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KH13's Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind scenario review


Some members of our staff have taken the time to share their experiences with the Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind main story scenario, and other included features such as Data Greeting. Due to our KH3 Re Mind spoiler policy, everything below will be in spoiler boxes so viewer discretion is advised. 

We have covered the Limit Cut Episode, Secret Episode and Premium Menu in a separate article.

Raxaimus's thoughts on Update 1.09, the Re Mind scenario and Data Greeting:

Spoiler

Raxaimus (@RaxaimusKH13) - As someone who’s loved the Kingdom Hearts series ever since I first picked it up in 2002, I’ve particularly come to appreciate the additions that the series’ “Final Mix” releases have added, from new story details, to punishing bosses, or even comparatively small fixes and tweaks. I’m happy to say that Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind lives up to this legacy, especially to hardcore fans of the series. Unfortunately, while most of the content on display is very enjoyable, I also think there are a few small problems which slightly tarnish the experience. I’ve got plenty of thoughts on each portion of Re Mind, so I hope you’ll bear with my long-winded opinions! Enjoy! 

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Update 1.09 - The free update which coincided with Re Mind’s PS4 release included both some expected and unexpected changes, all of which have been warmly received by the community. I was very surprised to see several parts of the game receive an audiovisual overhaul. The characters’ pre-rendered faces are drastically improved, the Keyblade Graveyard’s new skybox is incredibly vibrant, and there’s even a new music track which plays during the scene in which Xehanort summons Kingdom Hearts. These are minor touches overall, but they definitely add an additional level of polish to the game’s existing content. In terms of major changes, the new abilities make Sora’s melee combo feel much more responsive, allowing attacks to be executed with a level of speed and precision which is reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. As the icing on the cake, these abilities are available from the start of the game, effectively making them Sora’s new base combo. Oathkeeper and Oblivion are well worth the required effort, adding satisfying formchanges and some very appealing shotlocks to the player’s repertoire. It’s clear that the development of these Keyblades was influenced by Sora’s new melee abilities, since their corresponding formchanges are all snappy, stylish, and powerful. Overall, these seemingly small gameplay tweaks and additions make the core combat of Kingdom Hearts III unbelievably fun, placing it just shy of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix’s combat for me.

Data Greeting - Admittedly, I haven’t played around with Data Greeting very much, instead choosing to deeply immerse myself in the DLC’s combat and story-oriented offerings. That said, even as a simple observer, I definitely appreciate the effort that Square Enix have put forth for this feature. Wherever Kingdom Hearts has a presence on the internet, you’ll now be able to find tons of Data Greeting content, from remakes of the series’ most famous scenes, to internet memes reframed with the series’ own characters. Creatively-minded fans are sure to have an absolute blast with this feature. In addition, though this is entirely unintended, players have been able to use the Data Greeting’s placeable objects to clip out of bounds, allowing for some truly unique snapshots and revealing some interesting additions to our favorite worlds, such as the vast stretches of farmland outside of Twilight Town. As someone who is very interested in the game development process and the unused content of several games, I’m absolutely eating this sort of thing up when it comes to Kingdom Hearts III.

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Re Mind main scenario - The meat of Re Mind comes in the form of a “rewritten” ending to Kingdom Hearts III, with a post-game Sora reliving the final battle as a phantom who jumps between hearts, experiencing his friends’ emotions and memories along the way. Since most of our readers will have no doubt played and finished the Re Mind main scenario upon reading this review, I won’t dwell too much on a plot summary. As for my thoughts? For the most part, the writing is definitely some compelling stuff, but as several fans have pointed out, there is a lot of rehashed content present which makes the experience drag in some places. In terms of the new content, I found the Master of Masters endlessly entertaining and eternally cryptic, stealing the show with his overly-animated demeanor and a couple of interesting plot hooks. The Birth by Sleep and 358/2 Days protagonists all got some well-deserved emotional beats within their respective trios, and the plethora of satisfying character interactions across the board serve as a fantastic payoff for the saga’s extensive history.

The sections where the player is given control of other characters are also quite fun, with Kairi and Roxas standing out as major highlights of the Re Mind scenario as a whole. While I found these additions satisfying, they also gave me a decent amount of trouble on Critical Mode, purely due to my own muscle memory. As an “attack button = Cure shortcut” devotee, adjusting to fit Square Enix’s premade shortcut placement has always been quite a challenge for me when replaying the game, and this DLC brings that issue into an unfortunate spotlight. It’s nothing major by any means, but in the heat of the moment, I would have given anything to be able to customize my shortcuts and make controlling these characters that much more enjoyable. I’m also somewhat disappointed that Ventus, Axel, Xion, and Mickey were not playable in the Keyblade Graveyard battles, since these characters are many players’ favorites. However, even considering my minor gripes with the execution, the addition of new playable characters was quite the treat, and I hope that they continue to remain playable in some form in future installments.

