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Aug 30

Aug 30

Hands-on with Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix

Ryan Clements's Avatar Posted by Senior Specialist, SIEA Social Media

“When we are older, you’ll understand what I meant when I said, ‘No, I don’t think life is quite that simple.’ “

So sang Hikaru Utada in her beloved single that opened the original Kingdom Hearts in September of 2002. And so she sings again in this upcoming HD update that famously twisted together the fates of Square Enix characters with Disney icons. And the lyrics offer a pointed commentary on the re-release, as the narrative of Kingdom Hearts was never quite that simple. And perhaps that’s why we love it so much.

Kingdom Hearts begins innocently enough, with a young boy named Sora spending time with his friends, Riku and Kairi. But soon their world, and perhaps all worlds, are threatened by a malignant darkness. Sora, as our intrepid hero, is promptly pulled into the intrigue.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is an incredible collection for fans of the series, and a perfect entrypoint for those that missed the original. It includes the “Final Mix” version of the first Kingdom Hearts, which was never launched in the United States. This version includes new enemies, items, and other assorted goodies. But now, of course, the visuals have enjoyed a tremendous overhaul. Kingdom Hearts HD practically bursts off the screen, proving once again that simple but effective art styles age brilliantly.

Kingdom Hearts HD Screens, 15

JiminySoraGoofyCardDays cutscene 4

We popped in the original Kingdom Hearts for a back-and-forth comparison, and the difference is incredible. The HD version not only looks better, but feels smoother — and the colors sizzle. This isn’t a hastily-put-together kind of upgrade, but one that offers a significant improvement.

The collection doesn’t stop with the original, however. It also includes the 3D remake of Chain of Memories, aptly titled Re: Chain of Memories, which takes place between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. This game replaces the menu-based action battles of the original with an addictive, collectible card system.

As a bonus, Kingdom Hearts HD also comes equipped with HD remastered versions of the cinematics from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Please note that this is not the full game — just the story. But it’s a fantastic way to catch up on a touching part of the series that never made it to a PlayStation platform before.

Kingdom Hearts HD Screens, 10

Even if you played the original Kingdom Hearts when it launched, the HD Remix is very much worth looking into. Not only are the visual updates a dramatic improvement, but the play itself has aged just as well as the art style. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is still every bit as charming and fun after all these years, with a wealth of weapons to find, worlds to explore, and a lovable hero to develop. Seriously, how adorable is Sora?

Similarly, the battle system in Re: Chain of Memories remains addictive, with card collecting and deck building mechanics that play to our love of CCGs. It also allows us to “build” the worlds we visit, selecting where to drop save points and battle rooms as we go. A lot of time can be spent playing with these systems, as they provide a remarkable amount of customization and control to how Sora behaves in combat.

And for those of you that have yet to experience Kingdom Hearts, this is likely your best doorway into the adventure. Perfect timing, too, as Kingdom Hearts III was announced at E3 earlier this year. And with two games and one cinematic collection bundled together onto a single disc, the long-running narrative of the series might be a little simpler to follow this time around.

ReCOM battle 2


Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix launches on September 10th for PS3. Pre-orders include an exclusive art book with concept sketches and more.

Add Your Own

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JuniorFreakinHD said:

August 30th, 6:30 pm


TJF588 said:

August 30th, 6:36 pm

All I’m still worried about (aside from adapting to R-stick camera in a game reliant on face-button-mashing) is this: Are the Re:Chain cinematics rendered in real-time?

The PS2 version’s pre-rendered FMVs looked terribly fuzzy compared to regular gameplay, and enough HD version of PS2 games have been marred by muddled FMVs (God of War HD definitely did, and I hear the DMC collection fares no better).

xXAceToshXx said:

August 30th, 7:02 pm

Man after completing KH Dream Drop Distance and the previous games it’s nice to go back to the beginning and go through the story to get ready for Kingdom Hearts 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and am i the only one that sang the Simple and Clean lyrics at the top of the screen. Thanks for the article Ryan and do you know if there will be a release of Kingdom hearts 2 and the other games on the Playstation 3 as well?

WowUrTall said:

August 30th, 7:03 pm

I hated Re-Chain of Memories with a passion…

pikmin44 said:

August 30th, 8:48 pm

I’m a HUGE Kingdom Hearts fan so i will definitely be getting this!

Sorahl213 said:

August 30th, 9:41 pm

POWERHOUSE! Great to see an article of yours on the PSBlog site, and it’s awesome how it’s about my favorite game series!
I remember Christmas morning of 2002 as if it happened yesterday. My PS2 was wrapped and put into a red bag as if Santa had actually dropped it off, and Kingdom Hearts came in that bag as well wrapped. My first PS2 game and JRPG. It’s going to be amazing going back to the game that sparked my passion for gaming.
Thanks for the read and making the wait just a little harder! lol

PrinceofXIII said:

August 31st, 12:12 am

getting this and the JPN version soon!

JROD0823 said:

August 31st, 7:44 am

To “Rheumatoid Arthritis” Ryan Clements,

I never would have guessed that you would be the one to give us the Kingdom Hearts news, considering the fact that you don’t really care much for that genre of game. ;) ;)

Keep up the great work.


Darth_Xehanort said:

August 31st, 2:28 pm

I could not be more excited for this game.

Unit68matthew said:

August 31st, 4:22 pm

Hey Clements, Beyond!
Good to see you are doing well!

Shugo-PNM said:

August 31st, 4:39 pm

I can’t wait to have this :D It’s too bad that I couldn’t pre-order it ._. I’m waiting this and a 2.5 with KH 2 y BBS :) (and maybe the scenes of RE: Coded ^^)

It seems pretty cool. I hope that it is not that difficult to plat :P

ytl1986 said:

September 1st, 5:50 am

I wish there was a Vita version too. It would have been awsome to talk the Kingdom Hearts series on the go.

x_PlaTtiNuM said:

September 2nd, 3:56 pm

I’m getting mine 2 days early! because I’m going to the launch event in Anaheim California!! wooooooooo!!!

GintokiSsan said:

September 3rd, 12:57 pm

already preordered this a few months back..just preordered FFX HD today for the Limited Edition just like KH, but where would i find the time to play all these games? still gots loads of games left on The Vita that i havent touched..sigh

KlayFab said:

September 5th, 10:47 pm

This game is the reason why I searched for months to find the 80gb ps3 the one that got backwards compatibility model. I’ll buy this just because i’m a die hard fan of the kingdom hearts series. They should have put in KH2 instead of the cinematic. It would have made all the fan’s much happier since many don’t have the backwards compatibility models :( boo hoo on you’s ahahaha :P

BankeA said:

September 7th, 3:09 am


Demon_-_Warior said:

September 9th, 7:48 pm

Can anyone tell me if this will be downloadable on the store if so when ?????? really want to know i love the series

bravo42590 said:

September 10th, 6:35 pm

can’t wait to play it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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