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The new hd Collection Standard - Kingdom Hearts hd 1.5 Remix Review | The Gamers Blog

The new hd Collection Standard — Kingdom Hearts hd 1.5 Remix Review

 

 

When look­ing over my notes for this game, I came to the deci­sion to review this title as a pack­age, not a new stand­alone game. The orig­i­nal King­dom Hearts was released over 10 years ago, a lit­tle late to review a game based on its mer­its as a new title, despite my first play through of the title, though I am no stranger to the fran­chise. I do want to, how­ever, go over the changes made in this HD col­lec­tion and will judge the title based on what it is, an HD col­lec­tion. Over 40+ hours with the title, I had ups, downs, and a new bar at which to set HD col­lec­tions at.

King­dom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix is com­prised of three titles, King­dom Hearts: Final Remix (was a Japan exclu­sive), King­dom Hearts Re: Chain of Mem­o­ries, and 358/2 Days (pro­nounced 358 over 2 Days). The first two titles are in their entirety, but 358/2 Days is just re-mastered cut scenes with no game­play to speak of, which was cut due to hav­ing to take the time to rebuild the game( it was a DS exclu­sive), but there is still plenty of value here for your money. I com­pleted King­dom Hearts Final Mix, with­out obtain­ing every item and did not fin­ish every side quest in about 33 hours. The rest of the time was put into Chain of Mem­o­ries and watch­ing about an hour’s worth of the videos from 358/2 Days. Let’s break the title down.

 

King­dom Hearts was orig­i­nally released back in 2002 for the PlaySta­tion 2. It was a crit­i­cal and com­mer­cial suc­cess, though it did have some prob­lems. The ver­sion that is included in this col­lec­tion is the Japan­ese exclu­sive “Final Mix”. The title fol­lows Sora, Don­ald, and Goofy on their adven­tures though orig­i­nal and Dis­ney inspired worlds to stop Ansem and defeat the Heart­less. Accord­ing to the games direc­tor, Tet­suya Nomura, most of the orig­i­nal game assets were lost over time, so most of this title has been rebuilt. The biggest changes have been to the cam­era and to the visu­als. Despite some weird mouth tex­tures here and there, this has set the bar for visu­als in an HD col­lec­tion. The games art direc­tions pops off the screen in great 1080p res­o­lu­tion and could eas­ily sur­pass some titles that were made more recently. Best of all, unlike some other HD col­lec­tions the full motion videos have also received the HD treat­ment, mak­ing them a visual treat. The cam­era sys­tem has been reworked from the shoul­der but­tons in the orig­i­nal game to the right thumb stick to mimic the cam­era from King­dom Hearts 2. While this is a great update, the cam­era can still be erratic and made some jar­ring move­ments dur­ing com­bat and other seg­ments. Plat­form­ing with the new cam­era made it more tol­er­a­ble, but the weird float­ing physics still kept it a chore. All of the music has been redone with live com­po­si­tions, instead of the syn­thetic based tones found in the orig­i­nal. I wish I had a set of head­phones for my PlaySta­tion 3, this game would have ben­e­fited from a bet­ter out­put than my T.V.’s speak­ers; the music is fan­tas­tic. The orig­i­nal voice work is still there, with per­for­mances by Haley Joel Osment, Billy Zane, David Bore­anaz, and James Woods. The voice overs are hit or miss in their act­ing abil­ity, but serve their pur­pose well. This is the meat and pota­toes of the col­lec­tion and as an HD re-master it is hard to fault. The game is beau­ti­ful, sounds great, and plays great. There are some design issues I have with the game, such as the lock-on being iffy at times, and the hunt for what to do next in some lev­els; but this is things that are a decade old, and are moot at this point. See­ing and hear­ing how great this title is now in the HD era, was a real treat, gripes aside.

