Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is a game collection developed by Square Enix and holds Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix and Birth By Sleep as both HD remastered versions with slight improvements to the gameplay, along with RE:Coded being added as a theatre mode edition with over 3 hours of the cinematics from the original release. Following on from KH 1.5 Remix, 2.5 continues the Kingdom Hearts epic with increasingly better gameplay and graphics as well as bringing more of the handheld versions to Home Consoles. Time to get my Disney Side on!
Spoilers await you here, close the door and throw away the key if you don’t want the darkness to take over
Kingdom Hearts 2 continues where the 1st one left of, with a 1 year gap with the Heroes; Sora, Donald and Goofy being in a sort of stasis to piece back their memories which were broke in Chain of Memories. The game starts off with you in control of Roxas, a young boy with a similar look to Sora but with more of a Cool style and detached personality. Going through his day –to-day life in Twilight Town with his friends, Roxas finds himself earning money for a trip to the beach and fighting in a Tournament.
Through his time in Twilight Town, Roxas continues to see Silver creatures that haunt him at every turn and even when he is fast asleep or unconscious. As the Silver creatures hound Roxas he starts to gain the ability to use a Keyblade and summon it at will to protect himself, fully realising his potential when he can summon 2 at once and dual wield them. At the end of Roxas’ journey we are given control of Sora, to find out the meaning behind Twilight Town, the new Nobody enemy group and Organisation XIII who control them.
Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep is set almost at the beginning of the entire timeline, occurring before Kingdom Hearts with younger versions of the Main Human Cast of Sora, Riku and Kairi. Birth By Sleep follows the adventures of 3 Keyblade Masters in training, Terra, Aqua and Ventus, a trio under the training of Master Eraqus with Xehanort making some appearances here and there with his own apprentice Vanitas.
As their training progresses and they fight each other, Aqua is given her seal of Mastery while Terra fails to meet the mark. After they give out congratulations and talk of their training they find out that there has been a mysterious force called the Unversed that have begun to attack other Worlds and Aqua and Terra are ordered to go out and investigate, with Ventus sneaking after them.
From there the story takes you between differing Disney worlds to meet old and new cast alike, with appearances from Zack from Final Fantasy 7 and insinuates this is around his time in Soldier. Travelling and defending the worlds allow the 3 heroes to grow in power and strength, as well as give them more insight into the Keyblades and the enemies they face.
Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded is set just after Kingdom Hearts 2 and allows a smooth entrance into 3D or even the 3rd entry which is going to be released next. Re:Coded tells the story of Jiminy Cricket’s Journal getting corrupted after they try and investigate a new line on its first page through turning the book into data. Sora is sent in as a Data Version of himself and guided by King Mickey to try and sort out the problems in the Datascape.
While exploring the Datascape Sora gets help from other characters put into the world as other Data versions, which helps him to fight against Pete and Maleficent. Through the game you will uncover secrets in the Journal and debug the Journal entirely and find the meaning behind the new verse written in it.
Kingdom Hearts 2 will last you around 35+Hours with the added features and all the collectables to find and secret bosses to defeat. Birth By Sleep is split between 3 characters with up to 15 Hours per character with additional campaigns to playthrough, it is said to be the longest game in the franchise. RE:Coded is only 3-4 Hours long in its cutscene length as it is only meant to be a movie.
Both Kingdom Hearts 2 and Birth By Sleep play similarly to each other and the first game in the series as a free-movement action game with RPG aspects. You can jump, with added height through abilities, attack and start combos with the amount of hits being increased with skills, the gameplay splits from this part though.
Kingdom Hearts 2 improves on almost all mechanics that 1 had in it, the movement and attacks are a lot smoother as well as jumping with is more precise. Magic returns with new forms from beating bosses and finishing worlds. Sora can now make use of Drive Forms which change both his aesthetic look and gameplay, from running and jumping higher, floating around and having your Keyblades fly around when you attack. Drive Forms are a great addition and make Sora feel much more powerful with new attacks and abilities getting unlocked through their use.
There are parts in 2 where you gain different abilities and movement options, from driving a speeder in the Tron world and swimming and singing in My Little Mermaid. These sections are very welcome and change the game drastically, while most of them being easy to enjoy others could be met with hatred, my least favourite was the musical part.
The change from Kingdom Hearts 1 to 2 is the addition of the Triangle button being used for Response actions, mostly being used for movement purposes. In the beginning Triangle is used mostly for dodging, interacting with objects or for finishing off a Boss in an epic way and through the game it becomes more and more useful for using limits and sequences.
Birth By Sleep swaps out magic and Drive Gauge with a Command Deck that holds several techniques and abilities to use. Using both attacks and abilities through the Command Deck you build up a new Gauge that when full allows your character to unleash a Surge or Storm attack that can have different outcomes depending on character.
Magic is swapped out for Focus which is used to cast spells in a more FPS manner that lock on to enemies and recharges similarly to Kingdom Hearts 2. As well as the Focus gauge there is also a new Dimension Link or D-Link for short that draws power from the people you meet and work with. Once filled the D-Link gauge will allow you to change your command deck for a pre-set one and giving the player the ability to use a finishing attack with the chosen friend.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
The music from the original games was beautifully crafted and continued the theme and styles found in the series, with the Final Mix versions the quality is just amped up even more with a reported 80% total remixing for Kingdom Hearts 2 soundtrack. Birth By Sleep, being ported from the PSP, just allows for the game to have so much more data on it and it shows in both the graphics and Audio. Re:Coded is only a movie type, so it’s hard to tell the improvements as it shows little to no gameplay, though there does seem to be some improvement in the audio.
The change in graphic quality really impacts the game, with Kingdom Hearts 2 having sharper, brighter and more colourful locations and characters as well as the inclusions of new costumes for the characters on the different worlds. Birth By Sleep shows the most improvement due to it being on a much smaller screen and weaker handheld console, the graphics have been improved in both quality and size, making the PS3 experience amazing.
The main question you have to ask yourself, are you willing to pay the low low price of £24 to get 2 games and a movie that will in total last you 83+ Hours of enjoyment, with the added possibility of second playthroughs and harder challenges. Fans of the series can easily get 200+ hours in this compilation. The collection itself is just worth it for Birth By Sleep as it is the only port for the PS3 and if you never got the PSP version then the £24 is good enough for that one game in my opinion.
Overall I give Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix a 5/5, it ticks all the boxes a HD updated game collection needs, better lighting and sharper graphics with increased size and improved gameplay. The collection seem to lack any bugs, especially from the original releases and with the addition of Trophies you will find a lot to do in the game to 100% it. If you’ve never played the 2 games on the disk, or even if you have, this collection is worth every penny, and it isn’t many pennies.
Now it’s time to fight Sephiroth, that One Winged Bas-
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.