G-4rce Game Reviews: Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX

Mcgillacuddy
Yoooooo I'm back again! I've been working for the past couple of months and it's kept me from doing anything online, really. Although, I've been working on this review for my past couple of days off so I hope you enjoy until the next one releases!

Kingdom Hearts
Released September 16, 2002
Metacritic Reception
Critics: 85/100
Users: 8.8/10

My Thoughts and Review:
Okay, it's been a long time coming for this one. I am a huge fan of this series. KHII is literally on my list of top 10 best games of all time. It's a series that has succeeded in creating the strangest and most unlikely crossover in video game history: Final Fantasy and Disney. A few weeks ago, I bought the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 ReMIX combo pack which comes with the remastered versions of KH 1 and 2. Before I bought the pack, I thought these were the only two games it came with, but I leaped with joy to see that it also came with Birth by Sleep and Chain of Memories, both of which I have yet to play. So basically, this is a pack of four, 30+ hour-long remastered games. If that ain't worth $50, then I don't know what is. The pack also comes with cinematic films for Re:coded and 358/2 Days. This is probably the greatest deal I've ever had for a video game. If you're a fan of this series and you want to relive the moments for the next-gen Playstation, I HIGHLY recommend buying this. It's an absolute steal. I will play through all 4 games (I'm still playing Assassin's Creed, don't worry. Brotherhood review will be coming soon) and I will review each one and give my thoughts on them, so stay tuned if you want to see more!

Okay, so Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX. It's simply a graphical remaster of the original game. I first played Kingdom Hearts on my sister's PS2, and it got me hooked to the series so hard, especially the second game which she also had for the console. First, let's talk about the looks of the ReMIX and how it compares to the original.

For 2002, the original Kingdom Hearts game had looks way ahead of its own time. Anyone who says that a game made during this time should've have bad graphics need to cut the sh*t because this game proved that statement completely wrong. Yes, the game is a cartoon and not realistic but its animations in-game were spectacular. In the ReMIX, the graphics are slightly enhanced. The game looks much better in-game, but less appealing in cutscenes, and here's why: some of the facial animations are half-assed as f*ck. At one point, you get a very clean facial animation and a mouth syncing smoothly with the voice, then a moment later the same exact character is shown again and the face looks ridiculously static and flat with the mouth moving at random, looking like something out of an old MMORPG game. I don't know why the developers of the ReMIX didn't just reanimate the times when facial animations got bad. I honestly found it tacky that it looked like I was still watching a cutscene like it's from a sh*tty old school Disney game. I think the characters who got the cleanest animations most of the time in this game were the Disney villains. Other than that graphical flaw, this game looks and moves super clean throughout, without any glitches or other annoying issues. One thing to mention though, since this is a linear game, is that there are some problems with the camera angles in certain areas.

Now let's talk about the gameplay. This is the nitty gritty of the game. The combat, at least in my opinion, is ridiculously fun and unique in its own way. It's basically a half linear hack-and-slash and a half RPG. The combat starts off very basic and may seem a bit slow, but it gets much more sophisticated and fun as you progress through the game. You can run around and smack enemies with various combos, but in tune with its RPG element, there's also a side-bar that you can scroll through with the D-pad to access magic attacks and items. The in-game animations are absolutely fantastic and some of the smoothest you'll find graphically, especially when you get a good look at the detail in magic attacks. One of the flaws with the combat is that attacking mostly consists of spamming the X button, which could turn players away in an instant. The thing that saves this from being too simplistic, though, is the fact that your enemies will make you more versatile. They all have different attacks, strengths, and weaknesses that will change up you play style over and over again, which is what I like most about the combat. Even though your character is badass, he's not OP. He will die if you end up having that misconception, and he could die even to the weakest of enemies. Hell, I've died before in random battles against basic enemies quite a few times. Also in tune with its RPG element, you have to strategically attack enemies and learn when and how to use your MP gauge. This is what makes pressing X over and over much more versatile and crazy fun than it may seem. Here's a perfect example of this: a heartless with a sword gets knocked down by your combo, and you may think about pressuring him, but wait, the heartless gets back up and instantly swings its sword in defense. The enemies are definitely some tricky bastards.

Throughout the game, you play as Sora and travel along with Donald Duck and Goofy through various Disney worlds. So along the way, you'll meet dozens of recognizable Disney characters, which is nothing short of charming. One of the basic ideas with the Kingdom Hearts series is that the stories in the Disney films are completely redone, but only with Sora's crew, Final Fantasy, and Heartless interfering. Some worlds have completely different stories from their own movies, though, like The Little Mermaid, Hercules, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The worlds themselves as far as their design and overall diversity can range from really good to rather disappointing. A really good one is definitely Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas and a rather disappointing one would be Deep Jungle from Tarzan.

