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Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX Review: A gorgeous love letter to Kingdom Hearts fans

10 September 2013

I am the biggest Kingdom Hearts fan I know. As a kid, I wrote the original game's Ansem Reports on pieces of paper so I could study them on long car rides. I made a screenshot collage of Kingdom Hearts II months before its release and hung it in my room. I own two pieces of Kingdom Hearts jewelry and two action figures (Darkside and Pluto), but no clothing--I've yet to find a shirt or design that can meet my absurdly high expectations. I bought a Nintendo 3DS to play Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance.

Reviewing Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX comes as a challenge, then, and perhaps the most daunting task of my two-plus years writing about games. It's impossible for me to ignore my emotional ties to Sora, Riku, and their supporting cast of Disney and Final Fantasy characters. Kingdom Hearts taught a young, impressionable me that jealousy can destroy friendships, that loneliness and isolation are felt by everyone from time to time, that you can't help everyone--but the help we can provide means more to the lives we touch than we'll ever know.

Kingdom Hearts is my all-time favorite game, but it's also not a 10--I recognize that. Gummi Ship missions are boring. Awkward platforming isn't helped by a temperamental camera. Combat isn't a tremendously deep affair. If you've been even tangentially interested in the series in the last decade, you've likely heard these complaints and more. Even if you've never touched Kingdom Hearts before and are looking to HD 1.5 ReMIX as your series starting point, a wealth of literature dating back to the original game's 2002 release already exists. The reasons why I love Kingdom Hearts are highly personal, and I don't think that discussion would do any good for you, the discerning buyer. So I review this HD remaster not as a collection of games that have touched my life, but as a package of technical excellence that brings new content, stunning visuals, and nostalgic gameplay to new and old audiences.

More details, after the page jump.

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