Towards the end of January, Disney and Square-Enix finally released a game that has kept fans waiting for a decade and a half: “Kingdom Hearts III”. So long had been the gap between this and “Kingdom Hearts II” (despite the latter getting remixed several times until 2014) that some gamers who got this last month actually mourned online the fans who passed away before its time.
And indeed, what transpired in this epic action RPG title was something of a grand enough conclusion to the saga that began with the first installment from 2002, even if it left room for continuing the story even afterwards.
“Kingdom Hearts III” sees the final struggle between the righteous wielders of the Keyblades against the sinister Organization XIII and its leader Master Xehanort (voiced by Rutger Hauer following the death of Leonard Nimoy), over who shall control the power of the titular Kingdom Hearts.
Over the preceding games, a number of characters possessing Keyblades stood out to confront the plans of Xehanort and Organization XIII to prevent Kingdom Hearts from falling into Darkness in “Kingdom Hearts III.” They are:
- Sora – franchise main hero since the first game, his quest becomes the driving narrative of the “Kingdom Hearts” series
- Riku – franchise secondary hero; antagonist during much of the first game and supporting character for most of the rest; his nature would prove the interdependence of Light and Darkness on one another; he was the original wielder of the Kingdom Key Keyblade until his emerging darkness made it seek Sora instead
- Kairi – franchise main heroine since the first game; a damsel in distress for most of the games she appears in, until receiving a Keyblade from Riku due to having “inherited” worthiness to wield from Aqua
- King Mickey Mouse – King of Disney Castle; originally fighting as a Keyblade Master to eliminate Darkness and preserve Light, he learned from Riku that neither cannot exist without the other and thus decides to fight for their balance
- Terra – Keyblade Master and former apprentice to Eraqus; became host to his mentor’s heart and was also briefly possessed by Xehanort; Riku passed on the ability to wield Keyblades to Riku before the events of the first game
- Aqua – Keyblade Master and former apprentice to Eraqus
- Ventus – Keyblade apprentice under both Eraqus and Xehanort prior to the latter’s evil turn; left comatose after his darkness was separated from him to create Vanitas
- Roxas – the Nobody of Sora that came to be when Sora opened his heart with a Keyblade to free Kairi’s heart; having come from a Keyblade wielder, he retains the same ability; originally part of Organization XIII, he became fed up with the constant manipulation and reunited himself with Sora, only to gain his own complete being via the Organization’s Replica ability
- Xion – the 14th member of Organization XIII and a Replica of Roxas; this enabled her to wield Keyblades as well; her close bonds with Roxas and Axel eventually proves her salvation
- Axel/Lea – a member of Organization XIII and their designated hit-man; became close with Roxas and Xion, eventually becoming a whole being and gaining the ability to wield Keyblades himself
“Kingdom Hearts III” is available on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.