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Four Problems Kingdom Hearts 4 Must Fix

Kingdom Hearts 4 is officially official and while there isn’t much in the way of information so far, just confirmation that development is going ahead is good news.

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With a world totally unlike anything we’ve seen in Kingdom Hearts before, this latest entry is the start of a new storyline called the Lost Master Arc. If it lives up to the graphical prowess on display – great.

Kingdom Hearts 3 had its issues. That was extra disappointing because of the gap between 2 and 3.

With that in mind, this is what we think needs changing as Sora and Company make their return.

Don’t Leave Us Waiting

At this stage, this one is most important. Kingdom Hearts 3 was officially announced in 2013 (although it had been confirmed it was coming earlier than that). It was released in 2019.

That was six years of stopping and starting, six years of hope and disappointment… I’m not sure my heart can take a wait until 2028 for the next entry in the Kingdom Hearts series.

Final Fantasy XV was the problem back then. It had issues of its own that needed fixing. Arguably they never fully were.

With that in mind, Kingdom Hearts 4 is now official. Let’s not muck about now it’s announced.

Worlds and Stories

Anybody who has ever played Kingdom Hearts 3 knows that some of the worlds are… a bit undercooked.

There might be many reasons why that came to pass. There have been discussions around Disney allowing the use of certain worlds – particularly Frozen – only under specific conditions. And so Sora’s part in those worlds seems unusually weak.

This time round, difficult decisions must be made. For the sake of the story, for the sake of the depth of worlds, don’t choose only what’s popular. I’d rather go back to Agrabah or Atlantica than explore another labyrinth barely related to the Disney property it was based on.

Marvel and Star Wars

Disney has been on a bit of a shopping spree since the original Kingdom Hearts came out. The biggest purchases happened recently enough they couldn’t make it into Kingdom Hearts 3: Star Wars and Marvel.

The idea of Sora armed with a Light Sabre or developing superpowers in a mini version of Spider-Man’s New York sound interesting (and worryingly inevitable). But pay attention to the point above. I don’t want to do it just because we can. Make it work. Don’t let the cheer when Iron Man appears in the trailer disguise the fact that the announcement isn’t enough. Follow through.

It seems unlikely that more recent blockbusters like Encanto or Turning Red are directly represented. These are not necessarily stories that translate well to an hour chunk of gameplay. But I would also expect them to be at least vaguely represented – as summons or similar cameos.

Make the Combat Count

On the subject of summons, one of the big criticisms of Kingdom Hearts 3 revolved around its combat.

It was enjoyable enough for the most part, but it was also very, very easy. It took a DLC pack to get the difficulty to where hardcore fans wanted it.

Combat was such a key part of the early Kingdom Hearts games. Kingdom Hearts 2 perfected it. It would be fantastic to have Kingdom Hearts 4 be something that fans can be proud of again.

Four Problems Kingdom Hearts 4 Must Fix – Conclusion

Kingdom Hearts 4 is on its way, and that’s super exciting. I’ll never not be happy to know I’ll soon get to play a new game in this wonderful, special franchise.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t have reservations. I’m especially concerned that there might be a multi-year wait for this one, with Final Fantasy VII-2 not even formally announced yet.

It’s tempting to use the big anniversary to announce a new title – in this case, the 20th anniversary. But I hope we’re all finished with this title and excited for the next one by the time the 25th anniversary rolls around.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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