And so we come to the end – for now – of Tetsuya Nomura’s iconic and in-no-way-confusing Kingdom Hearts series. Additionally, then, this is the end of our excursion into the nebulous Cloud; pun extremely intended. Yet, of course, for all the shade we throw at the concept of Cloud Versions and the myriad flaws they bring to the table, Kingdom Hearts 3 feels like the only game of the three that actually necessitated a Cloud Version to run on Switch. Of course, “necessitated” isn’t really the case; it could have been cut down/compromised to work, but if 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix doesn’t get a port, then there’s no way Kingdom Hearts 3 was going to.
This game was a long time coming, but we’d say that with the Re:Mind DLC (included here), it’s a very worthy sequel to the extremely large and feature-packed Kingdom Hearts 2, building on the series by adding features from previous games while remaining faithful to the feel and delivering a relatively satisfying conclusion to what is apparently the first major arc in the Kingdom Hearts series. Only took them 17 years.
Combat is more dynamic than ever, exponentially more flashy. Mobs of Heartless are bigger, but so is your arsenal. FlowMotion combat returns from Dream Drop Distance, now augmented with the ability to run on (certain) walls, taking the fight to the air effortlessly. It feels floaty, but in a way that’s liberating, empowering. You’re enormously strong in Kingdom Hearts 3, but the enemies rise to the challenge. It’s a fitting escalation. In a sense, we got the impression that the visuals had finally caught up with the kind of freewheeling feel that Nomura wants. Many will disagree, but we enjoyed fighting Heartless here more than in any other instalment.
The story is impenetrable to newcomers. We’re fairly seasoned with this narrative and still felt baffled or blindsided at times. The pacing of the game is a mess, no question. It avoids the Kingdom Hearts 2 problem of an interminable prologue by essentially funnelling you into Mount Olympus and an exciting, fast-moving battle, but following this, things slow right down and stay at what is effectively crawling speed. It’s an interesting and not particularly likeable juxtaposition between the sheer joie de vivre of the combat and the story that progresses at the rate of a not particularly desperate tortoise ambling towards the toilets.
It’s a relatively enjoyable story for series veterans but so much is left unexplained or open-ended that it can feel like a missed opportunity at times. The Re:Mind DLC adds plenty of enjoyable content but doesn’t resolve anything, instead introducing new questions via an apparent and baffling crossover we won’t spoil here (though of course it’s well known and documented at this point) that pushes the self-indulgence of Kingdom Hearts to near-critical breaking point. We realise it’s unconventional to spend so much time in a review criticising a game’s ending but we feel it must be clear to players that you will need to enjoy the journey rather than expect a truly satisfying resolution.
And it is a good journey, with a focus on more modern Disney movies such as Big Hero 6, Tangled and the obligatory Frozen, with Pixar-perfect stop-offs at the immortal Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story – the latter of which leading to the game’s funniest, silliest sequence (you’ll know when you see it). The environments are vast compared to the compartmentalised environments of the preceding games, seeing you cross huge expanses of land at high speed without so much as a cross-fade transition. It’s really rather joyous, with the verticality resulting in all manner of new cubbyholes to hide treasure and other secrets. This transforms exploration from the somewhat tiresome checklisting of KH2 into a gleeful unearthing of rewards.
It’s a good game, approaching great, but of course here on the Switch it’s heavily compromised by its Cloud-based nature. You already know this, but even with a strong internet connection you’re going to encounter hitches, freezes, crashes — far from ideal in a game based around save points. If you don’t have stable internet, you may as well forget it completely. We found performance was generally fine if we remained very near to the router, or connected it to the internet via LAN, but at that point your hybrid console may as well not be. The manner in which this game is presented to Switch owners really puts a dampener on the entire experience. Ultimately, Kingdom Hearts 3 + Re:Mind is cheaper and better in any other format, so unless you're a docked-only Switch gamer with perfect internet, recommending this becomes very difficult.
