2019 in review: KINGDOM HEARTSLast year was a big one for KINGDOM HEARTS. Let’s look at some of the best moments.
2019 got underway with one heck of a bang - the release of the highly anticipated KINGDOM HEARTS III.
As 2019 comes to its end, and 2020 looms on the horizon, we thought it would be interesting to take stock, and look back at the journey that the game - and the KINGDOM HEARTS series as a whole - has gone on this year.
KINGDOM HEARTS III comes out!
On January 29, 2019, KINGDOM HEARTS III released for PS4 and Xbox One.
The latest adventure took series stalwarts Sora, Donald and Goofy on a new adventure across a host of brand new worlds, based on some of Disney and Pixar’s greatest films.
For example, you could team up with Woody and Buzz Lightyear to explore a richly-detailed toy store. Or join the search for Elsa in the Frozen world of Arendelle. Or help Mike and Sulley deal with a whole new crisis at Monsters, Inc… the list goes on.
Along the way, Sora and pals faced off against an army of Heartless, but fortunately, they have more ways to take them on than ever before.
The game’s upgraded combat system is faster and more fluid than ever before. Keyblade Formchanges in particular added a new energy to battles - by landing enough attacks, Sora can transform his weapon into blasters, shields, claws… and some even more spectacular forms.
Attractions were another new addition - spectacular attacks based on some of the most iconic rides from Disney theme parks. And, naturally, Sora could team up with old and new friends in some brilliantly effective ways.
KINGDOM HEARTS III is a game that will appeal to any Disney fan, but it was a particularly special release for series veterans. The game acted as the long-awaited conclusion to the Dark Seeker saga, as Sora faced off for a final battle against the sinister Master Xehanort.
It also brought back fan-favorite characters like Aqua, answered long-term questions about the series and essentially acted as a love letter to both Disney and the KINGDOM HEARTS series as a whole.
If you haven’t played it yet, I strongly recommend it.
Which KINGDOM HEARTS character were you?
Which character from the KINGDOM HEARTS series are you? To celebrate the launch of KINGDOM HEARTS III, we created a quiz to help you find out.
All you had to do was answer a few simple questions, and you could find out who you most closely resembled. What’s more, you could also unlock exclusive avatars for the Square Enix website.
It’s a lot of fun! But… to be honest, I’m largely highlighting the quiz because I got Goofy - a result I am extremely happy about.
Critical Mode raised the stakes
When fans got their hands on KINGDOM HEARTS III, there was one common request - make it harder!
So in April, we released Critical Mode - a brand new difficultly level that pushes back against the player. Hard. Dodging and blocking become much more important, and even the humblest Heartless is a real threat to Sora’s health.
If you’re up for a true challenge, you could even try a no experience run on Critical Mode - which prevents Sora from levelling up and getting stronger. Personally speaking, I can’t imagine ever being good enough to actually do this, and I have nothing but admiration for anyone who’s even attempted it.
Also in April, we spoke to KINGDOM HEARTS III’s Co-Director Tai Yasue, who runs through some of the changes in Critical Mode and even offered some tips. It’s a fascinating interview, so check it out:
Re Mind DLC announced
Back in June, shortly before E3, we revealed a new DLC expansion for KINGDOM HEARTS III. Then, during the PlayStation State of Play broadcast this very month, we announced the PS4 release date!
In case you missed that, the Re Mind DLC launches for PlayStation 4 on January 23, 2020, and 25 February, 2020 on Xbox One!
The expansion adds a host of new content, including a new scenario with additional story content, some very cool new Keyblades, challenging boss battles, loads more options for photo mode, and a new menu that lets you tweak the difficulty in some exciting new ways.
Perhaps most excitingly for fans, it also brings back characters from the FINAL FANTASY series, including Aerith and Leon.
The Re Mind DLC is available to pre-order now. Alternatively, you can pre-order the KINGDOM HEARTS III Re Mind + Concert Video bundle, which also includes footage from the KINGDOM HEARTS – World of Tres – Orchestra concert in Osaka.
