Kingdom Hearts fans may have been disappointed that the third installment in the Square Enix/Disney crossover didn’t make an appearance at this year’s E3, but its half-step-away brother, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, did—and we got to play it.
For those that don’t know, the collection will include Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix, and over 3 hours of re-mastered cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
During my session with the game, I just so happened to stumble upon one of my favorite sections of Kingdom Hearts II—Yuletide Hill, from the second visit to Halloween Town—and it looked beautiful in HD. Ample detail was put into the way lights reflect off of the snow here, making it even more atmospheric than before.
They even threw in two new musical tracks to the area: What a Surprise! and Happy Holidays, which, while I never got the chance to confirm it, sounded like pleasantly re-mastered versions of the tracks in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
The environment wasn’t all that saw some polishing. Much like the recent Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, it seems like a lot of the art assets in these games have been redrawn, adding to the sharpness of the spiffed up visuals. Combat feels more or less the same, though arguably more responsive than its Playstation2 counterpart. Loading times felt just a bit speedier, too.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix launches in America on December 2nd.