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Kingdom Hearts

Review: Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX

Dec 15 // Brittany Vincent
Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX (PlayStation 3)Developer: Square Enix 1st Production Department Publisher: Square Enix Released: December 2, 2014MSRP: $39.99  But the mind’s eye can all too often paint a picture through rose-tinted lenses. When Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ReMIX was released last year, I completed my first playthrough of Kingdom Hearts since the release of Kingdom Hearts II. I’m still very much in love with the wonderful world and story told in the first game, but upon revisiting, it definitely felt like a game from the early 2000s. Additionally, 358/2 Days was reduced to an abhorrent extended cut scene. Still, even for its flaws I was still impressed with the effort that had gone into Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ReMIX. So it makes sense that I was apprehensive about Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX possibly having aged as badly as the first entry had. Luckily, my fears were for naught. Kingdom Hearts II in its original iteration expands and improves on the first game, improving the camera as well as tightening and expanding the combat system. All the bonuses from the Japanese only Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix are here as well, with all the new (to the West) cutscenes being fully voiced in English. Roxas also receives his Final Mix makeover and many of the new cutscenes are there to flesh out his story. The members of Organization XIII that were taken out in Chain of Memories are also available to fight in the various worlds and add to the already impressive list of boss fights. In addition to the massively sharpened visuals, the game also features a completely re-orchestrated soundtrack. [embed]284872:56663:0[/embed] This is a faithful translation of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and besides the updated visuals, audio, and trophy support, nothing really new has been added. However, since that version of the game was never released in the west, and it added quite a bit more than the first game’s Final Mix edition, it brings a lot to the table. However, it would have been nice to have a few changes in place, particularly having the option to streamline the boring prologue (a sentiment I share about the first Kingdom Hearts as well). Another issue players might have is that Kingdom Hearts II is much too easy, the ReMIX version remedies this a bit with the addition of the new Critical Mode difficulty. Still, even on that mode, veteran gamers won’t have much trouble sweeping through the game. This is the definitive edition of Kingdom Hearts II though, and is great for both those that are new to the series or those that want a replay before Kingdom Hearts III drops. To me, the crowning achievement of the collection is the prequel to the original game, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix. Unlike 1.5 ReMIX’s handheld offering, Birth By Sleep feels original and vital. Where Re: Chain of Memories felt like more of a coda to the first game, Birth By Sleep features original characters (later appearing briefly in Dream Drop Distance) and fills in a ton of back story, which helps greatly to untangle the overall plot of the Kingdom Hearts series. The visual fidelity of this edition of Birth By Sleep is almost as good as what Square Enix did with Kingdom Hearts II HD, which is surprising given the title's origin on the PSP. The camera controls have been changed similarly to the improvements seen in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix HD and a few of the games songs have received re-orchestration. The main draw of this game for me is just how much more fun it is on PS3. While Kingdom Hearts I and II saw improved play in their ReMIX versions, this game seemed like a completely new experience. Being able to really appreciate the work that went into the visuals in this game that were somewhat obscured on the smaller screen of the PSP gave me a chance to look at this entry in a new light. Along with the more complex combat system and the change of pace in narrative compared to the main entries, the HD version of this game has allowed the enjoyment of a game I hadn’t really given a chance to before. Last and certainly least, is a 3 hour summary of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. It’s done a bit better than the first ReMIX’s take on 358/2 Days, but I was not a fan of the source material as it didn’t add a ton to the story and was fairly nonsensical (even for Kingdom Hearts.) Unless you really want to watch it, you can easily catch up on the story by reading a wiki or playing the original game on DS if you’re so inclined. Re:coded, while the weaker part of this offering, is not an integral part of the overall plot and it’s obvious that the developers worked with what they had the best they could. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX was even more enjoyable to me than the first collection. I have a few nit-picky problems with the entries, and the omission of any form (even a movie) of Dream Drop Distance, while understandable, is a bit disappointing. However, these games are iconic, and these HD remasters help remind why. The unlikely blend of Disney and Square Enix have formed a truly magical world and I can’t help but smile every time I enter it. While Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix HD didn’t add a ton, it didn’t particularly have to. It is, as it was upon its first release, a polished and wonderful experience, only made better by its conversion to HD. Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix HD on the other hand is almost worth the purchase by itself. It adds a ton of depth to the Kingdom Hearts universe without making the mistake of further muddling the plot. For me, it finally brought the narrative together in a way that made me genuinely fond of the Kingdom Hearts IP in and of itself, and not just for the fun and fantastic presentation of the source material.  For those new to the Kingdom Hearts universe or fans just brushing up before the release of Kingdom Hearts III, this is one of the most faithful remasters of any game I’ve ever played. With the PlayStation 3 nearing obsolescence, it’s great to see such an amazing system have this collection as one of its swan songs. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Kingdom Hearts review photo
Simpler and cleaner
The odd concept of melding a host of characters from Square Enix’s seminal Final Fantasy series, Disney’s perennial film favorites, and a cast of original personalities, seemed as though it was destined for failur...

