The Kingdom Hearts fanbase has every reason to be joyful once again. 2013’s HD 1.5 Remix bundled up the original Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories and a cinematic presentation of the story for 358/2 Days. That particular collection was worth investing hours of playtime into again, due to the extra content and upgraded visuals for the first game. The two other additions to that package were sort of a letdown due to their own faults, but it was still worth playing through and watching to some extent.
This time, Square Enix has brought along another remixed compilation of its most beloved action RPG series – Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix. The package here automatically gets extra points over its predecessor due to the inclusion of its main title – Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix. Fans who have fond memories of this sequel will no doubt fall in love with it all over again. The excellent Keyblade swordplay, an abundant new Disney world to explore, varying Sora battle transformations, and extra dosage of bosses make this the version you need to revisit. It’s easy to see just how superior this game is when compared to the first introduction of Kingdom Hearts. You’ll once again get sucked into Sora’s epic conflict thanks to the wealth of new content on hand.
In this reviewer’s honest opinion, the standout part of this game’s package has to be the former PSP exclusive, Birth By Sleep. This entry immediately feels a million times better since it ditches the PSP control scheme and adopts the DualShock 3 control scheme. Getting access to new analog sticks makes maneuvering around the world and engaging in battles a much simpler and less strenuous affair. You’ll get access to three separate Keyblade warriors and venture through the same locations, but with different scenarios. The settings lose their fresh factor after all three playthroughs, but the battle gameplay is the best of the entire series. Getting access to character specific skills in the heat of battle makes each encounter different and gives you cooler skills to employ. The extra content here must be applauded as well.
The RE:coded portion of this collection fits the same mold as 358/2 Days presentation in the 1.5 Remix collection. This 3-hour long FMV sequence is only recommended to hardcore fans. Watching it is a chore for casual fans, so it’s easily the weakest part of the overall package. It’s there for those who want to make sense of the incredibly hard to decipher plot, which deals with Roxas and Organization XIII. You’ll likely pass on siting through all of it though. Some of the other issues of the overall package deal with the occasionally wonky visuals. Sometimes the updated visuals are easy to spot, but it’s even easier to locate the wonky lip-synching and loading textures of environmental structures.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix’s overall package is worth getting thanks to its two upgraded, playable adventures. Ignore the RE:coded movie sequences, deal with the sometimes strange visual hiccups and you’ll feel right at home with this still excellent compilation.
Images: Square Enix