Over a decade has passed since Kingdom Hearts entered the RPG realm. Some days it feels like just yesterday I was stepping into Disney worlds with Sora, Donald, and Goofy in a quest to fight against the darkness. But a lot has happened since 2002, from Roxas' bout with Organization XIII in 358/2 Days to the prequel Birth By Sleep alongside other spin-offs that teased what happened next in Sora's story. With Kingdom Hearts III finally announced for development, the time is ripe to go back and see where it all began. Thankfully, on September 10 the Kingdom Heats HD 1.5 ReMIX releases, which includes the first game, Chain of Memories, and just the cutscenes from 358/2 Days. Today at E3, I got hands-on time with 1.5 ReMIX for a nostalgic trip back to the entry that brought me one of my favorite franchises.

When I begin my demo in my favorite world Halloween town, the visual HD upgrade is stark. Everything looks crispier and clearer, and the visual blemishes that sometimes plagued the first game are gone. As I run around the spooky black and purple town, I notice the controls are different. Since this is the Final Mix version that only released originally in Japan, the controls play closer to Kingdom Hearts II. Special Attacks are activated by the triangle button, making them play out much smoother in the heat of battle. However, one aspect of Kingdom Hearts remains intrusive: the camera. It feels an more like an obstacle than I remember since you can't adjust it vertically.

But the camera can't take away from the magic I felt when I stepped back into the first game with Jack Skellington at my side. As I bumped into Dr. Finklestein, memories flood back about what I have to do to get through the area and finally face off against Oogie Boogie. I can't deny that fighting off the heartless in Guillotine Square is still a blast. These are the things that make the experience of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX. Being able to go back and reminisce about the little details I haven't been reminded of and remembering what drew me to the series in the first place. Throw in all the new details we've found out since Kingdom Hearts release, and a fresh replay is sure to let me pick up on hints I didn't the first time around. 

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Chain of Memories in action, but if the improved visuals to Kingdom Hearts are any indication, I'm confident it will follow suit. The collection isn't offering that much new, but that's okay; instead it provides people the chance who never stepped in to experience these games and fans who want a refresher before Kingdom Hearts III a nostalgic opportunity. 

Will you be picking up 1.5 ReMIX?