Kingdom Hearts fans are used to waiting. It was nearly a decade ago that Kingdom Hearts II was first released and nearing 15 years since the original Kingdom Hearts game was released. Yet in spite of all of that, fans have found their appetite for more Kingdom Hearts sated by spin-offs and remakes all on the long road to the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts III.
So what is it about Kingdom Hearts that keeps fans coming back for more? Why is it that a remake such as Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix becomes essential gaming for Kingdom Hearts fans new and old? It’s quite simple really – this is Kingdom Hearts perfected. There is no two ways about it, this is the definitive Kingdom Hearts experience.
As far as the story of Kingdom Hearts goes, it is more than a little bit complicated. At times the series has become convoluted with the multiple spin-offs set in different time periods and worlds. The effects of that are clear here in Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix which definitely requires a bit of context and explanation. This game comprises 3 very distinct games in some rather interesting ways. The games included in this remastered remake are Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded.
The most basic form of the premise is that a young boy who wields a keyblade must traverse a number of worlds from the Disney universe and rid each world of the evil ‘Heartless’ and ‘Nobodies’. Things are much more complex in the story however than just that. When you throw the sinister Organization XIII into the mix as well as the Birth By Sleep characters, there are a lot of people to follow throughout this multi-layered tale.
Personally I find Kingdom Hearts at its best when taken at face value. The digger you dive into this world the more it tends to fall apart at the seams due to the ill defined connection with the Disney universe. What exactly is the world of Kingdom Hearts anyways? Viewed simply at face value however the story of Kingdom Hearts is one of a heroic journey to hell and back all in hope of reuniting with the ones you hold dear. Which is a lovely story in and of itself, unfortunately Kingdom Hearts doesn’t ever do things simple when it comes to its story.
As far as the gameplay goes, this is undoubtedly the most fine-tuned Kingdom Hearts game to date. The combat is fluid and the controls quickly become second nature with a very straight forward learning curve that gets you into the game without much adieu. The series has never felt this good and with this stream-lined gameplay, the series reaches greater heights than it has ever previously achieved.
Visually Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix is a jaw-dropping aesthetic feast. Having been remastered in gorgeous HD the series is brought to life in crisp richly coloured high definition. The series really has never quite looked this good and if this is how good the remix of Kingdom Hearts II looks, I can’t wait to see Kingdom Hearts III in action upon its release.
The soundtrack and voice work on the game is top-notch in every regard. With the soaring vocal range of Utada Hikaru giving a raw and heartfelt soul to the game, Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix turns in an unforgettable aural experience. Furthermore the voice cast deserves commendation for their committed acting and powerful performances that really bring these characters to life with genuine soul.
Ultimately Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix winds up being the best Kingdom Hearts game to date, despite being a remake of games nearly a decade old. I guess that serves as a testament to how well the series has aged and the timeless nature of its story, gameplay and unforgettable cast of characters, both from the world of Disney and the realm of Square-Enix. This is without a doubt the definitive Kingdom Hearts experience and paired with the previous Remix release, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix, this is the perfect way to revisit the series on the road to Kingdom Hearts III. For Kingdom Hearts fans, this is sanctuary.