11 years ago, Square-Enix released a game that took the definition of cross-over to a whole new level. The collaboration with Disney made a game that’s filled with Disney characters such as Donald Duck, Goofy, and, of course, Mickey Mouse, just to name a few. They end up meeting characters from one of Square-Enix’s (or rather SquareSoft’s) iconic franchises, Final Fantasy. Fast forward to 2013, Square-Enix is letting us relive the magical world of Kingdom Hearts again through the HD remake, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix.
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 basically is two games in one, with bonus scenes from Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. First is the Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, the Japanese updated version of Kingdom Hearts, which includes new enemies, new weapons and additional cutscenes. Kingdom Hearts starts with trio of friends- Sora, Riku, and Kairi, who want to go explore and see the outside worlds. At the same time, trouble brews in Disney’s Castle with King Mickey (who else) going missing. Of course, this leads Goofy and Donald Duck to go search for their king with an additional mission, that of searching for the key bearer who can stop the current crisis (which ends up being Sora). To those who played Kingdom Hearts before, the gameplay stays the same. Sadly, some of the same problems still persist, especially those dealing with the camera. Parts of the platforming, mainly the jumps, also can cause some problems, though eventually these are overcome later in the game as you obtain the appropriate abilities. The control layout may take time to learn. At times I was struggling between jumping and attacking, two things you will do plenty of throughout the game. The graphics are sharp, particularly the background settings, as is to be expected from getting an HD overhaul.
The 1.5 Remix version of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, is based on the PlayStation 2 version rather than its Game Boy Advanced counterpart. Chain of Memories, instead of being an action-based game, places more emphasis on card battles. Not only is the battle system different, but also how Sora traverses the world ( the place that Sora and his companion are in serves as the “world” Sora previously visited in Final Mix). In all, a lot of the Final Mix elements are in Chain of Memories. Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, unlike the other two pieces of content in this HD package, is not a game. Instead, 358/2 Days is a cinematic retelling of the game focused on Roxas, the protagonist of Kingdom Hearts II and the Heartless of Sora. The game depicts Roxas in a group call Organization. This, together with Re: Chain of Memories, serves as a backstory to Kingdom Hearts II. Alas, without action, 358/2 Days quickly becomes dull.
The collection of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix is a must buy and a classic for JRPG enthusiasts, especially with the news that Kingdom Hearts III will be released on the PS4/X-Box One. It’s a good time to take the opportunity to grasp the beginning of the Kingdom Hearts saga, and it has been announced that Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix HD will be released in 2014, containing two games, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix and the HD cinematic of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. The compilation will complete the saga, setting the stage for Kingdom Hearts 3 on the next generation of consoles.
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