Kingdom Hearts III photo
Kingdom Hearts III

Star Wars and Marvel on the table for Kingdom Hearts III


Darth Vader as Organization XIII
Dec 02
// Steven Hansen
First, let's remember that Kingdom Hearts 2 did Pirates of the Caribbean and John Depp. And they released games called Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Birth By Sleep, and Dream Drop Distance, so the series is i...
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I'm a sucker for a good Kingdom Hearts trailer: HD 2.5 ReMIX


Sparkles and chimes
Oct 08
// Dale North
That very first trailer for the first Kingdom Hearts game killed me. I still remember that first viewing, being completely overcome with goosebumps and trying to hide that I was tearing up. Moving? Oh man. Yes. I still love ...
Kingdom Hearts III photo
Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III will run on Unreal Engine 4 from now on


Square Enix's Luminous Engine is no longer the golden child
Oct 07
// Brittany Vincent
Tetsuya Nomura has revealed to a recent issue of Famitsu that Kingdom Hearts III will no longer be using Square Enix’s Luminous Engine going forward. Instead, it will be using Unreal Engine 4 while continuing developmen...
 Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 photo
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5

Well, here are some more Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix screenshots


Still lookin' familiar
Oct 02
// Brittany Vincent
Just in time for the two new trailers that debuted in Japan, we've got a whole new bushel of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix screenshots for your viewing pleasure. There's about 30 here, of which Sora making a goofy face nex...
Kingdom Hearts photo
Kingdom Hearts

New Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix commercials just hit Japanese TV


Get hype!
Oct 01
// Brittany Vincent
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is hitting Japanese shelves this Thursday, and Square Enix has started their television advertising campaign with these two commercials titled "Friend" and "Story." The "Friend" trailer can be see...
PlayStation 4 photo
PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 software sales have surpassed 30 million games in retail stores


I'd probably buy two more just to play The Phantom Pain
Aug 13
// Brittany Vincent
Sony has announced that the PlayStation 4 software sales are impressively strong, with more than 30 million games sold in retail stores and digital downloads as of August 10. Software sales are anticipated to continue to grow...
Kingdom Hearts photo
Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX gets Ultimania book


And here I am still waiting for the Final Fantasy Ultimania series to be released
Jul 23
// Brittany Vincent
According to a listing on Amazon Japan, Square Enix is preparing to release a Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMIX Ultimania book: Kingdom Hearts Series Ultimania Memorial. It will supposedly cover all the games in the series to prepare ...
Kingdom Hearts X[chi] photo
Kingdom Hearts X[chi]

Kingdom Hearts X[chi] 'was' on track for localization


But missed the mark when Playdom was closed
Jul 16
// Chris Carter
Kingdom Hearts X[chi] is a bit of a lost number when it comes to the franchise. Although pretty much every other iteration was localized (even the mobile games in the form of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, chi is still a missi...
Kingdom Hearts photo
Kingdom Hearts

