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Editorial ► KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX- Japan Import



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Chaser

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Back in mid-April, I sat down to try and finish the story of Lego: Lord of the Rings. Around midday, my mother asked me to check the mail box. Thank god she did because in the mail was a post slip for my copy of Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-.

It's been close to a month now, and I've had a good taste of all three games offered in the ReMIX package, so I have decided to let you guys know the good, the bad and the general opinion I have from the HD remaster collection. Grab some popcorn, relax and enjoy.

I should start with Kingdom Hearts. I was excited to play it, especially for the Final Mix additions and the fixed camera control. I booted up the game and selected the first option. As I guessed the difficulty I was choosing, what I think was the sound option and vibration functions (I don't understand Japanese), I was eager to speed through the game to unlock the Speedster, Undefeated and Unchanging Armor trophies early. As the opening cutscene started, I pressed the start button, wanting to rush through as quick as possible. Much to my dismay, the option to skip the scene wasn't there. I paused and unpaused several more times before giving up.

There was only one other time this happened during the game, and it was during a normal cutscene I believe. It was a bit disappointing to also find that text box scenes couldn't be skipped. Instead, I had to repeatedly press circle to speed through these scenes. Another bit of disappointment was something I was so eager to have fixed: the camera.

I will forgive my ignorance when trying to figure out how to change the camera controls in the option menu since I previously stated I do not know Japanese, however, there were some slight issues I faced when moving the camera. This might just come off as nitpicking to some of you, but one thing I didn't like was the camera would still slightly move after pushing it to do a 180 degree turn. You push it, you let go, you expect it to stop. Another thing is you can't move the camera at all when you're locked on to an enemy. I don't remember if it was like this in the other games, but in open areas that are smaller than others, the camera has a hard time getting on to a fixed point. It creates an awkward gameplay environment.

The only other disappointment I can comment on before I get to the good is that you don't really notice the Final Mix additions. Yes the enemies are re-coloured, but that factor loses its uniquness within a few minutes. The abilities are the same. You think having the stunning finisher is amazing until every attack you do is finished with it. Eventually it just gets to the point when you don't even register the additions and it doesn't feel like much was added/changed.

Also, there is no theatre mode for Kingdom Hearts which totes sucks.

Okay, now that I have that off my chest, have some good things about Kingdom Hearts Final Mix.
It is visually stunning. The game looks like it was made for this generation of consoles. You can't really take in that much of the scenery when you're speeding through the game, but there are some moments when you stop and just admire something, whether it be a chair in Wonderland or the mist in Halloween Town. The game looks incredibly polished and smooth and that alone is a good reason for you to pick the game up this Fall/Spring.

Sora's new model is also so much better. It takes a little getting use to, especially since you're use to the skinnier-face and more tan Sora in the first game. Once you get use to his newer model, you can admire the amount of attention and detail they put into it. The emotion his eyes display, the way his hair moves when swimming; It's clear they treated this with the utmost respect and worked hard to deliver something worthwhile.

One thing I would like to praise is something that was in Kingdom Hearts and again in Kingdom Hearts II, and I thought it was nice: being able to fully skip a world without visiting it. While you do lose some things (curse you Thunder!) it was refreshing to not worry about adding more time to my total score.

As you all know, Re:Chain of Memories was only released in Japan and North America. Since I never had a Game Boy Advance, I didn't have the chance to play the original Chain of Memories. Playing the full 3D remake, especially after playing Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, was refreshing and a joy to play.


I am in absolute love with the amount of strategy you need to build up with this game. Sleights, enemy cards, it's all just been a wonderful experience.

While it is hard to play Re:Chain of Memories for long periods of time, I have found myself entertained by the gameplay, which for me is a big part of the game. Since I don't understand Japanese, I've found myself skipping the Disney worlds (they are beautiful though) and just going in to kill heartless and progress through the plot. It's always interesting seeing where Sora will end up next, or who he will run into.

I am only up to Twilight Town  (Castle Oblivion at time of publish) in Side:Sora, so I haven't had a chance to play Reverse/Rebirth yet but I can say I am looking forward to it so much. Playing as Riku in [Dream Drop Distance] was a breath of fresh air and he was wonderful to control. I hope it feels the same way when I reach it.

I don't really have anything negative to say about Re:Chain of Memories HD, especially since it was remade more recently than Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, however I do wish the english release would hurry up so I know what sleights I am setting up instead of doing trial and error! Oh, and for Vexen to not have his shield guard so many attacks *sigh*.

