Never underestimate how feverishly I watch for Kingdom Hearts news.
Anyways, this article is primarily serving as a placeholder until Destructoid inevitably one-ups me and posts another.
Regardless, I'm gonna skip to the basics as to why Kingdom Hearts fans should be excited about this re-release.
For one, it includes Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, in addition to Birth By Sleep Final Mix. Also coded's cutscenes but that game did pathetically little to progress the plot that BBS and Dream Drop Distance didn't do better. Really, it's skippable and nothing you should at all be excited about.
Kingdom Hearts II marks the point in the franchise where things became about a thousand times more complicated, but the inclusion of Birth By Sleep in this collection will significantly ease the confusion of fans old and new alike. To understand Kingdom Hearts as a series, the only games that're truly necessary to play are the first one, II, BBS, and 3D. Chain of Memories introduces the Organization and expands Riku's character development; II re-introduces them anyways and shows Riku reach a higher level of maturity. 358 expands on Roxas and introduces a new character; 3D and BBS offer more and the same knowledge on both of those matters. Coded is just plain filler between II and 3D, and if at all possible, please, please don't spend your money on it.
If you've already played II and Birth By Sleep, however, you may be wondering why you should be excited for this at all. Beyond the fact that BBS is likely going to see a much-needed graphical boost and control scheme improvement, Final Mix adds a ton of new content. Also more cutscenes. Love me some cutscenes.
Final Mix 2 New Features:
Limit Form, which allows access to all of Sora's best signature moves from the first game, including Sonic Blade. Fucking love Sonic Blade.
Seven new bosses- five of which lifted from Chain of Memories with new fighting styles and two of which advancing the plot- the formerly unplayable battle against Roxas in the Station of Awakening near the end of the game, plus a battle with the Lingering Will, a possesed suit of armor that'll become very familiar when you get to playing Birth By Sleep.
Replayability- every Organization XIII boss can be re-fought as Data Battles- but they'll be much, much stronger than before, meaning you'll have to stretch the level cap as much as humanly possible to even hope to stand a chance on higher difficulties.
Critical Mode! Like Proud (where enemies deal twice as much damage) except you deal half as much yourself.
Also a ton of other relatively minor changes I don't want to delve into.
Birth By Sleep Final Mix New Features:
Three new bosses: the Keyblade Armor of Master Xehanort, Master Eraqus and a weird boss fight against Monstro. Monstro's relatively easy, but the Armors are not- Master Xehanort's armor, No Heart, is considered the toughest boss in the series for good reason.
Another playable secret ending, which includes an encounter with an extremely tough Pureblood Heartless boss.
While BBS Final Mix's list of added features are shorter, remember that Final Mix is Japan-exclusive: International releases tend to get a lot of extra content they never get to touch- players of the International version of Birth By Sleep would be rather surprised to learn that a certain hooded figure didn't appear as a boss at all in the original!
KHII is honestly the gem of this collection, but BBS is a great game in its own right. If you've never played these games before- try out 1.5. It's completely worth your money.