Choosing your Difficulty
Before you begin your journey with Sora and friends once more, your first choice will be to choose a difficulty level. You have three to choose from, Beginner, Standard and Proud. If you’re a Trophy chaser, then you’ll be relieved to hear that there’s no difficulty related Trophies this time around however beware that with all the tools that you’re given in Kingdom Hearts III, it’s by far the easiest in the series.
Beginner mode essentially plays itself and is not suggested at all, you’ll get more Kupo Coins (these will revive you upon death) and you’ll be able to keep your eyes closed whilst playing. Standard mode is more akin to the previous game’s beginner modes in terms of it’s difficulty. Finally, Proud is closest to a standard playthrough on the previous games where the main difficulty will come early on without the use of the Cure spell.
There’s also one other huge difference the difficulty modes will affect, and that’s how much work you need to do to unlock the game’s signature secret movie. For Kingdom Hearts III, it’s all about finding the Lucky Emblems, hidden Mickey Mouse symbols that need to be snapped. For Beginner mode you’ll need to snap all 90 of the Emblems, 60 on Standard and only 30 on Proud.
If you’ve played through any other Kingdom Hearts you should aim to play on Proud mode, even if you’ve never touched it before in the previous games. For this reason, this guide is written on the Proud difficulty mode and will reflect that choice.
A New Beginning
Following the game’s cryptic opening cutscene, Sora will find himself back in the Deep Dive, witnessing his memories. Take a while to get used to the controls that appear on screen such as how to move Sora.
You’ll next be introduced to the Situation commands which can be performed by pressing the [TRIANGLE]/[Y] button in certain situations. This will become one of the most important buttons throughout your adventure, use it now to examine the mirror. The memories that swirl around Sora are from the previous games and you’ll then get the opportunity to make some important choices.
First up is your desire, approach the three frames to find your choices are Wisdom, Vitality or Balance. These affect Sora’s base stats and are do exactly as they say, Wisdom for more MP, Vitality for HP or a healthy balance.
Ultimately, there’s not too much differences in your choices and you’ll be able to augment it with equipment and abilities down the line. The extra HP helps early on when playing on Proud so that’s a good Desire to shoot for.
You’ll next get your second important decision to make, this time choosing a Power to complement your Desire. This one is a slightly more important than the last as it will affect what order Sora learns his abilities in. This time, the choices are Guardian, Warrior and Mystic and as their names may suggest, focus on each of Sora’s possible strengths. The table below gives you an idea of the first 20 Levels under each choice.
|2||Damage Control||Combo Plus||Magic Combo Set|
|4||Combo Master||Air Combo Plus||MP Haste|
|5||Auto Finish||Auto Finish||Auto Finish|
|6||Combo Boost||MP Haste||Combo Boost|
|8||Unison Fire||Unison Fire||Unison Fire|
|9||Guard Regeneration||Combo Boost||Fire Boost|
|10||Fusion Spin||Fusion Spin||Fusion Spin|
|12||MP Haste||Attraction Extender||Water Boost|
|14||Air Combo Plus||Fire Boost||Leaf Bracer|
|16||Fire Boost||Air Combo Plus||Air Combo Plus|
|18||Attraction Extender||Water Boost||Blizzard Boost|
|20||Counter Up||Combo Boost||Magic Haste|
Your choice all comes down to your playstyle, if you like rushing in and racking up the combos, then Warrior is your choice. Making use of Magic (which is extremely powerful in Kingdom Hearts III) then you’ll want to hit up the Mystic or if you want a bit more survivability (useful on Proud) then take a look at the Guardian. There’s not a wrong choice here so go with what your heart tells you and make your choice to proceed with your first battle.
You’ll be up against some simple Shadows, take the time to get used to locking on with the [R1]/[RB] button and using the [X]/[A] button to chain attacks into a combo. Following the defeat of the smaller Shadows you’ll face off against a Darkside, a giant heartless with the ability to summon balls of darkness and more regular Shadows.
Keep on the move and stay locked onto the hand of the Darkside, on Proud mode you’ll find this will be your most difficulty fight due to having no healing items or spells yet. The Shadows will relenquish HP prizes (green balls) upon their death to restore your HP, seek these out if your HP drops low. Once you see the Darkside charging, continue to wail on him and then prepare to begin dodging the incoming balls of darkness. Following it’s defeat, you’ll learn two new abilties for Sora.
You’ll get an option to continue with the tutorials at this point (which can be accessed in the main menu) or continue with the game, go ahead and continue your journey for now. This will unlock the A New Journey Trophy.