on September 10, 2013
**This is an edited version of my review for the Limited Edition version (which you can check and see is a verified Amazon purchase of mine). Small side note, usually Amazon combines reviews of products with various editions, yet it seems for this particular game, that is not the case. That being said, I figured I'd just put my review of the product on here as well (as it's basically the same thing, just the limited edition comes with an artbook that I won't cover here). My purpose of doing this is not for ratings, I simply just want to help YOU, the customer, make an informed decision and if that means I have to put up my review twice, then so be it. **
The games included in this product have each been out now for several years on other systems. Rather than review the gameplay and ramble on about my thoughts on the stories, I have decided to simply do a brief Q&A on just what you should expect to find with this particular product itself to try and help you, as a customer, be properly informed. That being said, I hope you find these answers helpful in your decision making process.
Q. What games are included that I can actually play through?
A. There are two games included with your purchase that you can play in full. The first is the original Kingdom Hearts (however this is the Final Mix edition (which, long story short, is a tweaked and slightly renovated version of the original classic that was originally exclusively released only in Japan). The second game included is Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Both of these have been beautifully remastered in High Definition for this release and truly look stunning and also feature enhanced gameplay mechanics. In addition, both games come with their own set of trophies (and yes, two platinums).
Q. Wait...Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories? What about Kingdom Hearts II?
A. Kingdom Hearts II (released in 2006) is NOT included in this product.
Q. What about Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days?
A. You cannot play Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days with this purchase. HOWEVER, there is a "Theater Mode" which will allow you to view roughly 2 hours and 50 minutes of remastered HD footage (in the form of cinematics) from the game (as well as some new additional scenes). Believe it or not, there is trophy support available for this.
Q. How many discs are included inside the box?
A. Both games (included the cinematics for "358/2 Days") are all bundled up into one solitary disc.
Q. Tell me more. What kind of trophy support can I expect from this release.
A. As stated earlier, both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories will have their own set of trophies that each have their own platinum. To be more specific, Kingdom Hearts will have 56 trophies, and Chain of Memories will have 48 trophies that can be earned. In addition, the cinematics for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days will also have a total of 6 trophies that can be earned (none of which are platinum).
Q. Is this a good value? Should I purchase this? Can it be purchased on PSN digitally?
A. As far as I know, for the time being of this review (9/10/13), neither as a whole or individually can this game and its contents be purchased digitally through PSN. To my knowledge, and upon further research, there are no plans for now to release these titles digitally (though that could easily change). Is the price of $39.99 a good value for what is involved? Absolutely! Whether or not you should purchase this is purely up to you. If by some chance you haven't played any of these titles, don't worry, I'm not going to sit here and type up a bunch of spoilers for you; I'll let you figure that out yourself. If that's the case, all the information I'll provide you with is that if you like Disney, and if you like RPGs, and if you're familiar with the Final Fantasy franchise, then you'll definitely find this to be highly entertaining. Personally I only played the first game before I headed out to college. For me, this is a great opportunity to not only relive the original classic, but also to experience something new in the sequel. Regardless of my own personal experiences, you'll be treated to both games (and the cinematics for a "358/2 Days") being presented in spectacular and eye-popping HD. Plus, and as mentioned countless times before, if you're a trophy-buff like me, you'll find plenty of those to be unlocked here.
So for now, these are just a few simple questions answered that you may have wondered or were curious to know prior to purchasing. By all means, please feel free to leave any further questions in the comments. I'll gladly answer them (if they are to my knowledge) as soon as I get the chance.
I hope that you find this review helpful in your decision making and whether I am asked questions or not, I will certainly update this review as I have more time to play the game itself.
Kingdom Hearts was originally released in 2002, and at the time of its release I don't think anyone thought the series was going to be as huge as it was. Originally a lot of people weren't excited for Kingdom Hearts. With so many various Disney characters thrown into the mix there was many a cry of how "kiddy" the game was going to be. Yet in the end it not only turned out to be a success, but also one of Square-Enix's biggest properties. With so many HD Collections coming out recently it's a wonder why it took so long to get a Kingdom Hearts one out there in the first place. It's not entirely what I had expected, but it's still a solid remaster.
There's not much need to go into the story of Kingdom Hearts. Let's just say that of all the games in the series, the first one is by far the simplest as the plot hasn't had too many revelations yet. You'll play as Sora who ends up coming into possession of the keyblade to fight the heartless and uncover the secrets behind them. You'll do this by traveling to various worlds populated by Disney characters. All of these things are remastered in HD and it looks really gorgeous to see some of your favorite characters and worlds. It's also a pretty noticeable and the presentation is really good.
