Kingdom Hearts 3: Tips and Strategies
Kingdom Hearts 3 has been out for two weeks now, and we are finally getting a feel for how the game plays. In the early days of the release, we saw numerous guides regurgitating the same old RPG pieces of advice from “explore every area” to “open every treasure chest.” But we had no idea what keyblades worked best, how to optimize your XP curve, or even what decisions to make at the beginning of the game.
Now that we’ve completed several playthroughs of KH3, we have a decent idea of how to squeeze the most power out of Sora. So whether you are trying your hand at a KH3 speedrun, or you are just trying to get an edge in your normal play, these tips will help you out.
Upgrade the Favorite Deputy and use it for all your physical needs
The Favorite Deputy is by no means the most powerful physically oriented keyblade in the game, but it is the one you should be using. Why? Two words: Lucky Strike.
This ability increases the item drop rate of all enemies in the game. Combine it with some accessories with the same ability, and you’ll score rare drops off of nearly every enemy you kill. This will not only keep you flush with Munny and stocked with recovery items, it will also grant you the highest powered gear, tons of stat boosts, and will allow you to easily complete the moogle’s collection requests without even trying.
Upgrade the Mirage Staff and use it for all your magical needs
Check out any Kingdom Hearts 3 speedrun and you’ll notice that the Mirage Staff is their keyblade of choice. Simply put, it’s one of the most broken keyblades in the game. Not only does it give you a significant boost to your magic, but it also comes with a formchange that makes most battles trivial. It allows you to make light clones of Sora, all of which will immediately fire projectiles at whatever enemy you are targeting. This allows you to melt through enemies at a safe distance, and even see through some enemy illusions. Not only that, but casting magic in this form greatly enhances your spells. Use it, love it, and upgrade it as soon as possible.
Remember, spells change depending on what form you are in
It’s easy to go through a whole playthrough without realizing that formchanges actually alter your magic in significant ways. For example, casting magic using the Favorite Deputy’s hammer formchange turns all your spells into close range explosions, and casting it with its Drill Arm formchange causes them all to be projectiles that detonate on impact. Don’t forget to try out all your spells in every form because you might find that they do more work than they would in your base form.
Remember, keyblades change your shotlock
Similarly, your shotlock changes depending on what keyblade you have equipped. Some fire homing projectiles while others cause you to physically attack the enemy. The Ultima Weapon turns your shotlock into a screen destroying nuke. Shotlocks are just another aspect of the battle system that are easy to overlook.
I suggest using them either to start or finish a battle, since they can’t be interrupted after being fired.
You can get keyblade upgrading materials from treasure spheres and space rocks
Wondering where to get materials to upgrade your keyblade? Go to space!
Hop on your Gummi Ship and start looking for some treasure spheres. Each treasure sphere comes with a ton of rewards, some of which are the materials you need to upgrade keyblades. The more treasure spheres you unlock, the better the rewards.
If you don’t have time to fool around with treasure sphere puzzles, just fly around space shooting rocks and gems. While bigger space gems usually give you rare prizes like Gummi Ship blueprints, smaller gems and rocks have a random chance of giving you synthesis material, including keyblade exclusive materials like Damascus and Adamantite.
This is the only way to get some of the late game keyblade forging materials. However, you will eventually be able to purchase some materials in the shop, provided that you have increased your shop level.
You don’t need to make your Gummi Ship make sense
This is an old holdover from Kingdom Hearts 1, so series veterans already know this piece of advice, but simply put, your Gummi Ship doesn’t have to make any sort of sense. You can mount all your thrusters on the front of your ship pointing backward and you will get the same speed bonus as you would get mounting them in a sensible position. The same thing goes for all your ship’s HP increasing gummies that you use for its frame. You can just stack them on top of each other in a corner and you’ll be fine.
The only gummies for which position matters a tiny bit are weapon gummies as they determine what position your projectiles fire from. However, even these give you a lot of leeway. Only the blizzard gummies are drastically affected by positioning and they are wide hitting spread shots anyway.
You can move while casting magic but only if you were already moving while you cast
In past Kingdom Hearts games, Sora could only cast magic by standing still. In Kingdom Hearts 3 he seems to have inherited the ability to cast magic while moving from Kingdom Hearts 2’s Wisdom Form. There is one catch; he has to already be moving when he begins casting. Otherwise he will plant his feet like a sitting duck. It’s almost always better to move while casting, simply because it reduces your chances of getting hit.
In general, prioritize equipment that increases your AP
There are a lot of different accessories that can increase your strength, magic, and other stats, but in general you should equip whatever increases your AP the most. Sora’s abilities are very powerful. They do everything from extend the length of your combos to reduce the cost of your spells. You should, at all times, attempt to equip all of Sora’s abilities (with the exception of detrimental abilities like Zero XP.) So always wear equipment that increases your AP enough to activate them all, and then spend the rest of your slots on increasing your stats.
