Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix: PS3 Game Review
Sora, the Key-Blade wielding hero, joins forces with Donald, Goofy, Mickey and more in the HD update of Kingdom Hearts, on PS3. Check out Kidzworlds Game Review!
Sora, Meet Goofy
Can you believe it's been 11 years already since Kingdom Hearts, was released? Well, it has and Square-Enix has decided it's time for an HD upgrade of its beloved RPG on PS3 and chose to sweeten the deal by also including Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (sort of...get to that later), and PSN Trophy support! So how does the game hold up after 11 years of RPG advancements? Pretty well, in fact.
It all starts unassuming enough. You play as Sora, a young man with dreams of other worlds and greater things, but you know what they say, be careful what you wish for. After just being introduced to Sora, you meet a couple of his friends, Riku and Kairi, but things quickly turn from good to bad as creatures only known as the "Heartless" invade Sora's home world. Soon after that, you are entrusted with the Key-Blade, a mystical weapon capable of defeating the Heartless and saving the worlds. I say worlds, plural, because after getting the Key-Blade, Sora realizes that he has been transported to a whole new world. A strange place with all sorts of unique characters. Characters that are foreign to Sora, but instantly recognizable to any Disney fan.
The world of Square Enix has merged with the world of Disney and in the process has created one of the most magical and entertaining RPG's you may ever play. If you missed it originally, now is as good a time as any to jump into the series.
On your journey to saving your world and many others, you'll cross paths with countless Disney heroes and villains, some of whom even join in on your adventure. Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Ursala, Genie the list goes on and on. Every single one of the characters is brought to life with stunning beauty as well. The animations, while from an 11 year old game, hold up remarkably well and the character models themselves look absolutely beautiful in HD. The game looks so sharp that I was very rarely reminded that I'm actually playing an older, last-gen game. The worlds you explore are all so varied, colorful and artistically designed that it's impossible not to just stop and look around sometimes.
I was also surprised at how well the gameplay itself holds up too. In fact, it has never controlled better and other than a camera that occasionally can be a pain (I suggest keeping it on manual control) the game is an absolute joy to play.
Battles are played out in real-time as opposed to turn-based, so there is no pause to transition to a battle map or waiting your turn to attack. You run around in 360 degrees attempting to flank your enemies and attack their weaknesses as you see fit. It creates a wonderfully kinetic, and enjoyable battle system that always keeps you moving and on your toes. It serves up a solid challenge later in the game as well, to a point of frustration now and then, but it's never too much, especially if you're an avid RPG player. But new players, don't expect an easy, kid-friendly game just because it has a kid-friendly image.
Kingdom Hearts got an HD upgrade, but not much else though. If you are expecting camera issues to have been fixed or new dialog or quests added, you're out of luck. The game is pretty much a straight-port minus the visual upgrade. This means that all the annoyances of the original release are still here in this new update. The Gummi-Store mini game, is still just as convoluted, pointless and plain old "not fun" as it was in the past. It's the only mini game in Kingdom Hearts that I find to be a total miss. When you, the player, get to these mini-games, you'll understand exactly what I'm talking about. But they don't take away from the overall experince and joy Kingdom Hearts has to offer.
Check out the launch trailer for Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix below!
While we don't get much additions or improvements to Kingdom Hearts HD overall, what we do get instead is a good deal. For the price of Kingdom Hearts, you'll also receive Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, which was originally released on the GameBoy Advance in 2004 and also Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days...But here's the catch with the last one - and it's not stated clearly anywhere on the box art - You don't actually get the full game of 358/2 Days, what you get is all the cinematics and text presented as an edited movie. There is no game to be played here. While it's a nice free addition, it's a bit of miss-marketing on Squares part as just reading the game's case, you're led to believe you are getting the full version of that game, when you are not.
But other than that, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix is a great value package for fans of the KH series or just fans of RPG's in general. If you're looking for a game to sink your teeth into, a game filled with magic and wonder, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix may be the game(s) for you.
ESRB Rating: E 10+
Have Your Say!
Are you a Kingdom Hearts fan or a first timer to the series? Are you excited to jump in to the world of Kingdom Hearts? Let us know in the comments below!