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7 things the new Kingdom Hearts needs to be great again

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The first Kingdom Hearts is one of my favourite games of all time. The character movement may be clunky and some of the worlds a bit pants, but it combined Square-Enix's RPG expertise with decades' worth of classic Disney characters, dressed them up in some of the finest visuals ever seen coming from a PS2 and then added the most charming, un-cheesy love story. It was, and still is, a masterpiece.

Since then, it's fallen foul of the usual sequel traits. A shady organisation was added to it. Yawn. A second playable character – Roxas. Yawn. Different combat styles (the cards were alright, to be honest), less-iconic Disney worlds… it's still high quality stuff, but it feels like Square-Enix have been missing the point a little of late.

So, with a new KH game set to be unveiled at E3, this is what we want to see from the next game in the series:

 

No subtitle in the title

We know there are supposed to be two more KH games before KHIII (one of which is almost certainly Kingdom Hearts: Recoded), but we still secretly hope the big announcement will be Kingdom Hearts III. Any more words than that in its title will detract from its importance. The only other thing we'd plump for would be simply 'Kingdom Hearts' – a revamp for current gen consoles to deliver the breathtaking universe the first game could never have. It's been done with Resident Evil and nobody mistook that for a PSone game.

If the game set to be announced is indeed called 'Recoded', that does suggest a remake of the original. Or... an iPhone port of this old mobile phone game, which would be a big anticlimax:


Above: Kingdom Hearts: Coded. Don't let the announcement be this again!

 

Grown-up characters

If this is to be the third game in the trilogy, it should conclude it. Sora and Kairi should be the main characters and by now they're likely to be young adults (especially seeing as they were visibly older in KHII). The fans of the first game are older now too and although the Disney characters will still give it appeal for children, there's plenty of scope for a more mature story at the game's heart. Disney itself has never shied away from mature themes, so there's no reason it has to now.


Above: Sora looks visibly older in KH2 (left) compared to the first game

 

The original movies' voice talent

Where possible, of course. the series has always had stars in its credits, but to do it properly, we want to hear Robin Williams as the Genie. No soundalikes, please – this should be the real deal.


Above: "Wanna know a secret? I'm not me! Ahahahahaha"

 

More Square-Enix characters

The DS game only featured a moogle out of Square's entire back catalogue of Final Fantasy characters. We're ready for Sephiroth to return, as well as someone from Final Fantasy XIII… maybe even someone from Chaos Rings on iPhone? Anything will do. Kupo.

 

Bayonetta-style combat

There's no need to insult us with the old 'mash X to win' control scheme. A style of combat similar to Bayonetta's with added magic attacks would be superb. And it has to run at 60fps, of course. Imagine slow-motion zoom-ins as Sora delivers the final blow to a heartless, all rendered in stunning, Final Fantasy XIII-quality 3D.

 

Utada Hikaru on the soundtrack

While the J-pop superstar's theme song 'Sanctuary' for KHII was decent enough, it wasn't a patch on her brilliant 'Simple and Clean' from the first game. Capturing the very essence of the game in a single line, 'simple and clean is the way you're making me feel tonight', there's just something about Hikki's music that fits perfectly. Fingers crossed she's got something special for us.

 

PlayStation Move?

Go on then. If Move is going to be as amazing as Sony would have us believe, show us how it should be done with 1:1 keyblade control. It would solve the button mashing and put us right in the action from the off. If the three games promised by the game's creator do indeed materialise with KH3 coming at the end, that means there's plenty of opportunity for a Move-based spin-off before we get to the real deal KHIII.

The great thing about Kingdom Hearts is that it can be moulded into any kind of adventure, because the subject matter is so diverse. So long as Square-Enix give it the same visual gloss as FFXIII and concentrate on the feeling that each world should give the player rather than focusing on bewildering KH canon, this is a sure-fire triple-A title. Like Hikaru sung in the original game, 'regardless of warnings / the future doesn't scare me at all / cos nothing's like before'. Amen to that.

What do you want to see in the game? Let us know in the comments

08 Jun, 2010

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69 comments

  • farq14 - November 10, 2010 2:32 p.m.

    hey big news that the guy who makes KH games is thinking about one after they are done with 3DS
  • Mysticgamer - August 7, 2010 12:56 a.m.

    The choice for the players should be Sora, Kairi, Riku, and whatever Disney character who's planet they're on. Donald and Goofy should either be guarding the castle or with King Mickey but not in my party.
  • thephntm - June 10, 2010 10:49 p.m.

    I liked Namine.
  • kingbird987 - June 10, 2010 3:16 a.m.

    i want kh3 to go to all of the consoles. beacause i wanted to get the ps3 but i liked the 360 and i love the kh seris. even though it wouldnt be the same. i would just love it if they went all consoles.
  • TheWebSwinger - June 10, 2010 12:49 a.m.

