Apologies for the hiatus, but things are still busy in the real world. Plus, I just got a Nintendo Switch, and the 70-plus strong fighter roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate wasn’t going to unlock itself. At any rate, Key to the Heart returns. After helping out the likes of Pooh, Tigger, Elsa and Anna in our last installment, it’s time to lend our assistance to more realistic-looking motley crew of swashbucklers.
We start off with Sora and the gang from the 2018 E3 trailer, afloat on a modest raft. However, it’s no smooth sailing, as their raft goes over a waterfall and puts them squarely in Davy Jones’ Locker.
Speaking of, our jaunt through the Caribbean takes place during the third movie, At World’s End. But as we find the crew of the Black Pearl, some of them are nice enough to provide some exposition of the preceding movie, Dead Man’s Chest, with much of recap provided by Tia Dalma.
Speaking of the crew, only Gibbs (Kevin McNally) is reprising his role from the movies. That means no Johnny Depp, no Orlando Bloom, no Keira Knightley, etc. But I must say, Jack’s VA does a very good job of nailing the character. And those facial twitches? Clearly the developers had quite a bit of fun with the new hardware.
After Jack Sparrow is found and the Black Pearl is able to sail the seas again, we get to take the helm for a quick sailing segment, then a sea battle. Just a taste of what we’re going to be doing a lot of while in this world.
After the sea battle, we do battle with the giant Heartless seen in the E3 trailer. Honestly speaking, though, the battle is not all that impressive. It’s actually a little repetitive.
When we finally take control of Sora again (there’s plenty of cutscenes showing off the impressive visual fidelity of the films), it’s time to be introduced to the next mechanic; swimming. There are over 50 treasures to collect in this world, so it makes sense that some of it would be at the bottom of the sea. And thanks to Donald’s magic (or at least that’s the story I’m going with), there’s no need to come up for air. Chew on that, Sonic.
As we search for a new ship, the gang (minus Jack, as I guess Donald only has so much magic to go around) explores a large underwater cavern, complete with another giant Heartless near the end. This Heartless was guarding a treasure chest in a fairly obvious/okay-way-more-obvious-than-that trap. Can’t fault Sora for going after it though. As he said, a real pirate never passes up treasure.
Once defeating the Heartless, a little more exploration provides us with our very own ship, the Leviathan. It’s like the Black Pearl, but with the defensive move Water Wall and plenty of offensive special attacks, this ship is going to fit us like a glove. Good thing too. Enemy ships roam the sea, and usually in much greater numbers.
It doesn’t take long for Organization XIII’s Luxord to show up with his massive ship (the HMS Compensator?). Always a fan of games, Luxord proposes a race to Port Royal in order to obtain some information we need from him. We win twice, once in the race and once when the sore loser sends an enemy fleet after us, but Luxord still manages to get the upper hand when Jack spills the location of Davy Jones’ chest, the possible black box the Organization, as well as Maleficent, has been searching for.
After all the skirmishes, it’s time to sail into Port Royal for repairs in the most reasonable, JRPG way possible; getting crabs. Let’s not dive to the gutter so quick; it’s the white crabs that helped free the Black Pearl from Davy Jones’ Locker.
After collecting 300 of the buggers in one of the longest fetch quests in Kingdom Hearts history, we can set sail on the Leviathan. However, we also learn that the Jack that has been traveling with us is a doppelganger, one made of white crabs. Wish we could have known that sooner. Might have made this gathering mission a bit shorter.
Anyway, the next destination is Shipwreck Cove, to assist Jack and the Brethren Court in their fight against Cutler Beckett. But first, exploration. While the High Seas may not be as expansive as, say, the Great Sea from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, there is still a lot to look for, with various scattered islands providing tons of treasure and the white crabs needed to upgrade the Leviathan. Thankfully, all the islands worth visiting are named so on the charts, so there’s no need for aimless traveling.
Shipwreck Cove contains this world’s final fight, so it’s wise to head there after exploring. Our first fight is against the Kraken, which has the Black Pearl firmly in its tentacled grip. This fight is actually pretty simple, only requiring us to fire our cannons at the Kraken, and occasionally the Flying Dutchman, to free our friends.
The next fight is the final boss fight against Davy Jones, which more than makes up for the rather simplistic fights leading up to this. Davy warps around the battlefield and will call on the Kraken for help in restraining our party, so it’s a fight that will keep you on your toes.
After the fight, scenes play out like in the movie. Davy stabs Will, which causes Sora to try and go Super Saiyan and resort to fisticuffs to avenge him.
With Will on the verge of death, and Davy’s homicidal eye turned toward Sora, Jack has Will stab the heart of Davy Jones, which turns him into the new captain of the Flying Dutchman. The Pearl and Dutchman then team up to take out Beckett’s ship. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: These are some of the best cutscenes, visually, in the entire series.
With our time in the Caribbean finished (unless we need to go search for more treasure of course), it’s time to get a look at new-look Kairi and same-old-look Lea/Axel. Kairi apparently wants to make Naminé her own person, like what Sora wants to do with Roxas. Lea reminisces about Ventus (who he met during Birth by Sleep) and his similar appearance to Roxas. The two also appear to be ready to leave this world frozen in time and join Sora, Riku and the rest in their fight.
Back in the Dark World, Riku and Mickey take another crack at the Demon Tower. Despite having new keyblades (including Riku’s, which looks like an actual key), the encounter goes just about as well as the first time, and both fighters lose grip of their keyblades.
The scene then shifts to Twilight Town, where Bad Ansem leads Good Ansem back to the mansion. Unbeknownst to them, Hayner, Pence and Olette aren’t far behind. Bad Ansem is still looking for the mysterious girl mentioned earlier, who disappeared during Good Ansem’s experiments (still following along?) . Bad Ansem says the girl contains a memory that is of some importance for their upcoming battle, and that is why Good Ansem hid her and his research away.
Good Ansem mentions trying to do things right by Roxas, and that springs the Twilight Town teenager trio into action. With Pence providing the distraction, Olette leads Good Ansem away, while Hayner strikes. Hayner’s Dynamic Entry is easily thwarted by Bad Ansem’s dark guardian, but a bunch of Dusk Nobodies arrive to lend assistance, allowing Hayner and Pence to get away.
In the sewers, Good Ansem and the teens are met by Even, who was looking for Good Ansem as well. However, Even says he wishes to atone like his former master. Before you can ask “Well, is he?”, the cutscene ends, marking another chapter finished.
Git Gud count: 1 (Luxord did manage to get the upper hand on our race to Port Royal the first time.) Overall: 3.
Join us next time for Key to the Heart, where we visit our last Disney world and yet another original story crafted specifically for the game.