Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix Review

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This year we were treated with another Square-enix’s HD remastering of three Kingdom Hearts games. Last year’s 1.5 had the original Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories, and KH 358 days/2 which was converted into a short length movie covering all the story elements of the original game. This year Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix follows the same formula that includes Kingdom Hearts 2, Birth by Sleep, and KH Re:Coded. We get an HD paint job to the games and the Final Mix extra content to KH 2 which was never previously released in the U.S. If you’re looking for a whole new Kingdom Hearts experience, look elsewhere, but if you want a trip down memory lane, or for if you missed these games the first time around, then you will be in for a magical ride.

Kingdom Hearts II

Kingdom Hearts II‘s gameplay still revolves around controlling the chosen wielder of the keyblade and traveling between various Disney realms in the continued battle against the Heartless with the hope of ending it once and for all. This time around you are also faced with a new type of threat called Organization XIII and their army of “Nobodies” with their own plot to create a new Kingdom Hearts.

At its heart Kingdom Hearts II is an action/RPG with new improvements to the combat such as drive forms and reaction commands. Drive forms allow Sora to bond with an ally which allow him to wield 2 keyblades and increase his useable skills in combat. Reaction commands give situational options such as reversals, dodge rolls and counters.

Other new elements include enhanced Gummi ship creation which is still your main transportation between the various Disney worlds. They have also added more new worlds such as Land of Dragons (Mulan), Port Royale (Pirates of the Caribbean), and the Pride Lands (Lion King). On top of the new worlds you will also revisit old familiar places that now have new locations to explore. A few worlds have had major changes such as Atlantis being converted into an underwater musical rhythm mini game, and Olympus’ Colloseum being moved to the underworld and a new tournament being run by Hades himself. You will still meet up with multiple Final Fantasy characters like Cloud, Auron, and even Sephiroth. The majority of the game has translated well to the PS3 however, there are a few moments where certain cutscenes feel like they have been cobbled together and didn’t get as much attention such as the cutscenes featuring Aerith. Whether this was just poor voice acting work or programming, any scene with her felt out of place, which is strange because every other FF character cutscene feels natural.

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The second game on the disc is the PSP game Birth by Sleep, which is the beginning of the Kingdom Hearts timeline where you play as three friends, Aquas, Terra, and Ventus, who are training to become keyblade masters in the Land of Departure. To accomplish their goal they must pass the mark of mastery test in front of their master trainer, Eraqus.

The story begins with Aquas and Terra taking this test together until Xehanort, the main antagonist for Birth by Sleep, interferes by summoning the Unversed causing Ventus to intervene and sets the whole story in motion sending our 3 protagonists off to explore other worlds. The game is broken into 3 separate campaigns where you control one of the 3 protagonists until their journey is completed. After that you can continue on with the next until all 3 stories have been seen.

Although you control 3 different characters, each campaign will last about 10-12 hours and you will visit the same worlds with different viewpoints, depending on the character you control. Unlike the console counterparts, these worlds are much smaller in comparison. Although you will still travel between worlds via the Gummi Ship, the game has stripped away the on-rails shooter instead allowing for instant arrival to your destination of choice. This title also greatly changed combat options by introducing Deck commands, Shotlocks and Command Styles, and the new Dimension Link feature. Deck Commands are probably the most notable change on top of your normal combos. You can now install upgradeable special moves and spells into slots that increase as you progress through the game. These commands allow you to customize your gameplay style to your liking with moves based on a cooldown rather than an MP cost. If you want to focus on magic, then fill your deck with tons of spells like Fire, Blizzard, Thunder and many more new types of spells newly added to the series. If you can focus on physical strength and fill it with multi-hit moves like Aerial slam and Ars Aracanum or blend the two together, it’s all your choice.

The D-Link feature is similar to summons in previous Kingdom hearts games; however, this version allows you to bond with almost any of the allies you come into contact with. Once activated you are healed to full which can help out in a pinch and changes your command board to match the character you Linked with. There is also a Multiplayer feature called Arena mode, giving you unique skills to use only here. You will also be able to unlock extra bonuses for the campaign.

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The final part on the KH 2.5 remix is the Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded movie, which tells all the events of the game where King Mickey, Donald and Goofy enlist the help of Sora once again to help. You’ll need to fix Jiminy Cricket’s journal, since the adventures he originally transcribed have been replaced with a coded message that he did not write:

” We must return to free them from their torment.”

The movie takes place just prior to the finale of Kingdom Hearts 2 and follows Sora in the Data World where he again must travel to multiple realms to remove the glitches or bugs to restore the memories of that world. The story is broken up into 8 chapters and can be viewed non-stop or chapter by chapter. The one complaint I have is that while you are able to pause while watching, you’re are unable to rewind while watching because if you get distracted and miss something, your only option is to restart the whole chapter all over again.

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All in all Kingdom Hearts 2. 5 is a worthwhile investment whether it’s your first chance to play these games or you are feeling nostalgic. The extra content, new difficulty options and the HD paint job make these game well worth the ticket price. Since Disney now owns both Marvel and Star Wars, hopefully those are on the table for the next game. Since there is no official time frame for Kingdom Hearts 3, this 2.5 Remix will have to hold us over until then.

Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

The game was provided by Square Enix for review purposes.

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Jada Griffin
Jada Griffin 334 posts

Legends tell of a princess captured and raised by Ninjas to be their future leader. Jada was trained from an early age to max the luck stat, always strike first and to never surrender.