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Kingdom Hearts III Has Frame Rate, Pacing Problems

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Square Enix has something of an established pattern for its largest properties: Announce a project far too early, take an inordinate amount of time slogging through development hell, and then drag a good game across the finish line with some technical hiccups along the way. And by most accounts, that’s exactly what happened to Kingdom Hearts III.

Over at our sister site IGN, reviewer Jonathon Dornbush awarded Kingdom Hearts III a Great score of 8.7/10. As a long-time fan of the series, he was thrilled with the characters and settings even if the core plot is a bit shrug-inducing. After finishing the game for review, Dornbush says that he wanted to jump back in, so that speaks highly of his overall experience with the game.

The PS4 version of Kingdom Hearts IIISEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce enjoys a metascore of 88/100 with 38 reviews tracked on Metacritic, so IGN’s score is in the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, the version on the Xbox One only has nine reviews counted to date. As such, the 79/100 metascore doesn’t mean very much.

Game Informer gave it a 9.5/10, and reviewer Kimberley Wallace says that she’s “delighted by how satisfied [she] was with the journey.” At the lower end, the game earned an 8/10 at GameSpot with reviewer Tamoor Hussain calling the story “heavy-handed,” but thoroughly praising the high-highs of the Disney-themed worlds.

And now that the Digital Foundry folks have had an opportunity to compare the game across all four supported consoles, we have a good idea of how well Square Enix can handle Unreal Engine 4. Plus, this finished product gives us a glimpse of what we might see when the Final Fantasy VII Remake finally ships.

As a shock to no one, the stock Xbox One is the worst way to play KH3. It resolves at just 720p while the standard PS4 runs at 900p. The PS4 Pro steps up to 1296p, and the Xbox One X makes it all the way up to 1440p. Considering another big UE4 title just launched with similarly lackluster resolution results, none of this is surprising.

Regardless of platform, you’ll be able to swap between the “Default” mode with an unlocked frame rate or “Stable” mode capped at 30fps. Unfortunately, none of the consoles are able to deliver a consistent 60fps in the former, or properly paced frames in the latter.

As it stands now, it seems the best performance can be found by forcing the PS4 Pro version to 1080p without supersampling enabled. Xbox One X owners, sadly, don’t have that option available. Hopefully, Square Enix will keep patching the game with performance optimizations and additional graphical options. At the very least, we hope to see the wonky frame pacing worked out on the double.

[Image credit: Square Enix]

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