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Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Is…Just Okay

When your title is as convoluted as Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, red flags start to rise. Sadly, most fears were confirmed in this lackluster compilation that dares to charge full price for itself.

KH 2.8 is three entries in one, so I’ll break each one down briefly.

Dream Drop Distance HD

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I’ve always felt that KH3D, while possessing some good ideas, represented the worst parts of the Kingdom Hearts franchise: gimmicky battle systems, trope-y dialogue, insistence on unneeded silliness, terrible jokes, and constant retcons. The HD port did little to assuage this.

However, if you’re a KH3D fan, you’ll certainly enjoy playing it on the big screen. The graphics are incredibly sharp—almost dizzyingly so—and everything else is mostly the same. A few controls have changed with the switch to the PS4 controller, but the game explains these well enough.

So, if you liked Dream Drop Distance, you’ll feel justified in buying this compilation. If you didn’t, well, we have a problem.

0.2 Birth By Sleep Fragmentary Passage

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Kingdom Hearts’ very first foray into the PS4 era is…okay. The Unreal Engine almost seems too strong for the character designs. Everything seems more cartoon-y than ever, especially the Disney characters. Thankfully, the backgrounds are downright gorgeous.

As for gameplay, we have a welcome return to KH2-style controls and commands with Birth-By-Sleep-style finishers and multi-attacks. Aqua moves with incredibly fluidity through some surprisingly lush set pieces. However, the game is short, only 2-ish hours on standard mode, and the game makes arbitrary objectives so you can give Aqua new cat ears. Wheeee.

Some controls seemed clunky, but a patch seems to have fixed some of those issues by this point. Still, the game was fairly fun, and had its epic moments. I personally enjoyed charging into an army of Darksides while “Destati” blared in the background (KH1 music for the win!). But whoever decided the final boss needs a 5-minute invulnerable rage mode needs to be fired.

The story focuses on Aqua’s wanderings through the Dark Realm. Aqua is one of my favorite characters in the lore, but sadly she doesn’t have much to add this time. She just sort of goes from place to place doing…stuff. Though she’s been in the dark realm ten years, we hardly see the impact it has on her. All in all, Aqua talks a lot, but doesn’t add anything meaningful. We get new information, sure, but it doesn’t amount to much.

However, the cut scenes at the beginning and the end offer us more of a teaser for the next game. Sadly, it’s not worth the price of a full game.

Kingdom Hearts Back Cover X

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This isn’t a game, but an hour-plus-long movie about the events before the Keyblade War. But once again, it adds very little to the overall narrative. We already know the world used to be whole. We already know the Keyblade War was inevitable. The only new things are the characters and world, but frankly, they’re both extremely flat (except The Master, who is apparently played by Deadpool or something). Most of what we’re given seems completely unnecessary to the lore. Like Fragmentary Passage, we have more information, but does it truly change anything?

Only the last few minutes really give us anything pertinent to the overarching narrative. Everything else is a fleshing-out for the mobile game Kingdom Hearts Unchained X. I don’t think the fans wanted that. We wanted to see more of the story we already know and love.

FINAL VERDICT: 2.5/5

If you loved Dream Drop Distance, you’ll get the most out of this compilation. While Fragmentary Passage is kind of fun, it’s really just a DLC level. Back Cover X isn’t terribly interesting and the animation’s just okay. Honestly, I’d wait for a price drop, too.  This combo isn’t quite worth $60.

About Michael Blaylock (34 Articles)
I'm a writer and a Christian who believes in art, freedom, and love. And I swear I'm not a hippie just because I wrote that.
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