Written by Brandon C. Kesselly (@bckesso)
After nearly 13 long years, Kingdom Hearts III is finally here! Yesterday, I dove into the game’s combat options. Today, I want to give some quick pointers to new players and veterans alike.
1) Lock On!
The first rule of Kingdom Hearts: Lock on to your enemies — especially in boss fights. While the camera may not always be in your favor, most bosses move quickly around the battlefield. It is imperative to lock on, to avoid getting KO’d from an attack you didn’t see coming. Targeting is also important because it allows you to monitor enemy HP. This is especially useful against large bosses (like the Rock Titan) who may have more than one area of their body to attack before being fully defeated. To lock on to your enemy, press R1 (on PS4; RB for Xbox One).
2) Magic Is Your Friend. Use It!
Magic is one of the most useful elements in Kingdom Hearts. Sometimes, it can be used for offense, where spells like Fire can burn enemies, and Blizzard can freeze them. Other times, it can be used for defense, allowing you to heal yourself with Cure or stagger enemies with Reflect. One mark of a skilled player is situational awareness when it comes to magic. This means not only choosing the right spell, but also choosing to use them for more than just healing — especially since Cure costs all of your remaining magic points. Use magic in combat to exploit enemy weaknesses and help with crowd control.
3) Situation Commands Are…Not. Sometimes.
Situation Commands are both a gift and a curse. Some, like Formchanges and Grand Magic, provide some form of build-up and reward for maintaining combat consistency. These are manageable, and are often useful without feeling too overpowered. Others, like Team Attacks and Attractions, are often chaotic, even though they require not cost whatsoever. They also tend to be overly cinematic and, especially for certain Attractions, do not stop enemies from damaging you. I would highly recommend saving Attractions for finishing off bosses when available. You wouldn’t want to give the game free hits on you while you ride a merry-go-round.
4) Keep Your Guard Up
Kingdom Hearts III, like many action role-playing games, tends to have fast-paced combat. Enemies will viciously attack you with claws, tendrils, and magic. In those moments, you need to be able to counter. One of the best ways to do so is the Block ability. By pressing Square (on PS4; X on Xbox One) while standing still or jumping vertically, Sora will defend against incoming frontal attacks. Some enemies can be momentarily stunned by the guard, creating an opportunity to combo them into oblivion.
5) Learn to DODGE!!!
Due to the aforementioned fast-paced combat, I would implore you to familiarize yourself with the Dodge Roll ability. If you’re not sure you can block an incoming attack, DODGE. If you absolutely know you can block an attack, DODGE. If an enemy has a super long invincibility frame, DODGE. Dodge Roll is an invaluable ability and has long been a staple of the series. It gives you momentary invincibility, allowing you to escape many undesirable scenarios. These can often give you a chance to attack from behind or a moment to heal, providing a strategic advantage in a pinch.
To use Dodge Roll, press Square (on PS4; X on Xbox One) while in motion. Pressing the button in the air while moving in any direction will trigger the Air Slide ability, allowing you dodge in midair.
Kingdom Hearts III is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.