Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 3
Rated: E10+ for Everyone Ages 10 and Up
Players who have played Kingdom Hearts will bet their grandmothers that those who haven’t will love it while making you feel like the worst kind of person for not playing it at all. Now I have to come clean, I never touched a Kingdom Hearts game before the process of writing this review. I ended up playing the original PlayStation 2 release and Remix just so I know what I’m talking about and in the end I thought Kingdom Hearts is a great game, but it’s the other offerings in this collection that holds it back.
When his world is invaded by creatures known as Heartless, Sora is destined to stop the invasion with the power of the Keyblade. Along with his two friends Riku and Kairi, Sora must travel across different Disney-themed worlds to prevent more invasions by sealing the hearts of each world. Re: Chain of Memories is a direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts in which Sora must find Riku and King Mickey inside Castle Oblivion.
As far as the original Kingdom Hearts making its HD transition, it’s astounding how much better it looks (well no duh), but along with the smoother graphics there are new enemies, keyblades, abilities, and enhanced soundtrack. This is all because this is the Final Mix version that was only ever released in Japan until now, so you can sort of call this the definitive version of Kingdom Hearts.
The gameplay has remained untouched overall in both Kingdom Hearts and Re: Chain of Memories. Kingdom Hearts is an Action Role Playing game with a linear story and progression and plenty of side missions you can tackle that will greatly benefit your party in the long run. With previous Square Enix games I thought Kingdom Heart was going the way of older Final Fantasy games by doing a turn-based style of gameplay, but I was happy to see that it’s real-time and incorporates melee, magic and summoning well. The only main difference control-wise is that to move the camera you use the analog stick instead of L1 and R1 which is now a standard in gaming today; so long as you don’t revisit the original you won’t be accidently reaching for the bumpers out of reflex.
Re: Chain of Memories is a different and unfortunate story. Instead of the pure combat you take a step backwards with this confusing direction of putting card-game elements into Kingdom Hearts. After sitting through a bunch of tutorials and having to go through the same motions over and over again, this part of the collection just becomes monotonous. Though to be honest I did have a bit of fun due to my, ahem, history with card games, but it becomes repetitive too fast which is a shame.
Now, let’s talk about 358/2 Days; it’s not a game, it’s just cutscenes, nothing but cutscenes. Yeah I’m sure that those whom played 358/2 Days would get a jolly from seeing all their favorite ice cream eating moments in HD, but for probably the thousands of us that haven’t played the original DS game we would have liked something more, like I don’t know, a game to play! I’m all caught up to with the story, regardless, I would’ve like to actually play the game and experience probably one of the DS’s better titles. Am I so wrong to ask why they couldn’t have just given 358/2 Days the same HD buffer and add to the value and the allure of picking this collection up? I guess I’ll have to cave in and get a 3DS or something.
If you’re looking to get your nostalgia fix for Kingdom Hearts then this is a no brainer. I now see why people go insane when you talk about Kingdom Hearts and it should be your main reason for picking up HD 1.5 Remix. It’s the other stuff, Re: Chain of Memories and “358/2 Days” that makes this happy revisiting into a bittersweet one.
Overall Rating: 3.75/5