Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix Preview
No, it isn’t Kingdom Hearts III and at this rate, I’m not sure we should expect that any time soon. However, being able to once again enjoy the colorful Disney world in full high-definition is a definite plus. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix has been confirmed for launch in the US some time later this year, and action/RPG aficionados are already salivating. It may not feature the two games you most want to see redone in high-def, but at least it’s Kingdom Hearts. Besides, this mini collection also features some interesting new tweaks and alterations, along with some expected additions. Gotta add this one to your collection.
The two games included are the well-received Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, which was previously exclusive to Japan, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories. The package will also boast HD cinematic story videos from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, plus upgraded gameplay mechanics and of course, Trophies. Players will be able to return to the origins of the franchise, as the familiar cast returns— Sora, Donald, Goofy, Riku and Mickey are coming back, and it’s time to expand upon the appealing plot we all know and love. We’ll also be able to test our skills against new enemies and sample new missions, while checking out fresh weapons.
Those remastered scenes from 358/2 Days span nearly three hours (two hours and fifty minutes, to be exact) and even these scenes will support Trophies. On top of which, collectors will undoubtedly enjoy the 66 music tracks spanning all three games. These songs have been touched up as well, as they’ve gone through a re-recording with live instrumentation. As all audiophiles know, this is in stark contract to when Square Enix had to use the PS2’s built-in tone generator for the background music. So we’re not just talking about an HD overhaul; this production involves some serious touching-up from start to finish, and the extras are definitely worthwhile.
As for the gameplay, the familiar fast-paced combat will return, but the developers have altered things for the sake of Summons and Reaction Commands. The standard commands (Attack, Magic and Item) are still there, but now the Summon option has its own slot, and the Reaction Commands from Kingdom Hearts II have also been included. These appear when the battle situation allows them to happen, and they’re executed simply by pressing the Triangle button. The camera should also work more like it did in KHII, as we’ll use the right analog stick rather than the L2 and R2 buttons to position the camera. That’s definitely a better setup.
Kingdom Hearts is iconic. It’s too bad that we never saw a true sequel for the PlayStation 3 this generation, but maybe Square Enix will make all the fans happy during the PS4 era. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though, so perhaps it’s best to take what we can get. Therefore, fans want to own the HD package in question, which could be one of the better high-definition overhauls of the generation. There’s just so much to like about the tweaks and extras, and the overall feel of the mechanics should be quite refined. Look for Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix to hit store shelves this fall. And keep hoping for KHIII if you’re an eternal optimist.
3/19/2013 Ben Dutka