If you enjoyed past Kingdom Hearts compilations and want a little more, Final Chapter Prologue is here to offer some extra Disney magic.
After enjoying my time with Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX a great deal, I was looking forward to diving into more so thankfully, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue has been recently made available for Xbox One as well. Whereas the previous compilation of remakes contained 4 full games and 2 movies, what we have here is a remake of a 3DS game (Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD), a brand new additional chapter for a game originally released on PSP and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 (Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage), and an hour long movie which retells events from a browser / mobile game (Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover).
Obviously, the sort of content featured in 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue doesn't have as much mass appeal as the games found in 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX so you could consider it a fans-only package. More specifically, if you're dying for more Kingdom Hearts and want to unravel more of its story and enjoy a bit more of its action RPG formula then you'll love what it has to offer but if you're a casual Kingdom Hearts player or you want to experience the series for the first time then I wouldn't recommend playing it. Either way, there's no denying how great all of the games look with Dream Drop Distance's visuals being colourful and psychedelic and the other 2 inclusions simply looking fantastic. Plus, the music and voice acting is top-notch. With all of that out of the way, let's take a look at the included games!
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
Dream Drop Distance originally released for 3DS (hence the 3 Ds) back in 2012 and this remake makes up for the lack of touchscreen support and a second screen while staying true to the original's campaign and story. I find it to be the weakest graphically out of the 3 experiences here although its vibrant use of colour is quite phenomenal, especially with the psychedelic Dream Eater enemies which you can actually synthesize to aid you in combat. Anyway, you swap between Sora and Riku throughout the campaign which is done with the Drop system. Basically, a timer depletes and once it's empty, you start playing as the other character wherever they left off.
Although this consistent character-swapping element can be downright confusing, the gameplay is probably the most action-oriented out of any Kingdom Hearts game. For starters, you can interact with various objects via the Reality Shift mechanic which allows you to do things like throw barrels and set up grind rails that you can use to soar through stages. The core combat utilizes a similar formula to Birth by Sleep's Command Deck system and you can also fling yourself from poles and stuff with the Flowmotion element which makes each encounter feel like an action-packed acrobatic parkour event. I love it and it's probably my favourite Kingdom Hearts gameplay-wise.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage
Next and finally, here's Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage. I enjoyed my time with Birth by Sleep Final Mix a lot so it's cool that an additional episode was created specifically for this collection. In this episode, you play as a super-powerful Aqua who's already levelled up and has an awesome double-jump ability. The world consists of a hodgepodge of elements from Birth by Sleep's locations and as I've mentioned previously, it looks fantastic. More specifically, it's trippy and somewhat eerie but in an epic way.
On the downside, this episode is incredibly short as it clocks in at only a few hours. However, if you're planning on checking out Kingdom Hearts III then you'll discover some interesting tie-ins if you play this first. Also, if you already played Kingdom Hearts III then exploring these tie-ins in retrospect may be an interesting experience as well. Of course, if the stories generally fly over your head as they do with me then playing A Fragmentary Passage will amount to little more than a brief albeit enjoyable diversion.
As a collection for hardcore fans, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue offers a few entertaining experiences. For more casual fans, it's still worth picking up simply for the fantastic remake of Dream Drop Distance which is an incredibly fun game.
- + Dream Drop Distance is action-packed and full of awesome locales and stories
- + A Fragmentary Passage is a nice inclusion
- + Each game has excellent visuals and music
- - Only contains 1 full game along with a short side-game and a movie
- - Dream Drop Distance is rather confusing
- - Stories can be absurdly complex