‘Kingdom Hearts III’ offers complex thrills

The cover photo for all of the cases to Kingdom Hearts III.

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The cover photo for all of the cases to Kingdom Hearts III.

Kodi Graham, Entertainment Editor

“Kingdom Hearts III” was released on Jan. 25, 2019, although making it into stores in America from Japan on Jan. 29.

In the game, you play as a young boy named Sora from the world of Destiny Islands.

In the universe of Kingdom Hearts, light and dark aren’t just metaphors; they’re actual and physical forces in the universe.

Other laws of the universe include there being multiple worlds that people can travel to and from, and the term “heart” refers more to a person’s soul rather than their physical organ.

Whenever a person’s heart succumbs to darkness, their heart leaves their body and morphs into a monster called a Heartless. The leftover body from this event morphs into a Nobody, another monster.

Both entities attack the forces of light whenever they can. Destroying an individual’s Heartless and Nobody reverts both pieces into a Somebody (yes, that is the actual term).

In “Kingdom Hearts,” Sora’s story begins on Destiny Islands, his original world, with his friends Riku and Kairi.

They lived peacefully, dreaming of adventure, until everything changes when the island is succumbed to darkness. Riku leaves with a mysterious figure and Kairi is whisked away.

While Destiny Islands is being attacked by Heartless, a mysterious weapon called a Keyblade appears in Sora’s hand.

Keyblades are weapons of light given to those of pure Hearts used to defeat the forces of darkness and can dissipate the Heartless and Nobodies.

Sora, chasing after his friends, winds up in another world called Traverse Town. Here he meets his future permanent companions, Donald the mage and Goofy the knight. (Yes, the Disney ones.) Donald and Goofy work for King Mickey, sent out to search for a solution for the uprising of Heartless.

Donald and Goofy help Sora to recover his friends in the first game, and defeat the Heartless Ansem who’s taken over Riku.

In the end of the game there’s a moment where Sora’s heart succumbs to darkness and he becomes a Heartless. Kairi revives him, but during the process a Nobody is created named Roxas.

The second major installment, “Kingdom Hearts II,” begins with Roxas giving himself up to make Sora whole again. After this, Sora, Donald and Goofy team back up to defeat Organization XIII, a group of Nobodies led by Ansem’s nobody, Xemnas.

Both Ansem’s and Xemnas’ agendas are to open Kingdom Hearts, the collection of all hearts in the universe. Once defeated, Ansem and Xemnas reforges into Xehanort, the original Somebody.

Back to the Keyblades, Sora is not the only Keyblade Wielder. Riku also has the ability to access a Keyblade, along with King Mickey, a Keyblade MASTER (more on that later), and other characters.

There are many minor games in the franchise, about 10, but one of the most important is “Birth By Sleep.” This story takes place between II and III and is about Riku and Sora attempting the Mark of Mastery.

The Mark of Mastery is a test to turn Keyblade Wielders into Keyblade Masters. Sora and Riku attempt this to become stronger for the impending war against Xehanort, where he tries again at opening Kingdom Hearts.

In the end, Riku passes the Mark of Mastery while Sora fails since for a brief moment his heart is consumed by darkness until Riku saved him. When Sora falls to darkness, he loses an ability he had called “the Power of Waking.” This is a requirement for the Mark of Mastery.

Now that the background’s out of the way, I can finally talk about the actual game.

I haven’t gotten far in “Kingdom Hearts III,” as it’s campaign is excruciatingly long. I have about five hours into the game and am not even close to done.

So far in Sora’s adventure, FIVE HOURS IN, he still hasn’t regained his Power of Waking. Sora, Donald and Goofy have been to the land of Olympus (Hercules), Toy Box (Toy Story), and the Kingdom of Corona (Tangled).

I haven’t been to these worlds, but I know of there being the worlds of Arendelle (Frozen) and Monstropolis. (Monster’s Inc.)

Riku and Mickey are off searching for other Keyblade Wielders for the war, specifically a Master named Aqua, with no luck.

Kairi has joined another man named Lea in training to become a Keyblade Wielder, as she was able to summon a Keyblade at the end of “Birth By Sleep.”

Although “Kingdom Hearts III” is more story-oriented, that doesn’t mean that it’s without action. A lot of the combat is based on pressing the A button, but it’s freeflowing mechanics still make it fun and interesting.

In the game, Sora can acquire multiple Keyblades and has the ability to switch between three on-the-go. Each Keyblade has its own unique “Formchange,” a powerful ability that can give Sora powerful moves that change the Keyblade’s appearance and even Sora’s.

Donald and Goofy, despite their… mannerisms, are powerful allies. Honestly, the game would be really hard to play without their helping hand.

Sora can also use his “Link” ability to call on certain friends from other worlds and even other games to assist in battle.

To wrap it up, “Kingdom Hearts III,” although with a complex story, is an extremely exciting game and can really pull you in.

The game really keeps you craving more, thinking “Oh Lord, what’s gonna happen next?” or “What in the world is that thing?”

Honestly I have no idea how it’s going to play out or how the story’s will end, but I can’t wait to find out.