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After the Game: Kingdom Hearts III + Sequel Clues
2019 was quite a fantastic year for fans of the Kingdom Hearts series. Following the events of 2012’s Dream Drop Distance, we see the return of Sora and the gang in Kingdom Hearts III, as they traverse different worlds and search for the 7 Guardians of Light - in an aim to stop Xehanort from another attempt at making Keyblade War happen.
As with all the other installments in the series, the game received universal acclaim. Released in January this year, it went on to sell 5 million copies on its first week in the market - the fastest-selling for any KH game so far.
At this time of the year, we’re pretty sure those who got a copy have, at the very least, completed its main storyline. Experienced players may be able to finish the main plot within 40-50 hours (80 hours tops for the completionists.) However, this is a Square Enix game - there’s more to it than just the main plot.
If you are itching to play Kingdom Hearts IV and have no choice but to wait (like us and the rest of the world), now may be a good time to revisit KH3 and complete the entire game - including side quests, unlockables, and a secret ending - that you may have missed.
More to Accomplish
Just because you are able to finish the main plot doesn’t mean you are able to complete the entire game. In Kingdom Hearts III, there are plenty of things to do which are not required, but would certainly help make things easier and more fun:
- Fight Dark Inferno. A hidden boss named “Dark Inferno” can only be battled after finishing the main storyline. If you’re up for the challenge, you can check him out via the Battle Portal’s “Wilderness.” This enemy’s forte is more on physical damage, and it changes forms once its HP has been greatly reduced. Be reminded, however, that it also gets stronger at this point. Make sure to equip Sora with gear providing high defense.
- Look for all the Lucky Emblems. While finding a certain number of lucky emblems does result to specific rewards, more emblems equate to more lucrative items - including access to a secret movie (more details later.) Alas, this “Find the Hidden Mickey” subquest is much more fun than it sounds.
- Einhander easter egg. PS1 fans who got to play another one of Square Enix’s legacy games, Einhander, are in for a treat. Opt to play the Schwarzgeist battle using the Endymion Gummi ship combined with its two Codymion small ships. The result? “Thermosphere” theme playing in the background.
- Access the Hundred Acre Wood. Get read to help Winnie the Pooh and his friends in their harvest once you unlock this hidden world. Once you’ve finished the quest in Monstropolis, you must go to Merlin in Twilight Town’s Bistro. He will then pass on to you a book that leads to Hundred Acre Wood.
- Proceed to the Battlegates. Completing the main game will grant you access to Battlegates, which features battles with some of the hardest enemies to beat in the game. Enemies may either be entirely new or those you’ve already encountered pre-finishing of the main game. Secret reports will be given to you once they’re defeated.
- Ge the Re Mind DLC. A trailer for an upcoming KH3 DLC was released last September, which shows Sora and Kairi both engaging in what looks like a new battle form. It’s slated for a winter 2020 release, so those who are still playing the main storyline (or the sub-quests) are likely to continue their KH gameplay ‘til next year.
In true Kingdom Hearts fashion, there are a slew of unlockables throughout the game that can be acquired either before or after finishing the main story. Aside from completing all the mini-games, treasures, trophies, and recipes, some of the more interesting stuff we’re able find are the following:
- Different Keyblades. Aside from the main Keyblade, there are 12 other versions of it that can help Sora (and the others capable of wielding it) through their journey. Each one will be unlocked after completing a specific task.
- Classic Tone Keyblade - finish all classic mini-games (there are 23 in total)
- Crystal Snow Keyblade - finish quest in Arendelle
- Ever After - finish main quest in Kingdom of Corona
- Favorite Deputy - finish the main quest for Toy Box
- Grand Chef - achieve the “excellent” grade when making every bistro recipe
- Happy Gear - finish main quest in Monstropolis
- Hero’s Origin - can be accomplished by completing quest in Olympus Coliseum
- Hunny Spout - finish main quest in Hundred Acre Wood, which will be unlocked after visiting Merlin in Twilight Town’s bistro
- Nano Gear - acquire after completing quest in San Fransokyo
- Shooting Star - finish main quest in Twilight Town
- Starlight - complete quest via the Keyblade Graveyard
- Wheel of Fate - finish main mission in the Carribean
- Golden Highwind ship. The ability to fly through the outer-space section of the game using Gummi ships has been one of the highlights of KH3. The super tough main boss of the area, Schwarzgeist, will not make your experience all that easy - but defeating him with a powerful ship will reward you with the Golden Highwind, which is definitely worth the struggle. Just make sure that you have a Gummi ship with a speed score of 200. If not, you may opt to take a photo of the Endymion Constellation (found in the Misty Stream Galaxy) to get the Endymion Ship. You may choose the ship via the Embark screen. Take note, however, that this action will prompt battle with Schwarzgeist, so be prepared.
- Ultima/G Gummi ship. This can also be acquired by defeating Schwarzgeist. However, you have to do so with rank “A” (as opposed to the no-rank requirement for the Golden Highwind ship.)