Of all the HD reissues there are few that have the kind of care taken as Kingdom Hearts. The entire presentation has been reworked for a 16:9 aspect ratio and is displayed in wonderful 1080p. Other HD remakes tend to not touch things such as pre-rendered backgrounds, but in Kingdom Hearts even the pre-rendered stuff is displayed in gorgeous HD. You'll hardly spot any blemishes or muddy textures. It all looks brilliant. The fonts are easier to read as well.
It's also nice to know that there have been a couple of changes made to the gameplay to suit some of the features. Originally the camera was a nightmare to deal with in the original game, but now it's relegated to the analog stick and easier to deal with. You may still have a couple of camera issues, but with the camera no longer being set to the shoulder buttons, it's easier to deal with. Likewise, much like Kingdom Hearts II, there are some moments where instead of selecting it in the menu you can just press the Triangle button during a context sensitive moment and perform certain actions. These little tweaks help Kingdom Hearts out a lot. Especially being able to press triangle to do simple things like open doors as opposed to having to select it in the action menu. Likewise, the ability to pause and skip cutscenes is especially nice as this wasn't an option in the original release at all. On subsequent playthroughs you'd have no choice but to watch every cutscene again. Here you can just as easily bypass all that stuff. It's overall not just a good HD upgrade, but also controls better.
Other than that, combat is pretty much the same as you remember. You'll roam around areas, enemies will pop up and you'll have to dispatch them quickly to earn experience points and level up skills. This take on combat is still pretty cool stuff today. Though it lacks some of the refinements of Kingdom Hearts II, it's still fun and simple to play. But most important, the combat doesn't bog things down by constantly having you transition into a battle and then out of a battle so that the story can progress.
There are some things that have not aged quite as well in Kingdom Hearts, however. Chief among them are the gummi ship segments. For the most part many of them are simply long, repetitive and slow paced. Flying to a new world just doesn't really provide a whole lot of fun. It feels counter to the fast paced action of the rest of the game. Some of the platforming segments are also a little off at times. Jumping from one platform to another can sometimes feel like a hassle, especially before you get the abilities that help simplify it. These things aren't really "bad," mind you. At the time of the games original release, it probably didn't matter much but now it stands out a little more. Thankfully, though, Kingdom Hearts is still a blast to play. All the characters, the story and the gameplay is just as fun as it ever was.
Unfortunately, the original Kingdom Hearts is all that's really worthwhile in the collection. While Chain of Memories has a good story (actually a rather great one) the fact that it still has a pretty toned down card based battle system is urksome. The combat simply isn't that much fun. The fact that it also must transition into a battle as opposed to being right there in the action like it is in the first game is also a drag. Granted this is a game that was remade from a GBA title, which certainly plays a part in that, but just the same it's a shame that while some enhancements were made to the original game to make the experience better, this particular game doesn't really have any that do. Chain of Memories is also well known for just not letting you explore a ton or anything of the sort. The story, however, is essential to understanding the overall plot of the Kingdom Hearts series. It links to the second game and actually enhances the experience of that game. It's worth playing through Chain of Memories just for the story alone, but the gameplay isn't all that exciting.
The last bit is Kingdom Hearts 358/2. The game was originally released on the DS. You are NOT actually getting that game, though. All you really get is the cutscenes from that game--enhanced and reworked. They look gorgeous but it's not really all that exciting. Granted, it probably would've been a bit much to remake the entire game in the same manner as Chain of Memories, but what you realize is that much of the cutscenes in 358/2 are quite dull. It's worth watching for the sake of the story at least once. And they're fully voiced and acted, but it's nothing too exciting. For the most part much of it is rather dull.
Even though the Kingdom Hearts HD Remix isn't as good as other collections out there, the price for just the original Kingdom Hearts alone is pretty worthwhile, as the game itself is amazing. Even though there are some aspects that haven't aged that well, the game still looks and plays incredibly well even by todays standards. If you haven't experienced the original Kingdom Hearts or you want to experience it again, this collection is for you.
on September 12, 2013
I had a wonderful feeling of nostalgia when I first heard rumors of this remix and leapt for joy when it became official. Years ago when the idea of mixing Final Fantasy with elements from Disney and then tossing them into the various animations I grew up watching, I must admit that it seemed like a bad idea. Somehow it worked and I'm glad it did.
