The Kingdom Hearts III hype train keeps chugging along.
During Sony’s E3 press conference tonight, a new trailer was debuted, showing off yet another world. It looks like we’re hoisting anchor and setting sail on the high seas one more time with Captain Jack Sparrow.
Of course, the world of Port Royal was one of the new worlds featured in Kingdom Hearts II. While we may be getting another dose of Pirates of the Caribbean, the trailer also revealed gameplay elements that will, going along with KHIII‘s theme of bigger and better, immensely broaden the size and scope of the world.
The trailer starts with Sora singing Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) on his vessel. Sora, unlike in Kingdom Hearts II, is given a costume change for this world and is decked out in some truly seafaring garb.
Sora expresses his happiness at being a pirate again, before the camera pans out and shows us that he is the captain of no more than a wooden raft. It’s no Black Pearl, not even close.
Speaking of the Black Pearl, it makes its grand entrance coming over a sand dune, as in the film At World’s End. We then get a shot of Jack Sparrow on the mast, in high-definition, next-generation glory.
And it’s not just Jack. The camera shows the rest of the Black Pearl crew. The graphical updates were kind to these folks as well. It’s almost like we’re watching another Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
After marveling at this shiny new coat of paint, the trailer takes us straight to gameplay, starting with actual ship battles on the high seas. Sora and crew do battle with what seem to be darkness-possessed ships (don’t ask too many questions, just enjoy the ride). Aside from manning the wheel for evasive maneuvers and firing the cannons, it appears you can also fire hooks at enemy ships, allowing Sora to use Athletic Flow to grind the chains and commandeer those ships.
The Black Pearl has a speed gauge (possibly for boosting away from danger) and an HP gauge. A look at the command bar shows a command called Water Wall. Is this a defensive move in which Sora uses his magic to manipulate the water? It’s quite handy having a keyblade master around, isn’t it?
We also get a look at two more keyblade transformations, as the Pirates world keyblade changes to the spear-like High Wind (a fun nod to Final Fantasy‘s dragoon class/weapons), allowing for jump attacks, and the Storm Flag. More gameplay elements showcase Sora traversing a cliff, taking out the monkey-like Powerwild Heartless, and diving underwater to take on enemies below.
That’s right, Sora can dive and fight underwater. I wonder how the game will track his ability to stay underwater. Will there be some type of oxygen gauge? Or will the magic of the keyblade allow Sora to breathe underwater? I know, it sounds silly, but hey, this is Kingdom Hearts.
The next scene has Sora emerging from the water and taking to the air, grabbing hold of an airborne Heartless to take on a larger airborne Heartless. And a gauge for the Black Pearl is shown in the upper left, which must mean we must defend the Pearl from this aerial threat.
Once Utada Hikaru’s “Don’t Think Twice” starts playing, we see Sora, Jack, Donald and Goofy on board a ship with Luxord, yet another returned member of Organization XIII. Sora wants nothing to do with him, but Jack, noting the Pirate’s Code, feels obligated to listen. This is when Luxord mentions looking for a box. Undoubtedly, this is the same black box revealed in Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, and the same box Maleficent and Pete are looking for.
The scene shifts to Olympus, where Hades is siccing his titans on Sora and company. This prompts Hercules to jump in to lend a hand. Sora is still in his Kingdom Hearts II garb, so this must take place at the beginning of the game.
We’re then shown more scenes of previously revealed worlds. The Squeeze Toy Aliens are once again taken by a claw in Toy Box, and Elsa conjures a giant ice wall to make her escape from Sora. After listening to these lines, it seems to me that is not Idina Menzel voicing the snow queen, which is a shame.
We then go to Corona, where we get more looks at KHIII Rapunzel and Flynn. That’s before we head to the Monsters Inc. factory, where Vanitas brags that thanks to the Unversed, they were able to extract a lot of screams and sadness from children. Mike Wazowski wants to take him on, but Sulley (wisely) holds him back.
And then we’re back in Arendelle, where Larxene reveals that Elsa possibly represents one of the seven pure lights that they need, what she calls the New Seven Hearts. This is before Sora (in other scenes) is taunted by Ansem: Seeker of Darkness, Xemnas and Braig/Xigbar. The Organization has always thrived on a mix of emotional and physical warfare, and this does not appear to be any different.
We’re then taken back to Twilight Town (I believe), where we get a better look at Lea and Kairi. Lea is still sporting the black cloak of Organization XIII, while we finally get a look at KHIII Kairi. With her going back to short hair and sporting a new pink skirt/hoodie combo (which apparently shows Tetsuya Nomura is really into buttons right now), Sora just might have to pick his jaw up off the floor when he finally sees her again.
The scene then shifts to Destiny Islands, where Riku is looking out over the sea at the sunset. He turns and smiles, as the camera pans to show another Riku, the Ansem: SOD-possessed, possibly a replica Riku.
And that’s the Sony E3 trailer. While it may leave us with a couple more questions (What are the New Seven Hearts? Why are there two Rikus? Why can’t Disney and Square-Enix pony up some dough for more original voice actors?), we’re probably not going to get those answers until we get our hands on the game ourselves. But from a purely gameplay perspective, the trailer shows us some new fun ways to wage battle against the darkness. Hands up, who wants to fight the Kraken with the keyblade?
There’s still more to E3, so the door remains open for yet more Kingdom Hearts III news. But even if this is the last trailer, what an exciting few days it’s been for KH fans, with the reveal of two more worlds and loads more goodies.
Pirates of the Caribbean marks the seventh Disney world for Kingdom Hearts III. As we know, we are getting fewer Disney worlds than we did in Kingdom Hearts II, where we got 12. So perhaps there’s one or two more worlds just waiting to be revealed. Only time will tell on that.
What do you think about the latest trailer? Are you ready to pillage, plunder, rifle and loot with Jack’s crew? Or do you wish Square-Enix would have revealed a different world? Let us know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading!