Hands-on with Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix

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Hands-on with Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix

“When we are older, you’ll understand what I meant when I said, ‘No, I don’t think life is quite that simple.’ “

So sang Hikaru Utada in her beloved single that opened the original Kingdom Hearts in September of 2002. And so she sings again in this upcoming HD update that famously twisted together the fates of Square Enix characters with Disney icons. And the lyrics offer a pointed commentary on the re-release, as the narrative of Kingdom Hearts was never quite that simple. And perhaps that’s why we love it so much.

Kingdom Hearts begins innocently enough, with a young boy named Sora spending time with his friends, Riku and Kairi. But soon their world, and perhaps all worlds, are threatened by a malignant darkness. Sora, as our intrepid hero, is promptly pulled into the intrigue.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is an incredible collection for fans of the series, and a perfect entrypoint for those that missed the original. It includes the “Final Mix” version of the first Kingdom Hearts, which was never launched in the United States. This version includes new enemies, items, and other assorted goodies. But now, of course, the visuals have enjoyed a tremendous overhaul. Kingdom Hearts HD practically bursts off the screen, proving once again that simple but effective art styles age brilliantly.

Kingdom Hearts HD Screens, 15

JiminySoraGoofyCardDays cutscene 4

We popped in the original Kingdom Hearts for a back-and-forth comparison, and the difference is incredible. The HD version not only looks better, but feels smoother — and the colors sizzle. This isn’t a hastily-put-together kind of upgrade, but one that offers a significant improvement.

The collection doesn’t stop with the original, however. It also includes the 3D remake of Chain of Memories, aptly titled Re: Chain of Memories, which takes place between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. This game replaces the menu-based action battles of the original with an addictive, collectible card system.

As a bonus, Kingdom Hearts HD also comes equipped with HD remastered versions of the cinematics from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Please note that this is not the full game — just the story. But it’s a fantastic way to catch up on a touching part of the series that never made it to a PlayStation platform before.

Kingdom Hearts HD Screens, 10

Even if you played the original Kingdom Hearts when it launched, the HD Remix is very much worth looking into. Not only are the visual updates a dramatic improvement, but the play itself has aged just as well as the art style. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is still every bit as charming and fun after all these years, with a wealth of weapons to find, worlds to explore, and a lovable hero to develop. Seriously, how adorable is Sora?

Similarly, the battle system in Re: Chain of Memories remains addictive, with card collecting and deck building mechanics that play to our love of CCGs. It also allows us to “build” the worlds we visit, selecting where to drop save points and battle rooms as we go. A lot of time can be spent playing with these systems, as they provide a remarkable amount of customization and control to how Sora behaves in combat.

And for those of you that have yet to experience Kingdom Hearts, this is likely your best doorway into the adventure. Perfect timing, too, as Kingdom Hearts III was announced at E3 earlier this year. And with two games and one cinematic collection bundled together onto a single disc, the long-running narrative of the series might be a little simpler to follow this time around.

ReCOM battle 2


Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix launches on September 10th for PS3. Pre-orders include an exclusive art book with concept sketches and more.

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7 Author Replies

  • This is it SCEA, Europe got for PS VITA :
    Jak&D Trilogy
    Urban Freestyle
    Little king
    Stealth Inc.
    YES PEOPLE, 4 GAMES (crossbuys in JYD and Stealth, i have a friend with EU account)
    i always defended you in all the Spain forums and UK forums…. i always supported you because even if our IGC SUCK, you gave us nice discounts
    Seriously SCEA, you REALLY SUCK.

  • Awesome that FFX and KH1 are almost upon us, but I’m still eager for a remaster of FFXII and KH2.
    Ah well, I’m still way excited for this…bring on the PS2 love!

  • I am buying Kingdom hearts 1.5 immediately when it comes out, I am a huge KH fan, and I’m so happy you guys are re mastering it for playstation 3, hopefully you guys re master or remake the games for ps4, including KH II

  • I hope this is the first step to getting KH2 HD which is the KH update I really want to play.

  • Not to counter your rage or anything Draxido but as a UK PS Plus member, I’d point out that Jak & Daxter is PS3 only (at least for the purpose of PS Plus this month)

    But yeah, your IGC still sucks more than a lot.