The addition of an explorable version of Scala ad Caelum is something that I absolutely adored. As a breath of fresh air from the breakneck pace of the DLC’s story, Scala has effectively been turned into a playground which lets Sora’s movement abilities shine, allowing players to slow down and appreciate the fantastically designed environment. There are also a few hidden treasures and secrets to find in the world, as well, such as a new reference to Daybreak Town which has already fueled plenty of speculation amongst the fandom.

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Unfortunately, while I had a ton of fun with the main scenario as a whole, the experience is slightly dulled by a couple of questionable story choices. As I mentioned previously, the overabundance of retreaded content is rather grating, especially if players jump straight into Re Mind after finishing Kingdom Hearts III. When it comes to new story content, I have two issues which stand out as rather jarring. First, the scene where Xehanort, Xigbar, and Saix effectively do a “roll call” of the Organization’s members seemed very clunkily presented. A large portion of this conversation seemed like information that these characters would already know, which is just being regurgitated for the sake of the audience. I’m definitely glad that the nature of Xion’s return is no longer left to vague speculation, but the rest of this information doesn’t seem all that necessary to present to those who have even a passable knowledge of the plot of Kingdom Hearts III, never mind the series as a whole.

My other issue with the story concerns the bond between Roxas, Axel, and Xion. We’re told that Xehanort’s mark, the Recusant’s Sigil, is what primarily connects the trio and is something that they must symbolically reclaim. In my opinion, this out-of-nowhere reveal harms the shared arc between the three. While Xemnas’ branding of the Organization brought them together initially, the trio’s own bond developed completely independent of it. Perhaps it’s meant to be interpreted as our heroes “freeing themselves from Xehanort”, but I was under the impression that this was already accomplished within Kingdom Hearts III itself, and needed no further explanation. As a result, I’ve been left scratching my head at both the intent and execution behind this scene. At best, this plot point doesn’t resonate with me, and at worst, the more I read into it, the more I’ve found it to be actively detrimental to the dynamic between three of my favorite characters in the series. The game is effectively saying that their connection hinges not only on the incredibly close and meaningful friendship between them, but also significantly involves the cruel, artificial machination behind it.

Despite these slight hiccups in the story, it’s quite a fun and emotional ride, delivering a ton of meaningful and enjoyable fanservice, while also answering plenty of lingering questions and offering several more for future games to tackle, in typical Kingdom Hearts fashion.

Orpheus Joshua's thoughts on Update 1.09 and the Re Mind scenario:

Spoiler

Orpheus Joshua (@OrpheusJoshua) - To be completely honest, a part of me was very uncertain of what to expect from Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind. While the trailers we’ve received over the course of 2019 were all compelling and enticing, I still found myself unsure on whether or not Re Mind would really better the Kingdom Hearts III experience. After nearly two weeks of completing all of what Re Mind had to offer however, I’m very glad to say that my fears were unfounded. Re Mind surpassed my wildest dreams. While there certainly are a handful questionable and off putting moments, Re Mind undeniably reignited my love for Kingdom Hearts III.

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Update 1.09 - Near Re Mind’s release, three nearly consecutive updates went live. Updates 1.07, 1.08 and 1.09 all undeniably improved the base game to a degree I wasn’t expecting. Firstly are the six added abilities. These abilities, Quick Slash, Flash Step, Radial Blaster, Aerial Sweep, Aerial Dive and Last Charge all amplify Sora’s combo speed to an unprecedented degree that was nowhere before seen in Kingdom Hearts III. Their feel is reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix’s combat and it causes a drastic change in how the game plays on a fundamental level. Not only is Sora faster with these new abilities, but the improved combo cancelling quickens his movement to feel jarringly more responsive and fluid. I was in awe for a solid few hours when playing around with these new abilities because while I certainly enjoyed base Kingdom Hearts III, the gripes I had with its slow and sometimes dull combat caused me to distance myself away from playing the game more than I would’ve liked to. I can’t exemplify enough how incredible these new abilities feel to wield along with the faster combo cancelling. Some people find this take to be an over exaggeration but they truly make the game feel completely different than what it once was.

The other aspect of the update I want to bring up are the improved audio and visuals in certain scenes. The skybox in the Keyblade Graveyard is considerably improved with brilliant, striking lighting. The beauty of this skybox is only exemplified during the scene where Xehanort summons Kingdom Hearts. It’s jaw dropping how different a tone a scene sets with changed visuals. Speaking of that particular scene, the music is completely altered as well, making it all the more epic and profound. While all of these changes and additions may seem rather minor and minute on the surface, combined, they all serve to drastically improve the quality of Kingdom Hearts III to a level far beyond what I was hoping for.

