The Kingdom Hearts franchise has always been a PlayStation console favorite ever since the first game of the series released back on the humble PS2 console back in 2002. The first Kingdom Hearts game became an instant hit thanks to the mix of Disney characters interacting with the first time with Final Fantasy characters and more.
Over the years, many other Kingdom Hearts games were released on a number of different platforms including the Nintendo DS as well as the PSP console just to name a few. However, it will take a very long time before the series was ever released on an Xbox console. It wasn’t until 2019 with the release of Kingdom Hearts III did the series finally debut on the Xbox One console.
However, due to the release of Kingdom Hearts III on Xbox One in 2019, Xbox console owners had no chance of playing any of the previous games. This is because the many remasters that came out were only released on PS3 and PS4. For Xbox Owners, there was no chance to catch up with the rest of the series.
Due to the lack of Kingdom Hearts games on Xbox One, Square Enix finally listened to the demand and all of the previous games in the franchise are now available for Xbox gamers. This is thanks to the release of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
Both Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue pretty much includes every Kingdom Hearts game released to date in two neatly packaged collections. In Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, you get Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, and also Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as remastered HD cutscenes. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix, on the other hand, is a similar package but features the second game of the series. In this collection you receive Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded which is also cinematics remastered in HD.
The cool thing about Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix is that you can get the collection as one package for a discounted price of $49.99 in North America. This is quite a bargain considering you can get hours of gameplay from all of the games aforementioned above.
The third and probably weakest collection of the bunch is Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. For some reason, this collection costs a full price of $59.99 and it only includes the following games: Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD, a prologue called Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A fragmentary passage -and Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover which is another movie.
In terms of which collection you get, there’s more value in money if you buy Kingdom HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix as you get four remastered video games plus two cinematic movies all in one package. Kingdom Hearts 1 is still awesome to play despite being nearly 20 years old.
Unlike other old schools JRPGs, Kingdom Hearts 1 does not feature the slow turn-based combat system. This is an action RPG as the main character Sora can pretty much hack and slash at all times using his trusty Keyblade weapon. During battles, Sora is usually aided by his friends Donald Duck and Goofy who can help revive the party’s health and also fight back against bosses and enemies.
There are also many other abilities that Sora and unlock and there are even tag-team attacks that they can do as well. The boss battles are also very unique as they mimic the famous scenes that actually occurred in the many Disney movies that this game offers.
Kingdom Hearts II is more of the same as the first game but adds even more Disney and Final Fantasy characters for you to meet up and interact with. You also get to visit more and bigger Disney worlds in this superior sequel. In my opinion, Kingdom Hearts II remains to be the best Kingdom Hearts game ever made in my opinion.
Another favorite of mine is the previously PSP exclusive called Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. This game is a little bit different since you control different characters and each character has their own arcs and storylines for you to go through. I remember liking the game in 2009 and it’s still holding up even by today’s standards.
The weakest game in both collections is the long-named Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A fragmentary passage –. While the game isn’t bad since it has the same game engine as Kingdom Hearts III, the main problem I have is that it’s way too short. Most gamers should be able to complete this game in three hours which is much shorter than the other games included in the collections.
Graphically, playing these remasters is actually the best way you can experience these classic games. All of the legacy games have been remade and runs at 4K and 60fps if you are playing them all on Xbox One X. The games themselves are nice to look at as well thanks to the bright and diverse locations that the Disney worlds have to offer.
Kingdom Hearts HD Remastered (Xbox One) Verdict
Overall, it’s great to finally play the older Kingdom Hearts games if you are an exclusive Xbox gamer. Both of these collections offer hours of great and fun gameplay. Not to mention this is the best experience to play these games thanks to the 4K and 60fps upgrades. If you’ve only played Kingdom Hearts III, do yourself a favor and go back and play the rest of the series!