HEAT VISION

'Kingdom Hearts III' First Demo Introduces 'Toy Story' Stars to Franchise

'Kingdom Hearts III' Toy Story - H 2018 Promo
Courtesy of Square Enix
Square Enix showed off an hourlong demo of the highly anticipated title to a small group of journalists on Thursday night.

After more than a decade, Kingdom Hearts has returned to team some of Disney's most beloved characters and franchises with Square Enix and its long-running Final Fantasy series.

Kingdom Hearts III had its world premiere on Thursday night at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica where guests got their hands on the new game for the first time. 

The series, which first debuted in 2002 and released a follow-up entry in 2005, marries the worlds of Square Enix's beloved RPG franchise Final Fantasy and Disney, as players control protagonist Sora along with his sidekicks, Donald Duck and Goofy, as they explore fantasy worlds and well-known Disney franchises such as The Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh and The Lion King, among many others.

The demo featured two different sections from the game. The first placed the player in the midst of Mount Olympus from Disney's Hercules as Sora, Donald and Goofy face off against a towering titan. The action was frenetic as the characters scaled the sheer face of the mountain with tumbling rocks raining down from overhead.

Controls are familiar to the series and classic RPG fans, with a menu giving the options of attack, magic and items. What's new, however, is the special abilities unlocked by each new Keyblade (the series signature weapon) and unique, incredibly fun new super-powered moves based on popular Disneyland attractions like the teacup ride and Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters.

Also new is the "Link" abilities, which act as character summons for notable Disney stars. The demo featured Ariel from The Little Mermaid, who splashed throughout the map damaging enemies and Ralph from Pixar's Wreck-It Ralph, who can build towers.

In addition to the Hercules segment, Kingdom Hearts III will also open up the shared Disney-Square Enix universe to include Pixar franchises such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc.

The second segment demoed on Thursday was the Toy Story section, which opened in the familiar setting of Andy's room and introduced Woody, Buzz, Hamm and Rex to the Kingdom Hearts world. This section was much longer than the Hercules segment and featured a bit more exploration and enemy varieties, as well as gameplay mechanics that put the player in control of towering, laser-shooting robots — well, towering for a toy.

A specific release date was not yet revealed for Kingdom Hearts III, but directors Tetsuya Nomura and Tai Yasue promised to announce an official date of release in the next month, likely at E3.

The game will be available for Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

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