It’s about that time again, the time when every Kingdom Hearts and Disney fanatic scooch up to the edge of their seats and begin biting nervously on the tips of their fingernails, as they wait in anticipation throughout the duration of the E3 press conference for any and all news regarding the highly awaited and ever elusive sequel to the decade spanning series of Kingdom Hearts. This year, however, our Kingdom Hearts loving butts will be able to sit firmly in our seats far away from the edge as it seems all the news regarding the game and series as a whole has already been revealed.
Square Enix has released a brand new trailer for Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue with the addition of “E3 2016 Trailer” attached to it meaning that this is all fans of the series will likely get during the press conference this year. The E3 Trailer for 2.8 coming out ahead of the conference isn’t quite as big of a deal as some might expect it to be as nothing was really shown in the trailer that we didn’t already know about. The trailer basically rehashes a few things and shows off some new high-res clips of Birth By Sleep and Back Cover so we see some old being shown off mixed with bits and pieces of some new, but really it all melds into the trailer that came out before it. This is most likely why Square had decided to release the trailer onto the Internet before the show as there’s not much being announced here and I presume they want to save all the time they are allotted to show/talk about Final Fantasy XV.
During the beginning of the trailer we get yet another scene of Yin Sid telling Sora and Rikku about the trials ahead and the Mark of Mastery, blah, blah, blah, nothing new nor exciting here, the true perk of the ears arrives when Aqua makes her appearance on screen. Her character model looks beyond amazing as it is running off of the Kingdom Hearts III engine. If anyone had any doubts about the new art style or glossy look of Sora’s character in the recent Kingdom Hearts III gameplay trailers, I feel like playing through Birth by Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage will put all our minds at ease. Comparing this version to Birth by Sleep on the PS3 port’s version is literally like rubbing the dirt from your eyes and seeing the game clearly for the first time. If graphics aren’t your thing worry not, as there is plenty to offer throughout the remainder of Aqua’s section in the trailer, which also serves as the best and most exciting part.
The gameplay looks just as beautiful. We see new physics being shown off, the areas of the world we are going to visit looks more expansive and detailed than ever before and watching a glob of Heartless combine together Day-Z style and swarm into the air and around the battle arena is a big tease to what we can expect to find in Kingdom Hearts III. A Fragmentary Passage will probably play like added DLC or an short expansion rather than a full-fledged game, but this small taste will not only further the story of the expansive series, but play like a demo for Kingdom Hearts III, something the fans of the series really need. Then there’s Kingdom Hearts: Back Cover, which personally, I could go either way with. it tells the tale of Kingdom Hearts-X and the world before Sora, Donald, Goofy and The Heartless, along with how everything essentially came to be, but the story doesn’t seem to be resonating with me as I’m sure Square would have liked. This feels similar to the earlier cinematic from 1.5 and 2.5 acting as nothing more than an add-on content in order to make me feel like I got my moneys worth. Although there was a lot of work put into creating these characters from 2D models to 3D and Square is trying to establish the entire length of the Kingdom Hearts story so far prior to Kingdom Hearts III’s release, I would rather them take that time and effort and put it into Kingdom Heats III instead.
The fact that the trailer came out early and that the game won’t likely be talked about during E3 time doesn’t really bother me, as I do not need to hear about what the plans for the game’s launch will be or see gameplay of it. We all known what the game is about and really this is just filler to hold over the rumbling appetites of fans clamoring for Kingdom Hearts III. The real issue I have with this trailer is at the very end when the title card of the Kingdom Hearts III’s logo appears and below the logo “Upcoming announcements this winter” fades in at the bottom of the screen. This bugs me more than it excites me as if the announcement this winter is anything but Kingdom Hearts III will hit consoles on (insert date here), anything they do end up announcing besides this will be more frustrating, more than anything else. Fans of the series from day one will understand this constant torment from Square and their Kingdom Hearts III “announcements.”
Now, I’m not losing my patients because I want the game sooner than later. I could wait for the third numbered entry another five years and be okay with it (don’t tell Square Enix I said that) as long as the final project is well refined and delivers that Kingdom Hearts style no other game can emulate. My issue lies with bringing it up every few months and having nothing to really announce or even show due to the game still being in development. I can’t shake the feeling that Kingdom Hearts III was announced earlier than it ever should have. I do, however, understand why Square announced the game was in development a few years back as the title was in hiatus for far too long and was dangerously approaching that Half-Life 3 mark of absentness. Nevertheless, if Kingdom Hearts III was first revealed during this upcoming E3, rather than making its debut two years prior, then the wait wouldn’t feel as dragged on as it has and the announcements they would be making would feel more substantial than what we have been shown in recent months.