I didn't really go that far into 358/2 Days. For those who have checked my trophy details, you would know I 100%'d the game within half an hour, however from what I saw, the cinematic cutscenes are absolutely stunning. While there are certain... things that I'm sure many fans are upset at being removed, it was probably necessary in order for the main message of the story to shine though.

 In re-cap:

Things I liked:

  • It's beautiful
  • Re:Chain of Memories has fun gameplay
  • Trophies are tedious, but hey, they're trophies so thats always a plus in my books!


Things I didn't like:

  • Final Mix additions didn't really shine
  • There was still the camera issue
  • Japanese text/voices
  • Clunky gameplay in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

 

So what's your verdict, KHInsider? For those who have played the game, what did you like or not like within the game? For those who are waiting for the Fall/Spring release of the localized version, does one persons opinion on certain aspects make you feel a bit uneasy about the upcoming game? Post your thoughts in the comments!

 

Master Mathias

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Nah, I can still not wait for the english release, I am from europe so I have never played Re:CoM, and Days as a movie that going to be great, and KHFM, I can't wait to fight Xemnas in it :), but I am curious about the camera controls now.

P.S. King Chaser can't you release the official PS3 themes to us here on KHInsider, please I want them so badly and I am sure of it that others want it to.
 

Chaser

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Nah, I can still not wait for the english release, I am from europe so I have never played Re:CoM, and Days as a movie that going to be great, and KHFM, I can't wait to fight Xemnas in it :), but I am curious about the camera controls now.
When the game comes out in English, I might find it a little easier, but for now it's still annoying.

P.S. King Chaser can't you release the official PS3 themes to us here on KHInsider, please I want them so badly and I am sure of it that others want it to.
Now that wouldn't be fair to all those who play the game xP
 

Rasangan94

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

I am dreading playing Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories...I just feel like the gameplay/battle system takes too long. lol. Big fan of the games but I literally found myself falling asleep playing COM...lol.
 

Chaser

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

It felt refreshing to go from KH 1 gameplay to something like Re:CoM's gameplay. I much prefered doing those flashy sleights over a 3 hit-combo.
It was awkward for me playing Re:CoM then swapping to KH1. I kept pressing triangle xD
 

XIII RoXaS XIII

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

I had the same issue when playing Kingdom hearts II final mix, i played though the game and stuff stood out instantly but after a few worlds it wasn't as awesome as when i first saw it. Even though that being said i was excited to get new abilities and see new recolouring from time to time. My Japanese is not good but i can still read the Katakana and some Hiragana though kanji I'm screwed so selecting though stuff was a breeze for me. I think when Kingdom hearts II in HD is released the final mix content will have a much higher importance.

Hey chaser were you able to switch between circle and X that annoyed me so much. Spent me 10 minutes the first time i loaded the game to find out that Circle was to accept and the X button was to decline. (this is KHIIFM)

One last question and that is with the camera. Could you relate is to KH2 camera or did it have its own mechanics. i remember back in KH1 and you locked onto a Darkball and it would attack with that seizure attack you camera would go mental hopefully they fixed the small stuff like that.

As for Chains of Memories i don't have much to say as i have played it already (Bought Chipped PS2 from friend at school for $50 and imported game) all i can look forward to is the updated graphics and the lip syncing, still don't know if they fixed that for NTSC and PAL versions of the game.

Any nice article, nice read though i had no popcorn :(
 

Dark Wing

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

I am dreading playing Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories...I just feel like the gameplay/battle system takes too long. lol. Big fan of the games but I literally found myself falling asleep playing COM...lol.

i felt similar at first but then i learned how to have fun with the battle system. at one point my deck was made up in such a way that all i had to do was mash the triangle button and i would keep making sonic blade sleights. it was so well organized that i could keep making them until i ran out of cards without having to manually select cards (tho the final boss's move that scatters your cards kinda ruined that strategy lol)
 

Chaser

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

I had the same issue when playing Kingdom hearts II final mix, i played though the game and stuff stood out instantly but after a few worlds it wasn't as awesome as when i first saw it. Even though that being said i was excited to get new abilities and see new recolouring from time to time. My Japanese is not good but i can still read the Katakana and some Hiragana though kanji I'm screwed so selecting though stuff was a breeze for me. I think when Kingdom hearts II in HD is released the final mix content will have a much higher importance.
Yeah, that's what I'm hoping for. I hope I feel a new appreciation for the additions when I can understand everything. I struggle getting with the abilities because I have no idea what I'm equipping xD

Hey chaser were you able to switch between circle and X that annoyed me so much. Spent me 10 minutes the first time i loaded the game to find out that Circle was to accept and the X button was to decline. (this is KHIIFM)
There's no way to change it. And now I'm feeling a problem, because circle feels natural to me now. My thumb rests better on it than it does on X.

