Square Enix hosted a Kingdom Hearts III premiere in Santa Monica, California giving fans and the media a chance to try out the upcoming title. Staff who worked on the game were in attendance to speak to the crowd, while guests could sample cerulean-hued sea salt ice cream and snap selfies holding full-sized keyblades.
Two playable levels, Mount Olympus (from Hercules) and Toy Box (from the Toy Story franchise), were enough to satisfy cravings for this hotly anticipated title, but to also show off some of the unique mechanics that were developed to include more action and excitement. Development staff, including Executive Producer Shinji Hashimoto, were on hand to discuss some of these features.
Reception from those who played the game were positive, many enjoying the familiar menu commands, and added functionality of switching between two keyblades using the D-pad, keyblade transformation, Shotlocks, Attractions, and Links. Sora’s keyblade can transform and increase its attack depending on the world. In Toy Box, the Hyper Hammer can strike enemies quickly with a powerful punch; whereas Twin Yo-Yos can reach out and deal some serious damage. Shotlocks allows Sora to lock on and track multiple enemies at once. Using a specific combo, he can then hit each target sequentially. Attractions are similar to the rides found at Disney Parks around the world: Big Magic Mountain is a rideable train that chugs up and down like a roller coaster, akin to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World, except it launches explosive fireworks (something that doesn’t happen on the real ride). Finally, Links (formerly Summons) allows Sora to call forth other Disney heroes to help out in battle. Ralph, from Wreck-it Ralph, jumps into the fray and can build walls with cannons to take out any enemies in their line of fire.
Kingdom Hearts III is almost here, with an expected launch in 2018. Square Enix plans to reveal a specific date at this year’s E3 next month.
Kingdom Hearts III will be available on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.