Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Review
When I first purchased Kingdom Hearts on the PlayStation 2 more then a decade ago I received a few looks from some people. Why? Well because they thought I was some weird person in my late twenties purchasing a “kiddie” game featuring Disney characters. How narrow sighted these people were. What they didn’t know was that Disney characters aside, Kingdom Hearts is considered one of the best story driven action role playing games of all time. The combination of the worlds of Square and Disney makes for a game filled with plenty of emotional drama along with all the intense battle sequences that made for some truly memorable moments.
With the release of Kingdom Hearts 3 on the horizon, Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios have decided to re-release the franchise for all audiences old and new. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX is a collection of three games all remastered in high definition. The main game is the “Final Mix” of the original Kingdom Hearts. Also included in this collection is Re:Chain of Memories from the PlayStation 2, and 358/2 Days from the Nintendo DS. Re:Chain of Memories is completely playable; however, 358/2 Days is only available in a cinematic Theater Mode. What’s surprising about this is that I can earn trophies for watching 358/2 Days. Trophies for watching movies…all too easy.
Playing the Kingdom Hearts series once again is a treat, but playing the series once again in high definition is even sweeter. Each of the games have received the high def facelift, and they look absolutely amazing in 1080p. The cutscenes alone in the original Kingdom Hearts are sensational as each and every detail is full of rich color and shine. Now I’m not the type of person to gloat over graphics, but I can’t help but mention how beautiful these games look. Square and Disney are both well known for two unique qualities. Presentation and attention to detail. Kingdom Hearts HD flourishes in both of these departments making for a visual experience that is second to none.
Anyone who is familiar with the typical hack and slash style of gaming will find themselves right at home with Kingdom Hearts. The gameplay is very simplistic with a button for Keyblade attacks along with a button for magic abilities. The AI teammates of Donald Duck, Goofy, or a specific character from each world that I visited also held their own in the game, and never feel completely useless or relied heavily upon for success. Considering the fact that I never played Re:Chain of Memories on the PS2, I thought that the card based attacks would not be up to par with my action oriented play style. Well I was wrong as I gained a personal enjoyment from the action and strategy that this game brought to the table.
With all the nostalgia that Kingdom Hearts brought back, there were some nagging issues that had me at a loss. One problem had to do with the camera. Whether I had the camera set on manual or automatic I felt like the camera was not keeping pace with me, or set itself into some awkward positions blocking my view. This happened quite frequently and it was annoying enough to drive me insane, although I didn’t let it break me since this was also an issue on the PS2. What really surprises me is how Square Enix and Disney let this issue pass them by. My other issue is more of a personal gripe, and it has to do with the Gummi Ship. I’m not much of a fan of piloting this ship between worlds. Personally, I feel like these segments are more of a momentum killer as well as an unnecessary addition to an already amazing game.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX is a unique compilation that completely satisfies the nostalgia side of me with a set of games and a movie to reintroduce me once again to Square and Disney’s magical worlds. I personally feel like the The Kingdom Hearts games are the types of games that reawaken the kid in me when I was whisked away to the worlds of Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and even Peter Pan. The story is phenomenal, the character development is superb, and the gameplay is simplistic for casual players to pick up and play yet tough to master. Kingdom Hearts is more than just a game. It’s an experience that everyone needs to take to heart at least once in your life. However, keep in mind that once you’ve finished the game the first time, Kingdom Hearts has enough replay appeal to have players coming back for a second, third, and even fourth play through. It’s just that amazing.
Developer: Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios
Platform: PlayStation 3