Like so many other fans, I had a lot of unanswered questions surrounding this remix. Having played this game for a couple of days now, those questions have been answered. I feel that the best way for me to approach this review is to create two separate sections: one those completely new to Kingdom Hearts and another for those looking to relive an epic adventure.
For Those New to Kingdom Hearts:
Let's start by addressing some of the more common questions that new players would have.
Is Kingdom Hearts a Good Game?
While Kingdom Hearts utilizes characters from Final Fantasy, the gameplay does not match that of Final Fantasy. It's more of an action based RPG in that you fight battles in real time. With that said, it's not the typical button-mashing action game either (assuming you play it on PROUD mode - i.e. highest difficulty). Kingdom Hearts requires a different strategy for each mob. So if you like RPG and action games, then Kingdom Hearts is a perfect match.
Is Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix worth the cost?
You are getting a total of 2 playable games and 1 game worth of scenes. In essence, three games worth of story in all. So yes, you will get your money's worth.
What Order Should I play these Games In?
The play order of Kingdom Hearts can be very confusing for beginners to the franchise. The reason for the order is due to handheld releases. With that said, the order is actually listed correctly within the game. It is as follows:
1. Kingdom Hearts Remix
2. Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories (sounds like spam email)
3. Kingdom Hearts 358/2
You will need to play all three of these games in order to understand the events of Kingdom Hearts 2.
For Fans of the Franchise:
Now let's move onto some questions that I, as a long-time fan of this series, needed answered.
What exactly is included in Kingdom Hearts 1.5?
The Japan based version of Kingdom Hearts 1 has not only been fully remastered, but some of the content has been tweaked also. For example, some of the treasure contents have been swapped, scenes changed just a little bit, and so forth. The camera has been changed to the right analog stick (fans will remember the horrible L1/R1 camera movement). The Japan version has more content so NA fans can expect to experience both nostalgia and fresh content.
Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories is about the same as the PS2 version - with the exception of the remastered scenes.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 is not playable. The remastered content is available via a theatre option. For trophy lovers, you will be pleased to know that you get trophies simply for watching these scenes.
Furthermore, this is all included on 1 disc and before you ask, no - there is no huge download required like with the Assassin's Creed trilogy release a year ago. Everything has been fit onto a single disc.
Where is Kingdom Hearts 2?
I would venture a guess and say that if KH 1.5 is successful, then we can expect a 2.5 release in the near future (before KH3). Trust me, you will not be disappointed with KH 1.5 is you are a fan of the franchise.
on February 3, 2016
Kingdom Hearts Remix is not just an graphics upgrade - though Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix does offer upgraded graphics in spades... But there are plenty of other refinements, including entirely new ways to experience the classic three games included in this package. Not every new addition works as well as intended, but there’s still enough magic here to recommend a day one purchase for every fan of the franchise.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix Is a collection of three titles from throughout the series. The main event is the release of Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix for the first time in North America. Final Mix was previously only available in Japan and features new content such as extra boss fights, a remixed soundtrack and new cut scenes. Next, Square Enix took Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories, the Playstation 2 re-release of the 2004 Game Boy Advance game and upgraded the graphics to match those of Final Mix HD. Finally, the developer has included all of the cutscenes from the Nintendo DS title, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, re-mastered in HD and playable as one long movie.
All three titles are presented in a cohesive package on one disc and come with trophy support. Completing certain requirements will unlock a new theme for your PS3.
You would expect a game with “HD” right in the title to look pretty good and this one does not disappoint. As I watched Sora run around the opening tutorial sequence in Final Mix, I was actually taken aback at just how vibrant everything looked. You can tell Square Enix definitely took the time to make this look like a Playstation 3 game and not just an upgraded Playstation 2 title. The attention to detail is there across all three titles.
While playing, I did manage to find some older looking textures in certain spots, but that’s only because it’s my job to be annoyingly picky. The graphics will be a delight for the average gamer and Disney fan. Remember that awesome feeling you got back in 2002 when you were allowed to run around Wonderland for the first time? The upgraded artwork really gives you that feeling of being inside your favorite Disney world all over again.
As was mentioned earlier, this is more than just a pretty face on an old game. The biggest change is the camera. You won’t have to push the shoulder buttons to keep the camera behind you anymore. Camera control is now remapped to the right thumbstick, just like every other 3D adventure game you’ve played in recent years. One thing to note, however, is that by default the camera is on auto-follow. You have to go into the settings to switch it over to manual control. You’ll want to do this as soon as you get control of Sora. The camera wasn’t one of the game’s strong points in 2002 and it feels like even more of a burden today if you leave it to its own devices. I frequently found the camera’s auto feature getting in my way whenever I tried to make a sequence of precise jumps or when I had to quickly turn and run in the other direction. But keep your other thumb on that right stick and you should be fine. Yes, this can be an annoyance in 2013, but the effort put into mapping the controls to the right stick is appreciated.
