Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
Banner courtesy of Luckay
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform(s): PlayStation 3
North American Release Date: September 10, 2013
European Release Date: September 13, 2013
Australian Release Date: September 12, 2013
Trophies: 1 | 2 | 4| 49
Trophy Guide: Kingdom Hearts Final Mix Trophy Guide - PS3 Trophies Forum by Broken
Kingdom Hearts, one of Square Enix's biggest franchises, makes its way onto the PS3 at long last, but it isn't Kingdom Hearts 3 as many have been expecting for years now. Instead, we have the first of the two planned HD collections:Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX (why the 'e' is lowercase will forever be a mystery). This review covers the first of the games included in I.5, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. This is the first time a Final Mix game has been released outside of Japan, and it won't be the last. For newcomers to the series, or veterans who want to know how this version of the game is, please read on.
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is still the classic action RPG it was, but there were some changes added with the HD I.5 ReMIX to make it more like Kingdom Hearts II. These changes are the inclusion of Reaction Commands, mapped to , the ability to move the camera with the right analog stick, and Summons replacing the fourth command, which used to change based on the situation. Scrolling down to use a situational command was tedious in the original, taking a second that could very well be vital, but now all you have to do is press when the option appears over your command box, making this easily the most convenient change.
Aside from those changes, the gameplay is the same. Wait for the Heartless to jump you and select commands from your command box in real-time, choosing either Attack, Magic, or Item with and jumping with . When you choose Attack, you hit your foes with a gigantic key (the Keyblade), and when you choose Magic, you choose from a list of magic you currently have. Magic uses up MP, which you can recharge by using an Ether or hitting an enemy enough to fill it up. Magic is one of the most useful tools you have at your disposal, so you'll want to always keep a few Ethers around for restoring your MP, for the alternative is slow and risky if you're low on health and need to use Cure.
The combat starts out simple, but as you level up or progress through the story, you'll gain Abilities that can add attacks, support skills, and defensive skills. Shared Abilities also exist, but these are used for progressing through the game and do not cost Ability Points. You can't just add every single Ability you get, though, as you have a very limited pool of Ability Points (AP) and the costs of Abilities vary. Some accessories can increase your AP, but only by small amounts. You can also increase it permanently by either leveling up or finding/creating AP Up items. Finding the setup that works best for you with the limited points you have is important, as a good setup can make the game a lot easier.
There are loads of items in Final Mix, equippable and otherwise. The majority of the useable items are what you'd find in a typical RPG, with a variety of Potions, Elixirs, and Ethers - all of which you can equip for quick usage in the middle of battle, when you can't access the larger menu. The last items are Tents, healing items which can only be used from the menu, and Stat Up items which permanently increase your stats. Stat Up items can only be found by looking for treasure chests, completing certain tasks, and item synthesis. Everything else, on the other hand, can be either purchased from the store using your hard-earned 'Munny' (AKA Shekels), dropped by enemies, and created through item synthesis.
”That's the power of the Keyblade!” That's the line you'll want the hear most; the alternatives are something unintelligible from Donald and a dumb sounding “We did it!” from Goofy. Wait, maybe Goofy should do the talking.
For equipment, you have two varieties: weapons and accessories. Most can be purchased in shops or synthesized, at least for Donald and Goofy. Sora only has one Keyblade that can be created through Synthesis;the rest are obtained by completing story events (you can receive accessories this way, too) or participating in the Olympus Coliseum. Accessories are much like items in that most of them are dropped by enemies, or can be purchased in the store or synthesized.
