The Kingdom Hearts series can be very confusing to follow. Square Enix has deviated far from the original story line with spin offs. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue is their first step to bringing all the titles to PS4.
What Is It?
Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a compilation disc with a 3DS port and two new pieces of content. It is the first Kingdom Hearts title to be released exclusively on the PS4. Kingdom Hearts II.8 fills in the gaps between Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III while adding new lore to the original and the Keyblade Wars. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 is aimed more towards those who have played the first two Kingdom Hearts games.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD is a port of the 3DS version. It takes place right after Kingdom Hearts II. Playing on a PS4 controller feels perfect for this port. I was impressed with how smooth the camera was with the second analog stick. The only way to previously have two analogs on 3DS was to purchase a Circle Pad Pro or use the New 3DS that came out three years after Dream Drop Distance. There are many different ways to play the 3DS title with the variety of 3DS systems on the market but this is the best way to play. The only odd downfall is the game is not full screen. Dream Drop Distance on PS4 runs at 60 frames per second with improved textures and a zoomed out camera giving you a better view.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage is a short game that takes place after Birth By Sleep and during the original Kingdom Hearts. This is the first new playable content in console form since Dream Drop Distance’s release in 2012. You play as Aqua after the events of Birth By Sleep. She is lost in the Realm of Darkness trying not to give up hope to find a way out. While this is a short sort of tech demo showing off the Unreal Engine 4 for Kingdom Hearts III, it’s still an important game to play. As stated it takes place after Birth By Sleep but it leads to the ending of the original Kingdom Hearts. It’s short and sweet but there’s enough side content like challenges and harder difficulty that will offer more replay value. If you’ve played every main title and spin off, the payoff is worth it. Kingdom Hearts III is a long way from release, but it’s nice to have a small taste of what to expect.
Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover is a movie that takes place before the Keyblade Wars. This is the very beginning of the entire lore of Kingdom Hearts. If you’re playing the mobile game then this will compliment it very well. The Unreal Engine 4 is once again being used to render the cut scenes. I found it very entertaining to watch. It introduces more questions while answering some others. One of the newest questions the movie adds is the mysterious box but it does give you more details prior to the Keyblade wars.
Why Should I Care?
There are two types of Kingdom Hearts players–The ones who only played the main series and those that played the main series plus spinoffs. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 is aimed more towards the players that already played the main series.
Dream Drop Distance takes place right after the second game. Fragmentary Passage might confuse you if you don’t know who Aqua is or didn’t play Birth by Sleep. It does take place during the original’s ending so that might give you an interest to play Birth By Sleep. As a fan of the original two entries you’ll want to experience the included new content, if you skipped out on the 3DS version for whatever reason. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 will scratch that itch you have waiting for Kingdom Hearts III to be released.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
I can only recommend this game to fans that completed the first two main Kingdom Hearts games. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue is the first of two packages released on the PS4 to catch up on the story.
The package contains enough content with the playable HD port that offers plenty of changes. Whether you’re playing Dream Drop Distance for the first time or double dipped, there is plenty to do with a nice payout of rewards and surprises. Kingdom Hearts has become very confusing with the spinoff titles and the story has become very hard to follow. If you only played the originals then this will progress your knowledge of what is going on. I personally understand people have a disliking towards the spinoffs being all over different consoles, but Square Enix is rectifying that by presenting us with these fruitful compilations.