It’s been a little over a week since Kingdom Hearts 3 finally hit consoles, following years of delays with hopeful fans continuing to hold their collective breath. For those who have played the multiple titles within the storied franchise, you know how convoluted the storyline is. That, however, is part of Kingdom Hearts’ charm, as players venture through various Disney and Pixar worlds, accompanied by our favorite Disney and Final Fantasy characters along the way. Kingdom Hearts 3 completes the regular trilogy following the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, tying up its story (sort of) surrounding the power of friendship and hearts overcoming the darkness.
Sora has lost the majority of his powers after nearly falling under the control of Xehanort. Accompanied by his longtime companions, Goofy and Donald Duck, the trio travels to Olympus to speak with Hercules about Sora regaining his "power of waking", which allows him to restore lost hearts. The group arrives only to encounter Hades and his Titans. Although they emerge from the battle victorious, Sora remains unsure how to regain his strength.
Meanwhile, Mickey and Riku continue their search for Aqua in the Realm of Darkness, while Kairi and Lea train to become Keyblade Masters.
Thanks to Ienzo’s research on Ansem the Wise's historical data, Sora and crew eventually learn that the hearts of Roxas, Ventus, and Xion are all contained within the body of Sora, which explains why Sora has random moments of nostalgia while visiting certain landmarks throughout the various worlds. Sora decides to take on the mission of restoring Roxas by transferring his Sora-stored heart into a replica body. As he, Donald, and Goofy venture to various worlds, they encounter members of Organization XIII, along with plenty of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed, as the group intends to move forward with Xehanort's plan to construct the X-blade.
Eventually, Sora stumbles upon Master Eraqus's Keyblade, which he uses to enter the Dark Realm to join Riku and Mickey in returning the corrupted Aqua to the Realm of Light. Sora and crew follow her to Castle Oblivion, which she changes back into the Land of Departure in an effort to revive Ventus. An unrecovered Aqua does battle Vanitas, but with her and Ventus’ fate hanging in the balance, Sora is able to rediscover his power of waking and, in doing so, revives Ventus who fights off his brother, Vanitas.
Sora and the rest of the group, which includes seven Keyblade wielders, head to the Keyblade Graveyard to take on Organization XIII, but the group is overwhelmed by the Heartless. Sora awakens in a dream-like state, surrounded in a place called, The Final World, which is set in place that is difficult to discern the sea from the sky - and one that players have already seen in pictures from the game’s loading screens.
Sora meets Chirithy, who informs Sora that he has actually been in The Final World before, during his visits to the Station of Awakening. The Final World is a place where hearts go when their bodies perish, but the heart is holding on to something. Unlike his former visits, Sora is unable to leave at will, but after recovering his body, he makes his way to various worlds to save the Guardians of Light and restoring his friends’ hearts, which - according to Young Xehanort’s warnings - will likely come at the expense of his own. Sora makes his way back to his friends in the Keyblade Graveyard, and while doing so, encounters Kairi. She was the one who was keeping Sora’s light in tact while in The Final World.
In the Keyblade Graveyard, the group encounters Xehanort disguised as Terra, but an armored Terra intervenes and the two do battle while the rest of the group battles a swarm of Heartless. A massive keyblade war occurs thanks to former keyblade wielders and the Light of the Past, which takes out the massive hoard of darkness.
The group finally takes out the members of Organization XIII, reuniting the bodies and hearts that had been separated. Xehanort is able to get Sora to attack him by destroying Kairi's body, which allows for Xehanort to acquire the X-blade and summon Kingdom Hearts. However, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are able to use Xehanort’s time-travel abilities to transport him to his childhood stomping grounds, where they are able to defeat him. Once the other Keyblade wielders meet up with Sora, Donald, and Goofy, Eraqus's spirit emerges from Terra's body and convinces Xehanort to surrender. Xehanort and Eraqus move on for good to Kingdom Hearts, which is secured by Sora and the rest of the group using the X-blade to close Kingdom Hearts and return to their own world.
In his final selfless act of putting others before himself, Sora restores Kairi using his power of waking. The group returns to the Destiny Islands - where it all began - to celebrate. The group is all smiles, until the game’s final gut-wrenching scene in which Kairi sits next to Sora on a paopu tree as they overlook the sunset, with tears and slight smile appearing on Kairi’s face as Sora fades away from existence.
A post-credits scene features Zigbar, having secured Xehanort's Keyblade, recounting all of the action to the Foretellers before revealing himself as a reincarnation of Luxu, a former Keyblade apprentice. A final scene shows Eraqus and Xehanort in another game of chess, this time featuring a battle between Sora and the Foretellers.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Kingdom Hearts game without some other sort of wrench to be thrown into the story. A secret ending was released after the game’s launch, which features Sora and Riku seemingly waking up in the real-life city of Shibuya, Tokyo. Yozora - a character from the KH3 mini-game, Verum Rex, also sits atop a building in the city. Finally, another hooded figure in an Organization XIII cloak is seen, making a heart with their hands while holding them up against the moon.
The supposed final chapter in the Kingdom Hearts franchise honestly raised more questions than it answered. If the post-credit scene and hidden ending are any indications, it seems that fans may be in for more, potentially crazier rides with future installments in the franchise. If that is indeed the case, let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another thirteen years to play another Kingdom Hearts game.