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Posted 2:00pm

Hands-on with Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix

“When we are older, you’ll understand what I meant when I said, ‘No, I don’t think life is quite that simple.’ “

So sings Hikaru Utada in her beloved single that opened the original Kingdom Hearts in September of 2002. And so she sings again in this upcoming HD update that famously twisted together the fates of Square Enix characters with Disney icons like Donald Duck and Goofy. And the lyrics offer a pointed commentary on the re-release, as the narrative of Kingdom Hearts was never quite that simple. And perhaps that’s why we love it so much.

Kingdom Hearts begins innocently enough with a young boy named Sora spending time with his friends, Riku and Kairi. But soon their world, and perhaps all worlds, are threatened by a malignant darkness. Sora, as our intrepid hero, is promptly pulled into the intrigue.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is an incredible collection for fans of the series, and a perfect entrypoint for those that missed the original. It includes the “Final Mix” version of the first Kingdom Hearts, which was never launched in the United States. This version includes new enemies, items, and other assorted goodies. But now, of course, the visuals have enjoyed a tremendous overhaul. Kingdom Hearts HD practically bursts off the screen, proving once again that simple but effective art styles age brilliantly.

Kingdom Hearts HD Screens, 15

JiminySoraGoofyCardDays cutscene 4

We popped in the original Kingdom Hearts for a back-and-forth comparison, and the difference is incredible. The HD version not only looks better but feels smoother, and the colors sizzle. This isn’t a hastily-put-together kind of upgrade, but one that offers a significant improvement.

The collection doesn’t stop with the original, however. It also includes the 3D remake of Chain of Memories, aptly titled Re: Chain of Memories, which takes place between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. This game replaces the menu-based action battles of the original with an addictive, collectible card system.

As a bonus,Kingdom Hearts HD also comes equipped with HD remastered versions of the cinematics from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Please note that this is not the full game — just the story. But it’s a fantastic way to catch up on a touching part of the series that never made it to a PlayStation platform before.

Even if you played the original Kingdom Hearts when it launched, the HD Remix is very much worth looking into. Not only are the visual updates a dramatic improvement, but the play itself has aged just as well as the art style. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is still every bit as charming and fun after all these years, with a wealth of weapons to find, worlds to explore, and a lovable hero to develop. Seriously, how adorable is Sora?

Kingdom Hearts HD Screens, 10

Similarly, the battle system in Re: Chain of Memories remains addictive, with card collecting and deck building mechanics that play to our love of CCGs. It also allows us to “build” the worlds we visit, selecting where to drop save points and battle rooms as we go. A lot of time can be spent playing with these systems, as they provide a remarkable amount of customization and control to how Sora behaves in combat.

And for those of you that never yet experienced Kingdom Hearts before, this is likely your best doorway into the adventure. Perfect timing, too, as Kingdom Hearts III was announced at E3 earlier this year. And with two games and one cinematic collection bundled together onto a single disc, the long-running narrative of the series might be a little simpler to follow this time around.

ReCOM battle 2

TrioAladdinGenieTrioCastleInterior

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix launches on September 13th for PS3. Pre-orders include an exclusive art book with concept sketches and more.

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Comments

26 Comments 0 Author replies
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vashrahan 30 August, 2013 @ 2:06 pm   1

Please, please, please, release a Vita version.

Vita is missing Disney Infinity, now, this.

This could have attracted a lot of kids and parents to the Vita.

I agree with #1, I’ve never played a KH game but would almost certainly get this if it were on Vita.

Had the Limited Edition ordered for awhile now and have the hardback Collectors Edition guide on order to wait. Really can’t believe it’s been 11 years since the first time I played Kingdom Hearts, and to make it even better this re-release comes out the day before my birthday!

Man I am so excited for this game, so much nostalgia.

Stupid auto spell. That was MEANT to say have the hardback Collectors Edition guide on order as well.

FSIDE1976 30 August, 2013 @ 2:24 pm   6

ha ha niet voor xdoos

beyond!

im so ready for this game. the first in the series is my favorit.

