Square Enix drops a game-changer with ‘Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix’


Sora (right) fighting Organization XIII member Marluxia during one of the new boss fights featured in the final mix version of “Kingdom Hearts 2.” Courtesy photo

Angelica Wallingford, Editor in Chief

Oh, nostalgia. So long are the days where controllers had wires extending to the console and games weren’t running in high definition. Sometimes gamers yearn for a little nostalgia every now and then. “Kingdom Heart 2.5 HD Remix” is the perfect remedy for any gamer wanting that feeling without having to dust off the old Playstation 2 and all while taking advantage of the glorious HD consoles we have today.

Square Enix’s final mix of the fan favorite series is the perfect blend of the dark undertones of the “Final Fantasy” universe and the colorful world of Disney — all in pristine high definition with added cut scenes, redone musical scores and brand new boss fights that keep players on their toes.

“Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMix” is broken up into two games — “Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix” and “Birth by Sleep Final Mix” and exclusive high definition cut scenes from the Nintendo DS game “Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.” The final mix versions of both “Kingdom Hearts 2” and “Birth by Sleep” were never released outside of Japan — until now — and it was the best decision that game director Tetsuya Nomura and the folks at Square Enix ever made.

“Kingdom Hearts 2” has always been a really good roleplaying game (RPG) that has always stood the test of time. “Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix” doesn’t fall short to its predecessor and when played on HD consoles like the PS3 or PS4 enhances the experience.

Taking place one year of years after the events of the first “Kingdom Hearts” game, “Kingdom Hearts 2” sees main characters Sora, Donald and Goofy reunited after Sora awakens from basically a coma. This time around the trio are on a mission to find King Mickey and Sora’s best friend Riku, who, after the events of the first game, are both wandering in the Realm of Darkness.

The twists and turns start right as the player begins the game. Instead of playing as the fan favorite and main character Sora, the player starts out playing as a new character named Roxas. There’s more than meets the eye with Roxas, as everything and everyone is not what they seem. The connection between Roxas and Sora runs deeper than just being able to wield the keyblade, which makes playing through the introduction a very interesting — albeit long — experience.

Traveling from one Disney-themed world to another on Chip n’ Dale’s Gummi Ship, Sora and company reunite with characters such as Beast from “Beauty and the Beast” and a grown-up Simba from “The Lion King” from Disney and Leon and Yuffie from the “Final Fantasy” universe.

The mixture of characters may not look good on paper but the roles each one takes on in their respective worlds give Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy an advantage when fighting off enemies and leveling the characters up.

Fighting off enemies such as the Maleficent-controlled Heartless from the first “Kingdom Hearts” game and the newly introduced Nobodies is child’s play compared to the games main antagonists — the infamous Organization XIII. Made up of 13 incredibly powerful Nobodies, the organization members serve as the boss fights for the different worlds in the game.

During specific boss fights if the player’s health gets down to zero then the player has the chance to play as King Mickey and wield the Kingdom Key D, the keyblade of the Realm of Darkness. This moment is one of the few times that dying in a game can actually give you an advantage.

The reason why “Kingdom Hearts 2” is such a timeless play through is that there is a ton of replay ability opportunities including going and collecting items, leveling up to 99 and challenging optional bosses like the ever menacing sephiroth. The “Final Mix” takes that to the next level, especially with the newly added critical mode, which can test even the most veteran of players.

A really cool bonus for fans of the longtime series is two exclusive HD cut scenes from the highly anticipated “Kingdom Hearts 3,” rumored to be released next year.

With the count down to “Kingdom Hearts 3” already in full force, gamers can get both their nostalgic and “Kingdom Hearts” fix by turning on the Playstation and playing through “Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix.” After all, a little nostalgia every now and then never hurt anybody.