Once again, Kingdom Hearts 3 + Re:Mind on Switch is impossible to recommend without caveats as long as Cloud gaming relies on an erratic, unreliable provision of service. When it does work, it’s a joy; every bit as good as any given title in the series, a dream to explore and thrilling in its spectacle. But then it falters, the input lag kicks in, and the illusion is taken away in a matter of moments. Buy this game and you are effectively renting an imperfect version for the duration of the Cloud service’s lifespan. Want to play Kingdom Hearts on handheld? Well, there's always the Steam Deck, we suppose.
Don't buy this BS Cloud product, guys.
Skipppppp itttttttt down with the cloud
I hope this fails so hard for them. They could've easily ported the first 2 collections... If KH3 was cloud-only and a part of that people would be more interested than this solution, I think.
I can’t believe you guys bothered with any of these, let alone review them, so good on you.
I just hate how square handled this whole thing,
. People have been asking for these games to get ported to the switch, over 4 years in it finally happens, we see it, and guess what,
…. There cloud, cloud. There is no reason this game needed to be, oh wait I know because they were lazy, and instead of putting in the work, they decided to cheap out on a beloved game.
God, I’m so happy I didn’t wait for a switch port, but I feel bad for the people that only have this as there only console.
If you have PS4 / PS5 machine, pick the PS4 version game.
I knew you already have PS5 machine.
If NintendoLife are reading this - Putting aside the Cloud version limitations and assuming everything magically got fixed and ran perfectly; what score would you have given each of the three compilations based solely on the games?
Dragon Quest XI was originally made for Playstation 4, an optimised version was later released for Nintendo Switch.
They were willing to put in the effort and the end result was one of the Switch's best titles, so successful it was the foundation for definitive edition releases on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
DQXI and KH3 both happen to be Unreal Engine 4 games.
It wasn't that they couldn't make it happen, but they weren't willing to put in the time or money. Probably because it would mean having to port all three games at once. It can be that they have to prioritise their funding for other projects in development.
Square Enix are notorious for not properly preserving their source files, which makes things harder to port games forward. So they might not have the source to the PS2 Kingdom Hearts games to port forward.
You know putting it on the cloud was a good choice when the reviewer suggests getting the game on another console (Steam deck) instead. Are you sure it was a good to green-light this for Squeenix, Nintendo?
That tagline is appropriate to the whole Kingdom Hearts series on Switch.
From what I've heard, despite all the fancy graphics... this and 0.2 might've been the easiest ports, since they're made in Unreal instead of PS2-specific nonsense; wild they missed so hard on all of this.
I remember playing this early April 2020 and going to the Tangled world to be greeted by a sign saying Corona Kingdom with an arrow...remember not wanting to go down that road then.
@Baircade Yeah but even if it fails horribly for them, it's still a win since it took them very little effort/money to slap it in the cloud.
@RupeeClock this is so very true So true it hurts. I guess my comment doesn’t really make sense anymore, and maybe I should edit it.
@Anti-Matter and you would know i own the game.
You know it's bad when a Nintendo site recommends the Steam deck.
Enjoy your PS4 version of KH3.
It's not unreasonable to first think a game is "too powerful" to run on the Switch. Sacrifices usually have to be made to do so, and dedicated development time is needed.
This is increasingly the issue for the Switch as a platform, which is now running alongside the PS5 and Xbox Series X, rather than the PS4 and Xbox One.
The power gap between these platforms makes multi-platform releases that much less viable, making it more desirable for publishers to try cloud versions. These cloud releases are proving increasingly unpopular however, so they may not be an ongoing thing if it turns out nobody is buying them.
This situation is why it's so important that Nintendo launches a hardware refresh for the Nintendo Switch. With more processing power under the hood, developers will have an easier time porting forward games.
Whilst anyone can retort that "anything can be ported with enough time and money", those costs are increasing because of the scope of the projects and the aforementioned power gap.
@RupeeClock your right, the more the switch stays behind, the harder it will be to port games to the switch.
