This is a game collection consists of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance HD, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage, and Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover. Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover is a CGI movie, while the other two are playable games. There are only two Trophy lists, which are for Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance HD and Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage. There are also unlockable themes once you have completed them.
WARNING: Remember to only buy the collection Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue with the same region as your primary PSN account! If you don't, you will not able to download the unlockable PS4 themes, as different version of the collection links to a specific region PS Store. For example, US region of the collection will redirect you to US PS Store to download the themes. If your PSN account's region do not match the collections region, you will get an error.
2) Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance HD
This is a HD remastered game of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, originally for Nintendo 3DS, with some adjustments and visual upgrades. This game takes place after Kingdom Hearts II, where Sora and Riku takes part in the Mark of Mastery to become Keyblade Masters. Little did they know that the exam is much more complicated than they presume to.
The story is interesting, but there are many undeveloped characters. Individual Disney world's story is not so interesting, despite the use of popular Disney characters such as Tron: Legacy and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The really good Disney-world storylines are Sora's and Riku's stories in Tron: Legacy's world. The ending sequence of the game is also rather weak and out-of-nowhere, since it was not foreshadowed enough in previous games.
The game uses the classic Kingdom Hearts battle system, with certain new features as well as recurring features taken from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. Command Deck is back from Birth By Sleep, where you must create your deck using different Commands. Commands can be obtained by opening chests, buying them at Moogle Shops, or get them from Ability Link boards.
The exploration and progression is similar, as you need to progress from one point to another in different areas. To actually complete a World's quest, you must complete the World's story quests as both Sora and Riku. Whenever you enter a new world, you must use the Dive feature at them before actually able to travel in that world.
Flowmotion is a new feature in the game, which allows you to traverse in areas quickly, such as dashing from wall to wall, sliding on rails, do super jumps or attacking enemies using Flowmotion moves. It is also a good way to attack enemies as well as dodging their attacks, particularly dangerous ones such as bosses.
This time, you have party members called Spirits. They can be created using materials called Dream Pieces, which are dropped by fighting the Nightmare enemies, opening chests, or buying them from Moogle Shops. You may create them using a recipe or manually. Different Spirits have different nature, stats, and abilities.
This game features a new gameplay system called Drop System. Whenever you control a character, a Drop Gauge is displayed next to the character's HP gauge. Whenever the Drop Gauge empties, you will be forced to change into another character, regardless in or out of battle. After doing so, you can use the Drop bonuses for temporary stat boosts, or get a new Command by spending Drop Points.
Combat is the same as previous Kingdom Hearts games, with the most similarity towards Birth by Sleep's combat system. You can attack enemies using your equipped weapon, or use Commands. Commands can vary such as special attacks, magic, or even items. Different commands have different cooldown periods after using them, so you need to create a good deck with balanced variety of Commands. Not only that, the Spirits that you have created can help you in combat, such as providing you stat buffs or healing. You may also do combination attacks with them, as both Sora and Riku have different combination attacks with the Spirits.
Not only you will regular Dream Eater Nightmares, you will also fight bosses. They are harder than regular enemies, and they even have special abilities that can make impede your progress. Using special commands, deft evasion, and proper abilities are the keys to win the boss fights.
The gameplay is good, but not without issues. Progression is rather generic, since you only need to go from one point to another point to progress the story. There are no complicated puzzles or whatsoever in the game. Some of the boss fights are not well-designed, and fighting them can be frustrating especially in harder difficulties. However, this game's clever use of two characters, unique areas for each character to explore, good combat, and good minigames are the highlights of the game.
The remastered graphics is great, but like previous Kingdom Hearts games, there are scenes where you will see static facial animations on characters in certain scenes. Otherwise, the graphics are fine. No technical issues encountered while playing the game, although there are reports of Trophy glitches in forums, so players should watch out for it and keep multiple save files.
The voice acting is good, with most of the previous English voice actors reprised their roles. Sadly, two of my favourite voice actors in Kingdom Hearts series just passed away, so I have no doubt their voice performances as the two characters will be missed. The soundtrack is also great, and I truly like Traverse Town's rearranged theme. The main theme is also lovely, as well as the rest of the soundtrack.
This game has moderate replay value. You can play the game again in harder difficulties, create all Spirits, fight the secret boss, or complete both Special Portals and Secret Portals in the game.
This is a good game, but there are issues that should be noted in this game. Firstly, the story issues. The poorly implemented twist, weak ending sequence, weak individual Disney world storylines, and many underdeveloped characters are the main factors that contribute to the weak story. Secondly, some gameplay issues such as poorly designed boss fights and empty worlds without any kind of NPCs to interact kind of noticeable in this game. Some of the gameplay controls are rather poorly implemented, such as the Reality Shift button prompts.
Regardless, this game is good, but not the best Kingdom Hearts game, as there are many better Kingdom Hearts games such as Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix HD. A worth playing game, but not without issues.
Final Score: 7.5/10
Pros and Cons
- Many likable characters.