I hope everyone that pre-orders will get the artbook. Gameshop i pre-ordered said the artbook would only be included with the limited edition, which wasnt available anymore.

foxsevent 30 August, 2013 @ 2:46 pm   9

Will this have a digital release on PSN/SEN or just a physical?

foxsevent 30 August, 2013 @ 2:47 pm   10

Will this have a digital release or just physical?

foxsevent 30 August, 2013 @ 2:47 pm   11

Sorry for double post my net bowser failed me.

AaronSOLDIER 30 August, 2013 @ 3:01 pm   12

It’s only gonna be a physical release. You should pre order it for the artbook, had mine pre ordered from the US for awhile now.

Can’t wait to play KH1 again and for the first time; Re:CoM

Awesome! Have the game (with art book) preordered and paid :)
I can’t wait ^^

HomessaHomem 30 August, 2013 @ 3:07 pm   14

I demand a PS Vita version!

DoYouLikeMyID 30 August, 2013 @ 3:14 pm   15

I can’t wait! I’ve already got my copy pre-ordered, so I’m just waiting for it.

But as much as I’m looking forward to this, I’m looking even more forward to Kingdom Hearts HD ReMix 2.5 (we all know it’ll come), as Kingdom Hearts II is my favourite game of all time :D

DarkHeroofGames 30 August, 2013 @ 3:23 pm   16

BEYOND!

I have been excited for this for so long. Glad to see it’s come together really well. Only 12 days away!

supersmith2500 30 August, 2013 @ 3:34 pm   17

Dear Square Enix/Disney.

You already made a Kingdom Hearts game on the Nintendo 3DS and even announced Kingdom Hearts III for PS4. A Kingdom Hearts game for the Vita would be real nice, (not the HD ports). Yours truly,

Supersmith = )

I’ve played all of the games before and would buy again if it were on Vita.
I’m more looking forward to my favorite JRPG ever though, FFXHD!
I’ve already preordered and paid off the PS3 LE and will be buying and playing it on the Vita if there is a cart release.
Can you please tell us eager fans when tbe release date is and if the Vita will get a retail cart release like it deserves?
I don’t think I’ve ever preordered and paid off a game with no release date in my life!
If your holding back the info for TGS then I understand completely, just a slither of info would be nice besides the ‘when I know, you will’ we keep getting from various SE managers!

Cant wait for this and gta 5 ,all in one month!

dark_angel69 30 August, 2013 @ 5:10 pm   20

The video got me all excited for it. I never played it before and really cant wait to play it!! Have it pre-ordered ages ago with the book too. It was nice to know about Kingdom hearts 3 at E3 but I still hope to have Kingdom hearts 2.5 before we get Kingdom Hearts 3. After all that’s good for those of us that never got to play them before

Will get this, not before christmas but will definitly get this =)

I already own all of these games, but I just had to pre-order Limited Edition with art book. I want that art book – and all those trophies (double platinum, here I come!). :D

Would definitely buy these for the THIRD TIME if they came for Vita. What can I say, I love Kingdom Hearts series. :D

evilwitch83 30 August, 2013 @ 8:10 pm   23

I would like to get this game, but I still don’t know yet if I can buy kingdom hearts 3 or not. I will not be buying a PS4 if you cannot turn off the feature where the console downloads games that it ‘thinks’ you want, and I do not want an Xbox One.

PrinceMarkizazn 31 August, 2013 @ 12:53 am   24

I’ve pre-ordered it and I can’t wait, 12 days left before I can re-live my childhood experience although I do have to say that it was a little disappointing to only have 358/2 days in cinematic only. I mean I understand because it was a ds game there is some barriers, such as a touch screen but if they had re-made it for the ps3 I would of gladly paid more (unless i’m alone on this), I never played it so I didn’t really want to miss out on a gaming experience.

Panzerdragoon7 1 September, 2013 @ 12:44 pm   25

Beyond!
I agree that a vita version would be awesome. So little AAA titles are hitting the vita. It could certainly use it.

CoolRichy007UK 3 September, 2013 @ 2:22 pm   26

gtaV will beat all ps3 games including this BORING GAME