by Jeremiah Fajardo | staff writer
Whether you love the series or hate it, you can’t deny that Kingdom Hearts has one of the most devoted fan bases of any modern franchise. This is especially true when one examines the reaction across the Internet following Monday’s announcement of Kingdom Hearts III. While this long awaited entry is likely still a ways from being ready, fans can at least relive their early memories of the franchise with September’s release of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix. Containing Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, a first for North America, and Re: Chain of Memories, as well as the cinematic sequences from 358/2 Days, this HD rerelease serves as the perfect refresher for fans and newcomers alike.
This year I was lucky enough to cover E3 and naturally made my way to Square Enix booth at my first chance. I spent a decent 20 minutes playing through the Halloween Town portion from Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, testing out the next control scheme. Simply put, Square Enix transplanted the controls from Kingdom Hearts II onto the series’ first entry. This change drastically improved playability, assigning camera control to the Right Stick as opposed to the L1 and R1 buttons. The inclusion of “Trigger Commands,” which are actions conducted by pressing the Triangle button, also made combat feel less cumbersome. Originally, players had to scroll down to the bottom of the Command Menu to choose any special moves, costing precious seconds during combat. Now, whenever the player is able to execute a special attack a non-obtrusive prompt appears, allowing them to execute it with a single button press. It’s the simple changes such as these that made the nostalgic experience that much better.
Fans eager to dive back into the roots of Kingdom Hearts luckily don’t have to wait much longer. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix will be out September 10 on PlayStation 3 for $39.99. If they pleasantly reasonable price weren’t enough, anyone who preorders the game will also receive a special, hardcover artbook.
Please stay tuned for more hands on previews straight from E3 as the week progresses!