Kingdom Hearts II is my favorite video game of all time. That being said, I always go into Kingdom Hearts Games with high expectations. Kingdom Hearts 3D continues the on-going story of Sora, protector of light, in his fight against Xehonort, bringer of darkness.
This time Riku's along for the ride as well as the second playable character in the game. In order to utilize both characters, the game implements a "drop" system in which the player can only play as one character for a certain amount of time before automatically being "dropped" and switched to the other character. While an interesting change from the typical "go to the menu to switch characters," the drop system can be a bit inconvenient at times, particularly in the middle of boss battles where if you don't defeat the boss by the time your drop meter runs out you'll have to start the battle all over again.
Now did I mention there are Disney characters in this game? No? That's because there aren't many. Well, comparatively at least. There were only five Disney worlds in this game compared to the six+ in other portable games in the series, and only three of them introduced some new characters. Sort of disappointing.
Gameplay-wise the game was great, perhaps one of the best in the series, although I did miss the crazy 10-hit combos from games like Kingdom Hearts II and 358/2 Days. The music was good, particularly in the Fantasia world which essentially used music directly from the movie of the same name. The game is also graphically impressive, looking even better than Kingdom Hearts II.
But I do feel that in a JRPG the story is particularly important, and that's where I was the most disappointed with this game. Basically the whole game is Sora and Riku taking the "Mark of Mastery Exam" by traveling inside the seven sleeping worlds and waking them up by defeating the "Dream Eaters" inside of them. This would have been okay if each of the worlds had some interesting content, but the only ones I really found interesting were the Tron world, the Pinocchio world, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame world. And don't even get me started on the ending.
Highlight the following for spoilers:
There were four ending bosses. One for Sora and three for Riku. The hardest one is the second battle with Riku. The two remaining after that are easy, and really leave you feeling like you didn't accomplish much in the end. I honestly was shocked with how anti-climatic the final battle was compared to the ones in the rest of the series. And the secret ending for the game was just terrible. Kairi can wield a keyblade?! No waaaay~! We only learned that way back in Kingdom Hearts II...
So to sum it up, great gameplay, poor story. Since gameplay is always the most important thing when it comes to a video game I'll give it a bit of a score boost. Kingdom Hearts 3D gets a 7/10.