One last question and that is with the camera. Could you relate is to KH2 camera or did it have its own mechanics. i remember back in KH1 and you locked onto a Darkball and it would attack with that seizure attack you camera would go mental hopefully they fixed the small stuff like that.
It still has that problem. Best example I can give is in Deep Jungle. You know that heartless that pops up on the science desk on the left hand side of camp? Even if you don't lock on to anything, it still auto sticks to the little science kit on the table rather than the heartless.

As for Chains of Memories i don't have much to say as i have played it already (Bought Chipped PS2 from friend at school for $50 and imported game) all i can look forward to is the updated graphics and the lip syncing, still don't know if they fixed that for NTSC and PAL versions of the game.
Trust me, it looks so much better. I don't know if it was just cause Youtube, but the cutscenes in the PS2 version were all fuzzy and condensed. It looked so different from the gameplay part of the game. That's changed in this game, and it looks amazing.

Any nice article, nice read though i had no popcorn :(
Thats a shame :(
Here, have some of mine;
popcorn+7.jpg
 

XIII RoXaS XIII

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

There's no way to change it. And now I'm feeling a problem, because circle feels natural to me now. My thumb rests better on it than it does on X.
Yeah, massive pain in the ass switching back and fourth between games so hard so go back once you have got used to it. I find myself jumping over enemies instead of attacking them. You should be able to change it like you could with final fantasy games such as 7 and that was made like... 16 years ago (just finished it recently) A small button assign feature would be awesome.

It still has that problem.
Are you saying that you can't see a difference at all or is there just annoying stuff that wasn't fixed. Surely after all that work they would have made the camera at least a little bit easier to use. D:

Thats a shame :(
Here, have some of mine;
*Sob* virtual popcorn not edible *licks screen*
 

ajmrowland

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

I hope the HD collections dont change the button configuration like the originals did. O is so natural and not every game on earth has to use X for selecting something. And The 3/DS games have a similar configuration to the japanese playstation ones.
 

Chaser

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Are you saying that you can't see a difference at all or is there just annoying stuff that wasn't fixed. Surely after all that work they would have made the camera at least a little bit easier to use. D:
The stuff wasn't fixed. Also, it's hard to look up and down.
 

Rydgea

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Aw, Chaser finally gets to play (Re:)Chain of Memories. ;A;

Well, my feelings are all over the place after reading this. Obvi, I already preordered it and everything. My purchase is finalized, but I definitely don't feel the same sense of urgency to play through it as I initially did. I will begin playing when my copy arrives, but I am a little less hyped than before, not going to lie.

In fact, I'd been playing through my PS2 copies of KH and Re:CoM to master the games on Proud Mode and put them into "retirement" when the HD collection comes in, and right now I'm on Reverse/Rebirth realizing how much of a pain it's going to be leveling Riku to 99. Re:Chain still gives off its "I was originally intended for a handheld" vibe, and I can only handle the monotony in small doses now. This is really more of a general concern than an HD one, but I digress. Not sure if it being "prettier" than before will help much, but then again, it didn't help much with a complete overhaul from GBA to PS2. This title was never my favorite, but I love the card system, and that will always be it's redeeming quality.

I'm honestly a little shocked and disappointed that no Theater Mode was implemented for KHFM somehow, and really would have enjoyed a dual audio function. I guess that means no Theater Mode for KH2 when 2.5 comes out... Bummer! :(

Still excited for the little things like extra cutscenes, palette swaps, ASAS [Deep Dive]. Even if these things register as the new norm, fighting Xemnas in Hollow Bastion is something we've all wanted.

Thanks for the heads up, Chaser.
 

The_Echo

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

One thing I would like to praise is something that was in Kingdom Hearts and again in Kingdom Hearts II, and I thought it was nice: being able to fully skip a world without visiting it. While you do lose some things (curse you Thunder!) it was refreshing to not worry about adding more time to my total score
Wait a minute.

You can completely skip worlds? When? How? I knew 100 Acre Wood (and Atlantica in II) was optional, but I thought you had to do all the others.
I guess that means no Theater Mode for KH2 when 2.5 comes out... Bummer! :(
KHIIFM has a Theater Mode already. Kingdom Hearts FM never did, but it would've been nice if they added it.
 
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Setsuna ♥

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

I hope the HD collections dont change the button configuration like the originals did. O is so natural and not every game on earth has to use X for selecting something. And The 3/DS games have a similar configuration to the japanese playstation ones.