There are other, smaller quality of life improvements as well. When talking to a character in the original game, you had to scroll down to a talk option on the menu. Now, a contextual triangle shows up on the screen whenever you run within range. Bringing out a summons in Final Mix is also significantly easier thanks to its new placement on the menu.
The game also features a new Proud difficulty mode for the two playable titles. Enemies hit harder and there are certain trophies tied into completing the game on the harder difficulty.
All of the Disney tunes and original songs you love are still here but with a twist. The soundtrack was remastered for Final Mix and there are remixes of many old favorites featuring live orchestral arrangements. As the music started upon entering Traverse Town for the first time, the feelings of nostalgia were immediate. The voice acting is excellent but still as campy as you remember. (Gawrsh, Donald!)
There’s a drop off again when you switch to Re: Chain of Memories, as long segments can go by without voice acting that can feel a bit jarring when considered within the whole package. But overall, the audio is one of the stronger aspects of the game.
If you want to, you can easily play Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix well into 2016. There are 110 trophies to earn across all titles and multiple difficulty settings to explore. The Cup tournaments add dozens of hours of gameplay and that’s not even counting the added content from Final Mix. Some of the new boss battles will have you grinding experience for a while. “Not long enough” has never been a critique of any Square Enix RPG and this game certainly follows suit.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is a must-own title for any serious fan of the series. As gamers look ahead to the upcoming release of Kingdom Hearts 3 (coming soon, right Square Enix?) this title is a nostalgic nod to the franchise’s roots. The game does show its age in some spots but it’s also the best way for the uninitiated to get acquainted with the world of Sora, Riku and Kairi.
Replay Value: 10
Overall, 5 stars.
on July 8, 2014
Almost a whole console generation has elapsed since the release of the latest official numbered entry of Square-Enix’s Kingdom Hearts franchise, Kingdom Hearts II on the Sony PlayStation 2, and to tide players over until the following official entry, the developer has been content with putting out spinoff titles taking place in between or in some cases during the main numbered titles. In 2013, Square-Enix announced a collection of remakes for the PlayStation 3 entitled Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, which for the most part provides a solid experience in spite of some flaws here and there.
For the first time in North America, the collection includes an HD version of the director’s cut of the original Kingdom Hearts, entitled Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, which has some additional features not present in the original North American release. A menu-based hack-and-slash battle system largely drives the game, with combat generally being fast and fluid, although there are some shortcomings such as occasional frustrating platforming in enemy-infested areas that may occasionally cause players to fall over ledges, retrace their steps, and fight the same foes again. A “wait” mode similar to the active-time battle systems of the Final Fantasy titles would have been nice as well since it can be tricky to navigate the battle menu in the middle of combat to do things like use items, and shortcuts are only available for magic spells (although the player does gain a healing spell that upgrades twice throughout the game).
For the second time in North America is the three-dimensional remake of the GameBoy Advance title Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, entitled Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, where fights are generally more strategic given the card-based gameplay, and since fights occur in restricted arenas, the player mercifully doesn’t need to worry about falling from ledges in the middle of combat. There are, however, again some flaws such as the schizophrenic boss difficulty that may necessitate some grinding and fights against some of the same bosses over and over, but fights are generally more enjoyable in Riku’s mode, Reverse/Rebirth, where battles flow more fluidly in spite of some grinding necessary in that particular mode as well.
Also present in the collection is high-definition versions of the cutscenes from the Nintendo DS entry Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (pronounced “three-five-eight days over two”), where the story is perhaps strongest, given the focus on the original characters comprising Organization XIII and limited interaction with the various characters of Disney-themed worlds that the group’s members visit (with text summaries occasionally appearing). The plots Final Mix and Re:Chain of Memories, though, leaves something to desire, given the former title’s distraction of the Disney-themed worlds and lack of humor despite the presence of comically-voiced characters such as Donald and Goofy, and the repetition of worlds in the latter title, although Reverse/Rebirth generally tells a better story.