I mean look at how long it took no man sky to get a port.
@RupeeClock Hey! Dragon Quest XI was also released on Nintendo 3DS (only in Japan) at the same day as PS4 version. Do no forget about it.
Sheesh this is such a shame to see such an iconic series butchered like this. Honestly just buy them on Xbox PlayStation or PC.
That's true, but it's a completely different version of the game sporting the same name.
Like with Sonic Colors on the Wii and the DS, or even Sonic Unleashed on the PS3/Xbox 360 and Wii/PS2.
@RupeeClock Oh, I didn't know about it... Sorry.
Nintendo Life happened to do a video on this very subject, although DQXI 3DS was never localised, it's very much a version of the game worth playing!
I think when cloud gaming becomes the only way to play new games (and I’ve no doubt that’s where we’re heading) I will just stick to retro consoles. I don’t have the time to delve into games I missed in the last few generations let alone the current one.
Hai, hai. Seriously, though, my local mobile internet has been struggling even with Vita's 540p lately. It's more of a re:minder not to buy cloud versions than all these articles are.😅
@RupeeClock a hardware upgrade is less important than the notion of just shelving too "impossible" modern ports until this obviously inevitable upgrade and focusing on ports that can definitely run on Switch and have never been portable (or even re-released/localized at all) before. Portability has "sacrificed" raw specs for affordability and convenience since Game Boy days, and no kind of successor will change it - the hypothetical Switch 2 will never be a portable $300-400 PS5, and Nintendo has zero motivation to release a "competitive" industry-standard PSBox themselves. GameCube sank that ship for good.
"Lagging behind" may be tough for those always craving the most modern releases to play (although I'll be damned if I can relate to that - every past generation has potentially more gems to discover and imbibe for the time being than a gamer of practically any interest niche can fit in their life expectancy), bit a lot more of us are content with the catchup. We get there when we get there - Bethesda once had to give up on a custom Oblivion game for PSP, but two generations later we have a full-fledged Skyrim on the go.
KH situation bugs Switch owners stronger because, for all the slack we cut KH3, the rest of the collection clearly doesn't fall under the "power gap". 'The Story So Far' on Switch could have been a top 10 frequenting gateway for many people to catch up with the series before KH3, but seemingly didn't get the time and budget to tune a bunch of largely facelift remasters on the platform far outspeccing and already outselling the aforementioned PSP where Square Enix once poured enough funds into a borderline PS2 experience called Birth by Sleep. At the risk of indulging in fanbrained speculations, I'm sometimes compelled to wonder if the company was just busy with other ports and games in the pipeline... until one day a higher-up connected their fist with the table and said, "Everyone, we just negotiated Sora into Smash Bros, so all the previous Kingdom Hearts games must be on Switch yesterday!"🙄😅
Like I said for the previous review:
Always say no to cloud ports.
Especially for last gen games.
This practice is horrible and Switch users deserve better.
I think it needs to be considered that the Switch is now competing in the same space as home consoles, even though the system doubles as a handheld. So in that territory there comes the expectation that it should also be able to play other home console releases.
But yes, fundamentally like you say, the core issue is porting a home console game to a handheld system.
I don't think a hardware refresh is unreasonable when the system is approaching its 5th anniversary though. The DS and 3DS each received a hardware refresh four years after their initial launches, that allowed for better performance or exclusivity when necessary.
The danger there of course, is that developers would be releasing Switch ports that are exclusive to the "New Switch", not compatible with the "Old Switch".
I did try the demos for few seconds they ran fine for me just cause at the time the internet was at it's best would actually give them money if they made actual Switch ports
Expected. They could have ported the the 2 collections over at least, and left 3 as a cloud version if it was too demanding to be ported. Then we would have at least had some Kingdom Hearts on Switch worth playing.
Hopefully we never hear about this garbage again.😒
seen people say all the voice languages in the game would make it too big for Switch that's bs just give Switch versions one voice language and provide the rest as free dlc
Cloud gaming is not ideal, but at least with KH3, there is a reasonable argument that the Switch couldn't run the game otherwise (or at least not without significant effort).