    KH1 is one of my like top 5 games of all time, but I do so hate "Simple and Clean".
  • REsonic - June 10, 2010 12:08 a.m.

    definately co-op and you should be able to switch characters as awesome as sora is id like to play as someone else for a change
  • DriveShaft - June 10, 2010 12:04 a.m.

    I actually care more about the sora/kairi story than the disney worlds one, KH3 would wrap it up nicely, unless they want us to re-re visit all the worlds, I'd love to play on Destiny Islands again :D
  • GameManiac - June 9, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    If KHIII is announced for the PS3, it'll be all the more reason for me to get one, along with GT5 (whenever it comes out).
  • TwilightBlaze - June 9, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    I'd love to see not just Disney worlds, but also other little gems of gaming. Remember how for certain worlds, Sora changes appearance? Well, imagine him in Okami or other similar light-hearted but breathtaking worlds. I mean, I'd love to see him in Rapture or Vigrid, but that probably wouldn't go down too well with long-time fans.
  • tintor2 - June 9, 2010 8:06 p.m.

    Doing a Bayonetta-style combat would sure be unoriginal. About the Organization XIII, weren't those the most entertaining bosses from the game? Besides, it sounds ironic how all the characters from KHII were criticized considering that game was the best scored by Gamesradar. I agree that some subtitles do not sound good but if all games are called Kingdom Hearts it will bring confusion
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - June 9, 2010 7:33 p.m.

    @xboxrulez - God of war, modnation racers, MAG, LBP, inFamous, 3DDH. The only game I consider worth getting which is exclusive to the xbox is crackdown, really. Apart from that, xbox is better cost wise and for community gaming, if I'm honest, so I don't really see the difference between xbox and ps3. So console war is undecided ^^
  • Life - June 9, 2010 6:27 p.m.

    I'd like to see co-op definitely, some sort of online component (dare I say it MULTIPLAYER), more FF characters, particularly from the most recent iterations XII and XIII, less organization XIII, older characters, no more gummi ship expansion, finishing moves, wonderful HD, new single from Utada Hikaru, annnnnnnd being able to play as cloud/leon/riku/someone else cool.
  • animeman - June 9, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    I F@#KING love Kingdom Hearts. almost every thing you said sonds amazing. But I dont understand what you mean by a PlayStatin Move. If you are imlying that KHIII be for the PS3 and 360 then no. KH is one of the only perks people have who only have a PlayStatin and not a 360. The Xbox haz Halo let us have Kingdom Hearts. I'm also not to sure about the Bayonetta style combat. Maby change the combat a little bit but not too much.
  • american101 - June 9, 2010 2 p.m.

    man... you basically said every i might of thought of, but how about more new and origional techniques.
  • Nanook - June 9, 2010 1:33 p.m.

    In fact, much the way the Steamboat Willie stage was properly stylized, why not do a stage that was stylized all 8-bit or 16-bit? Like Retro Game Heroes-ish? World diversity and tripping down memory lane are some of the strong themes in this series after all.
  • Nanook - June 9, 2010 1:28 p.m.

    Big yes on getting rid of the shadowy organizations. Also a big yes on mining the FF games much more deeply. There are 13 canon games alone (12, I guess, since no one counts XI)! I'd like to see them go WAY back, too. A whole stage based on Steamboat Willie, but they can't reach back past FF VII? I was psyched that Setzer had a cameo in KHII. More stuff like that would be very welcome.
  • philipshaw - June 9, 2010 12:52 p.m.

    I loved the first game but didn't like KH2. But KH: Birth by Sleep has got me interested in the franchise again. I agree with most of the stuff in this article and I can't wait to see what they show at E3
  • cj12297 - June 9, 2010 9:49 a.m.

    i loved kingdom hearts 2 it was my first proper game none of that buzz or babyish movie tie-ins crap
  • sepirothpk - June 9, 2010 7:53 a.m.

    I disagree with a lot of the points. I really enjoy the series and thought two was a improvement to one, which in its own right was awesome. And the shady organisation is actually tying to something that occurred before one which is connected to the triggers for kingdom hearts one. And if they changed the combat style to something like bayonetta's, it would annoy me because: a) it would be unoriginal b) it changes it from an action RPG just to action. I also preferred Sanctuary/Passion to Simple and Clean. Suited it more. Though more orignal voice actors from the movies and more square enix characters are awesome. And it's almost definite that they are going to be late-teens or adult, just by looking at the jump between one and two. I would like to see some more original worlds and music too, since they turn out pretty great
  • PrimeSynergy - June 9, 2010 7:15 a.m.

    Operation Dumbo drop level anyone?

Showing 1-20 of 69 comments

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