Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix review

The very long "road to" towards the third chapter of Kingdom Hearts comes to what (hopefully) should be the last stop before the closure of this first narrative arc. Waiting to see if Kingdom Hearts 3 will be able to come out by the end of the generation, for the moment enthusiasts and less enthusiasts can play the entire series without having to change consoles.

We have already had the opportunity to spend a few words on what, up to this cycle of collections started on PlayStation 3, was the management of Intellectual Property Kingdom Hearts. Without too many words: a nice mess for all fans of the franchise, forced to choose between settling for an experience halfway by playing only the two numbered chapters or delving into the details of this world born from the arranged marriage between Square Enix e Disney, buying all the consoles touched by chapters not so secondary, released exclusively.

To learn more:
Kingdom Hearts: Don't call them Spin Offs

The house of Nomura and associates (to want to be malicious, trying to buy time) in view of Kingdom Hearts 3 and in the space of a couple of months has upset the situation and eliminated the problem: the 2.8 collection has brought not only to PlayStation 4 a taste of what the new chapter will be, but above all that Kingdom Hearts 3D remained excluded from the two previous almanacs. Almanacs that a few days ago, on March 31, arrived in a single disc also on PS4. The result? The whole series available on a single machine. But on the other hand, even a series that debuted in 2002, fifteen years (and two generations) ago, and who has lived mostly from chapters released on portable machines. So what?

Tested version: 1.02

Telling the unspeakable
For various reasons, it is useless to tell what is (at the story level) on the record ...

If you have opened this page in your browser, whether or not you have passed the ritual introduction that precedes these lines, you can enter essentially in two groups. You can be fans who have played all (or most) of the chapters of the series and are I decided to buy the product out of affection, to deal with already known episodes (or versions of these, since the collections include the Re: or Final Mix editions depending on the case), or very simply because on the cover of the disc it says "Kingdom Hearts". Or are you neophytes or semi-neophytes, people who up to now have held, towards the epic of Tetsuya Nomura, a attitude in the name of I would like but cannot, given the objective difficulty in having to buy (and justify the purchase of) the various consoles on which the series has landed over the years. Whatever your case, however, the conclusion is only one: you are not interested in reading hints or considerations on the narrative component of the package. These are notions you already know by heart or a story that you are going to finally start browsing, so telling you about Kingdom Hearts (the story behind Kingdom Hearts, at least) would be useless, if not deleterious.

Likewise it would be it is perfectly useless to draw up a list of the contents on the disc, when it comes to an operation already carried out far and wide in the past months (on these pages and elsewhere) and especially when the screenshot below, taken directly from the initial menu of the collection, is really worth more than the words you might read in this sense.

... Better explain why the chosen approach is the best, even if Square has taken the "easy" route

At this point (lawfully) you will be trying to understand because we decided to press the "publish" button in spite of everything. And it is soon said. When it comes to products of this kind, who has written to you for a long time, has imprinted in the retinas the intelligent approach that 343 Industries had followed in creating the Master Chief Collection at the time. In the specific case, however Square Enix forced us to recant: although in the various chapters proposed the memorable moments are not lacking and the worlds that would give rise to the temptation to run up to the piece that you want to play are many, such an approach would have debased, or, indeed, destroyed what Kingdom Hearts is: a experience that, even with some shadows and sins of youth (in particular looking at the first chapter and its "slow" beginning, playfully speaking), tends to sew on the player and the style of play he prefers, equipping the most advanced Keyblades in line with his characteristics and spells and abilities he is used to using. Do you think that Scan, one of the great classics of the Square Enix world, simply takes up space and you don't care how much health the enemies have left? You can deactivate it and add whatever you like, as long as the ability is present in the inventory. And, consequently, that you have reached a certain level and built your own version of Sora (or the protagonist of the moment) in a certain way. Progression, ultimately, is one of the key characteristics of the proposed experiences, and in this sense therefore the choice (lazy and almost "free", from the point of view of implementation) to insert the games as they were, without the possibility of forging ahead, is the most correct one to enhance the package. Instead, the possibility of returning to the selection of the title directly in-game is welcome, simply by going to a save point: those who have already lived and examined the proposed titles will certainly appreciate the possibility of switching from one to the other without too many compromises (sure, being able to do it directly from the pause menu would have been more immediate, but given the absence of auto-save also quite dangerous), even just to realize how much it has changed from one to the other.

