Graphics:
8.0
Gameplay:
8.8
Sound:
9.0
Control:
8.3
Replay Value:
8.7
Overall Rating:
8.5
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Square Enix
Developer:
Square Enix
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action/RPG
Release Date:
December 2, 2014


Kingdom Hearts III is still a ways off but as a consolation, Square Enix has delivered another ReMIX compilation. It’s a must for fans of the franchise, even if there are few lingering drawbacks in the older games. Featuring Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (a PS2 production previously only available in Japan), Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix (a PSP title exclusive to Japan), and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded , this attractive package is bursting with content. Rife with color and nostalgia, the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX is just too good to miss.

The visual update these titles have received is indeed impressive. In fact, if you’re seeing them for the first time, you might believe they were originally developed for the PlayStation 3. Not so much with Birth by Sleep as the limitations of the PSP remain obvious, but Kingdom Hearts II has never looked better. There are a few graphical inconsistencies that are telltale signs of aging but really, those aren’t crippling. Actually, one could argue that such eccentricities add to the nostalgia value; if the presentations were completely overhauled, they wouldn’t look or feel like good ol’ KH, now would they?

The sound has always been a huge highlight of the franchise and that hasn’t changed. While I’m still not a huge fan of all the voice acting (never did like Sora much), most performances are professionally acted and well-choreographed. The music is fantastic, as always, and the effects reflect the light, bouncy nature of each game. Kingdom Hearts is one of those games where I’d know it immediately by sound alone. The gorgeous music selections, fitting and even unique combat effects, and that patented Disney influence shine through. It’s hard to tell if the audio has been remastered or revamped but such improvements weren’t necessary in the first place.

Okay, so technically, we’re only talking about two games. The third title, Re:coded , is a a movie and unfortunately, not a very good one. This mediocre piece of animation is the only reason the package doesn’t nail down a solid 9. Firstly, it doesn’t really add to the overall available content because it’s not interactive. That’s what gamers care about, yes? Secondly, because it’s barely average, it drags the entire production down. I don’t know why Square Enix and other Japanese publishers insist on such contrivances; perhaps the hardcore fans appreciate them but for most gamers, these movies are just unnecessary.

Moving past that, however, we get two excellent Kingdom Hearts games. KHII was an instant classic when it released and surprisingly, it stands the test of time exceedingly well. An action/RPG in just about every sense of the term, fighting plays out in real-time and you can pause the action to assess and issue new commands. Sora, Donald and Goofy comprise the main party and each has a distinct set of skills, along with character-specific strengths and weaknesses. Same goes for each of the great Disney characters you meet during your intrepid quest, although it always bugged me that I couldn’t keep any of them in my party after completing their world.