It’s been a long time coming. Ever since all of these high-definition upgrades of classic PlayStation 2 titles have been churning out since the God of War Collection released back in 2009, one collection I’ve been wanting to see is a Kingdom Hearts compilation redone in glorious HD and with Trophy support. My imagining of the set simply included Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, but Square-Enix decided to do it differently. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix includes the Final Mix version of the original title, which includes all sorts of changes, including new cutscenes, enemies, bosses, and more that have never made it stateside before. It also includes Re:Chain of Memories, which is the PS2 redo of the GameBoy Advance title that takes place right after the first title. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is also included in a series of cutscenes instead of the entire game, as it originally released on the Nintendo DS, which would have required a huge graphical overhaul or even a total rebuild of all of the assets in order to bring the visuals up to par.
The collection released in a first print run limited edition, which comes in a special artbook packaging encased in an outer sleeve. Before I start showing pics (there aren’t very many), it’s time to get hyped.
Okay, now that the stage is set, here are some pics of this long-awaited collection.
The front cover of the game. The case is bigger than a standard PS3 case, with it being about the same size as the Hitman Trilogy Limited Edition that came out earlier this year.
The back cover. I don’t like how deceiving the description for 358/2 Days is. It makes it seem like the entire game is included, which it’s not. It should have said “Retold in a series of HD cinematics” or something.
The outer sleeve and the cover of the artbook featuring the classic picture of Sora standing on the beach of Destiny Islands.
A closer look.
This must be an early concept of Sora. It looks like he was originally part-monkey. I kind of get a Zidane Tribal vibe from him, which isn’t a bad thing considering he’s the main character of one of my favorite games of all-time.
The first page, with Sora, Donald, and Goofy ascending the stairs of Castle Oblivion and Namine sitting in the background.
Some concept art of Sora, including that monkey-esque design again, but this time sporting a pulley-like sword. Interesting.
This is Halloween! This is Halloween! Sorry, I can’t help myself.
Some Keyblade art, including a transparent sketch sheet overlapping a final design.
The “manual”, registration card, and the game disc housed in the back cover of the artbook. I know some people aren’t huge fans of this, but if you want the artbook, it’s the only way. You could always remove the disc and put it in an empty case with printed cover art, but I don’t mind this as it’s in very presentable packaging, unlike the Collector’s Edition of Batman: Arkham City, which housed the disc in a small, plain, white book that stuck out from the shelf by an inch and had nothing printed on the spine. I still need to print cover art for that…
A close-up of the disc in the back of the book.
All in all, not a bad freebie at all for those who pre-ordered early enough to get one of these. My local Walmart received eight copies, but all of them are regular editions of the game, which pretty much means that chances are slim that you can get one of these right now if you didn’t pre-order. If you didn’t, but happen to run into one, scoop it up. I don’t see these lasting very long out in the wild.
As for the game, it looks gorgeous in high-definition. All of the visuals have received an overhaul, and while character models are identical to the PlayStation 2 version, they still look fantastic during cutscenes. I guess the next collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, if there is one, would include Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, as that leads right into the upcoming third entry, and Re:coded will probably be redone in cinematics like 358/2 Days, likely for the same reason. Where does that leave Birth by Sleep, though? They could include that as the graphics are pretty much on par with the PS2, but that would up the price, seeing as it would include three playable titles and one in cutscene form. I’m sure we’ll see the collection in the next couple of years, seeing as Kingdom Hearts III is still very early in development and it’ll help bridge the gap for people looking to catch up.
When I pick up new releases, one thing I always tend to do is pick up Collector’s Editions. Why? Not only do they usually come with cool and unique extras, but they also make my game collection more prestigious, giving a bigger sense of pride in showing the result of my hard-earned money. I especially pick these up for my favorite franchises, and with my love of stealth-action titles, Hitman is no doubt a franchise I highly enjoy. After six and a half years, we finally get a new entry in the franchise, and with it, a collector’s package to mark the occasion. I just received my copy today, so without further ado, here are the contents of this $80 package.
The front cover, still factory wrapped.
The outer slipcover pulled off. The packaging is almost identical to the Final Fantasy XIII-2 Collector’s Edition, with the exception of only two disc trays instead of one single-disc and two double-disc trays. You’ll see in one of the later photos.
A look at the back and the spine.
The outside cover of the inner box.
All of the juicy contents. Two discs; one for the game itself and one for the bonus video content, an artbook, the “manual”, a code for The Agency Gun Pack, which includes a pistol, SMG, and shotgun, all of which are fully upgraded, and the Square-Enix Member code.
A closer look at the discs. The bonus content disc includes a Behind-the-Scenes feature, which the packaging actually doesn’t even mention. It doesn’t even tell you what’s on the disc at all, actually.
A little artwork underneath the discs.
A few peeks at some artbook pages.
And that’s that. I really like the packaging, and artbooks are always a nice look into the development process of any title, so those make it worth the price. The DLC pack is nice, as well, though it’s only really suited for more kill-heavy players. I prefer to stay stealthy. Whenever I decide to get a little more aggressive, they’ll definitely come in handy.
As an added bonus, here’s some pics from Sony’s new, exclusive brawler, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. I won’t normally take pics of standard releases, but since I had it sitting there with my iPhone’s camera at the ready and considering it’s such a monumental release, at least for me personally, I figured why not.
Note that there is no physical manual, as they’re going the way of the dinosaur . That piece of paper is actually the Online Pass. The manual is a separate app you can download off of the disc. I don’t like that it’s a separate app, but beggars can’t be choosers, and you don’t really need the manual anyways, considering there are tutorials in the game. Also take note of the Cross-Buy logo in the upper left-hand corner. Sadly, it’s actually printed on the cover and not a sticker stuck to the shrink wrap, so it detracts from the overall look of the cover, but at least you get a free Vita copy, which I’ll be downloading in order to take my save file on the go so I can crack some heads on my lunch at work. Not that you’ll need 1.3 GB of free space n your Vita to fit the game.
I have a lot of good gaming ahead of me folks, as you can tell. I’ve already played both and they’re awesome games, making this one of the best launch days of the years for software titles. It would have been better had I also received my copy of Persona 4 Golden: Solid Gold Premium Edition, but it appears there’s some sort of dilemma going on with Amazon pre-orders and barely anyone has received their copies. I think they allowed more orders than they were allotted, so I may have been screwed out of a copy despite pre-ordering very early. If I get my copy, I’ll be sure to update this post, but as of right now it has an expected delivery date of December 19th, which is a bad sign. If I don’t get a concrete update by the end of the week, I may just cancel. There’s only 10,000 of them being produced, so I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I’d rather not sit here and wait for something that may never come, especially with $70 possibly being juggled around.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this first ever unboxing on The Maverick Gamer and I hope to see you back soon!