  • If it’s “Kingdom Hearts Final Mix” does that mean we’ll have both audio options, or are we still locked to English audio only?

  • So excited for this. The only annoying part is that I know I will have to wait till after KH 2.5 HD to get KH3

  • As soon as I saw the title for this article, I just knew it was by Clements. =) Loved KH and KH2 back on PS2. KH2 killed a lot of my time overseas when it came out. Hopefully KH2 and Birth by Sleep can at least see a HD release, too.

  • Will this also be available as a digital download on the PSN Store? :)

  • hm, looking forward to this ! thanks for the preview !

  • Will this be on Vita as well?

    What about crossbuy?

    Loved Metal Gear being on both consoles (especially vita)and HD, but it can be too expensive when buying them for both systems separately.

    Hope to own this one in the future, loved all of them.

  • @1 Draxido: I have a question for you.

    What does that have to do with anything?

    On topic: Love KH…just not gonna pay $40 for it.

  • @#1, This is not the page to vent your frustrations on our ps+ offerings. You are totally out of place.
    Gamers are coming here to read info about KH and blog on those matters and here you are with the #1st post wayyyyyy off topic. As a gamer and a logical human being you should know better than that., so please, STOP IT and take your matters to the PS+ complaint blog.

    On topic, its good to see more info on KH been waiting for this forever, cant wait to pick it up….Keep on Gamin.

  • A PS Vita release too, please!

  • Can’t wait! It’ll be so cool to see 358/2 Days in a different form (it was my favourite in the series).

  • Morgan~!! plz help me~! I saw that price of psvita games has changed. FIFA13 ($19.99) & MLB The show ($17.99) Is it sale? or price drop?

  • Is there any chance for a KH game on Vita?

    I do not own a PS3 and have never played KH, but I’ve heard good things. Would love to try one out, even if it’s just a spin-off.

  • Already have it pre-ordered!

    I know Square-Enix has taken a reputation hit over the past few years, but I’m completely happy with their line-up over the past few months and when you combine this with Kingdom Hearts HD, FFXIV and the FFX/X-2 HD remake, I for one and am very happy with them.

  • Ignore number one, he’s one of those spoiled entitled children who thinks PS+ is supposed to pander to him specifically. I hate those people.

    On topic: this game is pre-ordered and paid off and I just cannot wait any longer!!! I have college classes the day it comes out though…

  • PS Vita version plssss

  • Yes Vita version please!

  • I would buy it if it had a vita version. I don’t think Square Enix would make it cross buy but hey that would only sweeten the deal

  • Ryan, can you please ask Square if this game will be available digitally on psn?

    My ps3 stopped reading disks a month ago and i’ve been stuck with digital only games. I don’t wanna spend the $100 to get it repaired with ps4 right around the corner. >_<

  • yeah i can’t wait for Final Fantasy X and X-2 on Vita, I MIGHT get KH another time. I WOULD LOVE to see a new entry in the Parasite Eve franchise, even if it is a sequel to The 3rd Birthday.

  • Also ask about FFX HD digital release as well as possible avatars from either game. :)

  • I personally don’t care for the pre-order but, never played any of the Kingdom Hearts so this warrants me to want to check this out at some point. I have so many games it’s gonna be difficult to find time as well as with all the other things too.

  • @1, can you please stop posting that on every page. It is inaccurate information, cause J&D is not cross buy, and you left out AC3, the games are different, get over it. I understand J&D is nice to have, but we get some good stuff as well, just different. Yeah, it sucks sometimes. I look at what they’re getting, and say what?!? :( But posting the same thing on multiple blog posts, is really irritating.

  • Can u reconfirm that it won’t be a part of Day 1 digital? Will it EVER be on the PS Store? What are our chances or is this a BBS situation where it never ends up digital?

  • Powerhouse! Didn’t know you worked for playstation now, sweet! Anyway I can’t wait to replay this game again, along with Final Fantasy 10 as well. Hopefully this opens up the door for a KH2 HD remake with birth by sleep and dream drop distance and maybe if were lucky even a Final Fantasy XII remake :)

  • Am I the only person that wish this included Kingdom Hearts 2? I never played that game, and this collection would be an instant day 1 purchase for me if it did. I’ll probably still pick this up before the PS4 launches, though.