In the end, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX is for the most part a solid collection of titles that hits many of the right notes with regards to aspects such as their gameplay, although that particular area too leaves some room for improvement, given things such as inconsistent boss difficulty. The narrative is much the same way, although it’s strongest in Reverse/Rebirth in Re:Chain of Memories and the HD cutscenes of 358/2 Days. Yoko Shimomura’s soundtrack across all the titles, alongside the voice acting, are well above average, as well, and the HD graphics only have some minor blemishes such as pixelated textures on the scenery when seen close-up. Those who have yet to experience any of the titles comprising the collection will certainly find it to be a good diving board into the franchise.
on September 10, 2013
At last it is here, the Kingdom Hearts has finally arrived on the PS3 and it brought with it all the enjoyment from the past. It comes with Kingdom Hearts - Final mix (was only in Japan), Chain of Memories, and the cinematics for 365/2 from the DS which tells the story between chain of memories and KH2. All three have been redone for HD - with Kingdom Hearts being completely redone as they originally lost the source code for the game, so they had to do the whole game from scratch with the original soundtrack, voicetrack, and script. This has an extra boss fight and other Keyblades that was not in the original US edition. I have only played the first hour of the first game, and i already have enjoyed it. Controls are the same so no new learning, just have to remember how things work since it has been so long since I played this. So get this classic set and start playing and remember why you enjoyed this series while we wait for 2.5 remix and of course KINGDOM HEARTS 3!!!!!
on March 3, 2014
This game is amazing, especially if you are a lifetime Disney fan. This collection is great, and they did a great job re-mastering the gameplay, and making it more fun. I only have one complaint...
Kingdom Hearts, and Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of memories are fully playable games. I question why they would even bother including Kingdom Hearts 365/2 Days at all, when its not even playable, its just a very long series of boring movie sequences.....
To me, this was kind of a blow to my faith in compilation sets like this. Sure, the story is great, and the characters are awesome. But since I have actually played this game, I was hoping for it to be included as a fully playable HD re-master game as well with the others....but to my disappointment, it wasn't.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way about it either. I guess they just want people to keep buying and playing the original DS version instead of re-mastering it for PS3, where it could be so much better. That would have been too much to ask for I guess....
As long as the Kingdom Hearts II HD re-master for PS3 owns up to my expectations. They better not do the "cinematics" thing for any of the other games that are supposed to be in that set. Especially Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep....thats the main one I look very much forward to playing in HD on my tv, even more than Kingdom Hearts II. Dont care much for Kingdom Hearts RE: Coded, but i wouldnt mind seeing that one get a makeover either.
on November 27, 2013
What can I say? KINGDOM HEARTS in HD!!!!
I do not usually buy games twice but I did in this case. The graphics was well worth the price!
I was a little confused on what was included in this reissue besides the HD but this is what I found:
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix includes both Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Re:Chain of Memories in HD. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is not playable but includes 2 hours and 50 minutes of HD remastered cinematics from the original game, as well as new scenes.
Future: I can't wait to see what Square Enix does with Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix. Lets hope they release it like they state in 2014!
on December 1, 2014
For the Kingdom Hearts fan: you probably already have this game, but if you don't you must buy it. It is well worth the buy in replay alone. There is also new content (the Final Mix part). The nostalgia is there, the hd looks great and the trophy system on the PS3 give you some extra goals to work towards. Also, the fact that it comes with two full games and all the cut scenes from another for $20 is incredible.
For the unfamiliar or skeptical: This is a Japanese Role Playing Game (JRPG). It is a fusion of Japanese style animation/story and Disney. It's also a pretty good kids game, if you can't tell by the rating. The violence is minimal in the sense that the 'bad guys' just disappear instead of exploding or bleeding or loosing limbs or something else. I would recommend this game to anyone, being a huge gamer, or even for someone who just likes Disney.
on January 23, 2014
I played the original PS2 games and loved them and I love Disney "stuff" and Final Fantasy. So I admit I'm a bit bias. Aside from that however, this re-release and update is definitely a crowd pleaser. All visuals have been updated and converted to HD, including the addition of new cutscenes. Additionally the update includes all of the changes brought about in the Kingdom Hearts "Final Mix" version. Square Enix and Disney Interactive have provided a game that so far has given 60 plus hours of game play and I still have more to do. And this is only from Kingdom Hearts. Most games I tire of playing after a while, but I again am kept at the edge my seat playing this game day after day. I enjoy the new visuals and the new final mix content along with a little better control, This game include Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of memories, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days HD cutscenes. I recommend this game for anyone who has played it on the PS2 or any DIsney Fan and to anyone else who enjoys a good Action RPG