The lights are on
later, after some HD remastering and overall upgrades, the original Kingdom Hearts returns and it's even better than you remember. This is an HD remake done right. The version in this 1.5 Remix is Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, a version originally exclusive to Japan. This means that while it's still the game you know and love, there are some nasty new
enemies and bosses, some new cutscenes, items, and new abilities to experience. The control tweaks make the game play more like Kingdom Hearts II, adding action commands and controlling the camera with the right stick, among other tweaks. There are enough changes so that while you've played this game before, there's still a reason to go out and buy this HD version.
Remember though, this is still the first game of a decade-old series. It takes a few worlds to really start enjoying everything because the game needs some time to explain where it's going, and why. Combat is familiar but different because again, action commands, and some worlds are as frustrating as you might remember. The gummi ship still exists, yes, but after some much-needed
remastering to the gummi routes and building mechanics, it's actually more fun than you might remember. You might be wondering why you should get Kingdom Hearts again after eleven years, but the reasons are obvious: it looks great, plays better, and has new content. It's an old game with new life and the added trophy support, for people like me who are addicted to trophies, has you doing things that maybe you didn't care to do eleven years ago--they actually add to the experience.
Chain of Memories is up next and, sadly, it's tough to get into once you've spent time with the game before it. The card system returns, in still-gorgeous-HD, but it's still a card system. Given some time, the system does become enjoyable if you figure it out and get into it. But because of the plot and the fact that this game was originally a handheld title, it's hard to enjoy this game after immediately finishing the first one. The repetition is difficult to endure, even if you're enjoying the game, and the only payoff is that it sets the table for the plot in Kingdom Hearts II--which is not included. Chain of Memories is not a bad game, it is actually enjoyable, but maybe you shouldn't play it immediately after finishing the first game in this collection.
358/2 Days could be considered an HD movie, a collection of all of the cutscenes in a story that is parallel to the one told in Chain of Memories. It's a great way for those who haven't played the game to learn the story, though the scenes get repetitive after the first twenty minutes. At least Chain of Memories is a game, even if that also gets repetitive.
The best thing about the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix is the original game, which even alone is worth your money. The other two offerings are stories you'll be glad to have, maybe especially in HD, but they aren't as enjoyable. One other great thing is that once you finish one of these three offerings, either the movie or one of the two games, you unlock the credits for the 1.5 Remix. HD footage of the other half of the series is shown during the credits, so if anything you can look forward to the 2.5 Remix, and then the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III.
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