It's still hard to believe that Kingdom Hearts III actually came out. While what released may be decisive among fans (I loved it), Square Enix isn't quite done yet. Shortly after launch, they announced an expansion DLC, and now Re:Mind is here. Adding more narrative, more bosses, more playable characters, and just more, does this expansion manage to satisfy everyone?
Re:Mind is broken into two major episodes. The first is appropriately named Re:Mind, and consists of the story portion of the DLC. While the Seven Lights may have succeeded in defeating Xehanort, Kairi died in the process. Sora, not content with this, uses the Power of Waking (or something?) to travel back in time and give the final fight one more go, wanting to save Kairi despite knowing that succeeding may totally erase him from existence. Considering the actual story already had Sora time travel, I'm not sure why this one specific time means he'll get erased. But questions about sense aren't really for Kingdom Hearts games. If you've wanted more convoluted explanations for scenes already in the game, good news, Re:Mind has that. I'm not going to beat around the bush. Re:Mind exists partially to retcon the ending of Kingdom Hearts III and make it so things went differently, and partially as an epilogue for new content.
It's Demyx Time
However, the story starts off on a really weird foot. The first 20 minutes are just new cutscenes awkwardly inserted into moments from the original game. I'd honestly suggest at least watching a video catching up on the important, non-Disney movie, parts of the game because things just jump around wildly with little to no context. It especially doesn't help that the game flashbacks to weird sections. Is it really necessary to continue Xigbar's meeting with Sora on Olympus? Especially since, according to my playtime, that cutscene was a solid 60 hours ago? What then follows is a rather weird segment of rewatching cutscenes and occasionally fighting random bosses. There's a particularly great boss fight against Aqua in the main game. The DLC, for no discernible reason, has you re-fight Aqua. Is it still a great boss fight? Sure! But I have no clue why I'm suddenly fighting her again. Divorced from all context, it's just out of place.
After this bizarre intro, which probably lasts about an hour and a half total, Re:Mind is broken into two major parts. The first part is basically just replaying the last few hours of Kingdom Hearts III again. That may sound super repetitive, but Re:Mind tries to make up for this in interesting ways. The biggest is that, during several of these boss fights, you can play as Riku, Aqua, or Roxas. The characters don't play very different than they did in the main game (although this is the first time you're playing as Roxas in Kingdom Hearts III, so think of that one part in II where he had two keyblades), but getting to play as them during their big moments is a really a lot more satisfying than playing as Sora. The only major difference is that each character has new team-up attacks, which are basically just fancy cutscenes that you can trigger and deal damage to enemies.
Once you've finished that, you then play the all-new segment set in Scala Al Caelum. Sora needs to collect the lost pieces of Kairi's heart, fighting enemies and occasionally solving very simple puzzles. It's great getting to actually explore Scala Al Caelum, and there are just enough weird features in the environment that I certainly was curious as to what its actual history was. It's a world that I hope finds itself fleshed out in future games. After this segment, you're then whisked away to the final few fights of the DLC, which includes a genuinely impressive scene where you rapidly alternate between the eight keyblade users, and the final boss where you play as Kairi instead of Sora, finally giving her a chance to shine. They're moments that it feels like Kingdom Hearts has been building to for so long, and the only real confusion is why they're in the DLC instead of the base game.
Micky Mouse Attempts to Murder Anime
The second episode of the DLC is called Limit Cut and takes place a year after the events of Kingdom Hearts III. Sora may or may not have been deleted from existence, but since people still remember him the general consensus is that he's still out there. Everyone is taking their own route to try and find him, with Riku teaming up with the Hollow Bastion crew of Cid, Yuffie, Aerith, and Leon. Cid comes across a rather interesting discovery: by combining the data from various computers in different worlds, he can find a data version of Sora. Unfortunately, the rest of the data is blocked off by new data versions of Organization XIII. So Sora must fight.
These 13 new boss fights are by far the toughest in the game yet and should serve as a great challenge for all those players that wondered where the challenge was. More importantly, the boss fights are all smart, taking advantage of each of the individual aspects of Organization XIII. They're all thrilling fights, some of the best Kingdom Hearts III has to offer, and are the real highlight of Re:Mind. This is the best the game's combat has been in a while, and I looked forward to trying out each one. Of course, my dark secret is that I also couldn't really beat any of them. Seems like I have some grinding to do.
The Gang's All Here
There's also a brand new secret episode, which is mostly just another super-insane boss fight for crazy players. Good luck with that one. At the very least, win or lose, you'll get a new ending that all but says Kingdom Hearts IV is coming. Woe be on those who wanted fewer plot points.
For the most part, this is all there is to Re:Mind, but there's one new addition that I'm sure isn't going to be talked about nearly as much as it should be: new tracks on the soundtrack. Each of the 13 Organization members has a unique track, one that is often a remix of classic boss themes associated with the character. Simply, they're all astounding. This is probably my favorite batch of Kingdom Hearts music since II came out back in 2005. I need more, and I can only hope future entries have soundtracks just as good.
Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind Review | Final Thoughts
For some, Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind will be a letdown. If you're only here for story stuff then it may just be better to skip the DLC, or look the story up online, or just wait until it drops down to $15. If you're here for the new bosses, good news, they're fantastic and you need this now. The fact that there's a decent 5-hour expansion to Kingdom Hearts III included is just a nice bonus. Go in with the right mindset, and there's a lot to like.
TechRaptor reviewed Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind on PlayStation 4 using a copy purchased by the reviewer. The DLC will be available on Xbox One on February 25th.
- Exploring Scala Al Caelum is Great
- Playing as Characters During their Big Moments
- Organization XIII Bosses are the Best in the Game
- Fantastic New Soundtrack for New Bosses
- New Plot Moments are Dumb
- Retreading the Last Few Hours of Kingdom Hearts III Again
- Massive Difficulty Spike