Here's a new Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX trailer to tide you over


Not much longer to wait now, seriously
Jul 02
// Brittany Vincent
Can't wait for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX to arrive this December 2? You're not alone. Kingdom Hearts 2 was the best of the series for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. I can't wait to take a walk down memory la...
Kingdom Hearts photo
Kingdom Hearts

Here's a whole bushel of Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX screens


Lookin' slick there, Sora
Jun 20
// Brittany Vincent
Ready for Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX? No, you're wanting Kingdom Hearts 3 instead? Me too. But on the off chance you want to experience the second game again, here's a bevy of newly-released screens that showcase how great-l...
Square Enix photo
Square Enix

Square Enix confirms no new developments of FFXV and Kingdom Hearts 3 at E3 2014


Boooo
Jun 06
// Chris Carter
Final Fantasy XV: An Indignant Boy Eating Food, will not have any new developments at E3 this year. Neither will Kingdom Hearts 3. When asked point blank by Famitsu if these will show at E3, Square's Shinji Hashimoto stated, ...
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Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix out December 2, Kingdom Hearts 3 teased


Out December 5, 2014 in Europe
Jun 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
That's pretty much the news, folks. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix is out December 2, 2014 in North America, and December 5, 2014 in Europe. For more on Kingdom Hearts, co-director Tai Yasue will be on Square Enix Presents livestream on June 10 during E3 2014 to answer fan questions during the show. Oh, and watch this special E3 trailer through the end for a Kingdom Hearts III tease.
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Uh-hyuk! New Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX screens


Square Enix reminds that 2.5 ReMIX is on its way
May 30
// Dale North
The Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep are coming our way this year as Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. This means we'll get new weapons, enemies, abilities, mini-games, and even cutscenes i...
Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV 'far into development,' 'high priority'


Not competing with Kingdom Hearts 3
Feb 14
// Steven Hansen
Final Fantasy XV, first announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy XIII: Versus before re-branding last E3, is "quite far into development," series producer Yoshinori Kitase told VideoGamer. I bloody well hope so. It's been eight god...
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Here's a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix


Re-re-re-re-remix
Dec 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Here's a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix straight from the Jump Festa event in Japan. Sora, Roxas, Riku, and Namine are doing things with a bunch of Disney folks like Princess Aurora, Hercules, King Mickey, Capta...
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Kingdom Hearts III: Possible Vita remote play, more video


Donald, Goofy get AI boosts?
Oct 16
// Dale North
You saw the hot new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III from Japan's D23 Expo, but there's a bit more to see in this PS4 Conversations With Creators video with Tetsuya Nomura. It's really just a mix of other things we've seen bef...
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Magical rides that are weapons
Following the news of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix comes this brand new Kingdom Hearts III trailer from Disney's D23 Expo happening in Japan right now. The trailer is just a couple of major fight scenes that sees Sora, Donald...

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Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix confirmed for 2014


YES!
Oct 14
// Dale North
Today at D23 Expo in Japan, Square Enix announced that Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX has started development. We'll see it here in North America some time in 2014.  This follow up to the recently released. Kingdom Hearts ...

