Kingdom Hearts is the brainchild of Tetsuya Nomura, known for his work on the Final Fantasy series. The first game was originally pitched to Disney by Nomura himself and was marketed as an action RPG that brought together the fan favorite characters from the Final Fantasy series into worlds populated by some of the classic Disney franchise.
I have been a Kingdom Hearts fan since its inception and after hearing about the release of the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Remix collection, I was excited to finally get my hands on the whole series and that too, on just one single platform. Even though the series has remained popular till this day, it was unfortunately scattered across a wide range of different hardware making it hard for the fans to play through the whole series. The first two mainline games were released on the PS2 followed by Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, PSP and Nintendo 3DS spin-offs that featured story which was essential to enjoying the full experience. If you missed out on them, there is a good chance that you would miss out on several key story moments.
With such wide range of releases across various platforms, all being essential to the story for the game, it was hard to keep track of the story making it the butt of jokes among the fans. Thankfully this issue has been rectified somewhat with the release of the 1.5+2.5 Remix collection that covers pretty much every game known in the series. Of course, it doesn’t cover the recently released Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 collection, which is essentially the final piece of puzzle in the story before the release of Kingdom Hearts 3. Still, as a whole, this is a solid package of games that deserves to be played especially if you are a fan of the series.
If you haven’t played any Kingdom Hearts game before, then now is the perfect time to jump into the series with this HD remix collection that contains the beginning of Kingdom Hearts. As a whole package, it is worth every penny since not only it contains 4 fully featured games that can easily take you 100+ hours to complete, it also includes two major story sequences taken from games that were originally released on the Nintendo DS handhelds. Their remaster would have taken too much effort but since they were essential to the story of the series, Square Enix decided to remake them as cutscenes instead and they work well enough, clearing confusion surrounding some of the game’s key plot points.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Remix contains 4 games, each of which can take upwards of 20 to 30 hours to complete and that is just for the story. If you want to tackle the secret endings and complete the game 100%, you can easily spend more than 100 hours with this collection. The games that are included are Kingdom Hearts 1, Kingdom Hearts 2, Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. In addition to these games, the collection also includes cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts: ReCoded. I definitely felt silly typing all these crazy sounding names but this has been such a particular trait of the series till now that if I don’t see another silly title for Kingdom Hearts 3, I will be disappointed.
This is not the first time the series has received an HD release as they were originally released for the PS3. However this is perhaps the first time the series has shifted to 60 fps. Yes, the remastered games for Kingdom Hearts 1, 2, RE: Chain of Memories and Birth by Sleep, all support 60 fps and to top it off, they also run at Ultra HD resolution of 4K on the PS4 Pro. This is a remarkable improvement over the PS3 version, just by the merit of the 60 fps upgrade. There are also improved load times which make the difference night and day here. The bottom line is that if you are fan of the series and own the whole collection on PS3, it is well worth the upgrade to the PS4 version to experience the definitive version of the games.
Kingdom Hearts is primarily an action RPG and aside from RE: Chain of Memories, the core gameplay is the same across the 3 games featured in this collection. RE: Chain of Memories is an interesting game on its own because it utilizes a card-based combat system where the player is given a deck of cards that can be used to fight enemies or unlock new sections of the map. The deck based system was originally envisioned for the Nintendo Gameboy Advanced and Square Enix had later remade the game for the PS2, making it into a complete 3D experience like the original Kingdom Hearts, but still retaining the card-based combat system. It is a refreshing take on the game’s combat system although one that can also infuriate some of the fans.
2017 marks the 15th anniversary for Kingdom Hearts. It is remarkable to see that despite releasing almost 15 years ago, the original Kingdom Hearts has aged really well thanks to its art style. The graphics scale amazingly to the HD resolution and if you have a 4K display along with a PS4 Pro, you can enjoy this masterpiece in UHD resolution. The same applies to the rest of the games which look gorgeous in HD resolution.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Remix has an entry price point of $49.99, which seems to be worth its price if you consider the value it contains. The inclusion of 4 games and 2 movies all within a package is great but the biggest difference is the 60 fps gameplay. After playing through the series with 60 fps, I don’t want to go back to playing it at a lower frame rate again. Hopefully Square Enix is planning to make 60 fps the standard for the series with the release of Kingdom Hearts 3.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Remix Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX, stylized as Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 + II.5 ReMIX, is a combo pack comprised of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. It will be released in 2017 for the PlayStation 4.
Kingdom Hearts series has already received a HD release on the PS3 but the most important change in this recently released HD Collection is the inclusion of 60 FPS, which is a complete game changer for an action RPG. If you haven't played any Kingdom Hearts game, now is the right time to jump into this masterpiece.