Hit ’em Sora, huh huh
As I mentioned in our review, Kingdom Hearts isn’t known for a particularly rattling combat system.
However! There are a few tricky spots to maneuver around in Kingdom Hearts III, and if you’re playing on Proud (hard) mode, you’ll want all the help you can get. Here’s a few pointers.
- The way healing spells work in Kingdom Hearts can be gamed a bit. When using a spell like Cure/Cura/Curaga, it depletes your entire MP bar to prevent spamming. You can almost immediately combat this by turning on MP Protection for zero AP (points used to allocate skills/actions) so that the game will always allow you to heal before your MP bar is spent. This is a decent option to flip on early-game.
- Once your MP bar is actually depleted, it’ll regain slowly, a process that can also be gamed. Try to pop off a heal right as you have a lengthy super charged up, then engage that super. All the while your MP bar will slowly tick up. In some cases if you have multiple abilities ready you can stall until your cure capabilities are all the way back again. Use Goofy and Donald’s extended ability timers earned mid-game to facilitate this.
- Speaking of abilities, take advantage of the iFrames (temporary invincibility) that they garner. If a boss is charging up a big beam attack that fills the screen, hit that ultimate and avoid the damage for the duration.
- Try to be on the offensive more often than not. The mostly humanoid bosses in Kingdom Hearts III are prone to stunlocking (sending the enemy reeling before they can attack), allowing multiple combos to go through. This is important as more combos mean faster Keyblade transformations, which in turn means even more damage.
- It goes without saying but equip your party members: or at the very least, Donald and Goofy. There’s times where their help can pull out a narrow win. Set their restorative AI to mid or low frequency and load them up with regular cheap potions to avoid the pain of them popping an expensive item when you’re not in danger during a skirmish.
- Go back to Twilight Town (the main village hub) often. You can access most of the menus/shops through other means, but you’ll want to send post cards through the Mog store for free items.
- Speaking of Twilight Town, make sure you craft at least one full meal (through the Little Chef minigames, unlocked roughly five hours in) and have it ready at all times. If there’s a tough boss you just can’t beat that meal should make a difference with its temporary stat-boosts (think Monster Hunter).
- Blocking is the highest risk, highest reward defense. It can trigger a deflection/parry that can chain into many high damage counter-attacks you’ll unlock later in the game.
Dodging on the ground is the easiest option of the bunch, allowing for more iFrames. It also allows for the highest degree of recursion as it’s relatively simple to spam while mashing the dodge button. Use it in any instance you need to dodge a big beam.
Air dashing is the least effective way to dodge simple because it lacks the same iFrame advantage as ground dodging. There’s more chance for recursion later in the game if you equip more air dash chances for AP, but it still puts you in harms way if the enemy has a follow-up attack (or if there are multiple foes in the field). Use it more for traversal before you unlock gliding late-game.
Mild vague boss spoiler for the Pirates world:
- When you’re battling the first aerial boss, you can actually jump off your ride with L1, heal, then get back on another vehicle to return to the fight.