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!
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 Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ for all the latest Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts 3 news!
©2012 KHInsider. KINGDOM HEARTS official artwork, trailers, characters, merchandise, and music is copyrighted to Square Enix and Disney.
Original material is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.