If you’ve never before had the chance to play any of the Kingdom Hearts games, now is the best time for you to experience the series in its entirety. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix gathers a collection of four titles from the main series, as well as two compilations of HD cinematics. The collection may seem like just a mash-up of the previous collections released on the PlayStation 3, but this new collection offers a bit more value than simply releasing the games again on PlayStation 4. Each game is now given a 60 frames-per-second upgrade from their previous releases, making this the definitive way to experience the Kingdom Hearts games up to this point.
If you’ve never before been introduced to the series, everything in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix will be completely new territory to you. If you’re like me and have played these games multiple times throughout the years, you’re going to feel right at home. Most of what you’re getting in this collection is primarily the same as what fans have gotten in the previous collections on PlayStation 3, with the exception of the new frame rate. All of the whimsical charm, action-RPG mechanics, and many hidden secrets from each title are present and accounted for, with very little else outside of that.
With that said, you’re getting a lot of value in this collection, regardless if you’ve played these games before or not. Each of the four games included in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix can be played for well over 30 hours each, and that’s not even including all of the secret content in each game. It may seem redundant to say that the Kingdom Hearts games hold a lot of nostalgic value, but their charm and appeal hasn’t waned long after their original releases.
Many players still get goosebumps from seeing the opening cinematics to Kingdom Hearts Final Mix while Utada Hikaru’s “Simple & Clean” plays in the background. It should also be noted that all four games have separate trophy lists that can be completed once again. This means if you’ve gotten the Platinum trophy on any of the game before on the PlayStation 3, you can do so once again for all of the games.
But not everything in this big Kingdom Hearts collection has held up well over time. In all of the games, specifically in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and RE: Chain of Memories, some elements of the controls and platforming are still very awkward, especially the sections that require a lot of precise jumping.
While Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix and Birth by Sleep still hold up well overall, some of the more boring sections in the games are still just as boring, even if they’re now shown in 60 frames-per-second. It’s difficult to judge an older game by today’s standards, but sometimes the less appealing parts of it can stand out more as time goes on.
While the four games included are great overall, the HD Cinematics for both Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts RE: Coded have some rough parts to them. These compilations of cinematics don’t benefit as much from the upgraded frame rate or smooth out visuals in the same way the actual games do. There are times where the cinematics in both compilations can get very pixelated, which ends up spotlighting the lower resolution both games had on their original platform, the Nintendo DS. On a high definition television, these moments can look pretty bad compared to the rest of the collection.
It would have been nice to see a little more attention given to this part of the collection, especially since the four games included were given something more over their previous releases. Despite this, you still get the full story of both Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and RE: Code here, only this time you won’t receive any PlayStation trophies for watching both.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix offers a lot of value in one package for anyone that wants a complete overview of the entire series. Longtime fans don’t have anything new here to justify buying the games once again, but this is the definitive way to play through the series’ most important entries. The upgrade to 60 frames per second makes the games look and run smoothly in HD, taking some of your favorite moments and presenting them in an even better way. If you’re looking to get up to date with everything before the release of the highly anticipated numbered sequel, then Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix is the best way to do so.
This review is based on a digital review code of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix for the PlayStation 4, provided by Square Enix.