KINGDOM HEARTS III demo released
In November, we released a demo of KINGDOM HEARTS III on PS4 and Xbox One.
Anyone who has yet to try the game can now play a pretty chunky part of the game - absolutely free!
The demo gives to access to large segments from two worlds - Olympus and Toy Box. In Olympus, you team up with Hercules to help him handle a crisis that threatens the gods themselves. Excitingly, any progress you make in this part of the demo carries over to the full game!
The second world in the demo, Toy Box, lets you team up with Buzz and Woody to explore Andy’s Room and head into a massive toy superstore full of dangerous enemies.
And as if that’s not enough, you can also access the Memory Archives - 5 videos that summaries the story of the KINGDOM HEARTS saga so far. While not essential to enjoy the game, it’s a great way for new players get additional context on the people and places they encounter.
The demo is available to download now:
More KINGDOM HEARTS coming to Xbox in 2020
We had some more exciting news in November - even more KINGDOM HEARTS games are on their way to Xbox One in 2020.
Two compilations will be available:
KINGDOM HEARTS HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX
Includes the following games:
- KINGDOM HEARTS FINAL MIX
- KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories
- KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days (HD remastered cinematics)
- KINGDOM HEARTS II FINAL MIX
- KINGDOM HEARTS Birth by Sleep FINAL MIX
- KINGDOM HEARTS Re:coded (HD remastered cinematics)
KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Includes the following games:
- KINGDOM HEARTS Dream Drop Distance HD
- KINGDOM HEARTS 0.2 Birth by Sleep – A fragmentary passage –
- KINGDOM HEARTS χ Back Cover (movie)
To find out more about the titles in these collections check out our full article:
KINGDOM HEARTS on the Blog
We’ve written quite a lot about KINGDOM HEARTS this year on the blog. Here are some of the highlights:
Personality quiz results - 9.2% of us are Goofy
In March, we took a look at the results of the KINGDOM HEARTS III personality quiz (as they were then). The findings made for fascinating reading.
For example, Sora was the most commonly matched character, followed closely by Goofy. It’s nice to know most of you match to nice heroic characters, rather than the likes of Maleficent or Pete.
One particularly shocking finding - cats are far, far more popular among KINGDOM HEARTS fans than dogs.
Speaking of dogs though…
Meow Wow makes a list of great videogame dogs
This one was more than a little controversial here at Square Enix HQ. For International Dog Day, we created a short list of some of our favorite videogame dogs… and Meow Wow made the list.
This, of course, sparked some spirited internal debate: is Meow Wow more a cat than a dog? Is it sufficiently dog-like to be eligible? Have we made a right dogs dinner of this article?
Well, you know what? I stand by my decision: Meow Wow is a very good videogame dog. Sort of.
A look at some of the best KINGDOM HEARTS merchandise
In July, we took a look at some of the coolest KINGDOM HEARTS merchandise on the Square Enix Store.
From impressively poseable BRING ARTS figures to jewelry, there’s some great stuff available for fans - take a look:
Sora, Donald and Goofy: BFFs
We wanted to shine a light on the most heart-warming friendships in Square Enix games… and what greater friendship is there than between Sora, Donald and Goofy?
After all, the bond between these heroes is the big, beating heart of the center of the KINGDOM HEARTS saga.
But who else made the list? Find out here:
A trip back to Halloween Town
Throughout 2019, we’ve been looking at sequences from Square Enix games that we really love. For the scary season, there was only one choice.
The spooky surprises of Halloween Town make it one of the most memorable sections of the original KINGDOM HEARTS - so we took a long and loving look at why it’s so effective.
So all said, it’s been an amazing 2019 for KINGDOM HEARTS… and with the Re Mind DLC on the way, and more games coming to Xbox One, 2020’s looking pretty good too.
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