- Ultimate Weapons. Sora, Donald, and Goofy are all entitled to receiving the ultimate, most powerful weapon they can all yield during battle. You just have to gather 58 various Synthesis items and hand them all over to any Moogle in the game. Aside from the ultimate weapon recipe, both the Save the King + and Save the Queen + recipes can also be acquired through this method.
- The Search for Orichalcum +. As opposed to the standard Orichalcum, the Orichalcum + is needed for the Ultima Keyblade to be crafted. There are only 7 of them peppered throughout the game, and they can be found in these locations:
#1 can be acquired via a chest in The Caribbean’s Exile Isle
#2 can be collected from another chest from “The Final World,” which can only attainable once the main quest from that area is completed
#3 is only possible once 80 Lucky Emblems have been gathered (regardless of the difficulty level)
#4 will be given once all 10 treasures in Arendelle’s mini-game are collected
#5 will only appear once the Eclipse Galaxy boss is defeated
#6 appears when you get the highest score in all Flantastic mini-games
#7 is quite easy to get - it happens to be a randomly-given prize from the Moogle shop raffle
- The Bonus HP Boosts. Encountered those Sora phantoms in The Final World? Turns out that gathering more than 111 of them will reward you with HP boosts that will stay with your forever. 222 phantoms collected will give you one boost, and then another boost shall be granted after collecting 333 phantoms. Go beyond that, and a bonus cutscene will be provided as well. These boosts will help the remaining battles much more manageable.
- Rings from Postcard raffle. Aside form the Orichalcum + that you can get from the Moogle shop’s raffle, you are also able to get the Gourmand’s Ring (increases Sora’s chances of getting an excellent score when cooking) and the Lucky Ring (only acquirable through this method; increases Luck stats of wearer, as well as items’ drop rate after battles.)
If you haven’t finished the game, chances are you’ll be spoiled by the details that will follow...so, proceed with caution.
The last few moments of KH3 has left most of us with mouths wide open. Being the finale of the Dark Seeker saga, we expected a rather dramatic ending - but not THIS shocking.
We see characters battle, die (Kairi’s death was too much too handle), re-appear, and survive, with Xehanort experiencing an epiphany right after Eraqus appears and reminds him of their history. He then gives Sora and the gang the X-Blade. All’s well that ends well, yes?
Not so much. Reeling from Kairi’s tragic demise, Sora naturally felt all their efforts to save her were for naught. With the X-Blade in tow, he decides to save her and, in the last cutscene, we see Kairi being saved...but not Sora.
This is where the searching of the Lucky Emblems will help. Depending on the game difficulty you’ve chosen, you are required to collect a certain number of Lucky Emblems:
- Those who chose the Beginner mode will have to acquire all 90 lucky emblems.
- Those who chose the Standard mode will only have to gather 60 lucky emblems.
- Those who played through the Proud mode are only required to get 30 lucky emblems.
What does the secret video show? It basically gives a glimpse of Sora and Riku waking up separately in gamified versions of Shibuya - with varying atmospheres for each. The video shows a glimpse of what players can expect in future KH games, and it seems like we’re exploring worlds from Square Enix’s games rather than Disney’s worlds - or probably a mix of both.
While it gives a glimpse of what happens next, it also raises some interesting questions. Will Donald and Goofy be back? Will Kairi help look for her friends as well? Will Sora’s sacrifice result to more problems other than just being separated from the pack?
What to Expect for Kingdom Hearts 4 & Rumours?
With strong sales, we are yet to see the end of KH series. As early as May of this year, we are already able to gather bits of info about the next game, and these are all we know so far:
- One spinoff game will be produced next. Much like Dream Drop Distance, there will be another planted KH spinoff game before KH4. What the storyline will be or in which console will it be available is still up in the air.
- There’ll be less waiting time between KH3 and KH4. Series director Tetsuya Nomura promises that, unlike the huge 15-year gap between KH2 and KH3, fans won’t have to wait that long for KH4’s arrival. Keeping the current game fresh, aside from the unlockables, are free / paid DLCs so that fans can still slowly satiate their KH cravings while waiting for the next installment.
- Characters from recently-acquired properties by Disney could make an appearance. We’ve seen a lot of characters cross over the KH series, but the next one’s poised to be more exciting. Popular characters from Marvel and Star Wars may help Sora / Riku in their next journey (although characters from the latter may be a bit harder to acquire due to EA exclusively owning use of Star Wars characters, and a lot of agreements have to take place.)
- The series’ main antagonists, Organization XIII, may still be involved in the future. Xehanort is no more, but we may see someone else from his main group take over the antagonist mantle for the next KH installments.
It’s pretty exciting to see where the series is headed in its next installments. The chronology of games may be confusing for some, and the wait in between the main games may not be everyone’s cup of tea - but Kingdom Hearts has always been a story about friendship. Whether we go back to Sora, Riku, and Kairi being separated in the very first game, or even just to Sora’s strong relationship with Donald and Goofy, the inter-wordly travel they go through and the adventure they tread has, and will always capture the hearts of many.
Pretty sure this main selling point will remain in the next installments, if the semi-trailer / secret video from KH3 is an indication.