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A Beginners Guide to Kingdom Hearts –HD 2.5 ReMIX–

Kingdom Hearts –HD 2.5 ReMIX– will be released later in 2014 for all territories, however this marks many players first steps into the worlds of Birth by Sleep or Re:coded, therefore I’ve decided to put together this quick guide on how to maximize a beginner’s enjoyment with this HD classic.

For those who have experiences all the games in this package on their respected consoles, I invite you to share how you would suggest players take advantage of what the games offer in order for beginners to get a head start on what to expect.

Due to the importance of the games, this guide will instruct beginners on the games in this way in order to minimize the chance of a beginner spoiling the plot of the series:

Remember, the above is not a suggestion on how to play the games when you load up your disc. It is how this guide will be structured in order to give a sense of how important it is to play the games in the correct order, as well as provide tips in order to help you out.

As this is my final piece writing for this site, as I move on to the next stage in my life, I would like to take this chance to thank you all for your continuing devotion to Kingdom Hearts Insider, and to thank you all for your support with all the work we have, as a team, contributed to all of you. Now, without further ado, let us begin this guide!

~Re:coded~

I begin this guide with Re:coded for one reason, and one reason only. In my opinion, it is the most important game in the entire series prior to the release of Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] as most of the game talks about the previous games and the events that transpires within them, and then talks about where the characters must go.

Before you start debating this with me, take the time to look at this from a new fans perspective. Coming into this collection, they don’t know the plot of Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep. They don’t know what happens or how those games will end. They put in their new copy of Kingdom Hearts –HD 2.5 ReMIX– and think “hey, getting those 6 trophies for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was pretty easy. And I hear Re:coded is even shorter this time! Let’s watch that first!!”

The second they hit play on that content, they are spoiled to the endings of both Kingdom Hearts  II and Birth by Sleep thanks to the opening video (which is the best opening video for the series, in my opinion. Perfect blend of showing off Disney and the plot of all the games).

And then the rest of the HD Cinematic Cutscenes continue, with references to past games, and why characters feel a certain way or
where they end up at the end of their respective games. New players will be spoilt to what should be shocking events. Therefore if you are new to the series and this is your first time with Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep, please, please watch Re:coded after you’ve completed the other two games.

If you’re like me and you’ve completed both games so many times, then feel free to watch Re:coded since you know how everything happens. But I cannot stress enough, that for new people, leave Re:coded till last.

 

~Kingdom Hearts II~

Kingdom Hearts II should obviously be the first game you choose to play in this HD classic. It's the proper sequal to all 3 games in Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX- and drops subtle hints into certain events in Birth by Sleep and Re:coded, so I feel it’s much better to get through this game before diving into the prologue to the first Kingdom Hearts.

Now, I’ve played through Kingdom Hearts II a few times since I first got the game in 2006. If there’s one thing I can always remember doing in both this game and the first Kingdom Hearts, it was to selfishly give Sora all the AP, Strength Ups etc. If you choose to play on Critical mode (in hopes that the trophies are stackable this time) then making sure Sora’s stats are high is a good thing and will help you last longer on the battlefield.


Another thing that I feel should be mentioned is to make use of the reaction commands. Cited as one of the biggest flaws of Kingdom Hearts II due to making the game to easy (press triangle to win is one of the biggest examples mentioned by fans), the developers put it into the  game and you should make use of it. Often it can help you in a pinch (big damage in a boss battle) or it can help you easily take down a small group of enemies (reversal on the Dusks). Take advantage of the reaction commands to get you through the game.

Try and see what kind of play style fits you best for this game. While you mainly have to stick to the general hack-n-slash while playing the game, explore other options given to you. While the summons in this game are generally lackluster compared to other summons in other games, try them out a few times and see if there’s one that works well with how you play.
The same goes for the abilities you equip to Sora. If you feel easier fighting in the air, don’t give the AP to a boost in ground combo moves when you could give it to an aerial combat move. Get Sora to play to your strengths, and take advantage of what he has to offer. If you feel like there’s some useless abilities that are on Sora when they could be put to use on something like Leaf Bracer? Take them off and enjoy the thrill of playing Kingdom Hearts II in your own way!

I should make note that since this is the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts II, various things are different in this game than the original. There are more varieties of play styles that you will need to try out in order to get a feel for how to maximize your experience. Test out limit form. Give the Organization XIII mushrooms a try before you move on to the next world. Modify your gummi ship. Play the game how you want to play it.

