Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX – A Square Enix story in HD (review)

Kingdom-Hearts-1.5-HD-Remix-Sora-Donald-and-GoofyIt’s already been eleven years since Kingdom Hearts was first released on the PlayStation 2. It was a collaboration between Square Enix (still Squaresoft at the time) and Disney Interactive. The game featured characters from popular Disney and Final Fantasy franchises including Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Mickey, and more.

Kingdom Hearts has seen quite a few games including Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 2, 358/2 Days, Birth By Sleep, Re:Coded, and Dream Drop Distance, each one delving you deeper in the Kingdom Hearts story. Birth by Sleep and 358/2 were the only two games that starred different main characters. Now you can add Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX to the list of titles to collect.

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Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ReMix brings together three Kingdom Hearts games; Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. All three titles are given the HD treatment along with some extra surprises.

You can choose what order you want to play in. Re:Chain of Memories takes place right after the ending of Kingdom Hearts while 358/2 Days starts just before Re:Chain. The main story of it takes place during and after the events of Re:Chain. If we were technically to go in story order, Birth By Sleep would be the first game, but it would spoil quite a few things and not be as cool since everyone knows and love Sora, Riku, Kairi and the Disney cast.

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Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts introduced Sora and his friends, Riku and Kairi, with the trio leaving their island for adventures. Sora soon gets separated from his friends and runs into Donald and Goofy, who were ordered by King Mickey to find the key as he sensed great danger approaching. Sora is equipped with a keyblade, a powerful weapon and tool, and travels around different worlds based on Disney movies.

Sora fights with the Keyblade and magic, Donald is your mage, and Goofy is your knight class fighter. As you control Sora, the other two will fight alongside you as you take on waves of heartless and bosses from Disney movies who want to control the worlds as they please.

Some of the worlds included are Agrabah from Aladdin, Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Neverland from Peter Pan, and Olympus Colosseum from Hercules. Just like with Final Fantasy games, you can get summons that can help you in battle, and all the summons are Disney characters like Simba, Genie, Tinkerbell and Bambi.

The version used in 1.5 ReMix, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, is now available outside of Japan. The original Kingdom Hearts in Japan didn’t have Sephiroth and the extra bosses originally, but they later released Final Mix which included the North American add-ons and also included an extra boss of their own, “Unknown.” A few changes to the battle menu would be added to Final Mix and used in Kingdom Hearts 2. New voiceless scenes were added to explain more of the story. Square even added new Heartless in the game along with new synthesis items and materials. Finally a new ending was added for completing Jiminy’s journal or beating the game on proud mode that would tie Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. This ending was known as “Another Side, Another Story [deep dive].”

kingdom-hearts-1-5-hd-remix-0002-620x350Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories

Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories originally started off as a Gameboy Advance game, which released a year and a half after Kingdom Hearts and was developed by Jupiter (The World Ends with You). The Gameboy Advance version would later get a large graphical makeover to the PlayStation 2 packaged with Kingdom Hearts Final Mix 2 in Japan. Years later Square Enix would localize the game which did come as quite a surprise.

Taking place right after Kingdom Hearts, Sora, Donald and Goofy are trying to find their way back to everyone and wind up in a mysterious castle that has the ability to bring out memories from Sora. The problem is that Sora is the only one who can travel between the worlds, nearly all of them are from his memories and feature the people he has met on his adventure. Riku seems to be a part of this and slowly Sora is starting to forget things.

The game has a completely different gameplay style which has Sora fighting solo. Sora’s attacks are based on cards he collects and gathers from fighting enemies. His combos are based on what skills you unlock by leveling up, and Sora collects character cards that act as summons, spell cards to cast magic, and keyblade cards to attack (it can get tricky). Each card has a number and your opponents also have cards. You can stack cards to create a higher number and combos (up to 3 cards), but your opponent can break your attack by having a higher number than you. When you run out of cards you can reshuffle your deck, but the cards you started your combo with won’t return until you refresh or start a new battle. If you or the opponent have a large combo, you can cancel it by using a number 0 card; your opponents can do the same, so strategy is a huge key.

The cards also play another important role in the game aside from battles. Cards are also used to unlock doors in the game, and each area has doors that require a color or a total number or specific number card to unlock. It can get pretty annoying having everything and then battling or going back quite a bit to hopefully get the number you want. Getting the cards you want isn’t always that easy, but there is a good chance you can find the number you need (it won’t always happen) by farming early.

It’s a fun game to play and helps you dive deeper into the story, but the gameplay can get stale and boring since it is focused on cards. Some of the battles can get pretty interesting, especially with certain Organization XIII members. The game gets better when you reach Riku’s story, which is another game and story itself.

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Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is one giant movie. The game was made for the Nintendo DS and focuses on Roxas. From the day Roxas was awaken at the start of Kingdom Hearts 2, you control and experience what Roxas did for all those days, which reveals his thoughts, feelingsa nd relationship with his best friends Axel and Xion.

Rather than converting the game from the DS, you instead get about 3 hours of videos from the game. You can sit back, make some popcorn, grab a soda and watch all the cutscenes and scenarios from the HD-converted game. It’s a pretty interesting tale to watch. Probably the funniest thing about the game is that you get trophies for watching all the chapters. Congratulations you got a platinum for watching a movie!

Kingdom Hearts is one of the those games that plays great anytime. The visual improvements just make the game that much more enjoyable to play. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX is a great pick up whether this is your first time playing the series ever. RE: Chain gives you a different gameplay style you will either enjoy or hate it, but is an interesting game and nice addition. The characters and worlds you explore are fun and exciting as you become part of that world. While Kingdom Hearts Final Mix alone is worth the price of the game, RE: Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days are great add-ons to enjoy.

Grade: A-

The Good

  • Three games for $39.99 is a nice plus, especially with a classic game like Kingdom Hearts. No need to pull out the PlayStation 2 or Gameboy Advance to play these games, and with the HD treatment it looks visually awesome, even if it is an older game.
  • Disney characters galore with voice acting. With the added Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and DTS Digital Surround 5.1, this is something that sounds just as good as it looks.
  • Also one of the better select game menu screens of any HD collection to date, simple and pretty to look at right off the bat.

The Bad

  • The camera isn’t always your best friend. In battles against tons of enemies, you will dodge or fly around, and the camera won’t always work to your advantage, requiring you to keep fixing it over and over. It also doesn’t help against certain boss fights either.
  • 358/2 Days – While I enjoyed watching the full story with the enhanced graphics, it kind of took away from all the work you once did in the game. The fun part of the game was exploring and interacting with everything, but now you just got a nice movie to watch.
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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.