Hello! It’s been awhile since I have really done a full review on a game, but I felt that a Mini-Review wouldn’t do justice for this game. There is a section marked SPOILER inside this review, which talks about spoiler-related content. which some may not want to see. (Avoid the all-bold paragraph to skip spoilers!) With that out of the way, this will be a “mini-series” of some sort, since I have completed Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, but not Re:Chain of Memories or 358/2 Days. (They will both be included in the same review as a Mini-Review, since they aren’t as exciting.) The entirety of Kingdom Hearts II.5 will have full reviews for KH2 and Birth by Sleep, with a short excerpt for Re:Coded. (Since it’s the same cutscene-only beast as 358/2 Days.) That’s all I have to say for this beginning paragraph, so let’s get to it!
Kingdom Hearts was a game developed by Squaresoft for the PS2, and it features multiple Disney and Final Fantasy characters, while still having original characters as well (such as the main protagonist, Sora). Kingdom Hearts was originally released in 2002 for the PS2, but it was re-released in Japan the same year, under the name Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. Final Mix included all of the content that was only available in the non-Japanese versions, as well as new content. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is the version of Kingdom Hearts included in Kingdom Hearts I.5 HD ReMix, along with KH: Re:Chain of Memories and KH: 358/2 Days (the latter only as cutscenes).
Kingdom Hearts can have a really confusing story sometimes, and I feel as if it’s one of the best parts about the series. I’m going to just give a basic run-down of the kinda non-spoilerish story for people who haven’t played it yet and are thinking about picking it up. (the spoiler that are there, won’t be major if you’ve played the game for more than 5 hours.)
There’s an island in a vast ocean which is home to two boys and one girl. Their names are Sora, Riku, and Kairi. Sora is the main protagonist of most of the series, and the other are also main parts of the story in most of the games. Sora, Riku, and Kairi all want to travel to other worlds together and go on an adventure and have fun, and they decide that they want to build a raft to try and sail to distant places to see if there’s anything out there. They end up building it, but the night before they were going to sail it, a storm kicked up, and Sora goes out to try to protect it.
Once he goes outside, he notices that there are many shadowy beasts outside from the dream he had had several days before. He goes around defeating heartless, and he tries to find Riku and Kairi. When he finds Riku, Riku isn’t acting like he used to normally. He asks Sora to join him in the darkness, but Sora couldn’t reach him. Sora goes back to a secret cave on the island to see Kairi standing there, not acting normal either (but kind of in a zombie-ish tone). Seconds later, a door behind Kairi bursts open and flings Kairi into the unknown and Sora onto one of the few remaining remnants of the island. He then has to defeat many Heartless until the island completely vanished, and he couldn’t hold on to it anymore. He wakes up in a world named “Traverse Town”, which is where people from destroyed worlds go.
Kingdom Hearts is a 3D JRPG with special elements that help it to stand out between other games. Like most standard RPG’s, you can collect weapons, abilities, magic spells, and other equipment, and you can increase your base stats by leveling up. What makes Kingdom Hearts really stand out from other games, however, is its combat system, its story, and its overall charm factor. Being able to go through happy, fun Disney worlds while having an admittedly “deep” story, is really one of my favorite factors about this game and the series in general. I think, for first-timers to the series, you should start out of Normal Mode, despite there being a Beginner Mode (it’s really just too easy for most people, including me!). One flaw in the gameplay of Kingdom Hearts in general is one flaw that many, many RPG’s have – it’s almost necessary to level-grind to collect all of the items, and to unlock everything. Just from defeating enemies regularly from world to world, you probably will just barely be able to defeat the final boss. Pretty much, however, level-grinding does almost no good until the end-game when you are actually fighting high-exp enemies. Otherwise, it makes no difference. Sure it has it’s flaws as most JRPG’s do… But Kingdom Hearts has a special flaw – The platforming. Kingdom Heart’s platforming is, throughout the entire adventure, extremely stiff, but it wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t use it much, but they use it all of the time with almost every world in the game (and they use it very extensively). Overall, however, the gameplay for Kingdom Hearts is very solid other than standard JRPG problems and the wonky platforming.
Kingdom Hearts has now been remastered in HD for the PS3, along with 2 other Kingdom Hearts games. However, much like the fare of other HD remasters (like Wind Waker HD, etc.), they haven’t touched the actual models in the game, but rather, just bumped it up to 1080p and added a bit of anti-aliasing and such. It looks much better than the original, and I only ever noticed lag issues during the ending of a boss when one basically explodes into light. Overall, look much better than the original, and is definitely graphically improved.
Music and Sound:
Hoooooly crap, Yoko Shimomura! Yoko is definitely one of my favorite video game music composers of all time, and somehow she has just so happened to compose the music for some of my favorite game series (such as Kingdom Hearts and the Mario & Luigi games). The sounds in the game are really nice and crisp just like in the original as well. This time around, a good portion of the music tracks in this game have been remastered to be… more orchestrated, which is a good and bad thing. Still a fantastic soundtrack though.
Final Thoughts and Rating:
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (located within Kingdom Hearts I.5 HD ReMix) is definitely worth any JRPG fan’s time, and is a very solid experience. I give it a solid 8.7 out of 10: It has regular JRPG flaws and flaws of its own, but it’s still one of the best out there!
I hope you enjoyed my full-length review of Kingdom Hearts FInal Mix (I.5 Edition) for the PS3. I will be doing my review for Re:Chain of Memories at, probably, a much later date, because of busyness. If you liked my review or wanted to share your own opinions about this game and my review, feel free to tell me about them in the comments! Seeya!