What is Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix?
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 ReMix is a bumper collection of several Disney-themed role-playing adventure games, bundling remasters of Kingdom Hearts I and II, plus the spin-offs Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories together on one disc. The package also includes the cutscenes and story segments from two further spin-offs, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded, each presented here as a several hour long cutscene film, with no gameplay.
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The product of a partnership between Final Fantasy studio Square Enix and entertainment giant Disney, the Kingdom Hearts games generally follow the story of a young boy called Sora, as he delves into a number of Disney worlds that have been taken over by the forces of darkness. Wielding a peculiar key shaped sword known as a 'keyblade', Sora sets out on a journey to reunite with his missing friends Riku and Kairi, and ends up being wrapped up in a world-saving adventure along the way.
How do you play Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix?
Whether a main instalment of a spin-off, each Kingdom Hearts game plays out in a fairly similar manner. With the meddlesome 'Heartless' enemies having invaded a number of Disney worlds and jumbled up their stories, from The Little Mermaid to Winnie the Pooh and Lilo and Stitch, it's up to you to set out on a quest to put them right, and restore order to the land. Whether you're exploring the mind-bending and gravity-defying corridors of Wonderland searching for evidence to prove Alice's innocence in a trial; facing off in a hair-raising boss fight against a shadowy Cerberus in the Hercules-themed Coliseum; or blasting across the universe with Chip 'n' Dale in a makeshift rocket, each of Sora and co's adventures have a definite Disney flavour.
Between platforming, exploring and light puzzle solving, there's plenty of battling to be done. On the whole, Kingdom Hearts' combat system is a fast-paced, button-mashing affair, where you'll need to time Sora's sword swings, magic spells and dodges well to take out powerful bosses or large groups of enemies.
However, Re:Chain of Memories is a little different in structure, with a more strategic battle system that relies on cards for Sora's attacks. When entering a battle with an enemy, you'll have a stack of cards in the lower left corner of the screen, each representing a different type of attack, magic spell or special move. With no pauses or turns, in order to attack, you'll need to scroll through to the relevant card and use it, at the same time as moving Sora into position and dodging enemy attacks with the left stick. Spent cards disappear from the deck until you hover over the 'reload' card for a set length of time to refill your pile. Forcing you to rely less on button-mashing and spamming attacks and play a bit more conservatively, Re:Chain of Memories can feel even more hectic than the more standard Kingdom Hearts battle system.
How easy is Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix to pick up and play?
Each of the games in the collection can be played on several different difficulties, from Beginner all the way up to the hardest Critical - although be aware that once you've picked one, you'll be locked into it for the duration of your play through (and in order to switch difficulty, you'll need to start over). Combat can feel a little overwhelming at times too, as using any moves outside of your default whacking attack requires you to scroll through a list of available spells and special attacks, without pausing the action on-screen. While bog-standard Heartless enemies shouldn't pose too much of a threat, it's the boss fights which can be a bit on the tricky side, often requiring you to dodge their heavy-hitting attacks, focus on a particular weak point, or hit them with specific spells, requiring some pretty quick reactions.
It's also worth noting that Kingdom Hearts in general is a heavily story-driven game, and while some scenes are fully voiced, an awful lot aren't, so a solid reading ability is pretty much required. The extent of the reading required varies from game to game, with the spin-offs Re:Chain of Memories and Birth By Sleep having much more text-only dialogue than the main entries Kingdom Hearts I and II (which each still have a fair amount of reading to be done).
- "Hold on. The door won't open just yet. First, tell me more about yourself."
- "Roxas? Have you seen my cat around?"
- "They are at the mercy of the cards now. Master the cards, and their strength will be yours again."
As you'd probably expect for a game so heavily steeped in Disney magic, Kingdom Hearts has little in the way of mature content, with no blood and guts, bad language or sex references to speak of. Facing off against the shadowy Heartless beings that have invaded the Disney worlds, you'll regularly find yourself getting into scuffles, which mostly involve whacking the creatures with an oversized sword that looks like a key, throwing in the odd magical fireball attack for good measure. Defeated enemies simply fade away in a puff of smoke.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4