Kingdom Hearts 3, though, makes me feel like a teenager again. At E3 2018, I played two demos that covered the Hercules and Toy Story-inspired worlds. Both were bright, cheery affairs, with plenty of Heartless to pummel with a ridiculous arsenal of keyblade combos, magic and amusement park-themed attacks. I was surprised by how quickly my fingers and thumbs recalled the basic combat system; within seconds I was launching Sora into the air and chaining together a bevy of slices and spells. The fights were chaotic, but in a way that was familiar and strangely comforting.
That’s not to say Square Enix doesn’t have some new ideas. In the Olympus demo, for instance, I had to guide Sora up a huge cliff while a giant Heartless launched rocks from above. The keyblade wielder will now auto-run up surfaces that have a shimmering sheen to them. “There are a lot of open world games,” director Tetsuya Nomura said via an interpreter. “I think a lot of them just focus on trying to go bigger and bigger in a horizontal map. But when I thought about having dynamic actions, I felt that verticality should be very important to these types of games.”