It's taken us a couple of weeks, but we've finally been able to make our way through the conclusion to the brilliant Kingdom Hearts series in Kingdom Hearts III! After a string of delays and changes to planned release dates, the game is now available for fans to indulge in, and it certainly ticks all of the right boxes whilst pushing the franchise in its inevitable direction. Sure, the primary narrative didn't throw up too many surprises, but that doesn't make playing through it any less satisfying.
Those new to the series would be best going back and playing the remastered collection of KH games that came before this one, but if that's not an option, there is a built-in 'Memory Archive'. Here, short videos explain exactly what's gone on in the past, tying together all of the hugely important plot points of the past. This is a brilliant addition and allows newbies to jump straight into the action.
Thrust into Sora's world of chaos, players join the lead as he enters KH3 as somebody who has lost all of his former powers. Though his friends Donald and Goofy are unrelenting in their support for the young hero, his ambitions quickly fall short and he is forced to call on the help of a classic Disney champion if he's to reach his potential.
This is just the first of a string of different Disney worlds you'll be thrown into the centre of in your journey across KH3, and although we do see some classics, there are entirely new places to explore from more recent Disney entries. The most anticipated of all was without a doubt the magical land of Frozen, which looks just as gorgeous here as it did on the big screen back in 2013.
The plots woven through the Disney worlds is a lot of the time completely separate to that of the KH universe, so they can sometimes leave players feeling a little scatter-brained. Still, the fun and brilliance of the main plot more than makes up for this.
What may send a shiver into the hearts of players who have been through the first two KH games was the news that The Gummi Ship would be making a return. Fortunately, it's had a complete overhaul and is now another brilliant offering from developers. There's the option to fast travel between locations, but you can also completely customise your ship before embarking on a treasure hunt, or getting caught up in a space battle for the ages. Instead of being monotonous, these sequences are now fun and utterly addictive.
There's also been a lot of polishing done in regards to combat. Complicated and often frustrating elements of the past have been removed entirely and instead, a fluid system is in place that allows each battle to feel fresh and worthwhile. Running straight up walls and spinning around pillars is chaotic, but a heck of a lot of fun as you try to put your best foot forward, all whilst your allies top up the damage being done and healing being given.
Some of the game's most ridiculous moments come in battle, with Attraction attacks based on rides from Disney theme parks shockingly stupid, but utterly mesmerising. They're colourful and shamelessly promotional, but we can't help but find them absolutely hilarious.
Saying too much about how the story progresses in KH3 would spoil it for those loyalists who have stuck with the game right up until this point. It's fair to say there aren't too many big surprises however, and that the plot concludes in a satisfying but predictable way. Honestly though, we wouldn't have asked for anything else. Unneccessary diversions would have been called out as being placed for shock value alone; this is the ending we all deserved, and it's pretty close to perfection.
Kingdom Hearts III is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A code was given to Female First for PS4 in exchange for a fair and honest review.