Zero excuses for the other cloud games though, some of which could run on the freaking PS2.
We should start boycott don't buy any future cloud versions we finally got kingdom hearts and is stupid cloud version they did same thing to guardians of the galaxy its killing future games.
They should have at least done digital release or something.
Even though Square Enix had made some pretty good decisions this gen. This Kingdom Hearts cloud collection is just one of their many screw-ups in a long list of screw-ups which includes not porting the actual Final Fantasy XV to Switch, refusing to localize the PSP game Final Fantasy Type-0 even though the PS4 and Xbox One versions got localization, screwing up the multiplayer mode in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered, screw up the soundtrack and gameplay in the Secret of Mana remastered, lazily port Chrono Trigger to Steam with mobile phone interface, making Adventure of Mana as just a mobile game, lazily remake Final Fantasy 1-6 to Steam and mobile, putting micro transactions in the upcoming Chocobo GP, and lazily port the mobile versions of Dragon Quest 1-3 to Switch and PS4.
The Switch’s trajectory is worrisome. There are already too many cloud games and with each passing day, it seems the Switch’s tech is getting outdated faster and faster.
Aside from serious technical barriers requiring a cloud version, this example of Square and its KH port further normalizes cloud gaming on the Switch even when it can be natively ported. More and more developers has and will continue to ignore native versions for the Switch if a lazy cloud version would suffice. Or they will outright ignore the Switch altogether like Atlus and Soul Hackers 2.
@Ooccoo_Jr 9, 7, 8
I'm not the mot well-versed in cloud tech, but what is wrong with the current implementation of cloud gaming? Is it just infrastructure? Looking for a detailed, yet summarized description of what is needed for a good cloud gaming experience.
@graviton WRT your Soul Hackers comment - I don't think it's that the Switch can't handle it. I'm pretty sure the Switch can handle a downgraded version of whatever the XBone and PS4 can handle. I think the lack of Soul Hackers on Switch is more company politics - i.e. Switch gets longer exclusivity of SMT V in exchange for Soul Hackers
@StuartGipp Cheers pal
@Ooccoo_Jr Just go look at PushSquare's reviews of the games. They reviewed the native versions of the games rather than any cloud versions.
I keep checking the top 30 on the Switch when I boot up my console, and to keep seeing this disaster on it is quite disheartening.
And it's not just the fact that it's Cloud crap. It's that Kingdom Hearts in general is the most overrated popular series in modern gaming. I love Disney and they have some excellent video games like Ducktales, Castles of Illusions and Aladdin, and I love most FF games up to about 11, but the combination together never made sense to me. It just comes off like a bunch of button mashing with some extremely cheesy and convoluted storytelling. But if you love it, have at it.
You need a stable and fast internet speed to play games with the least amount of latency and compression. The biggest problem with cloud gaming is a good majority of people in places like the US and Europe only have one or the other and not both.
Unlike downloadable games where it can stay on your platform of choice indefinitely, you don't own a game in the cloud since it only streams to your device like a YouTube or Netflix video. If they remove it for whatever reason, it's permanently gone and you can not back it up like you can with a downloadable copy. That's why people are making a big deal out of this.
@Link-Hero I got that much, but I was looking for more a more in-depth answer (no offense, I'm just legitimately curious), like how can we fix the current problems? Is it just we need better servers? Is the problem with ISP companies? Can these be mitigated with 5G support?
5/10 means "Don't Buy"? They should make 5/10 the average, or maybe 6/10.
I edited my comment with more details to explain it better.
@Ramen756 There are a lot of factors. The focus should be getting packets of data where they need to be consistently. Data centers need to be close to users. Code for streaming needs to be written efficiently. ISPs need to ensure data is getting routed efficiently and consistently. User's routers need to be configured correctly and with the right tech to ensure smooth communication. Any one of these things could make or break your experience.
