A new lick of paint, a hearty dose of nostalgia, and not much else; these are the things fans have come to expect from high-definition re-releases of classic games. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX is a little different though.
Yes, Kingdom Hearts looks prettier than it ever has before. That I can definitely say for sure. But beyond the crisp new visuals and bright color palette are a few additional features that will give fans of Square Enix and Disney's collaborative effort an added incentive to dive into this fantasy world all over again.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX launched in Japan last week, but I had an opportunity to meet up with Square Enix and get a look at the English language version. I say look because this was a hands-off demonstration, and a brief one at that. The representative I spoke with didn't seem terribly confident in the stability of the build, but was more than a little enthusiastic about the title's updated control scheme.
Camera controls have been modernized, eschewing trigger inputs of old in favor of a more modern thumbstick setup. It's a subtle enhancement, but removing the clunky camera and trading it for something more fluid is definitely a welcome improvement. Similarly, context sensitive controls have replaced some of the scrolling menus, making this remastered package seem slightly less dated than the originals. These aren't substantial changes, but it's nice to see Square giving attention to detail when they could have easily re-released these games without making the effort.
Players familiar with the original Kingdom Hearts will also have an opportunity to experience certain content for the first time. The package includes the previously Japan-only Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, an altered version of the original game featuring new cutscenes, dialogue, and bosses. Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories is also a part of the compilation, something that should please fans in Europe since the title never released in PAL territories.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX is scheduled for a western release sometime this fall.