Review: Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Title: Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Platform: PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Square Enix Holdings
Publisher: Square Enix
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: The final path to Kingdom Hearts 3 has opened.
Price: $60 / £40
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a mouthful to say but is an incredible addition to the Kingdom Hearts universe and gives a better look at the visual style and gameplay for Kingdom Hearts 3. Kingdom Hearts 2.8 includes a full HD remastering of the 3DS title, Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 and the animated movie, Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, all of which ties up the loose ends heading into Kingdom Hearts 3. I’m going to break this review into the different titles and talk about each of them separately.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance was originally released in 2012 as Nintendo 3DS title, and now takes a leap into the realm of High Definition on the PS4 and looks so beautiful even if it’s an upscaled 3DS title. The 60fps gameplay blended with the Flow Motion battle system looks super slick and stylish, making it feel and play like a Devil May Cry game with the classic Kingdom Hearts charm.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance takes place after Kingdom Hearts 2 and follows Sora and Riku as they take their Mark of Mastery exam whilst unlocking the seven sleeping keyholes to return them to the Realm of Light which leads to the set up of Kingdom Hearts 3.
As mentioned above, this game uses a new battle system called Flow Motion which allows our two protagonists to slip and slide across the field, grind on rails, and twist around Dream Eaters and send them flying into oblivion. The game feels much more natural whilst playing on a PS4 over the 3DS, as being a giant, my hands cramped whilst playing on the 3DS.
In Dream Drop Distance, you no longer have Donald and Goofy by your side; instead you have these little cute creatures called Dream Eaters which you can create to join your fight or kick back and play sometimes infuriating mini-games with (took me forever to get the trophies for the high scores). Essentially, Dream Eaters are like your Pokémon; they help you battle against the Nightmares (evil Dream Eaters). Also, you switch between Sora and Riku when one of them loses all of their drop gauge (basically falling asleep because, y’know, this is about sleeping worlds and dreams…) but this system gives you two different play styles and two different perspectives on the narrative.
Overall, Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD is amazing fun to relive on the PS4 or an amazing new adventure if you never played it on 3DS and switching between Sora and Riku is a refreshing concept in Kingdom Hearts. The Dream Eaters are adorable and the plot is epic and the game is one of the final steps towards Kingdom Hearts 3.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage –
A continuation from the secret chapter in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, following Aqua as she adventures through the Realm of Darkness. Fragmentary Passage was supposed to be included within Kingdom Hearts 3 as a part of the main game but due to the volume of content Square instead decided to add it to this collection to give us a feel for the upcoming title and boy does it deliver! Check out Nomura’s full translated interview from Dengeki PlayStation’s September 2015 issue, over at Nova Crystallis.
Fragmentary Passage is visually stunning and the traditional solid gameplay we’ve come to expect with the Kingdom Hearts franchise is present within this title. Aqua’s story favours the traditional battle system from Kingdom Hearts 2 over the deck system from Birth By Sleep and Dream Drop Distance. but keeping the difficulty from her debut title.
Playing on the PS4 Pro gave me an uncapped frame rate, which unfortunately isn’t great as the game jumps between the different frame rates, which in turn causes input lag making some commands useless such as timing your block… Hopefully, Square Enix can fix this either by finding a way to lock the game at a steady 60fps or just keep it at 30fps.
Overall, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage- is an incredible insight into the future of Kingdom Hearts, both technologically, and in terms of Aqua’s story and where she will come in during the final chapter. I cannot wait for the closing chapter of Xehanort’s saga in Kingdom Hearts 3.
Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover
Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover is an hour long movie revolving around the Foretellers, the Book of Prophecies, and how everything came together before the Keyblade War. Back Cover is based on the characters within the mobile title Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ on the App Store and Google Play Store, which you can download now for free. Back Cover uses the visuals and graphical style of Kingdom Hearts 3 and gives us some intriguing characters especially the Master of Masters!
Unfortunately, I can’t go into too much detail without spoiling the movie but it’s highly recommended to understanding the confusing plot in Kingdom Hearts. Back Cover has breathtaking visuals and the story gives me so many questions that hope get answered in Kingdom Hearts 3. Back Cover is an incredible addition to the series and makes me long for a full feature length movie in the future.
Overall, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a must have for those anticipating Kingdom Hearts 3 but if you haven’t played the previous titles, I’d recommend waiting until the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix pack on PS4 at the end of March, or if you can’t wait, grab yourself a PS3 and get the two collections! Because you don’t want to miss out on this epic franchise.
- A great look and feel at Kingdom Hearts 3 via 0.2 Birth By Sleep.
- Freeflow Battles are stylish in 60fps.
- A beautiful animated movie.
- Kingdom Hearts 0.2 suffers a few frame rate drops on PS4 Pro due to uncapped frame rate.
- 0.2 Birth by Sleep load times can be painful.
Disney meets animated violence. PEGI 12.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by Square Enix UK.