Review: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX

Sep 16 // Chris Carter
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX (PS3)Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleased: September 10, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Before the franchise was muddled with fractions in its titles and eons of "hearts darkness darkness hearts" dialog, there was the original Kingdom Hearts. Although it got a bit mystical and hard to follow at points, people fell in love with it, because it was a great action game that allowed them to adventure into the Cave of Wonders and befriend Cloud Strife over the course of an afternoon. It was an attempt to tug at all the right strings and feels of fans everywhere, and it worked. Kingdom Hearts puts you in the shoes of Sora, a keyblade wielder that has the power to travel across the universe and right as many wrongs as he can along the way. But he won't be alone, as Disney favorites Goofy and Donald will be there for emotional and practical support as you travel across lands like Aladdin's Agrabah and The Little Mermaid's Atlantica. Once the game gets rolling it doesn't really stop, as nearly every world will have you guessing as to who or what could show up, with some of the most top-notch voicework in the entire industry to boot. A few of the game's inherent issues are still there to rear their ugly head, however. It still takes a full hour to get started, after the intro, the beach, and Traverse Town are all said and done. There are still Gummi Ship sections that unnecessarily (although I'll fully admit that I do somewhat enjoy them) force you to wait before you explore new and exciting areas. But despite the lack of retooling in a few areas it's not completely same old Kingdom Hearts you know and love, as there are a few welcome mechanical additions on top of the obvious great looking HD sheen. For one, the shoddy L2+R2 camera system is gone, replaced by a sensible and modern right analog stick control system. You can also finally skip cutscenes on your first playthrough (YES!), so fans who have beaten the game more times than they can count don't have to sit through scene after scene when they can recite the lines by memory. Then, there's one major addition that's the biggest of all -- the fact that the HD set contains the Final Mix of Kingdom Hearts -- a version that was previously exclusive to Japan, and came with bonuses and additional content. For starters, a lot of the game's enemies are different compared to the original, and are otherwise remixed -- so it's not going to be exactly how you remember it if you haven't experienced Final Mix. There are also new weapons, items, abilities, and in-game story documents, as well as additional cutscenes, a few new bosses, and a revamped difficulty system that makes the Easy setting more accommodating and Hard more punishing. If you think back to playing Kingdom Hearts and cannot get past the Gummy Ship sections or the lengthy Beach and Traverse Town intros, I don't believe playing it in HD will magically change your mind. But personally, I think HD 1.5 ReMIX is worth it for Final Mix alone -- that's how good the original game is. Re:Chain of Memories is the second part of the compilation, and it plays a bit differently than the first entry. Okay, it's completely different, as it's one of those card combat games. Wait, where are you going?! Re:Chain is actually a solid remake of the GameBoy Advance game Chain of Memories (making this an HD remake of a PS2 3D remake), and adds a bit more action-oriented combat to the mix to help ease in those who normally cringe at the mere mention of "cards." My opinion on Chain of Memories itself is a bit mixed, as overall it's not really what you'd call an essential part of the franchise, but the experience itself does augment the overall narrative, and it manages to stay particularly engaging because of the sheer depth of the card based systems. Unlike other games in the series which may re-tread into exact locations, Re:Chain actually feels pretty justified because it's a direct companion piece to the original. It won't sell copies of this compilation, but it'll surprise some people. The third and final piece of the puzzle that is 1.5 ReMIX is the inclusion of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 as a non-playable feature film that's nearly three hours long. For the uninitiated, 358 is a DS game that takes place after the first title chronologically and tangential to Chain of Memories. Due to the limitations of the DS nearly all of its environments were completely recycled, and as a result, not many people played it. Because of the general disinterest in this forgotten entry, I really like this move to make 358 into a movie (that's fully voiced now, no less), so series fans who may not want to drudge through the tedium can still experience a piece of Kingdom Hearts history. The playback system itself is fairly rudimentary, but it thankfully lets you choose between various chapters like a DVD menu, and continue where you left it should you walk away or doze off. But at what cost does 358/2 grace the rather limited space in this trilogy? Put simply, if this is a compilation of the beginnings of the franchise's story, the lack of inclusion of Birth By Sleep is criminal. As the very first game in the timeline, many would argue that it's best in the entire franchise, and the most worthy of a remake given the fact that nearly every single location is brand new. As a series fan I consider it so essential that even if Birth was just a movie remaster it would be extremely welcomed -- but alas, it's not here, and you won't get the entire story of the early timeline without busting out your PSP. All we can hope for is a HD Remix 2.5 inclusion to wrap things up for newcomers before the long awaited Kingdom Hearts III. Barring a few antiquated (but manageable) mechanics that are still in place in the first Kingdom Hearts, HD ReMIX captures the essence of the franchise quite wonderfully. For those who are wondering, it's still fun to roam around and wreck shop as Sora, Goofy and Donald, and for many people, this is the first time you'll ever experience it in its Final Mix incarnation.
Kingdom Hearts HD review photo
Bringing back great memories
Some of my fondest memories were spent with the Kingdom Hearts series. Growing up equal parts Disney-kid and action-adventure fan, I was ecstatic when Kingdom Hearts was announced, and enthralled for weeks on end when it fina...

