Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix
|Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix|
European cover art
|Developer(s)||Square Enix 1st Production Department|
|Distributor(s)||Disney Interactive Studios|
|Release date(s)||JP March 14, 2013
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (キングダム ハーツ HD 1.5 リミックス Kingudamu Hātsu HD 1.5 Rimikkusu?, stylized Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX) is a video game HD remastered collection of the Kingdom Hearts series, developed by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3. It was revealed in September 2012 and released in Japan on March 14, 2013, in North America on September 10, 2013, in Australia on September 12, 2013, and in Europe on September 13, 2013.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix includes both Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Re:Chain of Memories in high-definition and with trophy support. Additionally, the collection features Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days in a Theater Mode, spanning 2 hours and 50 minutes of HD remastered cinematics from the original game, as well as new scenes. The 358/2 Days cinematic also has trophy support.
The collection was met to generally favorable reviews. A second collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix will be released in 2014 and feature Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
In the original and Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts, the command menu had four commands: Attack, Magic, Items, and a fourth context-sensitive slot that varied depending on what the player had targeted, where they were, etc. The command menu has been updated to include "Attack", "Magic", "Items", and "Summons" in the fourth slot, which was originally located as a sub-category beneath the "Magic" menu. The original fourth command has been replaced by the introduction of Reaction Commands from Kingdom Hearts II and are triggered by pressing the Triangle Button. The camera works more similarly to that of Kingdom Hearts II, utilizing the right thumb stick to move the camera and allowing the player to click the R3 button to reset the camera behind Sora, as opposed to the original game which made use of the shoulder triggers L2 and R2 to position the camera. Overall, the gameplay of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix was modified so it would play more similarly to Kingdom Hearts II and Re:Chain of Memories, to create a more consistent play style throughout the series.
Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
This version of Chain of Memories was released in Europe and Australia for the first time as part of the collection, as it was previously released in North America in December 2008.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
In August 2011, Nomura expressed desire to release a high definition re-release of the game though he had yet to confirm such plans. The idea for a high definition re-release preceded plans for Final Fantasy X re-release, and was a focus for two Square Enix programmers for over a year.
In September 2012, Square Enix announced Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix for release in Japan on the PlayStation 3. The collection would include both Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories in high definition and trophy support as well as non-playable HD event scenes from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as a way for players to understand the story. The development team experimented with using some character models from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance for HD 1.5 Remix. The cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, which were either unvoiced or used English voice acting, will use the original Japanese voice acting. Every cutscene from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, whether it was originally a prerendered scene or used in-game graphics, will be remade for Theater Mode. 358/2 Days was originally planned to be an HD remade game, however, it would delay the development of the new title, so it ended up being within the compilation's Theater Mode.
In January 2013, Jesse McCartney, the voice of Roxas, posted a picture on Instagram of himself in a recording booth, with Roxas seen on a screen in the background, along with the caption, "For all you 'Kingdom Hearts' Fans. Recording the next chapter! #KingdomHearts #Roxas #Gamers." The image was later deleted by McCartney. In February, Square Enix confirmed the game would release in North America and Europe, later revealing a September 10, 2013 release for North America, September 12, 2013 in Australia, and in Europe on September 13, 2013.
It was revealed in March 2013 in a Famitsu interview, that 66 tracks spanning across all three games (with a majority of them concentrated in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix) were re-recorded with live instrumentation, as opposed to the original games' use of the PlayStation 2's built-in tone generator for their background music. In June 2013, Nomura stated that the original game assets for Kingdom Hearts had been lost some time ago. He explained, "[The game data] was lost, so we had to research, and we had to dig out from the actual game what was available and recreate everything for HD. We had to recreate all the graphics and it was actually not that easy."
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix was released in Japan on March 14, 2013, in North America on September 10, 2013, in Australia on September 12, 2013, and in Europe on September 13, 2013. Preorders for the game in North America, Australia, and Europe included a book of the game's concept artwork and a dynamic PlayStation 3 theme. Square Enix will also release the collection in a bundle in Japan with Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix titled, Kingdom Hearts Collector’s Pack: HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix. The Collector's pack will feature both collections, a code to get an Anniversary Set for Kingdom Hearts χ [chi], music, and a booklet with art from the series.
Kotaku gave the release a generally positive rating, praising the redone visuals, tweaked gameplay and expanded content, but also noting the game's age is still palpable. Game Informer gave the collection an 8.25 out of 10, stating "The core of this collection is the excellent original game, and that’s where your attention should be. The other two lowly offerings are inessential bonus features." Joystiq gave a positive, unscored review, saying the collection "captures that early era of the franchise at its purest simplicity. It's a trip down memory lane for long-term fans, while the visual overhaul and back-to-beginnings story should make it a welcoming entry point for newcomers." GameSpot gave the HD remake a 7 out of 10, saying, "Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix presents a couple of the earliest games in the beloved series in their best light and makes a revealing cinematic experience out of a third one. The three experiences complement one another with unique elements and welcome context that is a treat for longtime fans and newcomers alike." Giving the game a 7.5 out of 10, GameTrailers felt that, "While Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX certainly lives up to the HD part of its name, the collection is not without its shortcomings. The original game’s inclusion with all the new revisions and the addition of Final Mix content is a worthy investment on its own, and the inclusion of Chain of Memories is a nice gesture. The card-based battle system might be off-putting, but it’s a unique experiment that deviates from the norm of the series. However, despite the overhauled visuals and new voice work, it’s hard to excuse the reduction of 358/2 Days to a lengthy film rather than an actual game." IGN felt that the collection was "an excellent way to replay the series’ first two games in crisp, high-definition splendor" but was disappointed that the box art did not properly distinguish 358/2 Days as a non-playable game. They awarded the collection an 8.5 out of 10. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the collection an 8 out of 10, stating the collection "brings a PS2 classic to the modern age with a noticeably impressive visual update, improved camera controls, and, for added fun, secondary and tertiary Kingdom Hearts content all contained on one disc."
HD 2.5 Remix
In October 2012, game director Tetsuya Nomura suggested that an HD-version of Kingdom Hearts II was likely to be created for another collection, saying that "it’d be unusual if there wasn’t" another one. In the credits of HD 1.5 Remix, clips of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded were shown, hinting at a second collection. On October 14, 2013, Square Enix announced Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, with the collection including the previously mentioned games in high definition. However, Re:coded appears as HD cinematics, similar to 358/2 Days in HD 1.5 Remix. The collection will be released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 in Japan on October 2, 2014, in North America on December 2, 2014, and in Europe on December 5, 2014.
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