The Hot Deal: Kingdom Hearts III proves that a good game doesn’t need a good story.

Less than a month and we can get started with Kingdom Hearts III! The long-awaited third part of a series known for its complicated storyline. PeterKoelewijn explains why a bad story doesn’t necessarily mean a bad game!

Kingdom Hearts has one of the worst written stories I’ve ever seen. Not just compared to other games, compared to EVERYTHING! It’s an impressive convergence of just about anything that can kill a story. The main characters are boring shonen archetypes, the overarching plot has been deliberately complicated and spread across various games for almost as many systems, the theme of heart and darkness is so forced into every conversation that it passes the parody, and the main villain has an incomprehensible plan that now even covers time travel. Have I forgotten something? Oh yeah! After all these parts still no one can tell me WHAT A KINGDOM HEARTS IS NOW !!!

The Hot Deal: Kingdom Hearts III proves that a good game doesn’t need a good story

Ahum … but of course you already know. Making fun of the Kingdom Hearts story is almost as popular as hype about the trailers, filled with spectacular gameplay and beautiful cutscenes featuring beloved Disney characters. It’s a hard fact: Kingdom Hearts has a bad story! Tetsuya Nomura and his co-writers should keep making games instead of novels!

So let me take a more surprising angle for this Hot Topic. Despite my criticism above and the many jokes about Sora and his friends, I am a big fan of Kingdom Hearts. Actually from the first part! I’ve played every game and earlier this year I even bought the 1.5 and 2.5 collections for PS4.

The Hot Deal: Kingdom Hearts III proves that a good game doesn’t need a good story

I am a Kingdom Hearts fan

Because despite my criticism, I like to play Kingdom Hearts games. Admittedly, I click through the cutscenes a bit earlier now, but the accessible action-RPG gameplay still plays nicely. Also, no developer has even come close to how beautiful the 3D models of Disney figures look. As a lover of RPGs and Disney movies, every new Kingom Hearts is a joy to me. So the fact that the story is so bad, as a game series Kingdom Hearts succeeded!

And that is an interesting difference compared to films, series and literature; the popular cousins ​​of games that we always love to put side by side for comparison. A good film or series almost always has a good story. A good novel is not much more than a good story. There are examples in poetry and the experimental film scene in which absolutely no story can be spoken of, but it remains damn difficult to ignore linear storytelling from these media. In games, stories are much less important. Many classic computer games have succeeded without a story or have one that you can explain in one sentence.

The Hot Deal: Kingdom Hearts III proves that a good game doesn’t need a good story

Games don’t need a story to be good

This has to do with the technological limitations of the past. Pac-Man, Mario and Tetris needed all their memory to put the game down. But it also has to do with a fundamental fact about games: they give you control. They are much more abstract than the linear nature of a movie or book. You decide where Mario jumps, where you place the L-block and where you let Kratos walk to. The more freedom a game gives, the better it usually gets. Hence, some game developers, such as Shigeru Miyamoto, have little need to put restrictive storytelling into their games. If you have a fun game with a weak story, you still have a fun game!

A happy marriage between game and story

However, that does not mean that games and storytelling are water and oil. My favorite game of 2018 is God of War: a game that gives you freedom, challenging puzzles and battles and tells a beautiful story based on Nordic mythology with very human characters. And just like movies and novels, stories can enhance the themes of a game and motivate the player even more to play / read on. You also increasingly see a pleasant marriage between game and story appear. A game no longer has to be challenging to take you along, the interactivity, playing from the point of view of one character in a bigger story, can already make a story unique.

The Hot Deal: Kingdom Hearts III proves that a good game doesn’t need a good story

But in the end I maintain that a good game can succeed without a good story. In fact, in the case of Kingdom Hearts, the story gets in the way in my opinion. For a newcomer, the latest trailers consist of recognizable Disney scenes mixed with anime characters talking nonsense. Not very inviting for new players. I hope the inevitable Kingdom Hearts IV leaves out the perils of Xehanort, Sora and all those other Keyblade wielders. A soft reboot with more focus on gameplay and Disney adventures could make the series better than ever.

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The Hot Deal: Kingdom Hearts III proves that a good game doesn’t need a good story