50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Simple and Clean,
This review is from: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (Video Game)
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.
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Initial post: Oct 19, 2013 12:13:37 AM PDT
Aaron Plettl says:
I don't know if you heard the answer by now, but the reason it took so long for them to get this collection out there was they lost all the original assets from Kingdom Hearts. So they had to actually recreate the game from scratch using assets from other games and tweaking them. Add in that they are also doing the Final Mix version with all the extra bits added in, on top of upgrading it to 1080p and 16:9 ration. That is a lot of little things to figure out and get right.
Sorry if this sounds too preachy, just thought I'd add in my 2-cents as to why it took them so long to get this collection out. Also my guess is, they also wanted to get people excited again for KH since they are getting KH3 out for next gen......although I wonder if they will release this on the PS4 too?
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