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Re Mind main scenario - The Re Mind story scenario is a first for the series. Aside from it being the first full fledged paid piece of story DLC for the franchise, it also serves to expand the original game’s ending rather than add anything after. In spite of that restricted focal point though,I was definitely compelled to see where Re Mind would go. The final Keyblade Graveyard segment in the original game felt a little rushed to me, so seeing it expanded upon excited me beyond reasonable measure. I will not be going over the events of Re Mind intricately since I’m sure everyone reading this has experienced it by now, so I’ll be going over certain scenes that impacted me the most and other details that either irritated or excited me. 

Starting off with the negatives, I found the amount of retreaded and identical scenes to be a bit too incessant. I understand the need to establish a clear and concise sequence of events, but having to show some of the same exact scenes again for the sake of that still felt wildly unnecessary and almost just padding for an already short DLC episode. An alternate way to handle this I thought of would be to have the game fast forward the identical scenes to get the point of the timeline across. It wouldn’t be completely out of nowhere either since Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix used a fast forward time effect at the start of its secret episode, so the idea of speeding up scenes wouldn’t be completely random. However, I digress. The double edged sword nature of this application makes it so that the scenes you had to rewatch weren’t incredibly numerous since the DLC was so short. The other issue I had with the DLC is how the Luxord and Xigbar scene, as well as the Master of Masters and Young Xehanort scene felt rather disjointed with the rest of the scenario. Despite how engaging and entertaining these scenes were, I couldn’t help scratching my head at how out of nowhere they felt adjacent to what I was playing. An alternative to this could have been to simply add them in the theater mode in more fitting spots rather than slapping them into the Re Mind scenario. For instance, the Luxord and Xigbar conversation could have been fitted to the end of Olympus since not only is that where it takes place, but it also doesn’t spoil anything plot heavy either. The Young Xehanort and Master of Master scene could have fit to the end of Toy Box or when Young Xehanort perishes since he would still be at the forefront of the player’s immediate thoughts during these scenes. Then again, both of scenes act as Re Minders for certain characters and events so they are fitting in that aspect. 

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In regards to what I enjoyed in the Re Mind scenario, one of the highlights for me was the scene right before the Guardians vs Replica Xehanorts fight. The music timed with the replicas emerging put this scene on another level, over most other scenes in the game. Shimomura, who I assume composed that track, really blew me away with that one. Additionally, the fight itself, while not mechanically deep, was one of the most hype inducing, wildest fights I’ve ever had in Kingdom Hearts as a whole. Everyone fighting together, the team up attacks, and the music all melded together to create this beautiful spectacle I couldn’t take my eyes off of. Terra’s voice clips were extremely quiet but that’s just a minor gripe I have in an otherwise gripping, cinematic battle. The following fight as well, with Mickey getting his moment to shine is something his character needed, and boy did it deliver. The music carried this event, and I never thought I’d get that emotional over Mickey Mouse of all characters but then again, Kingdom Hearts is known for the unexpected. The callback to Kingdom Hearts II with the keyhole sealing animation was another nice touch. The Scala ad Caelum exploration, while shorter than I was hoping for, really gave me a greater appreciation for this world which was formerly just a glorified battle arena. I can only hope this world gets expanded upon in later titles because as beautiful as it was in Re Mind, I was certainly starving for more to explore. And last but certainly not least was playing as Kairi. Playing as Kairi felt pretty unreal for the duration of the final Xehanort fight because I was honestly unsure if she’d ever get a true moment to shine. Seeing her retaliate against Xemnas earlier in Re Mind was incredibly satisfying but it was quite short lived. Playing as her in a full fledged, difficult boss battle though, was stellar to say the least. She was also one of the more fun characters to play with her movement being rather fluid with the exception of her laggy finisher. The ‘One Heart’ team attack with Sora and Kairi has also gone down as one of my favorite team attacks in the series. Aside from the symbolism present with both of them having one wing each, the beauty of the attack caught me off guard. The altered ending showing Sora and Kairi’s whereabouts during the ending sequence brought a few tears to my eyes as it made the ending shot of Sora fading away all the more heartbreaking. 

While a bit too repetitious at points, Re Mind gripped my heart like most other Kingdom Hearts experiences and I felt a serene sense of fulfillment as I sat down, seeing those credits roll once again.

Delenn Deszcz's thoughts on the Re Mind scenario:

Spoiler

Re Mind main scenario - The beginning cutscene that showed Xigbar and Luxord discussing their possible motives such as their secrets, and bits of their past intrigued me, and the more I listened to them talk, the more questions I began to have. Luxord mentioned something interesting, and the quote I keep thinking about is, “I believe you discovered that others also seek it [the black box], and you need to find it before anyone else does in order to keep your connection to the box a secret from those around you.” This quote interests me because Xigbar does not know what’s in that box, and he’s not supposed to, according to the Master of Masters. Why does he worry about what’s in it? How would others know that he’s connected to it otherwise? No one else knows Xigbar’s identity as Luxu, and it’s not like the box has “BELONGS TO XIGBAR/BRAIG/LUXU” in bright red coloration on the side. It’s interesting--has he already opened the box?

