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Kingdom Hearts HD collection gets new skills and controls

on 22 December 2012

I speak from personal experience when I say that Kingdom Hearts fans are chomping at the bit for a new console installment, and while I enjoyed the gameplay and story of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance a great deal, it simply didn't substitute for the jubilation that waiting in line for Kingdom Hearts III might've bestowed. Enter, instead, the next best thing: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX is bringing HD remasters of Kingdom Hearts and RE: Chain of Memories (alongside the cutscenes from 358/2 Days) to PS3 with Trophies and new content next year. Little else is known about this enticing prospect, but a few new details have come unraveled thanks to the folks at KH Insider.

The Insider crew was tipped off to HD 1.5 ReMIX's product page on Yodobashi.com, an online retailer that lists a few notable changes to the enticing (dare I say, LEGENDARY) Kingdom Hearts formula. First off, two new abilities - Zero EXP and Combo Master - have been added. The former should speak for itself, while the latter - if staying true to its incarnations in other installments - will allow to continue a combo even if an intermediate Keyblade swing misses the enemy. Further gameplay changes include the move of all combat skills (Ars Arcanum, Ragnarok, etc.) to a context-sensitive Triangle button, while the fourth command slot will instead be used for Summons.

I would be remiss without mentioning that the right analog stick will now control the camera. A preemptive "Hallelujah!" may be in order, but I find the prospect of being FORCED to use the D-pad for command scrolling a bit troubling. Here's hoping for an option to choose between L2/R2 and right stick camera control.

Apparently, completing all three games in the collection will net you a custom PS3 theme not available elsewhere. As if I needed another reason to play through these gems again.

No word on a North American or European release date yet, but Japan is listed for March 14, 2013. Given that Kingdom Hearts Final Mix has ALWAYS used the English language (but somehow never made it over here), I'd be surprised if our version came much later.