- Developer: Square Enix
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
- Release date: January 23rd, 2020 (PS4), Febuary 24th, 2020 (Xbox One)
- Price: $29.99 ($39.99 for concert bundle)
- Review code provided: no
DISCLAIMER: Because of the nature of JRPG’s, most of what is talked about in this review will be gameplay and minor story spoilers. Read at your own risk.
I, along with many others for quite a long time, highly anticipated the release of Kingdom Hearts 3. Not only for a conclusion to a story line that’s had lots of build up over the years, but to also go back to the series roots in terms of gameplay and combat that the series hasn’t used since Kingdom Hearts 2 over 13 years ago. I quite enjoyed my time with Kingdom Hearts 3 upon release, but there was a checklist of things missing that many people, not just myself noted were missing that make the experience of a numbered Kingdom Hearts title even more memorable.
There were no Final Fantasy characters, iconic Keyblades were missing, the final world wasn’t very clear cut on its intentions, and lastly, no super bosses to challenge and reward those that went above and beyond to max out Sora. While there was one secret boss, he barely posed a threat at high level and didn’t provide a tease as to what was next for the series.
The lack of all these things made me very excited at the announcement of Kingdom Hearts Re:Mind. An expansion broken into 3 episodes that claimed to add nearly everything that was missing from the base game that left it feeling like an incomplete experience and more. The question remains, did Re:Mind deliver on filling in the gaps of Kingdom Hearts 3?
The Re:Mind episode follows Sora as he relives the events of the climax of Kingdom Hearts 3 through the perspectives of other characters. Additional scenes are added before and after nearly every major character beat or arc conclusion. These new scenes added in answer everything that went unanswered within the main game, such as what happened to certain characters or how some returned. It cleans everything up nicely and throws in a few new boss encounters.
However, while these conclusions are finally all consistently satisfying, they come at the cost previewing many long cut-scenes I’ve seen multiple times. While I could skip, many of the original scenes are longer with the new story beats, so I found myself sitting through 8-10 minute scenes again just to see an additional 3 minutes. More often than not, it felt like I was playing an extended edition of Kingdom Hearts 3 if it was directed by Percy Jackson.
The most enjoyable part of the Re:Mind campaign was the ability to now control other characters during their arcs final battles. Playing as Roxas and Kairi especially really helped heighten these battles along with the new scenes and greater context that was created. However, I wish they went a little farther and had them playable outside of combat and let me test them out in other situations.
The final addition to the Re:Mind episode of the DLC was the ability to now explore a very large segment of the final area that served simply as the final boss arena in the base game. This new area was an absolute blast to explore, and I wish more completely new areas to explore were added to existing worlds to really encourage revisiting the game again.
The Re:Mind episode serves simply to fill in the gaps as to how certain things left blank occurred. I appreciated this portion of the DLC from a story perspective, but felt that there was not enough brand new gameplay to justify going through it more than once to learn what really happened.
The real new content that Re:Mind adds to Kingdom Hearts 3 is the Limit Cut episode. 13 super bosses against all 13 vessels of darkness are added through radiant gardens computer. This also allows for Final Fantasy characters to all come back fully voiced. Even it is brief, I loved their inclusion, as it really showed the team listening to what was requested by the fans. The bosses were my highlight of the DLC and where most of Re:Mind’s value will be to many people. They were the highlight for just how challenging they were. Every boss has patterns to observe, weaknesses to learn and tricks to master if you had any chance of victory. Even at maximum level with the best armor and items in the game I found myself hitting that retry button many times.
However, that was the fun of it. Each time I would try again, I would get a little closer to victory. I would mess up less over time and learn the right times to block and counter and land the finishing blows and work my way towards the upgrades and items they rewarded me with. Every boss with a couple exceptions also has an absolutely amazing new rendition of their respective battle theme or a piece from the series that really heightens the thrill of these new encounters.
While having these bosses here is nice, not all of them are fun to fight. Bosses like Young Xehanort and Larxiene were quite enjoyable and fair in their attack patterns are rewarded me for learning them. However, some like Siax and Dark Riku did nothing but spam attacks constantly giving me no time for sometimes up to 2 minutes to breath and even observe what was happening. Their windows for countering and attacking back were also so small, that some of these battles took as long as up to two hours to beat.
The Limit Cut episode is where most of the brand new gameplay content of Re:Mind is, and I gladly welcome it. While not every super boss in every game, both 3 and prior games really is for me, just having all this here is very appreciated. It really goes a long way to offer all this extra challenge to the game for those that love to go beyond what the base experience offers.
For this review, I defeated every super boss, as either fun or seemingly cheap as they were in order to see the final episode that the expansion offers: The Secret episode. The final episode features one final test of your skill against a character that seems to play a big role in where the series is headed story wise. The true final boss was epic, with an amazing new musical piece set to a fantastic set piece that left the inner fanboy in me screaming for joy, and also terror as the boss frequently demolished me. I was not able to beat the secret boss out of just how difficult he was and time, but I have viewed all the endings for the sake of the review. The secret episode does a fantastic job at continuing the trope of past numbered entries of being a fantastic test of your skills but also providing a tease as to what is next for the series.
The last few features available from purchasing the Re:Mind DLC are the Data greetings, slideshows, and premium modes. Data greetings allow you to put nearly every character in the game onto nearly every location in the game for photos. There is a shocking amount of variety and wacky shenanigans to come from this mode that I’ve already seen coming from the community on social media. Premium mode is unlocked for those that complete the secret boss on any difficulty and allows you to set a ton of cheats to either make Kingdom Hearts 3 the easiest game in existence or incredibly difficult. It’s a really great and fun tool that can be used well to showcase the game in specific ways on YouTube, or to just mess around with. I welcome any feature like this in games with open arms.
With nearly everything finished, I found myself quite enjoying Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mined. It addressed my personally requests and things that previous numbered games had that the base game lacked in a well put together package. However, I must stress that most of the new content from a gameplay perspective here, besides the photo and cheat modes, is challenging content. I wish it featured more casual content to make it more accessible to everyone and expand upon the ideas of Kingdom Hearts 3 even more. While I was personally looking for everything it offered, I cant recommend Re:Mind at full price if you are not looking for everything that it offers as a complete package. As someone who wanted all that was in that complete package however, if super bosses and more story are what you thought were missing from Kingdom Hearts 3, then Re:Mind is quite fulfilling in more ways that one.