In the following cutscene, we see Sora speak about going to go find wherever Kairi is. They edited Sora’s face from what I could tell, and it looks wonderful. Riku’s face has been altered as well, and they look younger, much closer to their original ages.

The next cutscene is the conversation with the Master of Masters and Young Xehanort. This entire cutscene left me with so many questions. First off, how did the Master of Masters meet up with Young Xehanort in the first place? They’re both from two totally different times. Unless the Master of Masters is teleporting around time and space (meaning there has to be a version of him around in the current time, too), there is no possible way he should even be alive at this time. Second, what did Young Xehanort see during his “tour” (as the Master of Master puts it)? I’m sure that the upcoming mobile game will answer this question, but now I yearn for this answer and get excited for what will be next. What made Young Xehanort see so much Darkness, what made him be so hurt? How long was the Master of Masters just sitting there? Then there’s the talk from the Master of Masters as he speaks about Darkness and how to control it, which would explain why every single member of the True Organization XIII needed a coat, except him, which I think was an interesting touch. It’s also interesting that he calls himself a Lost Master as well, despite already having a title: The Master of Masters. Why does he not call himself that? Is he, too, hiding his identity? So many questions, not enough answers, but I’m hoping to get them, so I eagerly wait until the answers can be revealed! I’m currently planning on selling one of my kidneys to pay for the next Kingdom Hearts game and gaming console it will be on.

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In the next scene, Master Xehanort, Saïx, and Xigbar stood in a circle. The music here was done beautifully, and already made me feel intimidated by them just standing around and talking. Both Saïx and Xigbar talk about Luxord looking for something per Xigbar’s instructions, possibly the black box. Hearing Saïx say Luxord’s name gave me an aneurysm, as an added bonus. Xigbar says that whatever Luxord is doing will help out in the long run for their goal...or only Xigbar’s goal, whatever that may be. The rest of the conversation is talking about who to hire, but more importantly, how Xemnas can be around at the same time as Terra-Xehanort, or how Vanitas can be there as well. They were all replicas to begin with--but unlike Riku Replica, who when defeated, became a Replica once more, did not turn into mannequin-esque bodies. Of course, these are just nitpicks, but I did not find any major issues with the story so far as it was explaining a few things, and everything started to line up. Multiple questions were answered during the Organization Application Review, so I was pleased.

The next scene with Chirithy and Sora, had Sora say, “I do what I want” to death and saved many of his friends, causing him to completely mess everything up. It’s here that Sora accepts his fate to bring Kairi back...and this is where I got lost. There was a lot of information really quickly, and even as someone who is used to confusing and complicated plots, this threw me for a loop. I wasn’t sure what was being told here, exactly, and even going back, I still don’t get it very well. Perhaps if I had the full paragraph of what Chirithy said outright instead of just reading it line by line, I might be able to absorb it better, but this entire cutscene confused me, along with what was being played in the background distracting me as well (despite having seen it numerous times). If I was confused, I sure wonder how Sora felt during that moment. His one brain cell must’ve been bouncing around in there completely frazzled by what Chirithy was saying. How Sora moved from Heart to Heart was lost on me--but probably not on others, hence having others talk about it. 

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Controlling Sora from here on out was amazing though. His movement is much better, his attacks and blocks are easier to execute; the Osaka Team did a much better job with this and learned quickly in the span of a year on how to fix the controls, which I congratulate them for! Fighting as Sora was amazing, and I enjoyed every moment of it--I was excited to get into the action. The first fight, Dark Inferno X, was easy, however (and from here on out, every time I played as Sora as well was quite easy). Of course, it was easy because I played on Standard and was already level 99 with the Ultima Keyblade, which didn’t help to give me any sort of challenge, which is why I’ve asked people who have played it on harder difficulties to give their input so I don’t run around saying “It’s so easy wah wah” when I could’ve played it on Critical and run into issues. 

The other characters that you were able to play as (Riku, Aqua, Roxas, and Kairi) were done incredibly well, with Kairi being my favorite and fitting my form of playstyle the most. It seemed like she was the best and most thought out and worked on, and if I were to order them from most to least  favorite, it would be, for me, Kairi, Roxas, Riku, and Aqua being last. Kairi and Roxas seem to have the best control, which I can only assume would mean that since Riku and Aqua already have a control scheme from when the game was released, that the old mechanics from a year ago were used for Re:Mind, which I’m a little disappointed about--an update would’ve been nice. Riku feels clunky to use, and Aqua even more clunkier. This could be because of the pre-programed loadouts (with Cure being on Triangle instead of on the X button like it should be), however.

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