- Riku is the star of this game.
- Good combat.
- Good new combat options such as Flowmotion.
- Nice graphics.
- Good music.
- Good voice acting.
- Mediocre story.
- Poorly implemented twist.
- Weak exposure on the Disney characters.
- Lifeless worlds to explore and interact.
- Generic progression.
- Minor boss fight design issues.
3) Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-
This is a new playable game that takes place after Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix HD's Secret Episode events. Aqua is still trapped in the Realm of Darkness, and she travels to different trapped worlds that she has visited, while fighting off the Heartless, the inhabitants of the Realm of Darkness.
The story is short, but it is rather interesting as we get to see more of Aqua's character development in this game. In this game, she has to deal with her fears, and she is close to giving up. Unfortunately, the story doesn't really add much to the lore of Kingdom Hearts series, except few things mentioned in this game's story.
The gameplay is the same as previous Kingdom Hearts games, with the gameplay takes more elements from Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+ HD and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix HD. This game has the same Command Menu like other KH games, as well as Shotlock from Birth By Sleep. The Magic system also functions exactly the same as Kingdom Hearts II, where your MP recharges automatically after using it up. There are several areas you must explore, and complete certain puzzles to progress.
Situation Commands is a similar system like Kingdom Hearts II's Reaction Commands, except they act as Aqua's finishing moves. Her Situation Commands include ultimate versions of her magic, as well as changing her fighting style with unique attack animations and finisher move such as the Spellweaver Style. To use a Situation Command, you must fill up the Command Gauge by attacking with specific ways. For example, frequent Firaga attacks will usually grant you the Firaga finisher move. You may stack one or more multiple Situation Commands if you are capable.
The game also features Objectives, where you can complete optional objectives in the game to unlock different adornments for Aqua. Take note however, that the adornments are purely non-beneficial in combat since they do not offer stat bonuses to Aqua.
This game also features some of the classic Heartless enemies, as well as many new Heartless enemies. Each Heartless has their own attacks and weaknesses. For example, Flame Cores are weak against Aqua's Blizzaga spells. Boss fights are also present in this game, and they are considerably more challenging than regular Heartless. Careful blocking, magic usage, and exploit their weak points are the key to winning the boss fights.
The graphics are amazing. Amazing looking characters, environments, and attack animations. Aqua's magic spells look particularly great, especially her finisher magic spells. This game however, has some minor framerate issues even after installing the latest update, but they are not gamebreaking.
The soundtrack is good, as usual by Yoko Shimomura's talents. The English voice acting is great, as I personally think Aqua's voice actress did better in this game than Birth By Sleep. Other voice actors also did a good job as well.
The replay value is moderate, as you can finish the game less than 5 or 6 hours. You can also play in harder difficulties such as Critical Mode, or attempt to complete all Objectives in the game.
This game is great, and it serves as a great prologue for Kingdom Hearts III. Unfortunately, it is too short and I would have prefer if the game is longer. Regardless, this is the real star of the collection.
Final Score: 8.5/10
Pros and Cons
- Interesting story.
- Great character development for Aqua.
- Excellent gameplay.
- Good boss fights.
- Amazing graphics.
- Good music.
- Story doesn't resolve many of Kingdom Hearts series' mysteries.
- Generic progression.
- Minor framerate issues.
- Too short.
4) Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover
This is a movie using Unreal Engine 4, based on Kingdom Hearts χ. The story takes place way before any of the main Kingdom Hearts games, where it focuses on the Foretellers. Master of Masters disappeared without a trace with his apprentice, Luxu. Before he disappeared however, he tasked each of the Foretellers a specific objective that may preserve the world's light.
The characters are interesting, but unfortunately underdeveloped as the movie length is too short. Not only that, the movie ends rather abruptly without any conclusions as well as did nothing to solve past Kingdom Hearts mysteries. If anything, this game adds more confusion to the lore of Kingdom Hearts. The visuals are excellent, and I really like the new style used.
Consequently, this is a rather decent Kingdom Hearts movie, but not without issues. Pleasant visuals and interesting characters, but poor character developments, poor story developments, and abrupt ending.
Final Score: 6.5/10
Unlike Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 Remix, this game does not warrant a full price purchase since this collection lacks content like the orevious two Kingdom Hearts collections. The real attraction of this collection is Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, since it serves a good technical demo on how Kingdom Hearts III will play like. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance HD is a good game, but not as good as the other Kingdom Hearts games that I have played. Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover is mediocre animated movie that serves nothing much to solve the existing Kingdom Hearts mysteries, and it is rather clear the movie ends abruptly compared to Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded movies.
Regardless, newcomers or existing Kingdom Hearts fans should wait to buy this collection until Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 + II.5 Remix is released on PlayStation 4, since those two collections have more fun games to play and serve better introductions to newcomers.
- Decent collection of two games and one movie.
- Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- is the star of the collection.
- Region-locked unlockable themes.
- Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- is too short.
- Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover ends abruptly and too short.