The lights are on
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?
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
no, they lost me at "just the cutscenes"
Wow. Sounds like its coming out pretty nicely. Can't wait to see it in action.
BOOOOOO! Kingdom Hearts 1 was 'cute' but Kingdom Hearts 2 was far better, I didn't like any other game besides Birth by Sleep after that. Remix it all you want but unless you're adding to the story or gameplay I won't be wasting my time nor money.
Is it just me or are the visual changes hard to notice? Maybe a side by side would help, but to me it looks just like the kingdom hearts I remember (granted that was 10 years ago). The FFX/X-2 rerelease more than this one looks like the same blocky visuals, maybe I am missing something?
To answer your question of will I be picking it up, I respond with a "Hell" shortly thereafter followed by a "Yes." That is all.
Is this a download, or retail?
Most definitely. I've always been a fan of the originality this series had. Though that has fallen by the wayside recently, I'm hoping KH3 can restore the series to its previous position.
This article has false info. Final Mix did not originally play like KH II when it was first released in Japan.
For this HD remaster, Square Enix changed the HUB and controls to be more like KH II and Re:CoM. It took the fourth menu option which was talk, open, etc and made it the Reaction Command, and moved Summon to it's place.
I knew they were fixing the camera (moving it from L2/R2 to the Right Analog stick) but I didn't know they didn't add vertical movement in. :(
Also, interestingly, the digital masters for KH were lost so the studio essentially had to make the game from scratch.