  • Dear Square Enix,

    Thank you for making this wonderful game. We all know it’s completed now so please… be a dear and release it now! Don’t want to wait any longer. :(

    Thank you and good day!

    Yours sincerely

    The fans

  • Thanks for the post. I have had my pre order in since day one. Why would Square release this less then a month after Final Fantasy XIV? It is so difficult to balance out playing both.

  • To everyone that is wondering Kingdom hearts 2.5 has been announced…sort of. There are no dates set but Nomura has said multiple times that it would be “unnatural” not to make 2.5. With the credits in 1.5, it’s all but officially announced at this point. I believe that he might make an official announcement at TGS because by then every release of 1.5 will be complete. It would also make sense that they had such a long hiatus for console games because they were preparing to make hd remixes of them all.

  • So psyched for this! Clements I just have to say bravo on an beautifully written article. In the business of video game journalism you are at the forefront of quality writing.

  • Will the game be available digitally?

  • preordered for the artbook as well :D
    really hope someone tells SQEX to bring forth a Vita version!

  • I pre-ordered this but I’m not an long-time gamer so I have no nostalgic love for this series. I hope I won’t be disappointed like I’ve been with most re-issued games. Being a native southern Californian, I do love Disney, though.

  • Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the post! Quick question: Is this only a retail release, or will this also be available to buy digitally on PSN? (Same question for the FF10 remake, if you know the answer). Thanks!

  • I also think the same

    This is it SCEA, Europe got for PS VITA :
    Jak&D Trilogy
    Urban Freestyle
    Little king
    Stealth Inc.
    YES PEOPLE, 4 GAMES (crossbuys in JYD and Stealth, i have a friend with EU account)
    i always defended you in all the Spain forums and UK forums…. i always supported you because even if our IGC SUCK, you gave us nice discounts
    Seriously SCEA, you REALLY SUCK.

  • Great article Powerhouse! I have a new favorite writer at PlayStation blog now haha. Can’t wait for my copy to come in! All the best man.

  • Ryan freakin’ Clements! Glad to see you’re still in the games biz.

    On topic, really excited for this game. Pre-ordered from Amazon back in May. Only 11 more days!

  • Clements! Beyond!

  • @ TomHoang: Rumors are strong that there will be a KH HD 2.5 Remix, that will include KH2 Final Mix, Re:Coded (or 3D) and BBS sometime next year. Since there are so many games, it’d be foolish to put the top two console entries in the same collection. Not when they can dip their hands into our pockets multiple times, again, before KH3 comes out.

    That being said, I’m okay with this. I’m looking forward to playing KH:FM and Re:Chain on PS3. I bought Re:Chain for PS2 but never got around to playing it. September is gonna be a good month.

  • *sees #2’s avatar* ….There’s Tales of the Abyss avatars!?!? *searches store; finds nothing* ….Hey, SCEA Store… can you, like… put those up here please? (Oh and on topic: I’m just excited for the Final Mix content!)

  • Men! I’m buying a ps4 just to play Kingdom Hearts 3

    I wish I could afford a ps3 so I can play KH1.5 too, Please make it Ps4 compatible!

    Or bring a Vita Version! I would Buy no matter what!!!

    I love this game so much! My favorite till the first time I played till now and the only reason I havent sold my old ps2

    :’) brings back so much memories!

  • I only played the original KH so playing FInal Mix and chain of memories will be great! I love cutscenes so being able to watch some whenever I want is fun.

    KH is one of my fav series so I’m really looking forward to KH III though I never finished Birth by Sleep so I should get on that one day.

  • Can you please announce if it will come to the PSN? I will literally pay $60 just to have this digital!

  • So Glad to see you didn’t die in a boat accident ;)


  • I’m extremely excited for this. The only issue I noticed is Sora’s voice. I’m sure since they “lost the assets” that means they lost the original studio recordings of Sora’s dialogue. It just seems a little off to watch kid Sora speak with a mature, deep voice. I just wish they could have recovered the older voice-over, but that’s really the only thing off putting I’ve noticed about this release.

  • Can’t wait! Last time I played KH was when I first got my PS2 back in 2003 and never even touched CoM or seen Days. Only thing I’m looking forward to MORE is the inevitable HD Collection that includes KHIIFM+ and, hopefully, Birth By Sleep HD – the only worth addition to the series since KHII, in my book.

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