 

Re: Chain of Mem­o­ries is a PS2 remake of the Game Boy Advanced title. The game plays dif­fer­ently than other titles in the series, with bat­tles using cards, instead of the typ­i­cal action com­mand sys­tem. Chain of Mem­o­ries takes place imme­di­ately after the first King­dom Hearts and has Sora and com­pany explor­ing the Cas­tle of Obliv­ion. The Cas­tle bases its rooms off of Sora’s mem­o­ries so expect a lot of recy­cled envi­ron­ments from the pre­vi­ous title. The card bat­tle sys­tem takes some time get­ting used to, and I still feel I don’t have a well enough grip on its intri­ca­cies. The game is much shorter than King­dom Hearts but is expected to be played through twice, so after two plays, you should clock in around the orig­i­nals run time. The game is much nar­rower in its scope and feel, and lin­ear by nature. It is a fun dis­trac­tion if you are look­ing for more to do with the 1.5 Remix after you have fin­ished King­dom Hearts, I would not by the col­lec­tion just for this title.

 

358/2 Days has zero game­play. It is a col­lec­tion of videos, play­ing out the story for the DS exclu­sive title. The col­lec­tion of videos spans almost 3 hours and while some are bet­ter than oth­ers, it can feel a bit drawn out and dull at times. It seems like a weird omis­sion to not include new game­play; this does com­plete the story line up until King­dom Hearts 2. As far as the chrono­log­i­cal order is con­cerned, these three titles line up one after another. In the grand scheme of things, if there is to be a King­dom Hearts 2 HD com­pi­la­tion, any new com­ers to the series would be caught up to speed with the over­all story arch, out­side of the PSP pre­quel, Birth by Sleep. While I am sure the game­play was cut for the sake of time and money, it is kind of a dis­ap­point­ment that it wasn’t included. The videos were made from the in-game engine and do include the beau­ti­ful updated visu­als as well as voice over work. There are tro­phies to unlock with the videos, which was a weird choice, though some maybe gru­el­ing for tro­phy hunters, be pre­pared to watch a lot of videos.

 

If you are a fan of Square Enix or the King­dom Heart series, then you already have the col­lec­tion. For those look­ing to get into the series, or some­thing a lit­tle light­hearted and dif­fer­ent, this is the col­lec­tion to buy. For $40, you could have received less con­tent, but Square Enix was very gen­er­ous in this col­lec­tion. King­dom Hearts, like I stated above, is the main course of this col­lec­tion and should be pur­chased as such. Chain of Mem­o­ries and 358/2 Days should be treated like DVD extra fea­tures, they are good addi­tions, but if you skip them, you are not miss­ing out on much. As a HD col­lec­tion, it is fan­tas­tic. I thought I had seen the pin­na­cle of these col­lec­tions with the likes of the ICO, Metal Gear Solid, and Sly Cooper col­lec­tions, but Square Enix has sur­passed these. While the oth­ers have included more sta­ble frame rates and higher res­o­lu­tions, most of King­dom Hearts Final Mix was rebuilt with this col­lec­tion in mind. It may be lack­ing in the amount of games offered ver­sus other col­lec­tions; the out­stand­ing reworked visu­als and audio place this at the top of my HD col­lec­tion list. The pack­ag­ing is one other pos­i­tive going for this col­lec­tion. I post an arti­cle about the art book pack­ag­ing on Tues­day, and if you are think­ing of pick­ing up the title go for the art book case if you can. I love the idea of pack­ag­ing being an art book, hint­ing at the ever pos­si­bil­ity of games as art. In clos­ing, come for the beau­ti­ful King­dom Hearts Final Mix; though be aware some game­play ele­ments have not aged par­tic­u­larly well. Chain of Mem­o­ries and the 358/2 Days the­ater are after din­ner mints that can be taken as you please, or you can ignore alto­gether. As an HD col­lec­tion, it sets a new bar for audio and visual re-mastering. I hope Square Enix put this much love into the upcom­ing Final Fan­tasy X/X-2 HD Collection.

 

+ A plethora of con­tent for $40

+ Beau­ti­ful visuals

+ Reworked audio is a treat

+ FMV’s have HD resolution

+ A great pack­age for new com­ers to the franchise

+ Art­book pack­ag­ing is fantastic

+ Despite cam­era issues and some cheap deaths, the game is still a blast to play

+ PS3 dynamic themes as unlocks

- The reworked cam­era is a nice addi­tion, but is still awful

- 358/2 Days was deliv­ered as a 3 hour movie

- Tro­phy hunters have to sit through the three hour movie

–Chain of Mem­o­ries can be a lit­tle repet­i­tive and the com­bat takes some get­ting use to

Final Score — 8.5/10

King­dom Hearts HD Review

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