The second HD Kingdom Hearts compilation for PS3 concludes the series so far, ready for Kingdom Hearts III.
HD remakes and bundles offer several benefits to fans of the subject series. First of all is the obvious new coat of paint that invariably makes the the games look better on whatever console the bundle arrives for. Secondly, these bundles usually pack more content than the original titles, giving returning players something new to discover and enjoy. And finally, if you are a fan of a series, an HD remake bundle will put all of your favorite games in one place.
But there is an additional benefit with the Kingdom Hearts HD bundles, one that makes sense for the fans of Square Enix and Disney’s Final Fantasy style romp. As fans of the series wait for the incoming Kingdom Hearts III, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and this newly released Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX bring all of the story together in preparation for the new game. I am not saying that the story will be any easier to follow, as it remains as confusing as ever, but at least it brings everything together on the PS3. For the full Kingdom Hearts experience, players will also have to play through last year’s Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, which brings an extended version of the original Kingdom Hearts game to the PS3, along with Re: Chain of Memories and the cinematics from 358/2 Days. But the joy is that all of these games not only bring the story together for the player, but they are all on a single console.
So, both long time fans of the series and those new to the games can sit in front of their PS3 and follow everything that is going on in preparation for Kingdom Hearts III. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX follows the same pattern of last year’s 1.5 ReMIX by offering an HD remastered version of Kingdom Hearts II, in the form of the Final Mix which was not available outside of Japan until now, along with the HD remastered version of the PSP title Birth by Sleep, again in Final Mix form, and scenes from the mobile Re:Coded to round out the bundle. All in all, there is a massive amount of content here for players to enjoy.
And the two playable games following Sora and a whole host of instantly recognisable characters, look better than ever on the PS3. Square Enix have once again managed to pull off the HD remake with Kingdom Hearts II looking almost as if it belongs on the PS3. Obviously, the PSP Birth by Sleep is a bit more of a jump, but is perhaps even more impressive in how good it looks. There is the occasional slow down and jagged edge, but seeing the game on the big screen, and able to play it with dual sticks rather than the single stick offered on the PSP, really is enjoyable. Of course, the Kingdom Hearts games have always looked good on which ever platform they appeared on, as do most of Square Enix’s games, but in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX players are treated to the best looking versions of the games ever.
Players are also treated to the most content packed versions of the games in 2.5 ReMIX as both Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep are the Final Mix versions of the games that were previously only available in Japan, and include a whole bunch of new content. The games are both packed with not only new battles and items, but new scenes that try to make a little more sense of the convoluted story. For the fans, these are the most complete and content filled versions of the game, and surely an essential buy.
However, those fans of the original games may well notice that there is something missing from Birth by Sleep. The multiplayer mode has not so much been dropped, but simply been made single player in this HD remake. Whilst I am sure that most will not miss the mode, it is still something missing.
So, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX is the best way to play the bundled Kingdom Hearts games in preparation for Kingdom Hearts III, but that doesn’t mean that they are perfect games as they still carry through most of the issues that the original games suffered with, not least of which is the utterly bizarre situation that players will find themselves facing in the games. Characters such as Sora, Aqua, Terra and Ventus in an action RPG along with characters from other video games and colourful Disney characters and worlds. The combination of Final Fantasy style and Disney style can be jarring to those who are not prepared, and there is a certain amount of Disney cheese that makes its way into the game. Long time fans will have already come to terms with this mixture of styles, but for newcomers is will still be quite a shock.
It also doesn’t help that the first few hours of Kingdom Hearts II are really quite slow, and the pace of Birth by Sleep is even slower. Sometimes it can be a real battle to work through these games. The mechanics in Kingdom Hearts II are relatively enjoyable, but Birth by Sleep over complicates the systems. None of this is new to the fans who will lap up these new versions of the games, but the pacing and inconsistent systems may be a barrier those experiencing the series for the first time.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX may have its issues, but they are all issues with the original games. Here, in this HD remake compilation, players will be able to continue their Kingdom Hearts adventure with two of the best games in the series, all packaged onto one console in the most complete form possible. Playing this will not only set the player up for Kingdom Hearts III, but also provide many hours of enjoyable entertainment. For the fans, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX is an essential purchase.