Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Review: Playing games with my heart 
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Zoe Hawkins
October 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm

All your favorite Final Fantasy characters thrown together with the magical world of Disney – so much nostalgia! The original Kingdom Hearts was released in 2002, and now it’s been tarted up for an HD update. What could possibly go wrong?

Kingdom Hearts HD reMix

Well, apparently quite a bit. I’m going to start with my biggest pet peeve about Kingdom Hearts HD – that camera! Look, they tried to fix it – the camera is now mapped to the right analog stick instead of L1 and R1. However, it is still so bad that it actually gets in the way of gameplay. You can’t always see where you’re jumping, it swivels randomly in a really disorienting way, and it simply feels sluggish. I felt like I was kicking a fat camera man while trying to play, instead of simply viewing the game. Seriously, I know the game is still supposed to feel like the original, but they should have fixed that.

The game still follows the same course as the original. You play the part of Sora, a young teen hanging out with his friends Riku and Kairi on Destiny Island. However, after the island is invaded by the Heartless (strange shadowy creatures) during a storm, he is separated from his friends and ends up in Traverse Town. There he joins up with Donald Duck and Goofy as they try to find King Mickey and defeat the Darkness.

Just like the original, the opening hour of the game feels a bit pointless. The game becomes fun once you get to explore the Disney-Themed worlds – the fetch quests on Destiny Island could have been “reMIXed” out of the game, or at least turned into a nice opening cut scene. It felt unnecessary and didn’t fit in with the originality displayed in the rest of the game.

Kingdom hearts beach

Unfortunately, the mists of nostalgia simply did not sustain Kingdom Hearts for me. The game is still great, and I would highly recommend it to any Disney or (old school) Final Fantasy fans. Unfortunately, I’m just not seeing where the HD reMIX went, particularly when it comes to the graphics.

I know, the game is now in HD and looks better. But to be honest, it doesn’t really look like it. It still has the look and feel of a PS2 game. Sure, I’m guessing they want to play on that nostalgia, and they weren’t exactly about to remodel the whole thing. However, it just seemed like parts of the game could have gotten more attention – at least reMIX some of the water animations or environments. I was honestly unimpressed with the visuals on display.

At least the sound design was on point – the game sounds fantastic and the voice acting is spot on. I loved hearing the Disney characters, it felt like a walk down memory lane. It’s funny how you forget which characters you love until you see them again – from that first moment I saw the Queen of Hearts, I remembered all those movies and thoroughly enjoyed playing through her world.

Kingdom hearts wonderland

Combat, for the most part, is pretty fluid. Unlike the turn-based Final Fantasy approach, combat is in real time. So be prepared for plenty of key blade swinging. You can lock on with R1, but don’t expect that to improve the camera during combat. It seriously has a knack for focusing on everything except what you need. Combine this with some jumping required in battles, and you can end up with a rather frustrating experience. Perhaps we were used to this ten years ago, but it’s just not enjoyable now.

In the end, while I enjoyed playing Kingdom Hearts – it’s whimsical and silly and reunites the players with all their favorite characters from the Disney and Final Fantasy universes – it was probably better left to my nostalgia.

Conclusion

With elements of design seriously lacking, it just doesn't feel like Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX was remixed enough. That said, the core game is still great, even after all these years.
7.5

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX was reviewed by Zoe Hawkins on a PlayStation 3

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Umar ZoMg Reiner

    Ahh…nice review Zoe!!….What a game…(though I don’t really like Chain all that much)…..This is what gaming(to me in anycase) is about, heart, connection and just kick ass gameplay all bundled up together…and cheesy as hell theme songs…All I can say is…Zoe, your review left me feeling Simple and Clean :)!!

    • Hammersteyn

      That Under The Sea level though :-/

      • Umar ZoMg Reiner

        My god…that music and the whole level …zomgoodness

      • Brady miaau

        Under da sea? surely?

