Kingdom Hearts 2.5HD ReMix has finally arrived, and just like the last one it’s definitely something I would recommend to any fan of Kingdom Hearts, well to those who haven’t already gotten their copy at least. Even if you still have your original copies of Kingdom Hearts II and Birth By Sleep all of the care that’s been put into bringing these into the HD era makes this well worth the cost, not to mention that these are the previously Japan-only “Final Mix” versions of the game. It’s new content, it’s remastered content, but more than anything else, this updated Kingdom Hearts II makes for a wonderful nostalgia trip.
It was really quite surprising actually. I started up the game fully expecting it to inspire some nostalgic feels, but the intensity really caught me off guard! As soon as Sanctuary started up in the opening cutscene I found myself getting all choked up (…maybe even a little bit more than that to be honest…)! Yeah that was mostly me, but still just…wow. Bravo Kingdom Hearts 2!
I’ve only just gotten past the opening prologue with Roxas, but I can already tell how this remastered version is going to feel. First, the opening cinematic was definitely not the last of the nostalgic feels found game. In fact they got roused quite often, even in this opening portion of the game. I found myself noticing all these little details: an updated texture here, an improved icon there, and more of that sort. Everything that could be improved in version has been, and it shows in the details. The real star in this updated version is absolutely the music. Hands-down and no questions asked.
It’s all the same tunes we know and love from the original, but re-orchestrated into pieces with a subtlety and depth that the originals never had. They’re the same themes and songs, so it’s not like they’re leaps and bounds better. Rather, they’ve improved a bit more than just enough to give fans a shiver of nostalgic feels each time we get to hear another new version of one of our favorite themes. It might not be like this for all the themes ( I know it won’t like that for anything associated with Atlantica.), but for Twilight Town and Hollow Bastion at least, it was a pleasure to hear each and every one of them!
That said, while it all does indeed look (and sound) better, this was still the Kingdom Hearts II prologue. It was kind of fun, pretty slow, and so very, very sad. I don’t know if it was just the new music or some sort of combination of that and not having played this game for so long, but it all felt so very…tragic. (“Looks like my summer vacation…is over…”, it really was wasn’t it?)
Unlike Kingdom Hearts, the final mix version of Kingdom Hearts II has jumps in with the new content almost immediately. For the portion I’ve played thus far (the prologue and the very beginning of Hollow Bastion), that’s translated into three new cutscenes and some extended dialog for Sora’s initial confrontation with Organization XIII. It’s been a real treat each time I run across one and realized that it was something new I hadn’t seen before, but what’s more, these scenes have actually provided some context for Organization XIII. They give hints at to how they relate to one another, what sort of entities they are, the real tragedy of their nature and what sort of suffering they’re enduring that would make them take such drastic actions. These haven’t been overt revelations thus far, just hints, and that’s more than enough for me.
Beyond all this, the final mix version of Kingdom Hearts promises new Keyblades, new moves, several new bosses, and a much more satisfying way to obtain Sora’s final form. All this alone has made picking up Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMix worthwhile, and that’s even without touching Birth By Sleep: Final Mix (its finally on a console)!
In short, there’s a lot of the old to love here, and just enough new to make it all feel fresh again. Be warned though, if you’re a Kingdom Hearts fan you should prepare yourself for some major feels!
Are you a fan of Kingdom Hearts? What’s your favorite part of the series, and will you be picking this game up?