Item Synthesis is done in Traverse Town through a simple process: find the materials dropped by enemies or acquire them using Trinity marks (small marks on the ground of varying colors that you can use depending on what point of the game you're at) and bring them to the shop to create items. Simple, right? There is a not-so-simple part if you're looking to create the best items. The drop rates for the items are low, and you'll need to spend a lot of time farming the already rare enemies if you want to make something such as Sora's Ultima Weapon. But what's an RPG without some grinding
Something wildly different (and forced) are the lame Gummi Ship segments you'll have to slog through during the entire game. Basically, you're slowly forced to fly through the routes between worlds in a Shoot 'Em Up segment. They want you to shoot as many Heartless as you can, but you can actually just ignore them all if you don't care about completing the missions for the trophies. When I say they're slow, I mean slow. If it weren't for the fact that you get the ability to warp to worlds you've already been to early on, I'd have stopped playing within the first 10 hours. It's just not as fun as it is in the sequel. If Kingdom Heart II's Gummi Ship segments are like a roller coaster, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix's Gummi Ship segments are like waiting for an old person to finish counting change. There's also the ability to design your own ship, but it's unintuitive as hell and you might as well just follow the blueprints if you just have to have something different.
While I'm complaining, I'll go ahead and mention the moronic AI and horrible 3D platforming. The default AI settings for Goofy and Donald make them completely useless, and you will need to change them if you don't want to be doing everything yourself. The problem is the fact that I have to change them in the first place, because the default settings make them useless against even trash mobs. I can understand changing tactics for certain bosses (like the Phantom), but that should be it. Oh, and your companions will constantly get stuck in front of walls and keep walking forever. As I was writing this, I got up to take a break, only barely noticing Goofy was walking into a wall. When I came back, 10 minutes later, Goofy was still walking into the wall. It's actually hilarious until it screws you over in combat.
Now, the 3D platforming... This is most frustrating inside the whale, but damn is it annoying everywhere else before then. Until you get the High Jump ability, conveniently inside the whale (when all of the lame parts are over), platforming is a nightmare. Sora has some incredibly floaty jumping, leaving him in the air a full two seconds without the High Jump ability (must be the oversized shoes) and - What's that? Didn't want to hang onto that ledge? Sorry! And when you actually want to grab onto a ledge, it never wants to work.
*First hour of the game spoilers*
After an opening cutscene and tutorial sequence that makes you wonder just what the hell is going on, the story comes into motion with Sora waking up on the beach, introducing us to his anime pals - generic prettyboy Riku, and the love interest, Kairi. Sora and his generic anime pals plan to escape their island and get to other worlds by building a raft (how you get off a planet with a raft is anyone's guess), but the evil bad guys of darkness (the Heartless) attack soon after you've finished building the raft and Sora obtains his iconic weapon, the Keyblade. Despite having this amazing new weapon, Sora cannot prevent his island from being destroyed and wakes up in an alley on a strange new planet. You quickly learn what the Heartless are, and why're they're attacking you every damn second, and then are introduced to your real companions - Donald and Goofy.
The story picks up after Goofy and Donald join up with you and you begin to explore various Disney worlds. These worlds range from Alice in Wonderland to The Nightmare Before Christmas, but the majority are disappointingly formulaic. Go to a world, join up with the Disney character from whichever movie, and stop the respective Disney villain's nefarious plot. That's not to say the story isn't enjoyable, you can still get a few laughs from how absurd it is. Exploring the worlds of movies you've enjoyed (except The Little Mermaid, ugh...) and brutally bludgeoning the likes of Jafar, Captain Hook, and the dude from Tarzan with a giant key is something amazing.
With deep and insightful lines such as “Darkness” and “Submit”, this guy is a walking anime archetype.
As for the quality of the story, well... Making all the Disney villains form their own version of the “Legion of Doom” and work together to spread darkness speaks plenty. Mind you, this is before the series became convoluted as all hell. That starts with the next game, which is conveniently included in the collection! By the way, if you can count how many times “darkness” is mentioned in this game, you deserve a medal.
The story lasts a good 35 hours if you take your time and seal every keyhole in the game, but it'll take even longer if you want to defeat the difficult superbosses (they're super for a reason) and view the optional story content Final Mix added. The optional content isn't too necessary, it just adds some new Ansem Reports (cryptic bullshit) and an ending cutscene that ties into another game.
As it seems to be a series tradition, Kingdom Hearts (the main series, at least) has always been released outside of Japan with a bit of extra content not included in the original release. Not liking that, Square Enix retaliates (against themselves) only a few months later by making a version with even more content called the “Final Mix” - exclusive to Japan.