        • Hammersteyn

          XD

          • Brady miaau

            Never, ever seen that movie. And I love cartoons. But that just did not look cool. Like Hercules, I suppose

          • Hammersteyn

            Hercules was pretty cool. James Woods did a awesome voice over for Hades

  • DiegoZicoB

    Have only recently started reading this site but it seems as if this writer seems to have a serious stick up her ass when it comes to anything Square Enix related.

    I think this review was totally off the mark. The camera is honestly not as bad as it is made out to be. Yea it gets a bit awkward at times but not enough to affect my ability to play the game at all.

    The fetch quests in the beginning didn’t fit in with the ‘originality of the rest of the game’, uh the game is an exact replica of the Japanese Final Mix version of the game just with better graphics. What is this originality you speak of? Some people have never played Kingdom Hearts believe it or not so it is nice for them and hardcore fans to get the total experience of the game from start to finish as they would have all those years ago.

    The game still looks like a PS2 game because it was and still IS a PS2 game. Square Enix can’t change that and suddenly make a game from 2002 look like it’s from the current gen. I don’t even understand that critique. Every HD remake I have played still looks like it was for PS2. The graphics are just crisper and pop and this is where this remake excels. I’ve noticed things in the game while playing it again that I didn’t back in the day because it is all so crisp and bright and colorful now.

    You didn’t even mention that the game comes with 2 fully playable games, the original game with added content not previously available to this region, a spin off game which was only previously released in Japan and North America as well as a cut-scene story based on one of the NDS spin-offs.

    My review of the game is that it is just as fun playing it now as it was all those years ago and maybe even more so with the added content which makes the game feel slightly fresh and unexpected in parts. For those that have never played this game it is a great action rpg with decent customization and battle variety. And an original, intriguing story involving all your favorite Disney characters.

    This was a very poor review and should have been compared to its old self as well as other HD remakes instead of comparing it to current games which is how this review came across.

    I think you should reTHINK how you review games in the future.

    • Umar ZoMg Reiner

      Ouch…bit harsh there. I understand your critique but don’t be so insulting man :)

      • DiegoZicoB

        I’m sorry but this review was lazy. It didn’t even mention key features of the new edition. Didn’t mean to come off as harsh. Just strongly opinionated : )

        • Brady miaau

          The review gave 7.5 out of 10. Read summary and the article as a whole: the Author enjoyed the experience.

          Also, your pet peeve and my pet peeve may not be the same thing, so her view (yes, yes) of the camera may differ from yours.

          I find your comments thoughtful and insightful, by the way.

        • Umar ZoMg Reiner

          Totally understandable :) especially if you are a KH fan. Well I think your comment compliments the review so now it’s more complete

  • D1ckhead

    People who dislike the camera are probably the ones who are too used to playing games in first person or with the camera angle at the character’s butt at all times lol.

  • D1ckhead

    People who dislike the camera are probably the ones who are too used to playing games in first person or with the camera angle at the character’s butt at all times lol.

  • bob

    The opening hours are supposed to feel like an average, unoriginal RPG, so as to make the sudden jolt into fun Disney territory more effective. Taking them away would ruin the game.

    • Dominic

      I cannot imagine ever getting rid of Destiny Island as a playable area. That shit was so fun to explore.

    • Rundy

      Its one of the most talked about and important moments in Kingdom Hearts. This reviewer stating that was crazy talk…

  • Rundy

    Destiny Island pointless? Are you kidding? Thats the start of Kingdom Hearts, the start of the game. You really dont get immersed in games much if you think it was kind of pointless. Its the only part of the game where Sora is with Kairi and Riku and enjoying his time on his home Island, something he doesnt do for a whole 2 games(KH2), its a very precious moment… Also how does it lose originality when the game is just a remaster? It cant be any more original! And the camera is not that big of a deal at all. Seriously. This review seems biased as hell though…

    • Umar Seeker of Truth

      Have to agree with the island counterpoint. It is far from pointless. It’s a very important location and serves as a focal point for Sora’s memories and what he is fighting to get back. Also the island is damn fun as well,catching sneak peeks at Selphie’s undies…..uhmm…hmmm. Anyway! I have to agree with you. Destiny Island is not pointless at all