Kingdom Hearts 3 will be getting its Critical Mode update today, a patch that will release for free and add a more difficult mode to the game's range of difficulty options. Kingdom Hearts 3 released in January this year and quickly established itself as a Game of the Year contender despite having eleven months of competition still to come, mostly on the back of its gorgeous aesthetics and fluid, fun gameplay.
Kingdom Hearts as a series is no stranger to Critical Mode, the game's equivalent of a Hard Mode that challenges players in ways that standard Kingdom Hearts fare would normally tiptoe around. Typically, Critical Mode in previous Kingdom Hearts games has added things like increasing the amount of damage taken by Sora and crew while also upping the amount of damage dealt by enemies in turn, a limitation on how much AP or HP is gained by characters, and more. All in all, it's been standard JRPG difficulty increase fare historically for the series.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Critical Mode is set to be a departure from what fans have come to expect from the additional game mode, however, which means that there's more excitement surrounding it than there would normally be for what amounts to a simple difficulty update. Game director Tetsuya Nomura teased on Twitter last night that the new version of Critical Mode will have "changed things up from the previous games", though it remains unclear exactly what will be different. Other than that, the tweet simply acknowledges that it's been a while since Nomura has posted and that he hopes all the Kingdom Hearts 3 fans are doing well. Here's the tweet:
Greetings, it’s been a while since I last posted. Spring is here, and I hope everyone is doing well. #KingdomHearts III's long-awaited Critical Mode is available as a free update tomorrow (PT).— KINGDOM HEARTS (@KINGDOMHEARTS) April 22, 2019
We’ve changed things up from the previous games, so I hope you enjoy - Nomura pic.twitter.com/Npz8FeKmCK
Nomura has previously confirmed that there will be both paid and free Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC coming for the game at a later date, although he has not discussed what this might entail beyond Critical Mode. Kingdom Hearts 3 was a massive success earlier this year and committing to paid DLC for January's best-selling game seems like a no-brainer for Square Enix, a company that would be well-served in milking its currently available franchises as it continues to gear up for the massive Final Fantasy VII Remake, whenever that game's release will be.
While Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC plans remain in flux, at least Kingdom Hearts 3 Critical Mode will offer players another reason to dive back into the game's dazzling, if not a little confusing, world. Whatever surprises the new mode has in store for veterans of the game will also likely be welcome ones, and just weeks removed from the debate over Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice's perceived need for an easy difficulty, Kingdom Hearts 3 is heading in the opposite direction by challenging fans to pick it back up and face their fears.