The lights are on
Kingdom Hearts fans awoke to some exciting news this morning. Similar to Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, three games from the series will be packed together and released sometime in 2014. While the content of the collection isn’t much of a surprise (all of the games were teased in 1.5’s credits), it’s always nice to get an official announcement so the countdown can begin. Now that the content is confirmed, we can run down all of the features we can’t wait to try.
A Home Console HD Port Of Birth By Sleep
I always say that Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep is the best game of the spin-offs, and most fans I talk to and online forums seem to agree. Unlike with the previous 1.5 collection where KH 1 was the only great game, we’re getting two great ones with BBS and KH II. This prequel to the entire series looked fantastic on PSP, and used all kinds of big installs and tweaks to get the most out of Sony’s aging portable. With the quality HD pass on PS3 it’ll look even better. The best part of it all is the ability to finally play the game natively on your TV with the DualShock 3 instead of the PSP’s tiny single analog nub and tiny buttons. While the shoulder button camera controls worked for what they were, nothing beats full camera control on the right stick.
Final Mix Editions Of Kingdom Hearts II And Birth By Sleep
Just like with 1.5, North American players will finally get to experience the Japan-only Final Mix editions of both KH II and BBS. These director’s cuts add in all kinds of extra content like new weapons, enemies, bosses, and areas. Along with the visual upgrade, these long-lost bonuses add a freshness to the games that many of the people buying this collection have already played through at least once. If you’re curious about the exact extras, the Kingdom Hearts wikia has detailed lists for both Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Birth By Sleep Final Mix.
The Kingdom Hearts Re:coded HD Cinematics Won’t Be As Bad As 358/2 Days
I don’t know how many of you actually sat down and watched the entirety of 358/2 Days, but the 3+ hours of ice cream eating on that clock tower were mega boring. From what I can recall, Re:coded’s scenes weren’t much better. However, there were far fewer cinematics overall. A quick YouTube search puts the total voiced cinematic run time at just over half an hour. For 358/2 Days, Square Enix did add in voice on scenes that were previously text only, but even with some extra padding, Re:coded’s total runtime seems unlikely to clock in over an hour.
The Ports Shouldn’t Have as Many Rough Edges
The first Kingdom Hearts game made the transition to HD wonderfully in 1.5 Remix. Though there were a few low-resolution textures that stuck out like a sore thumb whenever they popped on screen. The worst offender is the original’s facial animations. Characters were given complete animations for the important scenes, but many standard conversations were just a flat mouth texture alternating between open and closed. That was totally acceptable back in 2002 when KH 1 released, but KH II (2006) and BBS (2010) should naturally have better textures and hopefully far less of the cheap facial animation (or at least a more sophisticated work around) for casual dialog.