Although, there is one very BAD world in the game, and that world is Atlantica from The Little Mermaid. So, of course, you're underwater in this world. Sora becomes a shark-maid, Donald gets octopus tentacles, for some reason, and Goofy becomes a freaking TURTLE. Already lets you know that this world was very unneeded in this game. The huge problem with this world is that the combat slows down DRAMATICALLY. It becomes maddeningly SLOW and BORING as you constantly attack one enemy at a time while there are 20 enemies surrounding you. You CAN'T DODGE when an enemy attacks. You either have to somehow parry their attack, start circling around them like a freaking hawk waiting for the right moment to attack, or simply just keep working on your one opponent and just take the hit from the guy on your side like a little BITCH. This world could've at LEAST had the dodge mechanic implemented into it instead of me having to try to quickly swim away from attacks like a little BITCH. This world would be much more fun if it was on LAND, but since it's underwater, we never get to utilize all those underwater caverns, canyons, and that sunken pirate ship. We just float above all of it. Coincidentally, this world took me the LONGEST to finish, simply because you annoyingly had to swim around looking for the spot where the storyline continues. Also, if I hadn't looked it up on YouTube, It would've taken me FOREVER to find out where the hell I was supposed to fight the final world boss, Ursula. The only good thing about this world is the actual boss fight against Ursula. While some of it was annoying at times, mainly because of the fact that I couldn't freaking dodge anything (I swam, like, 30 laps around her trying to avoid her attacks), it looked spectacular and epic. Also, Ursula's facial animations throughout the boss fight are FANTASTIC.

Other boss fights in the game can range the same way as the worlds: from really good to disappointing. The second boss of the game in the Alice in Wonderland world is the definition of disappointing. While the actually boss looked really funny and cool, it was a tedious chore to defeat the guy considering the fact that you start off the game with such a small moveset and basic attacks. The boss is insanely tall and you had to constantly jump to attack him. You could only attack him once and then run away from his attack or you eventually use up your items and die. You just constantly repeat this process over and over. As your moves develop though, the boss battles become much more fun and hype.

Donald Duck and Goofy fight along with you throughout the game, but they can be somewhat of a load on your back. They die, a lot, especially Donald. Goofy can hold his own at times, but when you're going up against a strong opponent, he'll die at least once, and you have to wait until he gets back up or you could heal him with an item or magic. The side characters that you can fight along with hold their own much better than these two. In certain worlds, you can fight with one of the characters, like Aladdin, Tarzan, Jack Skellington, and Beast. Although, I do suggest sticking with Donald and Goofy throughout so they'll upgrade their abilities. They'll become much better once they acquire certain abilities, like MP Rage.

The story of the game is rather very good. Unlike an actual Final Fantasy story which is usually dark and depressing, Kingdom Hearts is very, very lighthearted. Basically think if Disney owned the Final Fantasy series, and you got Kingdom Hearts. Regardless of the amount of fighting in the game, there is absolutely no blood violence, the dialogue is rated G to the max and the themes are entirely kid-friendly. Don't be deterred by this, though, because the story itself capitalizes on it. It's a really good plot and as you play through the rest of the series, it's gets ridiculously complicated but it all connects. The voice acting in the game, for the most part, is really good, but what I HATE HATE HATE is the god damn SCRIPTING. Whoever wrote the English scripts for the actors needs to never return to this series again. It gets annoyingly simplistic at most times in the game and it really hurts the voice actors' potential. One thing I found really interesting was that the developers actually made an effort to bring back some of the original voice actors for many of the Disney characters like Minnie Mouse, Jafar, Winnie the Pooh, and a bunch others.

Overall Score 9/10 Excellent:
Even with its remaster, this game and its series still holds a special place in my heart. Regardless of some of the frustrating moments in the game, replaying it fully remastered was one crazy nostalgia trip after 10 years. Even today, this game is STILL loads of freaking fun. The combat is unique and badass, the story is charming, and the graphics, animations, and boss battles are nothing short of epic. Square Enix has really gained a load of my respect for re-releasing this for the PS4. They've given true respect and commitment to an incredible series, which is what really sets them apart from other game companies. Hell, just look at their remake for Final Fantasy VII. And the fact that they put so much passion and time into their games is a major reason why I think they're one of the best companies out there. I mean, Kingdom Hearts 3 is still in development, and the f*cking game was announced in 2013! That's true commitment. This game was an excellent pickup. This entire combo pack was a flawless pickup. I simply couldn't be any happier right now.

I've got more game reviews coming soon. I picked up quite a few of them recently so stay tuned, if I'm even able to finish them on time :P

Comments

Good review dude - ProPanda

Thanks man - Mcgillacuddy

Good review. I never really played any of the Kingdom Hearts games but I've always been slightly interested in what they are all about. - cjWriter1997

You should give them a try, that is if you're into action-adventure games - Mcgillacuddy

Good job. - Skullkid755

Thanks - Mcgillacuddy

Nice work. Keep it up with these great game reviews of yours. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

Thanks bro - Mcgillacuddy

Why does Sora resemble Chris Thorndyke - TwilightKitsune

Hm... - Mcgillacuddy

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