Over the past few weeks, gamers have been clamoring for increased difficulty in Kingdom Hearts 3, whether by rebalancing the game through patches or introducing the previously included "Critical Mode" as an extra challenge. A twitter user, however, has found that a version of Critical Mode already exists in the game's files.
"I can't fully confirm it," he wrote, "... but the mode makes it seem like you deal double damage but you get double the damage from Proud." The user, Clavis vêritâtis, has hacked the game's files and found that the game was shipped with the desired difficulty hidden in the code, lending to the idea that Critical Mode was considered at one point, and later scrapped. If adding the difficulty is as simple as accessing those files through a patch, fans might get their update sooner rather than later.
So, KH3 DOES have a critical mode internally. Proud and Critical comparison here. pic.twitter.com/wVnIShim79— Clavis vêritâtis (@Keytotruth) February 18, 2019
The game's difficulty as it is includes Beginner, Standard, and Proud. Normally, Beginner would make the game easier than intended, Standard would be the developer's intended experience for players, and Proud mode would provide an added challenge. However, the game as-is leaves much to be desired for many players, providing the reigns to everything you need to make short work of your opponents without needing to dodge or block their attacks. Even "Rage Form" - a dark specter form that Sora can change into at low HP, which in previous entries focused on no-holds-barred attacks to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat - allows for blocking in this version, and most of the time you'll be healed to full health in these moments by Donald Duck anyway.
Clavis's Twitter post, which includes a side-by-side comparison, shows Sora at a late part of the game on Proud Mode vs. Critical Mode. Clavis's Critical Mode screenshot seems to keep Sora at the HP he starts with at the beginning of the game. In Kingdom Hearts 3, Sora gains HP by progressing through the story, lending credence to Clavis's claim. Even the "Zero EXP" ability, which allows players to play the game through at level 1, would still gain HP by the end of the game.
As Clavis states, Critical Mode seems to deal double damage to the player, while allowing the player to mow through enemies twice as fast. If the low HP bar is anything to go by, however, a few good hits will be more than enough to cripple Sora. However, fans need a reason to stay awake and play beyond spectacle, and this looks like a good enough option as any.
If Square Enix is taking to Twitter and forums and listening to fans, we may see downloadable content sooner rather than later. Whether this means a Critical Mode, something else entirely, or leaving fans in the dust to wait for the new entry to Kingdom Hearts remains to be seen.