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Gamer Tuesday

December 10, 2013

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Dream Summons for Kingdom Hearts III

Ask any Disney gamer what they expect the most out of a Kingdom Hearts release, and chances are its the worlds... right after the continuation and hopefully the ending of the ten year saga of Sora and friends. But there is also another element of Disney fan service that fans neglect due to the fact that it is tucked away under a slew of battle options and tricks; the summons. The first Kingdom Hearts game took a lot of gameplay cues from its big brother series Final Fantasy, and in that game series, the summoning system plays an integral part in the enjoyment of the battle mechanics. Everything from a warrior category in various games to Final Fantasy entries being all about summoners, the summons have become a vital part of the series.

Kingdom Hearts 3

In the first Kingdom Hearts game, the summons served two purposes; to give players even more variety when it comes to combat gameplay, and to add even more Disney fan service to the game. If Square Enix felt that some movies were not suitable enough to create playable worlds out of, they would use the summon systems to give fans more chances to relish the appearance of beloved Disney characters. Story wise, the summon characters either came from worlds that were destroyed by the Heartless, and survived by being turned into stone (that Sora can discover and take to Cinderella's Fairy Godmother to transform into characters), or were characters that met Sora and friends during their journeys and gladly volunteered to aid him.

The summons would also serve as teases for potential Disney worlds in future games, such as Mushu's appearance in Kingdom Hearts made way for a Mulan-themed world in Kingdom Hearts II. Unfortunately, with so many options available when it comes to combat (upgradeable keyblades, various stats to level up, Donald and Goofy, partners and more) the summoning system is often left aside. That doesn't mean that Square Enix doesn't go all out with their summons.

In the past, I have talked about the worlds I want to see turned a reality in Kingdom Hearts III from both the animated canon and the live action library of films. With summons also being a playground that can feature references and nods to past and present Disney films, there is a good chance that Square Enix will have the summons return once again in the third game. Unfortunately, the company has yet commented on what exactly can we expect out of the game's battle engine, and while a quick teaser video showed off the premise of being able to summon Disneyland rides, no word if the actual summons will return.

In the meantime, I want to share the characters I want to see feature in the game as summons. Like I have stated in the past, these are DREAM CHARACTERS, NOT PREDICTIONS. Predictions indicates that I think that with certainty these characters WILL be in the game. Dream characters are what I WANT to see in the game once in its release. So please don't take these comments of mine as being a certainty of what we can expect once the final game is release.

Without further delay, here are the characters I want to see as summons in Kingdom Hearts III:

Olaf the Snowman (Frozen, 2013)

Olaf

The latest Disney animated classic is poised to be one of the biggest and most revered films of the modern era of animated classics, all thanks to an emotionally charged storyline that has sibling relationships at the core of its conflict. Frozen even has a chance of appearing in the game as a world as it has a princess, a conflicted queen, an epic land covered in deep snow and lots of talk about hearts. Surely Square Enix can fashion a stop for Sora and friends in the kingdom of Arendelle, and help summer return to the kingdom. With Olaf being the mascot of the film, he can easily be an ice-snow based summon character that joins Sora once the quest in the kingdom is over. Or, if Square Enix thinks it is too early to put such a recent film in the game, a nod to the movie via a summon works. It is a strategy they employed in 2005 when Chicken Little became a summon character in Kingdom Hearts II just as his film graced theaters worldwide.

In terms of attacks, Olaf can sling snowballs at the Heartless, or can create an icy path for Sora to slide through in order to further attack hordes of Heartless enemies. And he can do all of that while display his ever winning, innocent charm.

Bolt (Bolt, 2008)

Bolt

Bolt is a super dog that can shoot lasers from his eye, has lightning speed, super strength and a super bark that sends thugs flying across the screen. If that doesn't scream summon character potential, nothing will. It also serves as a great reference to a very underrated film, one that was a stepping stone towards the masterpieces we have nowadays.

Sparky (Frankenweenie, 2012)

Sparky

Bolt is not the only Disney super dog that has a slight chance of being a summon in Kingdom Hearts III. Sparky the dog from Tim Burton's macabre Frankenweenie would add more Burton representation to a game that has only The Nightmare Before Christmas as its main Burton-centric locale. Sparky would harness thunder powers and electrify enemies his way. Of course, too much usage of voltage can lead poor Sparky to be tired, forcing him to retire early from battle if his attacks are overused.

Wreck-It Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph, 2012)

Wreck-It Ralph

Last year's animated hit was highly praised for its inventive premise and rock solid storyline of a video game villain looking for greener pastures in other video games. So much so that many gamers started dreaming about a Wreck-It Ralph themed world in Kingdom Hearts III. Despite all the hopeful dreams, Square Enix would have a tricky time trying to turn the game into a world in the fictional universe of Kingdom Hearts. Wreck-It Ralph itself was a game in the real world, which was connected through another world in the form of Game Central Station, and that world lead to countless digital realms, two of which play a major role in the development of the story. Square Enix has done a great job on turning a real world based premise into a world with the TRON series, but whether they want to try their hands with Wreck-It Ralph remains unknown. If they find it hard to turn the film into a game world, a summon could work just as well.

The way I see it, Wreck-It Ralph can appear in two ways:

- By himself, and his main attacks would be pounding his fists against the ground to destroy heartless and causing wreckage that disorients them

-With Vanellope. She can drive around in her kart, running over the monsters while Wreck-It Ralph clears the hordes. The two can even team up and clear the area of monsters in one quick move.

Needless to say, with Wreck-It Raph capturing the minds of so many gamers, it would be silly of Square Enix to ignore the video game Disney hero and not put him in their Disney video game.

Jose and Panchito (The Three Caballeros, 1944)

Three Caballeros

This might be a crazy dream summon, but The Three Caballeros has become one of Disney's biggest cult films, having a lot of appearances in modern day Disney and being a representative of Latin America culture in the animated canon. Jose and Panchito are also beloved characters that many feel deserve more exposure through various Disney projects. Since the film lacks a coherent world per se (and the locales are based on real world countries), the game can have a reference through an appearance of Jose and Panchito as summon characters. Note that I am conveniently forgetting about Donald Duck, that is because he is already a party member. It is also because in my mind, Sora becomes the third caballero. As for their attacks, they can use the power of music and dance to entrance monsters in their infectious Latin rhythms. This could also beget a fun mini-game where you hit the buttons to the beat of the music on screen.

Maximus (Tangled, 2010)

Maximus

Anyone that has seen Tangled knows that Maximus is a force to be reckoned. At times, he surpasses many of Corona's best guards in terms of sheer power and skill, unmatched by his extreme will and determination towards pursuing criminals. This makes him more than eligible as a summon character in the next game. Sora can ride him once he summons him, and can go around attacking the Heartless monsters through various physical and melee attacks.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit has been part of the Disney family for a while now, having made appearances on merchandise and starring in the Epic Mickey games. He even has a store named after him on Disney California Adventure! I think it is high time Square Enix added him to the Kingdom Hearts universe. As a summon, Oswald can use his squash and stretch abilities to pound away at enemies. Or if Square Enix REALLY wants to pay tribute to the games that brought him back into the minds of many Disney fans, have him use his mechanical know how and create gadgets that can destroy the Heartless in comical ways. However they choose to represent him, Oswald really needs to make an appearance in the game.

 

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