Always use stat up items on Sora
While it might seem like a good idea to use items like Strength Boosts, Magic Boosts, and AP Boosts on your teammates in order to offset their weaknesses, don’t bother. As good friends as Sora, Donald, and Goofy (in that order) are, Sora spends a lot of time battling enemies on his own, or with guest characters. The only way to be sure that these items get the most use out of them is to use them all on Sora, our protagonist.
Don’t bother fighting any fight you don’t have to
This is going to seem completely crazy, but if Heartless, or any enemy spawns out of nowhere, don’t bother fighting them. Like, at all. While yes, they can drop prizes and munny, the XP they grant you is usually not worth the time it takes to fight the battle.
You see, XP scales with difficulty, but not at a consistent rate. A small difficulty boost will sometimes grant you twice the XP of an easier enemy. You’ll be forced into a lot of fights with minor enemies as roadblocks, and fighting these alone will get you to a high enough level to beat the game, even at tougher difficulties. Random fights only exist to waste your time.
Use all three shortcut loadouts
Sora can switch between all three of his shortcut loadouts in the middle of battle. This effectively gives you 12 actions that you can use without having to scroll through menus. I suggest using one tab for three attack spells and your cure spell, another tab for items, and a third tab for miscellaneous actions like further attack spells, link summons, and so forth.
Use MP Safety to save yourself a heal
The game doesn’t adequately explain what MP Safety does, so here’s a better explanation. MP Safety makes it so that you cannot spend all your MP with offensive magic. It will prevent you from casting any magic but Cure once you are in danger of hitting 0 MP. This ensures that you will always spend the last of your MP to heal yourself before starting a recharge.
The triggers will cycle through available situation commands
Here’s another thing the game doesn’t adequately explain: you don’t have to use the situation command that is next up in your queue. You can use the triggers (L2 and R2 on the Playstation 4) to cycle through them and use the one you want. This is especially useful when you want to use, say, a team-up move rather than triggering the finisher for your formchange.
Thunder is the best magic until the end of the game when Aero takes over
Every spell has its uses.
Fire is a homing projectile. Water creates a shield around you before attacking the enemy. However, Thunder will do most of the work for a good portion of the game. Not only does it do a ton of damage, it also hits in a wide area around you. You can get through many fights with small mobs just by spamming Thunder and Thundara. However, when you hit the end of the game, Aeroga does a better job of taking out enemies. It does about the same amount of damage, but the hit-box stays out for much longer allowing it to hit multiple times.
Use Blizzard and Aero to create your own flowmotion points
Aero and Blizzard spells have the unique advantage of creating custom flowmotion points. Aero will create whirlwinds that will launch you upwards while Blizzard will create ice-rails that you can grind on. You do extra damage when attacking from flowmotion points so it’s worth it to use these spells in order to set them up around the field. This is just another advantage that Aero has over Thunder in the late game.
Customize Donald and Goofy’s A.I.
Sick of Donald never casting Cure? Force his hand! In the customize menu you can tweak Donald and Goofy’s A.I. to your liking. I suggest making it so that the only action Donald can even take is casting curative magic on you. It still doesn’t mean he will do it, but it will at least increase his chances.
Always keep your stomach full
After you successfully cook certain meals, they will become available to purchase in the shop. Stock up on these and always have a full course meal ready to go. This will increase your magic, defense, attack, HP, MP, and more for a good while. It’s essentially the same as leveling up several times temporarily.
Stock up on Tents
Tents are one of the most useful items in the game. They heal your party to full and fully restore your MP and focus, and the only catch is that you have to be out of battle to use them. There’s really no reason not to keep your supply of tents maxed out, because they are so cheap. Then, just use one after every battle, and you’ll be in perfect shape for all the challenges to come.
Don’t forget the Moogle’s photo challenges
The moogle doesn’t just ask you to bring him synthesis materials, he also asks you to take pictures for him. So if you can tear yourself away from your lucky emblem search for a while, be sure to do this to get a lot of synth materials and some powerful pieces of equipment.
Save most of your sidequesting until the end of the game
There’s little use for sidequesting while still playing through the main story. Nothing the game throws at you will require you to grind or find every hidden treasure. In fact, playing like a completionist might ruin your fun since it makes you absurdly overpowered quickly. Once you complete the game, however, you can fast travel basically anywhere and take on a number of additional challenges, some of which don’t unlock until you actually reach the final boss encounters. If you wait until the end of the game to do your sidequesting, you can bang them all out at once, preventing numerous re-visits to old worlds.
If you have any tips or tricks for KH3 you’d like to share, put them below in the comments!