Memories without chains
It must be admitted: the first chapter has many advantages, but 15 years everyone can feel it

And things, from one chapter to the next, have certainly changed. Undoubtedly, although the veterans of the series have a solid memory of it (and they must be acknowledged: seeing the Cloud of Kingdom Hearts before your eyes, after getting used to its angularly polygonal model of Final Fantasy VII, was really impactful for Square Enix fans, especially at the time) the first chapter feels the full weight of fifteen years spent. Things certainly improve as the experience progresses and the quiver of arrows available to Sora is enriched, but the comparison with the other chapters (even simply from the point of view of the animations, definitely woody) is at times merciless. Paradoxically, Re: Chain of Memories, despite being largely based on the same technology and the same assets (even if it is easy to notice some compromises, if you look at the performance of some environments) feel the blow much less. Not only that: not having to carry on the shoulders the burden of acting as a starting point for the saga, you get more directly into the heart, but the intuition of entrusting the gameplay to a deck of cards where each of these represents an action, an attack or magic performed by the protagonist keeps the formula fresh even today. If then on this basis we add the various existential doubts that the game proposes during the experience (and the fact that a neophyte can finally get to Kingdom Hearts II without wondering who the heck are those guys dressed in black who peep out from time to time so much) one cannot fail to recognize how this chapter "one and a half" is absolutely a must play, within the gaming economy.

After the Overture and arrived at Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep, the music, however, changes. And for the better.

The rest of the collection has certainly aged better

Undoubtedly there are some worlds that, from the point of view of realization, appear a little more hasty (not to say sloppy) than the others, but in particular the second chapter compensates for the great ranging a lot and experimenting on more than a few occasions. Not only visually, as happens for example in Timeless River, but also impacting the game mechanics as in the worlds dedicated to Tron and Pirates of the Caribbean (although Captain Sparrow of the PlayStation 2 era carries around all the technological limits of the epoch). In conclusion, the package undoubtedly ends in crescendo, and if at first the suspicion that the weather has not been exactly lenient with the series takes shape, pad in hand the more you continue (both within the first chapter and especially when you move on to the next ones) the more the experience solidifies and the gameplay is enriched. Clearly an eye now accustomed to how much beauty this eighth generation can offer he cannot ignore some compromises children of the release year of the running title (or, as we said, of its original release platform), but summing up, everything is worth the price of the ticket and gives hours of entertainment, which is active when you try your hand at the titles cited or passive when you take a look at the "film chapters" included in the two collections, respectively 358/2 Days and Re: Coded (to be considered, for long stretches, a sort of corollary to the experience narrated in the other chapters, with a focus on in-depth analysis).

The heart and a gypsy
Patch 1.02 has solved many problems, but there are still some spots

When faced with such a product, one cannot overlook the technical aspect with which everything was packaged before being recorded on disc. As specified in the opening, our game was born and raised on version 1.02 of the collection, which based on various feedbacks from Japan has solved some problems that ruined the experience, and in particular that linked to the second chapter of the series. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix brings all the titles proposed to the threshold of 60 frames per second, but without the patch released on day one, the maneuver brought some problems related to combat, with enemies simply too fast and damn difficult to knock down precisely because of this newfound fluidity. After installation, the problem, however, subsides, leaving the player in front of the screen a product more in line with what were expectations (technically speaking).

What the patch did not solve is the problem related to the clumsiness which manifests itself on the screen in a particular moment of Kingdom Hearts II, the Battle of the 1000 Heartless: the game engine, in this case (at least, this was our impression), continues to travel around 60 images per second (still showing the thicker side, compared to a more "normal" scenario), but the enemies on the screen they move with a set of animations that seem deliberately limited. Even when few Heartless remain on the battlefield, their movements do not change, thus leaving in the head of those who are holding the pad the doubt that it is a trick orchestrated specifically for that moment there. Net of these considerations, however, the work done by Square Enix, in our opinion, is what could reasonably have been expected. Considering indeed that other software houses, in the same situation, have chosen not to readjust menus and cinematics (which at least in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remixes are in 16: 9), it is difficult to express a negative opinion on the restoration performed, with the exceptions reported during the review.

Verdict 8.5 / 10 We can stop saying to Square "to Sora-ta" Comment Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix is ​​the end of a path in preparation for Kingdom Hearts 3, which finally brings all the knowledge about the series (what stay out is in collection 2.8) on a single game machine, allowing players to get to grips with the best versions of the titles included in the package and tackle the intricate saga with full knowledge of the facts. Many hours of content, whether real video games or films, accompanied by a playful system that, if in the first few bars it feels the weight of the past 15 years, after a few hours it meshes and then definitively explodes when you get to the more "modern" chapters of the series. In short, a perfect starting point for the new generation and a blast from the past for all the other fans, albeit with some flaws (covered very well by the glasses of nostalgia). Pros and cons Many hours to play and watch
Solid gameplay, guaranteed fun
60 frames per second ... x ... With some stains
x The first chapter has undoubtedly aged

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