In this “Final Mix,” new enemies and bosses were added, and some already existing foes were recolored. Do the changes end there? Not a chance. New items, equipment, and abilities were also added. One of those abilities is one of the most useful in the entire game. It's called Leaf Bracer, and it stops you from being interrupted while you're casting Cure or its variants. I don't have enough hands to count the number of times enemies have gone after me while I was trying to heal, so Leaf Bracer was a blessing.
Guard Armor, one of Kingdom Hearts' iconic bosses, is an example of the enemy recolors.
By far the most important bit added was the feature to skip scenes. Longtime players should know of an infamously difficult fight late in the game with a fairly long cutscene just before it, so rejoice in the fact that you won't have to watch it multiple times, if you happen to fail. All in all, there's enough content added that you'll never consider going back to the original.
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix's music was completely remastered for this release, but I actually had to listen to the old soundtrack and directly compare the two to spot much difference. You've got some classic Disney songs playing throughout the game, but I can't say all are good. Who wants to listen to an instrumental version of 'Under the Sea' on loop? I'll also have nightmares of the Wonderland theme for years... At least the original songs are enjoyable, and the theme for Traverse Town is a work of art (damn catchy, too).
Voice acting is hilariously cheesy, but that comes with the constant mentions of Hearts, Darkness, and Friendship. Just like my Japanese animes! You have Sora with a voice you'd only find within a quick round of Call of Duty, and as a bonus, you get to hear his prepubescent grunts through every step of the game. Goofy sounds dumb (big surprise), and if it weren't for the subtitles, I wouldn't be able to understand anything Donald says.
Everyone else sounds like what you'd expect from early 2000's dubbing, so not perfect. Lip sync issues are common as well, sometimes they match the voice acting with the lip movements well, but sometimes you'll have characters moving their lips full seconds after they're done talking. Expect... awkward... pauses... too... Slightly related, I've read of an audio glitch where the sound cuts out, but to my knowledge, I haven't encountered it yet.
For the HD version of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Square Enix had to recreate the graphics from scratch, after a tragic accident involving the loss of the original assets. Through their efforts you can see beautiful people like Ursula, Oogie Boogie, and 'the Kid Who Almost Looks Like Tidus' in Traverse Town, all remade in High Definition! The areas look great too, especially Halloween Town (even if I couldn't see anything because of the dust effects). Despite having remade all the textures, Square Enix managed to keep a problem from the original (which also seems to persist within the rest of the series): extremely pixelated mouths. The pixelmouth issue only happens during cutscenes, and it makes me think “Why, SE, why?”. It's so distracting. Curse you and your pixely mouth, Sora!
If you want the platinum trophy for Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, you'll need to dedicate a lot of time towards it. They've really gone all out to think of an infuriating list, including trophy requirements such as: clear the game without changing equipment, clear the game within 15 hours, collect every gummi ship blueprint (forcing you to complete all the gummi missions), and three separate trophies for getting all the weapons for Sora, Donald, and Goofy. You'll also need to do three playthroughs minimum, because making trophies stack is just too much work.
Despite the few glaring faults it has, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is a good game. I'm glad they've made some much-needed improvements and included them in the 1.5 ReMIX - it's the perfect version for newcomes to start out with. If you're looking for a fun action RPG, definitely check it out. The fact that they've included Re: Chain of Memories in the bundle, and all for only $40, makes it even better.
The gamplay was just how I remembered it - the good and the bad. Beating the crap out of enemies with your Keyblade is great, and you'll definitely be doing a lot of that. The lame platforming is troublesome, especially when combined with the moronic AI. I'd also like to forget about the Gummi Ships as soon as possible.
An absurd plot combined with Disney, Final Fantasy, and original characters... kinda works? The 30+ hour story will keep you playing, whether you want to see Disney worlds or hit stuff with your key. Yes, I really love to mention that key.
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix looks great in HD, and sounds good to boot. However, the pixelated mouths and lip-sync issues are the only things keeping this score from being higher.
Overall: 7.5/10 Good