Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is a collection of HD Kingdom Hearts games, including PlayStation 2 classic Kingdom Hearts, previously unreleased in Australia Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories (the PS2 remake), as well as HD cutscenes and journal entries derived from DS game Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.
Kingdom Hearts, of course, is the series that mixes elements from action RPG’s, Final Fantasy and of course the world of Disney.
Worth noting from the get go is that the HD version of Kingdom Hearts is the Final Mix version from Japan, which was unreleased in the Western world. What this means is that we now finally get the absolute best version of Kingdom Hearts ever released, with more weapons, items, cutscenes and more added to what we played back in the PlayStation 2 days.
Some cutscenes are a very welcome addition as they help add an extra dimension to the story that will assist those who found it hard to grasp before. The original Kingdom Hearts was and still is a fantastic game that stands the test of time. For those fanatics wanting to play through it again, to late adopters who only got to play the later DS games, to newcomers who might be intrigued by the Kingdom Hearts universe, the game is accessible to all.
It looks even better now with its HD coat of paint, with more of the scenery viewable through widescreen, as well as crisper characters and cutscenes that look beautiful on a big screen. Though, the same old demons arise from many of the HD remasters, with some notably simple looking areas looking even simpler when in high-res (I’m looking at you, Gummi Ship).
Controls have also been tweaked with to make life easier, with actions now done with the Triangle button, instead of having to press Cross which also served as attack, as well as the default camera falling in line with modern camera controls, rather than reversed as Kingdom Hearts once was. Gummi ship controls are only marginally better than the original, with more in the on screen display to let you know what is going on, however the mere fact that it’s hard to tell if you are in line with an enemy ship is still an issue 11 years later is saddening.
Chain of Memories was never released in Australia in its PlayStation 2 form, with it previously only coming out for the GameBoy Advance. This is the game that bridged the gap between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, and this re-release gives many people a chance to see exactly what transpired between the two games.
For those unaware, Chain of Memories introduced a card-based battle system which has its positives and its negatives. In order for you to do anything battle based, you must own an appropriate card, and by anything I mean everything ranging from simply swinging your Keyblade to summoning Goofy momentarily to dispatch some of your foes.
Of course the battle system is great for strategy, as you can plan out how each of your battles will take place to very intricate detail, but it can be frustrating for beginners or those who just wanted to play it like a regular Kingdom Hearts game, which is not available to do.
358/2 Days comes to the collection as a staggering three hours worth of cutscenes, mission briefings and debriefings, as well as entries from Roxas’ journal. For many fans who do not own a DS and thus did not get to experience this game are in for a treat as it brilliantly details how Roxas came into the world and how these experiences led him to the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II.
It’s unfortunate that the whole game isn’t available to play, but Square-Enix has been honest about this fact from the beginning, and it is very possible t that porting a DS game over to the PS3 might have been far too much work than necessary.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is the penultimate way of introducing yourself to the Kingdom Hearts world, or replaying it in glorious HD. Either way, many people will be thrilled with the PS3 release. T
he extra cutscenes, weapons, controls all add to what was already an awesome experience. The fact that one of the games was never released here before, as well as the addition of cutscenes from one of the lesser played games is simply a massive cherry on top.