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access_time February 17, 2020 at 6:30 PM in Microsoft by David Poole

Review | Kingdom Hearts III: Re Mind

Kingdom Hearts III released roughly one year ago, and while it capped off many plot points in the series, there were still some questions left unanswered. Knowing this, Square-Enix decided to release some paid downloadable content to help explain some of this. They’ve also taken this opportunity to include elements players wanted from the original game. Kingdom Hearts III: Re Mind gives players the chance to experience the ending with the holes filled. Whether that’s worth the price of admission, that would depend on how big a Kingdom Hearts fan you are. Since this content takes place at the end of the base game, be aware that there may be some spoilers.

As mentioned earlier, Re Mind focuses solely on the ending of the original game. After defeating Master Xehanort, Sora went to search for Kairi, even against the advice of his friends. Players that watched through the credits sequence would see that somehow, Sora was successful in bringing her back. Unfortunately, it seems that it came at a cost, and Sora didn’t actually return with her. Re Mind steps in to give the player a chance to see exactly what happens, though it does so in the most Kingdom Hearts way possible. I won’t lie; the plot doesn’t get any easier to explain.

Without spoiling the plot of the DLC, we will say it’s definitely appropriately named. The new content will do everything it can to remind the player of what happened during the ending. So much so, it basically makes you replay the entire thing. Every boss fight against Organization XIII returns, but now with a slight twist. One opportunity Square-Enix decided to take was to make it possible to play as other characters. While Riku and Aqua were playable before, they’re now joined by Roxas and Kairi. While it’s nice to have options, it would’ve been good to have the other characters scale to Sora. They’re all capped at a certain level that makes them significantly weaker than Sora, especially if you’re at the maximum level. It’s also disappointing that your time with these characters is essentially limited to a single battle.

Finishing these battles again does unlock a bit of new content. Sora will now be capable of fully exploring the ending world, Scala ad Caelum. This becomes necessary for the main plot points in this extra story. Unfortunately, he won’t be alone in this world, as Master Xehanort, now voiced by Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd, will also be there. It’s unfortunate that we’re now on our third Master Xehanort voice actor, but Lloyd does a great job. He even sounds more reminiscent to Leonard Nimoy’s version, not that Rutger Hauer’s was bad, may they both rest in peace. This is where most of the familiar content goes away, bringing in the true new elements of the DLC.

Once the player finished the story, it opens up the floodgate to even more new content. Another episode, called Limitcut, will unlock. This gives the player control of Riku as he visits Radiant Garden to visit some old friends. The original Kingdom Hearts III had a surprising lack of Final Fantasy, and Limitcut tries to remedy that. Leon, Aerith, Cid and Yuffie all return to help Riku find even more answers for the ending of the game. Using a computer, they have a data recreation of Sora and Organization XIII that they feel could uncover vital details. The player can then take control of Data Sora, giving them a chance to fight all of Organization XIII once more. While it sounds like a repeat of old content, these fights are more than a simple rehash.

Many that played through Kingdom Hearts III complained about the game being too easy. This prompted the developers to eventually add a Critical difficulty mode to the game. Deciding to truly test players, the Limitcut episode brings in some of the most challenging fights in Kingdom Hearts history. Each member of Organization XIII will truly test your abilities, likely prompting new strategies as well. I’ve never relied so much on the guard ability more than I did here. Fans may think they’re prepared for these fights, but no matter who you are, you’ll be caught off guard. The challenge is frustrating, but you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment for defeating each member. Luckily, there is a Moogle to shop from, and he’ll have plenty of Kupo Coins available.

Another addition to the Limitcut episode is the Data Greeting mode. This adds a new photo mode to the game where players can set up fun scenes using their favorite locations and characters. It’s actually quite a detailed mode, though some things are a bit limiting. Only playable characters and enemies have a good variety of poses, leaving many support characters with generic options. Beyond the characters, several locations from the game can appear as the backdrop, including an area of Radiant Garden that players don’t even visit. Some other areas are notably absent, but we still have a good selection of locations to choose from. Add in some filters, graphical effects. and lighting options, and you can really create some cool pictures.

Finally, after completing the Limitcut episode, there’s a final “Secret episode” to Re Mind. This brings in one final fight with a character that shows up in the original secret movie from the end of the game. While fighting the data of the Real Organization XIII was a challenge, this fight takes it one step further. This challenger has abilities that players have never seen in the series before, and they’ll truly throw you off your game. Some of these abilities include stealing your items, and they can even take your Keyblade and use it against you. We won’t spoil it for those that might not have seen the character, but it’s truly a difficult and frustrating fight. Upon defeating them, you’ll unlock them for the Data Greeting mode, which sadly won’t be that rewarding.

Separate from the main DLC episodes, there’s also the addition of Merits. These are challenges that take place in the main game, which is an odd choice to encourage playing the game again. Luckily, most players can simply fulfill these challenges just by accessing their main save data. Just make sure you don’t save over it with the DLC content, otherwise you’ll have to start the game over entirely. They’re fun little challenges, but nothing worth shouting from the rooftops over. It’s entirely possible to play the entire DLC and not even know its there.

When it comes down to it, Re Mind is here to explain the ending further, and even tease more of what’s to come. It was clearly added to give the player more challenge, and it definitely succeeds in that. Unfortunately, at the price point of $29.99, it doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. I would expect far more content for that price, especially since a game like Final Fantasy XV made similar additions for free. If boss battles are what you’re looking for, maybe you’ll find the price worthwhile. If you’re looking for a significant expansion to the base game, it’s going to disappoint you. Kingdom Hearts III: Re Mind has some cool content that will answer questions, but with how much it recycles, it’s hard to justify at half the price of the base game.

Final Score: 6.5 out of 10

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