 

 ~Birth by Sleep~

Birth by Sleep is one of the most critically acclaimed Kingdom Hearts games, as many fans find it to be a thrilling game both plot-wise and gameplay-wise. In my opinion, for new players this should be played in between Kingdom Hearts II and Re:coded in order to effective take in the gravity of the plot. 

Before Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep was released back in 2010, it was suggested by Series Creator Tetsuya Nomura to play it in this order: Terra -> Ventus -> Aqua. While I agree somewhat on this order, I feel like Terra and Ventus can be interchangeable. Especially since there’s one line in Terra’s story that spoils a big chunk of Ventus’ story. You read that right. Just one line.
Aqua should definitely be left for last, as it’s her story that leads to the games proper ending, and therefore, you, the beginner, should take care of Terra or Ventus first.

Just like with Kingdom Hearts II, work out an effective play style for yourself. This game evolves the way you fight with the addition of the command system, so there’s a greater depth to the gameplay and to the way you take down the Unversed. Prefer blinding enemies before taking them out with Zantetsuken? Go for it! Feel the need to thunder surge at a Bruiser before knocking them into the air with Aerial Slam? Sure, why not! The game can be played however you want it to be played!

Something that should be noted for people playing Birth by Sleep for the very first time is that abilities are gained through a new method instead of levelling up normally. This time, you gain new abilities through merging commands. You can get these abilities by merging two commands with a crystal into a new command. You only have this ability while the command is in your deck (until you level up the command to MAX, in which case it’s yours to keep forever). Mix and match commands in order to maximize the chances gaining strong commands and abilities and make your character stronger.

Take a detour into the many mini-games that Birth by Sleep has to offer. Disney Town is the 100 Acre Woods of Birth by Sleep. Once you reach this world, you can take a break from the main storyline and enjoy some classic mini-games including a rhythm game, and many racing challenges. If you’d prefer to take on a fighting detour, then the Mirage Arena is a great place for you to visit. Available early on in the game, the Mirage Arena is home to many challenges where you can battle waves and waves of Unversed, and then a boss, similar to the tournament style from Kingdom Hearts.

If you’d rather get some high-powered commands early on, then the command board is a great place to go to and just have some fun. Available at the Mirage Arena and from various save points, you can play on a variety of boards based on the worlds you visit within the game.

If they implement online Multiplayer, than you can enjoy all these minigames (excluding the Disney Town ones) with all your friends over the Playstation Network, allowing for many hours of fighting  and gaming.

Play the game on the hardest difficulty. Like Kingdom Hearts II, this game isn’t so difficult. You can get strong commands early in the game which can easily take down groups of Unversed. The most you would struggle with is in the first worlds, as you are new to playing the game and therefore inexperienced. After you overcome the challenges of the first world, the rest of the game will be a breeze, so you can sit back and enjoy the story.

 

And lastly, for all of the content in Kingdom Hearts –HD 2.5 ReMIX–, have fun and enjoy it. Many fans have waited years to play the once-Japan exclusive and now the time has come for old fans and new to join together and enjoy all that this HD classic has to offer. I hope that new fans of the game find this advice useful, and that older fans are able to share their wisdom with you.

As always, you can further look up information relating to Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and any other Kingdom Hearts game right here on KHInsider!
If you would like to discuss various topics on our forums, remember to sign up and make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterTumblr and Google+ for all the latest Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts 3 news!

COMMENTS

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Mirby

January 5, 2014 @ 10:21 amOffline

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I honestly prefer Ventus > Aqua > Terra for BBS, cause things you hear about Terra in the first two stories are explained when you play his. Adds to the mystery, and I like that a lot.

Good suggestions though. :D

Vanitas666

January 5, 2014 @ 01:26 pmOffline

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^ I'd play it like that too (or A>V>T) but only if you wait before fighting the final boss at the keyblade graveyard so you fight them A>V>T.
I think it get a lot more epic anyway when you play them all at the same time which is what I did the first time around.

ajmrowland

January 5, 2014 @ 03:19 pmOffline

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Like Vanitas666, for the story pacing, I actually play all three characters at once, albeit in strict canon order. It still doesn't feel spoilerish either.

Kind of ruins the pacing of the ending though. I just sort of wish that it was part of the "Final Episode" and allowed you to play all characters bosses one after another.

