|Release: December 2, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
The Square-Enix booth at E3 this year was… unimpressive to say the least. They had setups for Murdered: Soul Suspect, which had just come out. They had setups for Nosgoth, which was an online game that is already available to be played. In fact, one of the only games that they had to show that was actually an upcoming title, was Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix, an HD compilation of Kingdom Hearts 2, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded.
Let’s start at the beginning. As is usually the case with these Kingdom Hearts retreads, you aren’t going to see much new content here. Granted, every game is its “final mix” version, which came out in Japan, but mostly all of us have seen the hidden cutscenes in these versions already. This means you’ll be privy to the armor fight in KH2, and the special ending teasers in Birth By Sleep, but that’s about it.
As far as graphics go, they are pretty outstanding. Kingdom Hearts 2 is probably the better looking of the two games, if only because it was a console game to begin with. Its age is definitely showing, which is unfortunate, but it’s still as fun as ever to play. The team seems to have spent a lot of time on hit and attack effects and it shows. The game moves smoother than it ever did and is very responsive, which is a plus, especially when fighting in Master or Valor form. You’ll quickly realize that all the stages, enemies, and attacks are the same though and that might make the game get a little boring.
Birth by Sleep, on the other hand, probably benefits the most from this compilation. It has a much more drastic facelift, even though it’s obvious that it was a PSP game. It doesn’t look as nice as Kingdom Hearts 2 but compared to the original the difference is night and day. Once again, you aren’t going to see any new content here, but the game moves incredibly smoothly. This is also the first time that we will be able to play the game on a console, rather than a handheld, which will be a big first for a lot of people who did not own a PSP.
The final piece of this puzzle is cutscenes from Re:Coded, and here we might actually be in luck. It was noted that there will be completely new scenes in this compilation. They were animated and voice acted specifically this compilation. They are meant to fill in the gaps between the cutscenes of Re:Coded, in order to take place of the gameplay. That’s good because, frankly, I had absolutely no idea what Re:Coded was even about.
And that’s actually the thing that I find to be most depressing about this new Kingdom Hearts remix. You see, the Kingdom Hearts franchise has practically pole vaulted the shark at this point. The story is so convoluted, almost no one can follow it. There is something like 5 Soras and 7 Xehanorts and I’m still not sure who the actual villain is. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix is supposed to fill in the gaps between Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3. But honestly, I don’t see many gaps being filled in here, except for maybe the Re:Coded cutscenes.
Overall, I don’t know how to feel about this remake. I’ve played all of these games before so, the value just isn’t there for me. If you missed KH2 or Birth By Sleep, this is a fantastic time to catch up on your KH lore. However, if you already played both, there just isn’t a lot here to warrant purchasing the game again.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: June 25, 2014