Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX PS4 Review
The stars in the sky are starting to go dark. Worlds are being claimed by the darkness. Now a chosen hero must take up the Keyblade to save the remaining World’s Hearts from being consumed by the Heartless. Do you have what it takes to seal the Keyholes to the Hearts of the remaining Worlds and restore the ones that have been taken?
Kingdom Hearts is the long-time famous, (since 2002 to be exact) franchise developed and published by Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios, who involved a number of other developers into the mix along the way too, namely Jupiter, “h.a.n.d.”, and BitGroove Inc. If you remember my previous review on Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, you will know that I am not all too familiar with the series in general. But now thanks to the release of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX, I am able to fully immerse myself into this world from start to finish, whether it be in the order that the games were released, or in chronological order of the Timeline. I’m free to choose, and so are you!
Can I Try It Too?
If there are any of you who, like me, may have merely seen fan art of, or references to (in other games or Youtube videos), or even cosplayers dress up as characters of the series, but having no knowledge as to what the series is about, you now have the chance to jump into the series and do what I mentioned above thanks to the release of this collection, containing 6 Kingdom Hearts games that you can play at your leisure. The timeline of events in the franchise is actually pretty easy to understand (in contrast to what I said in my other review) now that I have played the first few games. I took my time, so that I can give the series justice if it needed it, from the perspective of a once-Kingdom-Hearts-noob. I can say that I actually really enjoy the series. I’ve grown attached to the characters, mostly Sora, Riku, and Kairi, and even Aqua, Terra, and Ventus (to just name a few). So if you are as much a newcomer to even the thought of playing Kingdom Hearts as I was, but you want to find out what the hype is about, you have the chance to now, since all of the games have been brought to a single platform to be enjoyed by all. If you don’t like the series so much, then you won’t need to worry about getting the 2nd batch collection of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
What To Expect
So now to address my discrepancies with the game series. Many might think I’m silly, but let me explain. The games are full of the Disney characters and their worlds. Some key figures are 6 of the Disney Princesses and also Mickey and his cohorts, mainly Donald Duck and Goofy. I cringed the first time I found out that they were to join my party, for the duration of the game. I got used to it, because they end up being really useful in the fights and every now and then have fun dialogue, but the thought bothered me, “Why mix Disney with Final Fantasy?”, so I did a bit of research. Though it shouldn’t actually be a surprise to me, the target audience for Kingdom Hearts was in fact for the very young, and Square Enix wanted to create a game with the same freedom of movement in three dimensions as Super Mario 64, but “lamented” that only Disney’s characters would be popular enough to meet expectations with their target audience. I was, in fact, surprised, because I know of many older people who love the series, so I figured there was more of a mature tone to it. Here comes some more surprising truth… Even though the characters are Disney, there are many moments where the Disney characters themselves get dark and serious, albeit without compromising their original personalities and character, which is refreshing.
The story itself is amazing to be very honest. And even though Disney characters are left, right, and centre; The story itself revolves more around the Final Fantasy-esque characters. So I bit down and soldiered on. To summarise, the main protagonist, Sora, finds himself in a peculiar situation. He has been chosen to be a wielder of the Keyblade, (by the Keyblade itself, by the way, don’t ask me how…) a weapon capable of granting great power to it’s wielder. The wielder of the Keyblade is tasked with protecting the Worlds and their Hearts from the darkness, but can also be used for dark deeds. The Keyblade comes to those who are strong in Heart, in this case, means strong in “Spirit” of sorts. Sora came to wielding the Keyblade when the thought of protecting his home and friends summoned it to his aid when Destiny Islands was being destroyed by the Heartless, a band of monsters bent on destroying and claiming the Hearts of all worlds. Some of the villians are able to control the Heartless, which makes this even more dangerous. Sora meets up with Donald and Goofy, who were sent on a mission by King Mickey, to find the wielder of “the Key”. They then travel together to find Riku and Kairi, as well as find King Mickey and meet up with him, all while locking the World’s Keyholes and befriending the characters from these various Worlds. My personal favourites were Tarzan and Jack Skellington, who you are also able to have in your party when on their Worlds.
Even though the game is targeted for younger audiences, the mechanics of the game doesn’t really cater much towards that. You are later tasked with managing Abilities and Equipment, which is no easy task to accomplish, especially if you want to find the perfect combination of resistance, strength point and defense point boosts, as well as AP bonuses. The fighting is pretty simple, at first. Later you also gain more abilities, which you equip. This becomes handy for situations where you need some extra powerful attacks, but there is still a relative degree of management required here, such as needing to know which Abilities you truly will need and how often you might need to use it without consuming all of you MP (Magic Points) during battle. There is also a Leveling system, and the closer you get to the end of the game, the more you will eventually need to grind EXP Points! (Ugh… Grinding). Many of us have a tough time with the thought, so I wonder how the younger guys feel about this sometimes.
And then there is also the managing of what Donald and Goofy do during battles. Yes, you can have passive commands set on them to use certain items at certain points during combat, or have them be more defensive or offensive during battles, either focusing on damaging the enemies that you damage, or making sure you take as little damage as possible. I prefer the balanced approach, so I left the defaults as they were, though sometimes Goofy and Donald use up the items pretty much as soon as we enter a battle, which is slightly annoying, because the items don’t always drop as often as you wish. This is where another Ability that you later unlock comes in handy, which allows for these items to drop more frequently, but you need the whole party to have the Ability equipped to improve the chances to the max. So this system is slightly complicated, but if you can manage it, you’re pretty good to go. Still, I don’t think this is something younger children will want to worry about. I get more and more convinced that even though their target market was younger audiences, the gameplay and mechanics are slightly more complicated and better suited to more mature audiences. Especially when having to play through Chain of Memories, where you still battle, except through the use of cards, and you need to actively be aware of the strength of your opponents’ card, while running and dodging, and making sure you have a card strong enough to counter theirs.
So what? Did I enjoy it? Of course! Heck, I think I’m a mini-fan now of Kingdom Hearts. Despite my uncertainty with the involvement of the Disney characters, I still really enjoyed the story and development of Sora, and his other friends. I still found it funny that Sora’s voice broke as soon as the next game, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was released, but I still enjoyed it. The characters are all fun and imaginitive, with deep stories and conflicts, and the story itself is deep and heartwarming. I still cringe every time Mickey talks, but I guess it’s small price to pay when wanting to continue with the storyline. I really enjoyed the music scores in each of the games, however, I wanted to mute the game during the Cinderella World, where “Bippidy-Boppidy-Boo!” played over and over… The graphics are an improvement from it’s original release, though there is still some pixelation every now and then, which I thought may have been improved upon for the PS4 release. Either way, I look forward to when Kingdom Hearts III gets released. You can get this great collection of games for only R689.00 from Takelot.com! That’s quite a bargain, considering it’s 6 games in one.