KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX-

Review

It’s been almost 20 years since I last played Kingdom Hearts I & II and since then I have always hoped for another chance to relive these classic masterpieces on PC again. The time has finally come and even though I look more like an adult now, these games still manage to bring out the child in me. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix is the definitive collection that every Final Fantasy, Disney and JRPG fan must have in their library. It includes six different experiences: the remastered versions of Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 and Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded. The last two, however, are not playable as they only contain the HD cutscenes of these games (originally only available for Nintendo DS). Still, this is a huge package that offers hundreds of hours of content and is also the best introduction to the series for new players. Each title can be accessed through their own menu, with separate settings and save files. Now the story may seem simple at first, but later it will become quite complex and even a little bit confusing. It's like a dark fairy tale full of Disney comedy and iconic characters from the Final Fantasy series.

The story is all about a young boy named Sora living on a peaceful island with his two best friends, Riku and Kairi. Their quiet and joyful life is soon threatened by the appearance of evil creatures called “Heartless”. Supported by Donald Duck and Goofy, Sora must travel through different Disney worlds and use his keyblade to stop the Heartless and find the king Mickey Mouse as well his friends. During the journey he will meet multiple Disney characters (Peter Pan, Cinderella, Tarzan, The Beast and more), but also some iconic characters from the Final Fantasy series (such as Cloud, Sephiroth, Aerith, Squall and others). You can expect plenty of fan service and nostalgia, but the game doesn't stop there. The story constantly takes dramatic turns and becomes more like a Final Fantasy game with Disney characters rather than the other way around, which is awesome. Those who want to continue Sora's journey after the epilogue of Kingdom Hearts II will have to purchase Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind separately, as the collection has been divided into three parts.



About the other games in this package, Re: Chains of Memories is essentially a spin-off set between KH1 and 2. It replaces the traditional real-time combat in favor of a card-based combat system that is less satisfying in my opinion. Still, the game is worth playing for the story and the memorable Castle Oblivion world. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix is a prequel set 10 years before the first game that introduces three new protagonists (Terra, Aqua and Ventus) with their unique storylines that intertwine with the rest of the titles. As previously mentioned, there are two games that are not playable and only include visual novel-like cinematic scenes, which is a missed opportunity for Square Enix to deliver a truly complete edition.

Except for Re: Chains of Memories, the real-time combat relies primarily on your ability to block, dodge and (counter) attack. You have a limited number of slots that you can use to store healing items and spells like Fire, Blizzard, Thunder and more (which will be familiar to Final Fantasy players). You can also summon famous Disney characters such as the Genie (from Aladdin) or Simba (from the Lion King) and it’s always great to see them in action. You fight with two companions (usually Goofy and Donald or a character from the Disney world you are in). Your companions can be knocked out during battles but return after some time, so you don't have to worry much about them. The only worrying aspect during combat is the camera, which still gives problems when targeting and you often risk being hit by enemy attacks off screen just because the camera is pointing in the wrong direction. It's a minor annoyance, but one that can make a couple of boss fights a little frustrating. Speaking of bosses and enemies, there's a lot of variety across the games, with new ones being introduced gradually as Sora visits more worlds and becomes more powerful.

Despite their age, all games look wonderful thanks to the brilliant Disney art and the unique Nomura character design, with very crisp textures and uncapped framerate. They are perfectly playable with mouse and keyboard or with a controller. It is worth mentioning, however, that this collection is not a new version remastered specifically for PC, but simply a console port, which explains the lack of graphics settings beyond the basic ones. The soundtracks have been composed by Yoko Shimomura and they are simply fantastic, certainly among the best I've ever heard in video games. “Dearly Beloved” is one of my all-time favorite musical themes, but there are many others that evoke a strong sense of nostalgia and emotion. The soundtracks also change depending on the Disney world you are visiting and fit the atmosphere perfectly.

For old and nostalgic players, KINGDOM HEARTS - HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX offers the chance to relive epic memories and gain a deeper understanding of the story and the connections between all titles before jumping into Kingdom Hearts 2.8 and III. For new players, this is currently the best way to play the saga since there are four playable games, including two main ones. The gameplay is solid, the art style is timeless and the amount of content can keep you busy for months. A must-have collection for all fans of Disney and Final Fantasy.

Review written by Sonic Punk for Zeepond.com

KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX- Steam Store Page


Positives

+ Magical and unforgettable stories
+ Combat mechanics have aged pretty well
+ Unique mix of Disney and Final Fantasy worlds
+ Huge amount of content
+ Includes some the best soundtracks in videogames

Negatives

- Two games are not playable and only include HD cutscenes
- Camera still has problems during combat

Review Summary

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX is a rich collection of games that blends the unique storytelling of Square Enix with the art and magic of Disney.

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Zeepond Rating: 9/10

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