EDIT: Personally, I think the Switch's wireless card just isn't up to snuff for game streaming as a solution to underpowered hardware. I have mostly great experiences streaming games on a variety of devices and services on my home internet setup.
How to turn an 8 or 9/10 game into a 5/10 game. Oh dear me. Thanks for the review.
Let's remind people cloud gaming isn't portable gaming it requires constant internet. And if your internet is bad already cloud gaming isn't going to get better. Worse you get no internet beyond your home wifi so forget even having cloud. And most places requires you get the login to use their wifi and if you bandhog expect to be asked to leave.
Connect to the best possible home internet to play the worst version of a last-gen game on mobile hardware LOL.
@Thaliard very informative! Thanks!
The FF1-6 remasters on mobile and steam are apparently very good remasters, the issue i have with those is that its the second time the older FF games have been re-released and missed console (outside of the nes/snes mini's which had FF1 and FF6 respectively)
If there was a "new switch" (better than the other name people were calling a theoretical switch upgrade) i feel like a good scenario would be publishers wanting a game to be playable on both in order to get the most potential sales which would hopefully mean that "new switch" exclusives would be games that are unable to run on the current switch.
i feel like the KH situation was likely due to them wanting to get the games on switch as soon as possible to coincide with the Smash hype.
i am hoping that the next system still keeps the ability to "switch" since there isnt really any other "dedicated handhelds" in the market (even steam deck is more in the portable PC niche) and i really missed the ability to play portable games on a TV during the DS and 3DS era.
@Ramen756 You may be right with SH and SMTV at atlas. …Now does that mean we will get the next Persona on Switch in exchange for not getting any Persona before? 😝
However, with KH, either Square is being cheap or lazy to not port it properly onto Switch. With their Marvel’s Guardians game being another cloud version…I sure hope Square doesn’t make it into a habit… and habits are hard to change. That’s what I am worried about.
I do give chops for the
If I was interested in the concept of "cloud gaming" I would just stick to steaming games off Gamepass.
This whole concept defeats the entire purpose of the Switch. If you want to stream games you might as well just use your mobile phone, a tablet, or a laptop. There you can have access to a variety of services that are subscription based with far superior performance.
IMO the entire appeal of the Switch is having games that are either physical or installed on the console so you can just play them wherever whenever. If you gotta be tethered down to a very high speed internet connection all the time, there is no point in using a Switch over all the other handheld devices out there today.
No, Square-Enix, I said I wanted to play as Cloud, not play in the Cloud.
@graviton Only a select few became cloud games, a majority of others whether had downgrade ports or avoid Switch altogether. It really depends on if the dev could make it work. The thing is not all devs are created equal, some create their games with the Switch in mind before they port it to other platforms, those ports turns out better. While some made it with the other platform in mind thus if they port it to Switch it became worst. It could also be vice-versa too cause some Switch version ported to other system may became worst as well.
@Mgalens Yeah thanks to the mods, without those they are nothing but janky ports. At least they are better than the ones they replaced but after seeing the HD 2D games and how Square Enix are planning to bring more of those in the future, it kinda made me want those remastered less. Anyways here's a comparison of Final Fantasy VI opening comparison between the pixel, original, and if it was in HD 2D.
Final Fantasy VI Opening pixel remastered vs. original
Final Fantasy VI Opening in HD 2D
@graviton lol Persona on Switch..I’ve given up on Atlus’ porting decisions tbh haha. P4G on Steam, but Arena Ultimax on Switch and Xbox? Jesus…
Anyway, I agree with SE being lazy. They put in work with DQ XIS and struck gold. Don’t know why almost everything else needed to be Cloud-based.
The con "Re:Mind DLC bosses are ridiculously demanding" is not a con. They are specifically meant to be super bosses akin to Final Mix bosses, a final test and without question, the best part of the DLC.
NL: KH III + Re:Mind Review
NL: Only uses screenshots from 2.9
(2.9 is everything up to twilight town)
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