E3 2014: Hands-on: Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

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E3 2014 - Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX | oprainfall

When I stood in front of the display for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX at the convention center earlier this afternoon, I felt like a hypocrite. Remember last year? …Remember all those times on The Downpour Podcast I said I wouldn’t buy the game? Remember how I ended up reviewing it anyway and thought it was pretty great? …I would post a picture of me eating my words if I could; believe you me.

If you know my name and my history with the series, you know there’s no better Kingdom Hearts out there than II to me. I’m going to approach these impressions differently than last time. I realize my folly in simply saying “It’s Kingdom Hearts in a box, remastered”. You knew that. You know it about Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX as well. During my brief stay at the Square-Enix booth earlier this afternoon, I played both Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. There’s not much to say about the former. There’s a few things to say about both. But I think the meat of what you’ll want to hear about regards how Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep looks now that it’s remastered/evolved from its PSP origins. Here we go:

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX - E3 2014 | oprainfall Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX - E3 2014 | oprainfall
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX - E3 2014 | oprainfall Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX - E3 2014 | oprainfall


Exposition: The screens do this collection justice. Everything looks amazing. Remember how Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX featured a remastered soundtrack for KH1 and 358/2 Days (in some instances)? Audio buffs will be happy to know I noticed improvements in both Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep. Both games sound beautiful. Just for the sake of it: I played through the boss of Beast’s Castle and the Christmas section of Halloween Town in Kingdom Hearts II (man did it feel good to toggle the Drive command again after so long!), and I played through a few scenes of Radiant Garden as Aqua in Birth by Sleep (leading up to the boss that features Terra, Ven and Aqua fighting together). Everything was fluid. The frame-rate was good–everything seems to be coming together with this collection.

Onto Birth by Sleep in particular: To start with, the PlayStation 3 really brings out the best in that game’s control scheme. No longer is one burdened by the PSP’s tiny analog stick! Dual analog makes the game feel more like Kingdom Hearts II with Birth by Sleep gameplay elements. As I mentioned, audio has been remastered, so you don’t have to worry about the PSP sounds translating to your television screen.  Being ported to the PlayStation 3 improved Birth by Sleep in every conceivable way. They didn’t give me access to the menu in the demo, so I can’t speak to improvements on the hub/GUI side of things. Still–unlike before, I won’t leave these impressions off on a note of “You know what you’re getting into” and sign off.

Instead–please do let me know if you have questions! If you enjoyed the first collection, I’m sure this one will do you one better. I’ll probably end up passing the review onto someone who isn’t so attached to some of the games contained within the collection, but I’ll definitely be buying it. I suspect I won’t be alone among you oprainfall Faithful. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX is coming to PlayStation 3 on December 2nd, 2014.