Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix
|Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix|
North American box art
|Developer(s)||Square Enix 1st Production Department|
|Distributor(s)||Disney Interactive Studios|
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (キングダム ハーツ HD 2.5 リミックス Kingudamu Hātsu HD 2.5 Rimikkusu?, stylized Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX) is an HD remastered collection of the Kingdom Hearts series, developed by Square Enix exclusively for the PlayStation 3. A successor to Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, it was announced in October 2013 and was released in Japan on October 2, 2014, in North America on December 2, 2014, in Australia on December 4, 2014, and in Europe on December 5, 2014.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix includes Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix in high definition and with trophy support. Additionally, the collection features Kingdom Hearts Re:coded in a Theatre Mode, spanning over 3 hours of HD remastered cinematics from the original game as well as new content.
A third collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, will be released in 2016 and features Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD, Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, and Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep–A Fragmentary Passage.
In the credits of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, clips of the games featured in the collection were shown, hinting at the collection. Additionally, when IGN interviewed Shinji Hashimoto about Kingdom Hearts III, he stated that the studio would consider another HD collection if the reaction to the first one was positive enough. The collection was announced on October 14, 2013, exclusively for the PlayStation 3. As with HD 1.5 Remix, the collection was developed mainly by the Square Enix 1st Production Department in Osaka, along with some help from Square Enix's Tokyo team.
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
The backgrounds and textures of the game had to be adjusted in order to change from the game's original 4:3 ratio to the HD 16:9. Additional imagery was added to the menu screens and gummi ship area to compensate for areas that were lacking from the ratio shift. According to co-director Tai Yasue, approximately 80% of the original audio was remixed, as well as additional orchestral elements added to the songs. Yasue said, "Yoko Shimomura’s music is an undeniable trait of the Kingdom Hearts series, I feel like without the atmosphere she creates, it isn’t Kingdom Hearts, so the mix of the final audio was carefully controlled but also provides a new depth to the familiar sound." Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix was released outside Japan for the first time as part of the collection.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
Moving from the PlayStation Portable to the PlayStation 3 allowed the development team to add more details to the character designs, additional atmospheric sounds, as well as slightly tweak the gameplay system, now allowing camera control with the right analog stick. As well, the Mirage Arena, a multiplayer component from the original, has been reworked to only be a single-player experience. Yasue said enemy strengths in the Arena were adjusted to account for this, as well as additional changes to the AI. The inclusion of the Final Mix version in the collection marked the first time for this version to be released outside Japan.
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded was also included, but features the Nintendo DS game adapted into a cinematic retelling, similar to how Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was included in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix. For the Re:coded cinematics, additional events occur that were not seen in the original. Tetsuya Nomura added that new voice acting is being recorded, and hinting at the inclusion of a new battle scene and a scene that ties Re:coded and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance together. Yasue revealed that approximately 2 hours of the total 3 hour cinematic is newly created content and subsequently recorded with voice acting, as well as featuring additional scenes that flesh out the backstories of other Kingdom Hearts titles.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix was released in Japan on October 2, 2014, in North America on December 2, in Australia on December 4, and in Europe on December 5. Preorders for the game in North America and Australia included an official Disney Collector's Pin for the game. Square Enix also released the collection in two bundles in Japan, with both featuring Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix and a code to get an Anniversary Set for Kingdom Hearts χ [chi]. The first, titled Kingdom Hearts Starter Pack: HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix, features the previously mentioned material and limited edition casing, while the second, Kingdom Hearts Collector’s Pack: HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix features limited edition casing, a promo soundtrack, and a booklet with art from the series in addition to the previous material. A collectors edition for North America and Europe was also released, featuring both HD collections, a steelbook case, art book, Disney Kingdom Hearts pin, and a Heartless plush doll.
Game Informer gave the collection a 9 out of 10, stating "If you loved last year’s Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, you’re in for even more of a treat this time around," praising the upgrades to Kingdom Hearts II, the transition of Birth By Sleep from the PlayStation Portable to the PlayStation 3, and criticizing the Re:coded movie as just being "there for completionists and easy to ignore for everyone else." Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the collection an 8.0 out of 10, stating "Like the 1.5 Remix before it, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is a great deal for franchise fans looking to consolidate the platform-spanning series under one roof—and on as few discs as possible. The narrative quality is questionable, at least when viewed through a modern lens, but the charm and novelty still ring true, as does the series’ pioneering action-RPG combat." Giving the game an 8.7 out of 10, GameTrailers felt that, "The first HD collection suffered from a poor selection of games, but that’s not the case in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix. You’re not only getting two of the best games in the franchise, but extra content including special boss battles that was previously unavailable outside Japan. While Re:coded is easily the weakest link in the chain, a cinematic retelling with new footage is the best way to experience its story. The HD treatment, sans the lack of 60fps support, is excellent, and the new musical arrangements are stellar. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is a superb effort that delivers some of the best games the series has to offer, and reminds us why we’re still excited for what lies in store in the next chapter of the franchise." The collection received an 8.4 out of 10 from IGN, saying, "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is a great way to whet your appetite during the long wait for Kingdom Hearts 3... It contains the best versions of two of the best games in the series, with upgraded visuals, music, and some really entertaining high-level challenges." Hardcore Gamer gave the collection a 4 out of 5, saying "More visual improvements would have be nice, especially in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix, but the package as a whole is good enough to make the visuals seem like an afterthought."
HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
In the credits of HD 2.5 Remix, clips of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance were shown as well as the inclusion of a secret ending related to the game, hinting at a possible additional collection. In September 2015, Square Enix announced Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, for release in 2016. The collection features an HD remaster of Dream Drop Distance as well as Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, set to tell the tale of the Foretellers and revealing new parts of the series' history in HD cinematics, and Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep–A Fragmentary Passage, a new part of the story taking place after the events of the original Birth by Sleep, told from the perspective of Aqua.
- "キングダム ハーツ HD 2.5 リミックス』安江泰氏インタビュー。HD化にまつわる開発秘話の他、最新作『KHIII』の話題も【E3 2014】" (in Japanese). Dengeki Online. June 11, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014.(Translation)
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- Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix North America and Europe official site
- Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix Japan official site