Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX Review — Retreading Old Ground with New Brilliance
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX on PlayStation 4 offers 60 FPS and vibrancy to recently re-made games in a legendary series. But is it worth your re-re-buying?
Here I am, again, reviewing another Kingdom Hearts re-release. Only a few short months ago I was re-examining some lost treasures in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue — three Kingdom Hearts titles that had never graced a home console before. Yet Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 HD ReMIX is a bit of a strange beast — with both Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX each receiving an individual release on PlayStation 3 no more than three years ago, many people may have already gotten ahold of all six games in the bundle.
However, that isn’t to say that Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX isn’t worth your money — the bundle presents the most accessible and definitive way to play nearly every game in the series. That said, gamers who have grabbed the experience not too long ago may want to weigh the pro’s and con’s of picking up the bundle.
To start this review, let me remind you that we’ve already played and reviewed both Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX, giving the games an 8.5 and 9.5 respectively for the tastefully executed re-imagining of inspired, yet dated games. Our review this time around is less focused on the underlying games, but instead the bundle as a whole.
One of the largest draws to Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX will undeniably be the ability to play all six games on your PlayStation 4. As I loaded the game on my PlayStation 4 Pro I unintentionally breathed a sigh of relief — Kingdom Hearts is one of the few games that would occasionally make me root around my closet for my grizzled and war-battered PlayStation 3, suffer through the XMB and bare the UI, trophy synchronization issues, and other issues of a previous generation. Now all of the games — and movie adaptations of the games — can be firmly found on the PlayStation 4, making for a more complete experience — especially for new adopters of PlayStation consoles.
Compared to the PlayStation 3 versions of the Kingdom Hearts remakes, you will likely be hard-pressed to find any notable changes. Playing with my PlayStation 4 Pro and my 4K UHD Sony monitor, the colors appeared slightly more vibrant. While that doesn’t specifically talk to the technical qualities, I can boast that the game’s upscaling still looks nice regardless if you are on a 1080 or 4K monitor.
More importantly, the game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second — a feature that has undoubtedly improved my experience in all of the games. And while the new 60 FPS seems to be causing slight hiccups to the physics, I rarely noticed problems in the game and the Day 1 patch (already available in Japan) seems like it covers most of the major gaps. While pre-patch gamers have noted that the game would sporadically crash, it only happened once in my 20 hours of gameplay [conveniently after my fiancee “whooped Riku’s whiny ass” in the beginning at Destiny Island].
Other improvements that are easily notable are that load times which are seemingly non-existant. Where the PlayStation 3 versions would often have load times lasting up to 30 seconds, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX seem nearly instantaneous shifting between two scenes:
And speaking to simple value, the game is overwhelmingly worth it. With the cheap $49.99 price tag, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX features the following:
- Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
- Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Cinematic
- Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
- Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
- Kingdom Hearts Re:coded Cinematic
With four games and two movies — all of which essential for understanding where Kingdom Hearts III is going to pick up from — you can’t do better than slightly above $8 each. Unless, of course, you grabbed the PS3 versions at the combined cost of $33.70 (with each feature being under $6), but who’s counting?
My only major disappointment is the lack of anything new to draw in returning fans. While most hardcore Kingdom Hearts fans (myself included) are rabid enough to grab these games on the PlayStation 4 after spending hundreds of hours with them on both PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, this republishing of the remaster offers you very little outside of convenience and technical boosts. Even if they threw in a new cinematic or perhaps Kingdom Hearts Unchained x in a playable format, the bundle would feel like less of a cash-in on yester-year’s remake.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX is a terrific bundle, and without a doubt the best way to experience the decade-old series. Offering not only convenience but a hearty technical upgrade, anyone looking to catch up before Kingdom Hearts III couldn’t do any better than picking up this rather affordable bundle. That said, gamers and Kingdom Hearts fanatics who have already grabbed this game on PlayStation 3 should consider their purchase a little more rigorously — without new bells or whistles, you might feel the tiniest bit swindled for buying the same remakes twice.