Rather than doing a complete Final Mix re-release for Kingdom Hearts III, Tetsuya Nomura and his team decided to embrace the current generation and offer the content as a paid DLC expansion instead. For all intents and purposes though, Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind aims to buff up Kingdom Hearts III as the Final Mix releases did for past games. In many ways it succeeds despite the new format, though it does introduce some issues, namely that the implementation can often feel clumsy when reexperiencing the later segments of the game.
In regards to what is included in Re Mind, there’s a fair bit to talk about. As well as the main Re Mind scenario, you also get the Limit Cut boss battles, Data Greeting mode, a secret boss fight and some extra difficulty options. All of this content is $30 in total, which is something we’ll touch upon later.
Arguably the main selling point here is the Re Mind story scenario itself. Taking place following the game’s conclusion, it follows Sora going back in time (you read that right) with the power of waking (once again) to try and correct some of the events that transpired during the endgame. This means you’ll be seeing a lot of the same stuff from the original game’s Keyblade Graveyard section, although often with a change of character or context. Considering you’ll be sitting through a lot of the same setup scenes, it can be a little bit aggravating to sit through the same cutscenes with no indication whether anything has been changed or not, but it’s softened by how great this section of the game originally was.
In regards to what the story adds to the series, there’s some good points and some bad. Clearing up some little plot points like how Roxas actually came back, whether Axel actually lost his Keyblade and more is great, but it feels like some of the things here should have been explained in the main game. Leaving out the reason why Sora disappeared in the ending was a slap in the face originally, and having a DLC explain it retroactively isn’t something I’m totally on board with even if the final product is now much improved. If you’re not particularly interested in the lore of Kingdom Hearts, then Re:Mind isn’t going to change that for you in the slightest. It’s a lot of time travel weirdness that is very reminiscent of Dream Drop Distance, but it does end up answering some of the questions originally raised.
Despite the repeated cutscene annoyance, everything that is new here is peak Kingdom Hearts. Talking about bonds, clarifying backstories before battle and teasing the future of the series is all present here and it’s great. There are more interactions between key characters, more cool moments for the other Guardians of Light and expanded insights into some of the newer additions to Kingdom Hearts. Not all of the Re Mind scenario is perfect, but it does a lot of good for Kingdom Hearts fans.
Gameplay hasn't been changed up very much in Re Mind, but there have been some smaller additions. The best of these cool is the ability to play as the other characters. All of them are fantastic fun and really shake up the combat style, and I can confidently say that after playing as Kairi, I’d love the next game to feature her as a fully playable protagonist. Scala Ad Caelum has also been expanded upon, fixing one of the major complaints of the original release. It's unfortunately not quite as interesting as we'd have hoped but it's still nice to have another area to roam around.
With Re Mind mostly being focused on story additions, you'll find the bulk of the gameplay from the Limit Cut episode. This is where all of the super-bosses take place and they are easily the best part of Re Mind. Each Organisation member has been given expanded movesets and way more health and damage. Being a high level is a must here, and having this kind of challenge is exactly what Kingdom Hearts III was missing originally. For those who thought the main game was too easy, this is for you. There's also a secret boss encounter after finishing Limit Cut, and it is easily one of the hardest bosses in the franchise. I won’t spoil the identity here, but the implications from his inclusion and what happens after fighting him are genuinely exciting. The future of Kingdom Hearts is open once again, and personally that made the whole thing worth enduring.
After all of the main content, there are only a few little additions left. The Data Greeting feature allows you to make your own photo pieces with the character models and locations, and the Fast Pass and Black Codes allow you to essentially do challenges in your next playthrough. Data Greeting is really good fun for fans, but the difficulty sliders are a hard sell for anyone. Besides requiring you to do another playthrough, most of the challenges are just annoying rather than fun. It would have been a lot better if it was approached in an arcade-y style, in which tackling new challenges could be selected from a list, rather than requiring another full playthrough.
As a quick aside, Kingdom Hearts III was updated prior to the release of Re Mind, which added quite a few new things. Although this content was free, it was clearly meant to be experienced in tandem with the DLC, so mentioning it here makes sense. As a free update it’s fantastic, adding two fan-favourite Keyblades and giving Sora some really cool new combat moves. It makes the combat feel a lot smoother than it originally did and it goes a long way to making the gameplay more satisfying.
The biggest issue I have with Re:Mind is its price. $30 is a lot to ask from the casual player, and the value can be hard to argue when the bulk of it is beefed up boss fights and a small story episode. I know that myself and many other Kingdom Hearts fans have already paid way more to get the games on every platform and in deluxe editions, but the price still seems like a lot to ask for anyone else.
Whether or not you’re going to get much out of Kingdom Hearts Re Mind is really going to depend on how much of a fan of the series you are. If you’re a super-fan, then chances are you’ve had it pre-ordered from day one and you’ve likely got no complaints about it, but if you only played Kingdom Hearts 3 for the Disney worlds or to see what the fuss is about then Re Mind is an incredibly hard sell at its asking price.
With this in mind, it’s quite difficult to put a definitive score on Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind. The lack of Disney content makes it pretty clear that this is aimed at the most hardcore fans, but even as one of those I found some of the decisions here are a little bit clumsy. If you're in it for the superbosses, you'll have no problems whatsoever but the awkward delivery up until that point does put a slight damper on things.
At the very least, the future of Kingdom Hearts is looking even more exciting than before and maybe that’s enough. For me, it certainly is.
Versions tested: PS4 Pro
Disclaimer: A copy of this game was provided to RPG Site by the publisher.