topic, the store is now carrying the Kingdom Hearts Keyblade Proplica! This fan-favorite item is a full-scale Kingdom Key, featuring various lights and sounds which imitate the series’ magic spells, as well as a light in the tip of the blade which projects a keyhole! The Kingdom Key Proplica is available now for $200.90!

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Bandai’s Kingdom Hearts gacha capsule Keyblade keychain set is available for pre-order at Big Bad Toy Store. A box of 12 can be pre-ordered for $119.99, and features two of each of the following Keyblades: Kingdom Key, Three Wishes, Crabclaw, Oathkeeper, Oblivion, and Ultima Weapon (KH1 version). The set is scheduled to release in September.

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Big Bad Toy Store also has a Kingdom Hearts Sora-inspired rucksack available for pre-order for $44.99. This item is scheduled to release in August.


KH Vinimates Final Form SoraKingdom Hearts Select Space ParanoidsKH Minimates Tron Light CycleKH Vinimates Halloween Town SoraKH Vinimates Halloween Town DonaldKH Vinimates Halloween Town Goofy

From Diamond Select Toys, the new Kingdom Hearts Vinimates Final Form Sora figure is available for $10.90, exclusively at Hot Topic.

Speaking of Diamond Select Toys, they now have many different Kingdom Hearts available for pre-order at Big Bad Toy Store!

The Kingdom Hearts Select figure line now features a Space Paranoids set for $64.99, available in December. Its contents include Space Paranoids Sora, Space Paranoids Donald, Space Paranoids Goofy, Tron, Sark, Black Coat Mickey, a Shadow, and an Assassin.

A Kingdom Hearts Minimates Tron light cycle deluxe set is available for pre-order for $13.99, releaseing in November. It includes Space Paranoids Sora as well as a light cycle.

Three Kingdom Hearts Vinimates Halloween Town figures are also available for pre-order. These include Halloween Town Sora, Halloween Town Donald, and Halloween Town Goofy. Each of these figures is being sold separately for $9.99, and will be available in November.

Which pieces of merchandise are your favorite from this month? Are there any items that you are looking to pre-order? Let us know in the comments below!

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Tetsuya Nomura sheds light on The Caribbean's inclusion in Kingdom Hearts III

24 June 2018 - 07:58 PM

In an interview with VentureBeat, Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura elaborated on the reasons behind the choice to include The Caribbean into Kingdom Hearts III, answering several concerns about its status as a returning world.

The desire to include realistic characters based on live-action properties was a significant motivator for the development team, especially since these characters can be faithfully recreated within Unreal Engine 4, in far greater detail than ever before. Furthermore, the world design of The Caribbean lends itself well to interesting and varied gameplay. Nomura also explained why Kingdom Hearts III would be focusing on the plot elements of the third Pirates of the Caribbean film, At World’s End, rather than directly continuing the story with Dead Man’s Chest.

You can read Nomura’s comments from the interview below.

Q: So why go back to Pirates? Specifically, why the third installment in what is now a series of five films?

Nomura: It’s not that we’ve been avoiding the reappearance of worlds from our previous titles. They are reappearing as necessary. But for Kingdom Hearts III, one of our ideas or concepts was to try to have as many new worlds as possible. At the same time, I’ve always wanted to have at least one live-action world in Kingdom Hearts III. When we were looking at all these different live action titles, Pirates of Caribbean was one of the most interesting worlds, one that we thought we could create interesting gameplay around. There’s the underwater action and the ships. You can even be airborne. It covers land, sea, and air. I thought that would be a great opportunity, to use the Pirates of the Caribbean world.

Nomura: Another reason was, because we wanted to have more realistic characters in the live action worlds — even more realistic than before — we thought that the Pirates of the Caribbean characters were unique enough in their details that we’d be able to re-create it as closely as possible with computer graphics.

Q: OK, but why At World’s End?

Nomura: When you look at Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, one is the setup for the other,” Nomura continued. “If we went with the second movie, then the story kind of ends in the middle. It doesn’t really make sense for us, because we’d have to end it in the middle as well. With At World’s End, I felt like there’s more dynamic action to it. Just looking at it from that perspective, it’s a better fit. I also wanted to show the battle with Davy Jones and make it as dynamic as possible, and to do that it had to be the third movie. It was just an easier fit overall.

Do you agree with Nomura's reasons for including The Caribbean in Kingdom Hearts III? What part of this interview is most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments below!

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Raxaimus' impressions of the Kingdom Hearts III Premiere Event demo

24 May 2018 - 10:47 AM

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!

<3 <3 <3

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

Miscellaneous Concerns

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.

<3 <3 <3

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!

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