Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD ReMIX Collection is a bundle of action role-playing games, upscaled with a better resolution and framerate. It contains Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, along with a movie-like feature of cutscenes taken from two other games in the series.
Pro Really good value for its price
With four playable games and two cutscene-only titles bundled into a single collection, this is a steal. Each of the games are full-length RPGs that will easily take you dozens of hours to complete, and the cutscenes-only ones are long enough to fill an entire movie on their own. Having everything on one disc for a single system is also convenient, since a lot of these titles used to be spread out across different consoles and handhelds. Along with inevitable price drops over time, you end up getting a lot of value for your money while getting caught up to speed on many of the Kingdom Hearts games.
Pro Interesting premise of combining Disney and Final Fantasy characters in one universe
The idea of putting Disney and Final Fantasy together seems like it would never work, but it actually does here. While each of the settings are in many of the Disney worlds, the characters you meet along the way are from both Disney and Final Fantasy. Seeing Donald and Goofy interacting with Cid, Cloud, and Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII, for example, is entertaining because of how novel it is. Even villains like Maleficent have screen time with other Disney characters they'd normally never speak to in the canon lore, like Pete or Jafar. The whole experience is surreal in a good way, with plenty of possibilities for cameos from both franchises.
Pro Tons of Disney worlds to play in
There are many authentic Disney levels in the games. They look like they were pulled straight out from the movies in how recognizable they are, too. Places like Agrabah from Aladdin, the Deep Jungle from Tarzan, the Olympus Coliseum from Hercules, the Pride Lands from The Lion King, and Beast's Castle from Beauty and the Beast are all fully-playable. Playing around with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and everyone else from the 100 Acre Wood of Winnie the Pooh, for example, is a great storybook adventure that feels like you're part of the cartoon itself. Experiencing these authentic worlds with their characters is great and feels true-to-life.
Pro Fun real-time action combat with keyblade swords
The combat in the games is a lot of fun with the unique keyblade weapons: swords that are shaped like keys. Attacking enemies with your keyblade feels swift and smooth, with plenty of abilities to help you dash quicker, jump higher, and more. Elemental magic spells are snappy and pretty to look at; leveling up unlocks cooler and more powerful spells, with giant flare explosions, thunderstorms, and blizzards with detailed particle effects. You also get rewarded for using certain magic spells, letting you chain faster, flashier keyblade attacks where you're practically invincible until the effect wears off. Combat is really enjoyable, especially as you unlock new skills over time.
Pro Wonderful soundtracks
The soundtracks in the Kingdom Hearts games are incredible. Across all of the games, the music goes above and beyond to convey any given tone or theme wherever they play.
Battle and boss themes are catchy even in their classical influences, with epic final boss songs that tell a story about the main villain through music. Songs for Disney worlds stay true to their original material and are sure to make longtime fans nostalgic for their favorite movies and characters. Even the song that plays on the title screen, "Dearly Beloved", is a quiet but emotional song that stays in your heart. The composer Yoko Shimomura does a fantastic job with the music across the series, putting her background in classical music to use here in the best ways possible.
Pro Heartfelt stories about the bonds of friendship
The story in all of the Kingdom Hearts games are strong because of how well they feature the characters. The main protagonist, a young boy named Sora, initially goes on a quest to find his friends, Riku and Kairi, while meeting Donald and Goofy along the way, who are looking for King Mickey.
Throughout Sora's journeys with Donald and Goofy, the three of them meet more friends who either stick with them and aid their quest, or turn against them in unexpected ways. Each of the characters' reasons for their choices and actions all revolve around friendship, usually with losing friends to the darkness in their hearts that they must somehow overcome. All of the stories across the series are touching narratives that know how to pull on your heartstrings.
Con Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories changes up the gameplay too much
In Chain of Memories, you fight with decks of cards instead of your keyblade. While this sounds interesting, it's not that great in execution. The cards determine how strong your attacks are and which spells you get to cast, and sadly a lot of it comes down to random luck. Even worse, you sometimes need certain cards to get into rooms to progress the story, which feels way too unfair if you don't have the right cards. It's unfortunately more frustrating than fun.
Con Some annoying JRPG tropes get in the way of the story
There are some JRPG tropes that bog down the storytelling. The most prominent one is the idea of the characters coming together to defeat gods with the power of friendship. There are a few other ones that will only get on your nerves depending on how much you either tolerate or enjoy the tropes.
Con The first Kingdom Hearts hasn't aged well
There are a few things in the first Kingdom Hearts game that feel outdated. It's hard to keep track of specific quests or even know where you're supposed to go most of the time. Your journal only gives you a broad overview of why you're in any given world at a time. Attacking enemies and jumping around feels a bit sluggish at times, with a strange delay between your button press and Sora actually doing what you want. The worlds also seem too small and empty without much detail. Luckily, these problems are improved on in future games, so it goes to show that the developers learned a lot from this first entry.
Con All of the lore and mythos can be hard to keep track of
It's clear that the writers didn't plan on the whole series from the start, making things hard to follow or remember over time. Plotlines get introduced out of nowhere in sequels and characters get retconned left and right. Despite how well-executed the storylines are on their own, as a whole, everything is a jumbled mess and would take a long time to explain. If you're thinking of jumping into the Kingdom Hearts series, be prepared to be confused.