LaunchpadMcQuack

January 5, 2014 @ 05:59 pmOffline

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Good article, Chaser. I've been planning on doing Critical Level 1 for KHII, as I've done before illegally

Bye Chaser :c

Sorarocks93

January 5, 2014 @ 06:19 pmOffline

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Nice guide. I can't wait untill this comes.
However I haven't even Platinum'd both KH and CoM yet. Gotta do that before KH II.5 comes around.

Wait, you're leaving?

Blackdrazon

January 5, 2014 @ 06:32 pmOnline

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Great writeup! One day I'd like to work out my optimum order for going through BBS... Even the canon order doesn't seem entirely correct. I agree the Terra spoiler of Ven's storyline is absolutely absurd. There are a lot of amenities in Terra's storyline for the first-time player, but you lose so much by that one line that it's almost not worth it.

For a new player playing BBS, I also recommend you play on the hardest difficulty, because BBS, coded and DDD don't have "secret endings" so much as "actual endings locked up for no good reason." You don't want to miss them under any circumstances, and not only is BBS' the most important, but BBS Final Mix's is even bigger than that! Proud mode with all characters will unlock it right away.

But if you play BBS on Normal, like I did, you will hate yourself. The normal mode requirement for the ending is to get nearly 100% completion, which would be fine on its own, but if nothing's changed, they want you to do it with all three characters, and that means minigame after minigame that doesn't vary between characters. The exact same play experience. Over, and over. Board game minigame after board game. And that means you spend most of your playthough bolded-italicized-underlined bored. If you like getting 100%, like I do, put only one character on Normal and the rest on Proud. I'm pretty awful with Terra so I'd prefer him in Normal, but that's going to vary.

If you're having trouble getting through your first world, it's possible to unlock the Cure spell early on the Command Board. We're all Kingdom Hearts fans here, we all know Cure is the ultimate secret to happiness!

axel95

January 5, 2014 @ 11:28 pmOffline

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Great article Chaser! I agree that BBS should be played last, because it just won't have the same impact if it's the first KH game you play. I think that Re:Coded and KH2 are interchangeable. I need to get to work on platinuming 1.5. That needs to get done before this game comes out! Sad to see that you are leaving. Good luck with wherever life takes you!

Antar

January 6, 2014 @ 12:29 amOnline

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Can anybody tell me what that line is that spoils Ven's story in BBS? I passed the game many times so it's not a spoiler for me.

Sephiroth0812

January 6, 2014 @ 12:33 amOffline

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Can anybody tell me what that line is that spoils Ven's story in BBS? I passed the game many times so it's not a spoiler for me.
I guess it's this exchange:
Spoiler Spoiler: spoiler Show

Chaser

January 6, 2014 @ 01:27 amOffline

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I think that Re:Coded and KH2 are interchangeable.
See, if I were a new player coming into the series with the 1.5 games, I would be excited for 2.5 right. I would be super excited to continue the story of the games and see where all this goes. And when I get my copy, and I boot up Re:coded first, I loose the impact of Sora and Riku going home, and how TAV are suffering. It completely undermines the plotlines of KH2 and BBS

Blackdrazon

January 6, 2014 @ 02:56 amOnline

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Can anybody tell me what that line is that spoils Ven's story in BBS? I passed the game many times so it's not a spoiler for me.
Heck, it's more than the one line. Most of the tension in Ven's storyline comes from him not knowing where Terra is and what he's doing. If you've already played as Terra, you already know that! This is true of Aqua's storyline as well, but I still think she's better last. You just can't win for losing with this game!

Gram

January 6, 2014 @ 04:14 amOffline

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Personally I've always prefered Aqua-Ventus-Terra. Since at the end of her main story you dont really see what or why Ventus and Terra ended up the way they did. (though it does make it kind of odd to go back to her story after unlocking the last episode after you've played the other two between)

Gexus

January 6, 2014 @ 05:36 pmOffline

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Terrific article. I'll be sure to show this to some of my beginner friends, when the time comes.

I also agree, that once you finish all the hard bosses and whatnot in KH2 and BBS, it will be a treat to sit down and watch an HD movie for Re:Coded. It really does a fine work setting the stages for KH3D and KH3.

LaunchpadMcQuack

January 7, 2014 @ 06:13 amOffline

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Judging by their trailers, Square isn't worried about spoiling ENDINGS to their games in remasters.

KH 1.5's box has Mickey jumping out from the ending of KH1 on the back for shit's sake. They should really have a guide for new players.

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