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What is Kingdom Hearts?

“May your heart be your guiding key” – Yen Sid

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What is Kingdom Hearts?

Illustration by Darrell T. Harris

Illustration by Darrell T. Harris

Illustration by Darrell T. Harris

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  Light and darkness, hearts and friendship, Disney and Final Fantasy

these are not just cobbled words but what it means to play Kingdom Hearts.

Let’s start with the run-down for those not in the know of its lore.

 

  Simply put, Kingdom Hearts is the “heart” of all worlds. It is composed of pure light and acts as a haven for those who lost their hearts. Protecting Kingdom Hearts is the original keyblade, the X-blade. Wielding this will give anyone access to Kingdom Hearts.

  Now, not everything was peaceful within the realm of light, which housed darkness manifested from people’s hearts; these were the Heartless. To fight them off, people began crafting their own keyblades, which soon expanded into five different factions of keyblade wielders. But soon enough, people began to hunger for the power of Kingdom Hearts, and a fight between the wielders broke out which became the legendary Keyblade War. The battle was so intense that the X-blade, itself shattered into seven pieces of light and 13 pieces of darkness, which caused Kingdom Hearts to be lost forever.

  Years later, a keyblade master by the name Xehanort aimed for the power of Kingdom Hearts and crafted a makeshift X-blade. He would have gained the power had it not been for three other wielders, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, sacrificing themselves to the darkness.

 

Now, for the main story

 

Illustration by Darrell T. Harris

 

  Sora, a 14-year-old boy, loses his friends, Kairi and Riku, to the darkness. He finds himself in another world with a keyblade in hand and meets Donald and Goofy, who are on their own mission to search for King Mickey. The three band together, fighting Heartless in the Disney-themed worlds and fighting the main villain Ansem, seeker of darkness, who plans to summon Kingdom Hearts and corrupt it.

  After Ansem’s defeat, Sora, Donald, and Goofy continue their search all-the-while dealing with new enemies called Nobodies husks of people who have lost their hearts to darkness. One such Nobody is the husk of Ansem, who goes by the name Xemnas. Some Nobodies have kept their human forms and created the Organization XIII. They plan to summon Kingdom Hearts to become whole again. Along their battles, Sora, Donald, and Goofy reunite with Kairi, Riku, and Mickey and help them to defeat Organization XIII.

 

Where we are now

 

Illustration by Darrell T. Harris

 

  Xehanort has returned with the same goal of obtaining the X-blade and Kingdom Hearts. Now, this is where things get a little crazy. It is revealed that all the villains from the previous games were Xehanort, himself taking on different vessels with the intent of bringing back the original X-blade. Remember when I said that the original shattered into pieces of light and dark? Xehanort planned to find all the missing pieces to rebuild the X-blade. The light pieces found themselves in the hearts of Disney princesses, whom were called the princesses of light. One such princess was Kairi, who gave her heart to Sora before she was taken by the darkness. Sora sacrificed his heart to release Kairi’s; this caused Sora to become a Heartless temporarily and created a nobody named Roxas. The dark pieces turned into 13 vessels that Xehanort created. This was the true Organization XIII.

  Now you’re caught up to the main plot, at most. To be honest, this is sort of an abridged version to the lore. If you’re interested in the completed lore, side stories included, check online; many fans have created lore videos that explain everything about the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

 

Gameplay

 

  Although this is the latest sequel, you’re not exactly at your strongest. Due to the previous events back in “Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance,” Sora has lost most of his powers and must travel to worlds to reawaken them for the final battle.

  You play the majority of the game as Sora. “Kingdom Hearts 3” brings in the mechanics of previous Kingdom Hearts games while also adding in new features that make it more fun.

  You have the usual game setup: health bar, magic bar, and slots to switch between attack and magi casting. The summon feature is replaced with a link feature; it works similarly to the sumon feature back in the original game. A new addition are the shotlocks, which originate from “Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.” When activated, you can perform an array of special attacks, but be cautious when using it the shotlock gauge does not replenish during battle, so if you use it all up, you may be in trouble.

  Another feature brought back is the flowmotion. This basically makes you a parkour master, allowing you to use the environment to fight enemies and maneuver through obstacles.

 

Team attacks and attractions

 

  During your fights, Sora can use special team attacks with Donald and Goofy. For their newest features, Sora has the power to summon Disney-themed attraction rides to be used into battle. They are summoned similarly to Donald and Goofy’s tea attacks.

 

Keyblades

 

  As always, you come equipped with the default keyblade, named Kingdom Key. Although, if you were one of the ones who pre-ordered the game, you get an exclusive keyblade depending on which game you bought for the system. As you traverse each world, you will acquire a keychain that will change the form of your keyblades with different attributes of strength and magic.

  Two of the newest features they added to the keyblade are that you’re able to switch between three keyblades in battle, so if you’re up against a powerful enemy, pick the right combination, and you can handle them with ease. The keyblade’s second feature are the form changes. As you bash away Heartless, you can trigger your keyblades to transform into different weapons, wiping away enemies.

  After 13 years of waiting, fans now get to enjoy the thrilling conclusion to the keyblade war story. Don’t worry, though the story isn’t over yet. Kingdom Hearts will continue with new mysteries and a story for Sora and his friends to take part in. So, go out and enjoy the game!

 

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What is Kingdom Hearts?