Kingdom Hearts is my favorite gaming franchise, and I’ve repeatedly replayed each title. So, with the announcement of the collections and Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind heading to Nintendo Switch, I felt an uneasy sense of anxious curiosity. Unfortunately, these ports being Cloud versions already marked their gravestones before release, and the questionable demos made available prior to release only amplified the dread they would ultimately invoke.
It is worth noting that I received codes for each title from Square Enix themselves, but my opinions on these versions of the games are solely my own. When I initially played the demos, their collective performance was shockingly qualitative on my end, especially when on handheld mode. This even held true for Kingdom Hearts III, the most demanding entry.
I have a rather robust internet connection and a Switch LAN adaptor, so I took as many reasonable measures as possible. With all that being said, I jumped into these Cloud versions with a relatively open mind due to my positive experience with the demos compared to the vast majority. However, the more I played these games, I realized how off they were.
Kingdom Hearts III is the port I played the most, primarily out of interest on how it would perform the whole way through, and I went maybe a teensy bit far. Because of my extensive experience with this game, I always play it on Critical Mode, which I did here. I beat the entire main story and tackled Re Mind, Limit Cut, and the Secret Episode, the bonus DLC content. And, well, while I had my fair share of grievances with shoddy performance during the main story, the Data battles only served to exemplify how one should avoid these versions of the games if they can help it.
It may not be noticeable to someone not intricately familiar with the way Kingdom Hearts III works, but the inherent way the title controls is altogether different. Due to inputs being tied to internet response, there is always delay, no matter how initially minor or meaningless it may seem. Everyone’s experiences will vary depending on luck and overall connection quality, but the fact remains that these Cloud ports feel fundamentally off.
The Kingdom Hearts III Data battles, essentially the game’s most challenging bosses, helped me realize this fact. Despite my knowledge of these fights, I had to rely on the Cloud connection not screwing me over in the middle of movement or during a combo. Since these fights demand intense concentration and precision, even a second of delayed input can dramatically ruin the rhythm. Additionally, battles with an array of visual flair were shoddier in the Cloud’s depiction.
In fact, Dark Riku and Master Xehanort were almost unplayable at points because of their effects. Even in instances where performance seemed fine, the inputs strongly argued against that notion. Not to mention the consistently inconsistent audio that ruined several encounters.
In all honesty, the fact that I got through each of the Kingdom Hearts III Data battles on Critical Mode with these conditions slightly astounds me because there were several points where I considered giving up. I made many careless mistakes I would never otherwise make, and embarrassingly, linked through Master Xehanort’s Desperation Move because of how it was literally impossible to evade otherwise. While still a fairly tricky DM in ordinary circumstances, the rapid guards and dodge rolls required throughout its entirety make the Cloud version of the fight a jarring, eye-opening mess.
Ultimately, what would usually take me a day or two at most, took me a week.
Still, as miserable as this experience was, I’m somewhat glad I chose to do it because it demonstrated how these games being on Cloud insults their well-designed feats. The Kingdom Hearts III Data fights are among my favorite battles in gaming, and having them reduced to these inferior iterations infuriates me. I don’t ever see Square Enix making native ports of these titles, but at the very least, I implore you not to buy these ports.
After dozens of hours in more favorable conditions than most, there is nothing worthwhile here for any crowd. Furthermore, the portable advantages boasted by the Switch are rendered somewhat moot by the Cloud connection, automatically making these ports solely comparable to the PC and console variants, which are superior in every way imaginable.
If you missed them, check out my appreciative pieces on the following data fights:
- Check out the fully playable Riku mod for Kingdom Hearts III, titled “Project EQUINOX.”
- Check out the fully playable Kairi mod for Kingdom Hearts III, titled “Project Embrace.”
- Check out the fan efforts to create Traverse Town within Kingdom Hearts III.
- The Kingdom Hearts community is hosting 2 ambitious fan-led events next month, March Caprice and KH20.
- Regarding artwork, view the official Kingdom Hearts media accounts sharing art of Sora commemorating Final Fantasy VII’s 25-year anniversary.
- Check out the unironic simplicity of the Kingdom Hearts timeline.
- Check out the legendary fan-made videos, titled “The 13th Clash”.
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