Kingdom Hearts HD photo
Kingdom Hearts HD

Reminisce with Sora in this Kingdom Hearts HD trailer


Get reacquainted with Mickey, Sora, and Donald...in HD
Sep 11
// Chris Carter
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix launches this week, and you can celebrate with a brand new launch trailer showing off the game's various Disney flavored locales. Watching it brings back memories, as it's over 11 years later and ...
Kingdom Heart III release photo
Kingdom Heart III release

Don't expect Kingdom Hearts III soon, says producer


Rain wet
Sep 10
// Steven Hansen
Hopefully you weren't anyway. If you were expecting it soon, sorry to have ruined your day. Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura is also directing Final Fantasy XV. This conflicts. You may remember Final Fantasy XV as t...
New releases photo
New releases

New releases: Scary, porcine machines


Plus, Killzone, Kingdom Hearts, and Arma III
Sep 09
// Fraser Brown
I'm still recovering from last week's Outlast, and now we've got another bloody terrifying first-person horror title to scare our pants clean off in the form of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. I confess that reviews, such as ou...
Kingdom Hearts HD photo
Kingdom Hearts HD

This new Kingdom Hearts HD trailer brings back memories


A look at Re:Chain and 358/2
Aug 30
// Chris Carter
In just a few short weeks you'll be able to play a trio of Kingdom Hearts games in HD in the form of HD 1.5 ReMIX, which features the original Kingdom Hearts, Re:Chain of Memories, and a movie version of 358/2 (okay, so the ...
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Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix trailer shows off its HD-ness


Aug 08
// Dale North
We're about a month out on the release of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (September 10 in North America, September 13 in Europe), and a new trailer has been released to celebrate and promote.  As I'm sure you already know,...
Square Enix news photo
Square Enix news

Square Enix not giving up on AAA PC and console games


But will be expanding more into mobile, tablet and online titles
Aug 02
// Fraser Brown
Square Enix has been a bit of a Negative Nancy this year, specifically when it's come to sales. Although it shifted quite a few copies of Sleeping Dogs, Hitman Absolution, and Tomb Raider, as well as garnering quite a bit of ...
Kingdom Hearts photo
Kingdom Hearts

New Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX trailer teases harder


Ohhh, shiny
Jul 11
// Abel Girmay
Because the wait for Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX just wasn't hard enough, here's another trailer to salivate over what we'll have in just two months' time.
Kingdom Hearts X[chi] photo
Kingdom Hearts X[chi]

Initial details for Kingdom Hearts X[chi] emerge


It'll take you to Agrabah, the Dwarf Woodlands, and Wonderland
Jul 05
// Chris Carter
In case you couldn't get enough browser-based games and oddly named Kingdom Hearts entries, Kingdom Hearts X[chi] is coming to browsers soon in Japan. As indicated in the trailer above, the game will utilize a chibi-esque ar...
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The Order: 1886, Google's Console, & MGS1 in HD?


The Destructoid Show wears a sombrero to be "offbeat"
Jun 28
// Max Scoville
Hey hey! Here we are, another fine Destructoid show for you, about video game news. Tara's still gone, so I apologize about the scary bearded man who's guest-hosting. The news: Google might make an android console, Square lo...
Kingdom Hearts HD photo
Kingdom Hearts HD

Kingdom Hearts HD's graphics rebuilt from the ground up


Original data went missing a long, long time ago
Jun 28
// Wesley Ruscher
In a recently posted E3 interview conducted by Square Enix, Kingdom Hearts game director Tetsuya Nomura divulged that the original assets from the 11-year-old title had been lost. Because of this, the grap...

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