Using Circle to select things is the norm in all Japanese games while X is for backing out, this is usually reversed when games come stateside since the norm is the other way around so its possible it could be changed for the US release.

In anycase awesome review ! Kind of makes me want to write my own, if I have time later in the way I'll throw one together with my own thoughts.
 

Rydgea

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Wait a minute.

You can completely skip worlds? When? How? I knew 100 Acre Wood (and Atlantica in II) was optional, but I thought you had to do all the others.

You have the option of skipping either Atlantica, Halloween Town, or Monstro I believe, but you have to complete two out of those three worlds to progress.

KHIIFM has a Theater Mode already. Kingdom Hearts FM never did, but it would've been nice if they added it.

Oh, thanks. Well that's good news for 2.5, but even more reason I think they should have taken the initiative to implement a mode in KHFM, seeing as it's the only one that needed it.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Yeah, I've been playing my own copy of 1.5 and the camera bothers me a lot at times. Definitely better than the original one in KH, but not as good as Re:CoM or KH2's camera on the PS2. It gets stuck when rotating if you're near a solid wall, which is disappointing because usually you can rotate through them in other games without the camera fighting it. Oh well. It must be how the camera in the original version was coded so they probably couldn't do much with it.

I haven't reached Re:CoM in my 1.5 yet so I'm pretty excited on how it will be!

I'm honestly a little shocked and disappointed that no Theater Mode was implemented for KHFM somehow, and really would have enjoyed a dual audio function. I guess that means no Theater Mode for KH2 when 2.5 comes out... Bummer! :(

Don't worry about KH2FM, Rydgea! KH2FM had Theater mode added back when it was released years ago. Re:CoM also has theater mode. It is just KHFM that doesn't have it, sadly. :c

But yeah! Theater mode galore in the eventual 2.5!

edit: ninja'd :c

Wait a minute.

You can completely skip worlds? When? How? I knew 100 Acre Wood (and Atlantica in II) was optional, but I thought you had to do all the others.

You can skip OC and Monstro as well. You've always been able to xD
 

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Nice review for KHI though I wish you explained more on Chain of Memories and especially Days. I want to know fan's opinions on Days. I've been stopping myself from watching it until it comes out in NA, but I do know that they didn't animate any of the important battles like Roxas vs. Saix or even Roxas vs. Xion which really disappoints me. Is there anything else someone can add on their opinion on the Days theater?

And I didn't know you could skip Monstro! It seems rather important I wonder why? But now I'm happy since it's one of my least favorite worlds. I also own CoM, but have yet to play it to the fullest. Maybe I might as well wait to play it in HD now. I just couldn't get into the card system. Maybe I'll give it more of a chance this time around.
 

Taochan

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Nice review for KHI though I wish you explained more on Chain of Memories and especially Days. I want to know fan's opinions on Days. I've been stopping myself from watching it until it comes out in NA, but I do know that they didn't animate any of the important battles like Roxas vs. Saix or even Roxas vs. Xion which really disappoints me. Is there anything else someone can add on their opinion on the Days theater?
Days is beautiful and there are some really wonderful scenes that have a much more emotional impact than they had in the DS version. There are also a lot of adorable and funny moments that were rendered just for HD and were things we never saw in the DS version.

Unfortunately like you said, most of the battles are cut out. Regarding the Saix battle, there isn't even any lead up to it. Roxas doesn't meet him on his way out of the castle at all which is incredibly disappointing. And there are only pictures summarizing the Disney world adventures, none of them are rendered.

It's a bittersweet experience. On one hand, it's stunning and it cuts out the annoying battle system. On the other hand, it cuts out a lot of plot from the DS version.
 

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

Nice review for KHI though I wish you explained more on Chain of Memories and especially Days.

We're saving the full review for the North American/Europe/PAL release ;D Consider this a taste of what is to come!

Is there anything else someone can add on their opinion on the Days theater?

It's really pretty. Like really gorgeous. If you have a big HDTV, it really shines. The anti-aliasing is really good so you rarely see any distracting jaggies, and the graphics are stunning for an HD movie made on whatever engine they use for Kingdom Hearts these days. The richness of the colors and sound quality are absolutely fantastic too.

Also, one thing that I love about the Osaka team is their ability to create emotive eye movements. They added a lot of it in KHFM, and Days naturally has it since they built it from the ground up. It goes a long way in making the characters feel more alive.
 

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Re: KHInsider Reviews: Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX-

The lack of theater mode and the ability to skip cut-scenes for KH1 is really disappointing. D:
Not looking forward to replaying RE:CoM, gotta do it for the trophies though. xD
 
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