Preview: Kingdom Hearts is reborn with new 1.5 Remix

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Logo - 1138931

Kingdom Hearts fans will have to wait a bit longer – who knows how long? – for Square Enix to announce the long-awaited third chapter, but in the meantime, the company has a good compilation coming up that will keep them plenty busy.  Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix, which was announced prior to the PAX East event that took place last month, will be bringing three pieces of KH-related goodness in one $40 package.  Square recently invited us to a behind-closed-doors first look at the game, and though it wasn't hands-on, it did provide a glimpse of what Remix will include.

The big draw of Remix is the inclusion of Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, which will mark the first time it's seen the light of day outside of Japan.  It's the original game, but has new content to soak in, including additional boss battles and cut scenes that help flesh out the story.  So even if you think you've seen everything from the original PS2 release, there's something new worth discovering.

Square then showed off a demo from the game, taking place in the Atlantic stage based on The Little Mermaid.  After swimming around with Ariel, we're introduced to her father, as well as various Heartless creatures (the main adversaries you fight against).  Though the gameplay hasn't changed much, fans who grew up with the unique battle system will get back into it with ease.

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The graphics, however, have changed quite a bit.  Square has remastered the game in full high-definition, and you can really see it between the background settings and animations.  Also, the camera can now be manipulated using the analog stick, rather than using the shoulder buttons as you did in the original release – a lot of people are sure to enjoy that.  And the game also comes with plenty of Trophies to unlock, most of which come from defeating certain enemies in the game (like Sephiroth from the Final Fantasy universe).

But Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix is a package deal.  Not only do you get the Final Mix of the original, but you'll also get a full remake of the follow-up Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of Memories.  We didn't get to see that game, but it should be fairly similar to its original release, but with the same visual treatment.  If you need even more Kingdom Hearts content, you can also check out cinematics from the Nintendo DS release Kingdom Hearts 358/2.  Though gameplay segments from that game aren't included, you'll still get plenty of mileage out of the story.

There is some content from the Kingdom Hearts world that's missing (like Kingdom Hearts II, for instance), but for a $40 compilation, 1.5 Remix sure beats nothing.  Getting two remade HD games, on top of some movies from a portable chapter of the series, is certainly not too shabby.

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We'll get hands-on with the game closer to summertime, when Square is sure to have it on display at E3.  Look for further impressions then, leading into the game's release on PlayStation 3 this fall.

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Robert Workman
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