Saturday, 14 September 2013

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix - Final Round Review

When word of a HD remix of the PS2 classic surfaced I instantly felt like a child again, and eagerly counted down the days until I could enter the sweet world of Cosplay inspirations and Disney once again.  I have often found myself going back and dusting off my PS2 to play the original Kingdom Hearts and having an absolute blast, all while feeling sad with the thought of never receiving a trophy for my awesome deeds or see this wonderful game in glorious HD; luckily I was wrong.

Square Enix have kept the gameplay authentic which might cause some frustrations as Kingdom Hearts doesn’t have the tightest control scheme around, but that was always part of the challenge and I applaud the folks at Square Enix for not giving into demands for tight, fluid controls. The one change in the controls gives you the ability to press the “triangle” button to interact with items in the world rather than trying to navigate the “Interact” option with your D-pad and X.

For those who remember the “jingles” in Kingdom Hearts, you will either be super stoked or annoyed with the lack of change in sound.  They may have cleaned it up and remastered it to give a newer crisp sound but all the theme songs, sound effects, and voice acting remain the same.

Most importantly in a HD remake are, of course, the visuals and what Square Enix have done is quite respectable in terms of upgrades.  While there is virtually no added textures or designs to the game, the vibrancy of existing colours has been improved without causing any issues to the framerate stability.  From the depth of the red on Sora’s pants to the green of the grass in Pooh’s world, everything has been re-rendered and looks beautiful.  Not to mention the cinematics are now on par with most of today’s games; it is truly an eye pleasing remake.  Furthermore the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days cinematic has also been HD remastered, and it looks and sounds fantastic.

As for the extra features that come with 1.5 Remix, the RE:Chain of Memories is just a fun little Card-based battle game which follows the same vain, terms of presentation, as the full Kingdom Hearts game.  While in itself is nothing fancy, it is a nice addition to an already content filled collection.

Whilst Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix is just a HD remake, it still has new and exciting features on offer and it stands solid in the world of HD Remastered games.  The game is not without issues and frustrations but these will easily be overlooked by long-time fans and new comers alike, who come for the good story and challenging gameplay.  Overall it is a highly touched up, nostalgic experience and well worth a revisit.

Final Round Rating  -  8/10

 - Frank van der Merwe

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