Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Preview
We’ll have to wait a while for Kingdom Hearts III but in the meantime, we can relive previous entries with compilations like Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. This is a follow-up effort to the 1.5 ReMIX collection that launched last year, and it’ll feature plenty of never-before-seen footage for fans in North America. It will only be available on the PlayStation 3 (not the PS4), so here’s hoping all you Disney and action/RPG aficionados held onto your “old” system. You’re guaranteed many hours of fun with your ol’ pals, Sora, Donald and Goofy!
This particular compilation boasts the following: Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, a PS2 title previously exclusive to Japan, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix, a PSP game exclusive to Japan, and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded boasting HD remastered cinematics. The former two titles will be available for the very first time in North America and Europe, and those remastered cinematic cut-scenes from the DS game Re:coded should be awfully spiffy. Such games really only shine when given the power of consoles; handhelds often hold back the production values, and Square Enix is well-known for excelling in that category.
Whether you’re new to the well-crafted franchise or you’re indulging for the first time, you will appreciate the origins of the revered IP. Featuring characters Terra, Aqua and Ventus – just to name a few – these games always featured great stories, legendary characters from the Square Enix and Disney realm, and a ton of content. You should also enjoy the technical upgrades in each title. For instance, the backgrounds and textures of Kingdom Hearts II have been changed from the original 4:3 ratio to the standard 16:9 ratio for high-definition. About 80 percent of the game’s original audio has been remixed, too, so even if you’ve played KHII before, you should still be impressed.
For Birth by Sleep, which was originally on PSP, the developers have added more detail to the character designs, and they’ve tweaked the gameplay mechanic as well. You’ll now be able to control the camera with the right analog stick, as per normal with most 3D console games. Also, the Mirage Arena has been reworked to be a solely single-player experience; it was a multiplayer mode in the initial offering. In doing so, the team adjusted the enemy difficulty and AI, so it won’t feel overwhelmingly challenging for only one player. Personally, I’ll be very interested to see how this PSP game looks on the PS3, especially after all the work they’ve done to it.
As for Re:coded, I never had a DS so this will be a first. However, it’s important to note that it’ll be adapted into a cinematic form, much like Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days that came with Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX. Still, this at least adds to the lore of the esteemed series, and we’ll get new voice acting and additional events and scenes. This should help flesh out the early narrative of the franchise, and it’ll give us non-DS owners a chance to catch up. Above all else, though, this collection will give us all something to do until we get a concrete date for KHIII, which is coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Lastly, don’t forget that anyone who pre-orders the game will receive an automatic upgrade to the Limited Edition, which will grant you a beautiful collectible pin, featuring the three KH mainstays. True core fans are gonna want it, I’m sure.
7/30/2014 Ben Dutka