By Kimari Rennis
I severely regret not getting into the complete Kingdom Hearts franchise earlier. In the past, I could never truly say that I was a Kingdom Hearts fan. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve always confused Kingdom Hearts with Final Fantasy because of how similar they appear to me. Even with this in mind, it doesn’t mean I’ve never played a Kingdom Hearts game.
Square Enix’s release of “Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 & 2.5 Remix”, which includes six games, offered me so much nostalgia, it brought back my forgotten memories from playing Kingdom Hearts in the PS2 days. Kingdom Hearts is a 3D action role-playing game where you assume the role of Sora who is chosen as a Keyblade master when evil arises. Disney’s Donald and Goofy team up with you to protect you with the Keyblade as well — to find King Mickey. Throughout the game, you travel to different worlds and meet other iconic Disney characters as you fight off the Heartless shadow creatures. When I first started playing I started to remember so much. Nothing can explain how ecstatic I was when I actually remembered Traverse Town. I can proudly say that after all these years, I remembered the intro to the story of Sora on Destiny Islands. I played for hours on in and I absolutely loved the game.
The recognizable flaw in the game is the camera. In combat and exploration, the camera can get stuck and falls and restricts your view. However, after a while, any player can get used to the controls. Other than that, little things could be considered flaws, such as the lip sync and animation. But that only adds to the retro magic of the game. It shows how the game isn’t completely re-done, and how it still holds its classic, PlayStation 2 feel.
Being a new player to the games included in this Kingdom Hearts package gave me the opportunity to experience a new style of game where I get to fight alongside AI companions. The third person view and camera angle makes me feel small to bosses, which is absolutely amazing. The perspective of the camera in boss battles makes players work harder to reach the weak points of their enemy. There are instances where it is a necessity to climb and wait for the weak point to be in reach. This makes boss battles more intense and exciting. At some points, I felt connected to Sora. He and I shared the same jealousy and determination during the race between Sora and Riku. During my playthrough, I hilariously kept restarting the game until I came up with the optimal strategy to winning the race.
Allowing Riku to share the paopu fruit with Kairi and bind their destiny was not on my mind. I wanted to be the only one to share my destiny with Kairi. Surprisingly I died quite a few times to the Trickmaster boss in Wonderland. The Trickmaster, one of my favorite bosses, looks as if he’s wearing green heels and sets his own drumsticks on fire to fight you. I learned about the importance of sharing and equipping Donald and Goofy with better items. After playing, I can confirm that Goofy with a shield is hilariously overpowered.
Playing Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 & 2.5 Remix made me desire to play more. I crave to know more about the story, and the other games. I started Kingdom Hearts 2, which is included in this collection, completely blind and want to comprehend what’s going on. To me, this game is close to perfect. I hope the others are, too. Good job, Square Enix, you’ve made a new Kingdom Hearts fan.
Writer/intern Kimari Rennis comes to The New York Videogame Critics Circle via the DreamYard Prep School in the Bronx, where the Circle offers a long-term mentoring and scholarship program.