Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for this review.
Last year, Kingdom Hearts celebrated its 15th anniversary & Square-Enix made several announcements. One was that Kingdom Hearts III would finally be in development after it was announced in 2013. The other announcement was two compilation games that would get fans up to speed with the series. One compilation takes two PS3 compilations and put them as one big package on PS4. The other served to help set things up for the eventual third Kingdom Hearts game. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Like 1.5 and 2.5, it’s a compilation but does this get people excited for the upcoming third game?
Final Chapter Prologue is a compilation game like the others. What’s different from the others is that almost all the content provided here is entirely new. It comes with three different games: HD Dream Drop Distance, 0.2 ~A fragmentary passage~ and a short movie called chi Back Cover. For a full price game, this provides plenty but now, at around $30, it’s still worth it.
Up first is Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. This game was released on the 3DS back in 2012. Here, Square-Enix decides to take this handheld game and give it a facelift, updating the presentation. It pays off, allowing the game to run at 60fps at 1080p. Also they improve some gameplay aspects such as the Reality Shift to accommodate the PS4 and the Dual Shock 4 controller. It works but if you played it on 3DS, you will find this to be a familiar yet different experience. Reality shifts have been modified, or in some cases changed, requiring you to use either the touch pad or face buttons. Sure it’s simplified but it doesn’t hinder the game all that much. Most of the game follows the formula that Birth By Sleep and Re: Coded had but it stands out on its own thanks to the Dream Eaters. Speaking of the Dream Eaters, you have access to all of them available including the ones that were in 3DS that required special cards. It’s pretty nice for those that wish to collect them all.
As for the other two, they are entirely new to this package. Birth By Sleep 0.2 ~A Fragmentary Passage~ takes place after the events of the Secret Episode of BBS Final Mix. Centering on Aqua, it focuses on her time in the realm of darkness, meeting Mickey and how she played a role in the events that would end the first KH. This is all new and it also serves as a sneak peek as to how Kingdom Hearts 3 will go, using the combat system as a platform. It takes bits from various Kingdom Hearts games and combines them to make a definitive style. It works. In addition this game has a variety of objectives for players to complete, a total of 50. Completing them unlocks cosmetics for Aqua to customize in. It’s pretty nice and does give players something to accomplish and complete. Plus the replay value is good.
The last one, Chi Back Cover is a one hour movie that details how the Master of Masters give five of his six apprentices a copy of the Book of Prophecies and how the Book and his actions set in motion events that would lead to the inevitable Keyblade War. It’s very well done and enjoyable. Plus for those who played the mobile game, Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi/Union Cross, they get to see events that would lead to the story’s end. The voice work is pretty good with some well-known talent lending their roles in this movie.
As for length, they depend on the game. Dream Drop Distance will take about 12-15 hours, A Fragmentary Passage will last you 3-5 hours and both games unlock a harder difficulty upon completion. With Dream Drop Distance, there are several mini games and challenges that extend the length, especially when it comes to collecting the Dream Eaters. As for A Fragmentary Passage, there are the challenges and a hidden boss rush. It extends by about an hour or two. That’s quite a lot for a compilation package and at an affordable price too.
All of it looks amazing, especially Dream Drop Distance and A Fragmentary Passage. It amazes me how Square-Enix took a 3DS game and pretty much gave it a graphical overhaul. If we are to compare the two versions, the HD one is without a doubt better. It looks better and some of the gameplay changes such as the Reality Shifts help make it streamlined. Did I mention that the game is upscaled at 1080p, running at 60 frames per second? There’s that & Square should be commended for pulling off such a feat. For A Fragmentary Passage, it’s beautiful. That mode’s presentation is insane. Yes I mentioned that this is pretty much a preview of how Kingdom Hearts 3 will be but the fact that everything in that mode is good is beyond me. The voice acting is still a delight although Willa Holland’s performance as Aqua feels a bit forced. Music’s great. Yoko Shimomura delivers on the soundtrack, especially for A Fragmentary Passage. As far as negatives go, there aren’t that many. Some stuff can be difficult but it’s nothing you can’t handle. The Dream Eaters can be a turn off for some people and the fact that you have to train them to unlock abilities can be really repetitive. No joke. Regardless, it shouldn’t stop players one bit.
Overall, Final Chapter Prologue is what it is, a compilation that helps get players prepped up for the eventual Kingdom Hearts 3. Dream Drop Distance is a big improvement while A Fragmentary Passage is a preview of what’s to come while offering a fun experience. Chi Back Cover is a nice movie and combined, all three deliver one good package. The wait for KH3 may have been a long one but I feel that compilations such as this are enough to keep people waiting. Want to experience what’s yet to come? This is it.
I give Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue an 8.5 out of 10.