Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue has recently been released on the PlayStation 4, consisting of three experiences, one is a brand new game called 0.2 A Fragmentary Passage, a movie based on the Japanese PC game called Backcover and a remastered port of Nintendo 3DS Dream Drop Distance.
0.2 is brand new, this is what all the fans want to play as it is the first game built for this generation of console, it looks stunning and is lots of fun to play, as it takes everything from previous games and brings it up to today’s gaming standard. It also marks the first time the game has been built on different engine and is our first look at how Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to look and play like. I loved playing though 0.2 and having King Mickey involved was a nice touch of Disney.
One draw back is this experience is only about 2 to 4 hours long, depending on your style of play. It does offer some replay value, such as doing it on different difficulty settings, doing speed runs or finding every item. The additional after credits scene helps set up Kingdom Hearts 3 and seeing Sora, Goofy and Donald looking at their best was a nice touch.
Having played through another Square Enix title, Hitman, which offers episodic content rather than a full game in one go, I would happily welcome this approach for Kingdom Hearts, which was something I felt 0.2 felt like, especially when it’s compared to a full 30+ hour Kingdom Hearts game.
Backcover is a beautiful looking movie, much better than the movies that were included on previous collections, it is also a prequel, set way before Kingdom Hearts. It’s nice that it’s been included, it helps setup the history of the Keyblade War and at around a hour long, so it’s a nice addition to bulk out the collection, but it’ll leave more questions than answers.
Dream Drop Distance is the only full length game in this collection, it is a remastered port of a 3DS game and is the latest game to have been released. It does look much better than any other Kingdom Hearts game (bar 0.2), and will offer well over 20 hours of entertainment.
Dream Drop Distance shouldn’t be overlooked, it is a very good game and even if this game had been released on its own, as someone who hadn’t played the 3DS version, I honestly feel it is worth the price of this collection alone. Jumping between Riki and Sora does work well until you run out of time while facing a boss and have to restart next time you drop. Plus having to spend time as two different characters, means you get to explore more of the Disney worlds based on Tron, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Three Musketeers, Fantasia, and Pinocchio.
Being based on a handheld game, means some aspects seem to have been lost in its move to the PS4, such as the idea of bonding with a sprite, stroking a little pet might work well with a 3DS stylus, but not on a game controller. However it doesn’t make up a huge part of the experience, though I did hate the music mini games in the Fantasia world.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Kingdom Hearts, with 10 games across different devices, it can be hard to keep up with and difficult for new players to join in.
We’ve already seen previous collections (1.5 & 2.5) released on the PlayStation 3, and these will be released on the PS4 in March as one package. It’s a shame this collection wasn’t released ahead of 2.8, to let new fans get up to speed on the world of Kingdom Hearts.
Honestly for new players, 2.8 isn’t really the best start to join the series, since the timeline means the three games covered in this collection are all over the place, in Star Wars terms, it’s like a collection featuring the Phantom Menace, Rogue One and The Force Awakens. However should you decide to jump in here, rather than after playing 1.5 & 2.5, Dream Drop Distance does include some notes about each of the games that came ahead of it. Unfortunately for me, I’ve played a few of the games in the wrong order, so while it was a little confusing, the actual gameplay is what has been so enjoyable.
0.2 is what the majority of fans will want to play and while some might view it as more of a demo for the eventual Kingdom Hearts 3, however, if you’ve a fan of the series, this is a easy recommendation. However if you’ve already played Dream Drop Distance before, this collection will offer less value for money, since 0.2 will probably be the only new experience. For me, having not played DDD before, this collection has given me plenty of hours of enjoyment and I’ve really enjoyed getting into the series.