Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMIX review for PS3

Platform: PS3
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Medium: Blu-ray
Players: 1
Online: No

I?ll give Square Enix props for doing some pretty stellar work with their HD ports on PS3. Both the Final Fantasy X/X-2 and Kingdom Hearts 1.5 releases were excellent, and thankfully so is the recent release of Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMIX. Not only that, but this release features my favorite in the series, the previously PSP only release of Birth by Sleep. Considering that there was no digital release of the game, I long assumed I?d have to keep a PSP in working order just to enjoy the game via UMD, so having it included in this collection is enough to warrant the asking price of the game all by its lonesome. Of course you also get the first release of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix in North America, which is a definite plus, along with a story only presentation of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 remix_rg2All games feature the same spruced up visuals we?ve seen in other Square Enix collections thus far, with a heavy emphasis placed on improving the look of the various character models in both Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Birth by Sleep Final Mix. The version of Kingdom Hearts II that comes on disc here looks really sharp overall, with even the environments and various Disney themed worlds getting a considerable boost via the PS3 hardware. Whereas the original Kingdom Hearts could only do so much with a new coat of paint, Kingdom Hearts II easily benefits the most from an HD port, considering it was a later release on PS2.

Birth by Sleep also looks excellent, but you?ll notice some lackluster textures and environments a bit more here. Especially in comparison to the crisp and colorful characters populating the game, which make some of the drab, flat backgrounds stand out even more. I?d say the developers did a suitable job sprucing up the environment as much as possible, but you can see a clear difference in visuals between this and Kingdom Hearts II. That?s to be expected of course, considering the difference between a PS2 and PSP release, so I can?t really mark this as a fault.

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 remix_he2Birth by Sleep does, however, benefit from being played with a controller. While the PSP controls were never a major issue, I vastly prefer having camera control dedicated to a second analog stick, making Birth by Sleep a more enjoyable experience on consoles. I also found other elements, like the lock-on system, a bit easier to pull off on PS3 than I remember them being on PSP.

Also worth noting is that the load times for both games are kept to a minimum, and both titles ran without any significant visual or audio problems during my time spent with both titles. Basically, if you have any love for either game, or both, you?ll certainly want to check out this HD port. While the presentation of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded isn?t anything to get excited about, you?re still getting arguably the best two games in the series on one Blu-ray disc, featuring dozens of hours of RPG content to enjoy.

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 remix recoded_13Yeah, you?ll still have to wade through that sluggish Roxas opening of Kingdom Hearts II, but past that point you?ll have a very enjoyable, and visually stunning, reunion with Sora, Goofy, Donald, Terra, Aqua and Ventus. So I?d certainly urge all of you Kingdom Hearts fans to pick this up, as it does HD justice to two beloved games in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

Grade: A