Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (キングダム ハーツ HD 2.8 ファイナル チャプター プロローグ, Kingudamu Hātsu HD 2.8 Fainaru Chaputā Purorōgu, stylized Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue) is a compilation of games from the Kingdom Hearts series, developed and published by Square Enix. A successor to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix game compilation, the new title was announced in September 2015 and released in January 2017 on PlayStation 4 and February 2020 on Xbox One.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 box art.jpg
Developer(s)Square Enix Business Division 3[1]
Publisher(s)Square Enix
Director(s)Tetsuya Nomura
Tai Yasue
Producer(s)Rie Nishi
Designer(s)Tomokazu Shibata
Tai Yasue
Michio Matsuura
Programmer(s)Tamotsu Goto
Masashi Nakamichi
Kengo Naka
Artist(s)Tetsuya Nomura
Writer(s)Masaru Oka
Composer(s)Yoko Shimomura
SeriesKingdom Hearts
EngineUnreal Engine 4 (KH0.2 / KHχBC)[2]
Platform(s)
ReleasePlayStation 4
  • JP: January 12, 2017[3]
  • WW: January 24, 2017[3]
Xbox One
  • WW: February 18, 2020
[4]
Genre(s)Action-role playing
Mode(s)Single-player

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue includes a high-definition remaster of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. This title covers how protagonists Sora and Riku prepared for the return of the antagonist Master Xehanort. The collection also includes two new pieces of content set in the Kingdom Hearts series. The first, Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover,[a], is a "cinematic" film based on the game Kingdom Hearts χ. It includes events not shown in that game regarding the earliest parts of the series story. The other title, Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage,[b], is an original game that takes place after the events of Dream Drop Distance. This title revealed what happened to the protagonist Aqua during her time lost in the Realm of Darkness. To avoid having too much backstory in Kingdom Hearts III, series director Tetsuya Nomura chose to place this story he long desired to tell in this collection. Back Cover and A Fragmentary Passage were the tenth and eleventh installments in the Kingdom Hearts series.

Critics had varied opinions on the value of the game compilation. Most praised the quality of the graphics, utilizing technology then being developed for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III. Some also praised the role of the collection in filling story gaps in the very complicated storyline of the Kingdom Hearts series. Some, however, criticized the release of the compilation as merely another teaser for the long-anticipated game Kingdom Hearts III.

GamesEdit

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD Edit

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance takes place after the events of the game Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. Dream Drop Distance focuses on the protagonists' Sora and Riku's "Mark of Mastery" exam. In order to pass, the pair must free parallel worlds from evil and hone their powers in preparation for the return of the powerful and evil Master Xehanort.

This collection features a high definition remaster of Dream Drop Distance, which Nomura stated was indeed a full remake of the game since the original utilized the two screens of the Nintendo 3DS.[5][6][7] The game was developed with the Unreal Engine 4, and allowed for quick changes during game development, especially lighting effects.[8] Developers also reworked minigames from the 3DS version that utilized that console’s dual touch screens into a card-based system.[9] At the same time, the developers made enemies “less offensive than they originally were,” a complaint from players in the original. Additionally, they switched the 3DS's touchscreen-based controls to a more traditional game controller scheme.[10]

Due to the workload of adapting the game, developers made no extras or new content for this release.[11] The few additions made included PlayStation 4 trophies, the ability to play the game at 60 frames a second, and a much-requested addition by the Osaka development team to include the minor enemy, the Catanuki.[8]

Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary PassageEdit

 
Aqua in the Hall of Magic Mirrors in Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage. The game made use of the Unreal Engine 4 game engine also used in Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage is a new game told from the perspective of the protagonist Aqua.[5][12] The story begins after Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance when King Mickey reveals that he has secrets to confess relating to Aqua and her time in the Realm of Darkness.[13] The story then picks up right after the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix. Fragments of worlds previously found in Birth by Sleep make up the game's narrative.[9]

Nomura felt he needed to create this story, but did not want to slow down Kingdom Hearts III with many backstories.[8] Consequently, he separated it from that game and included it in this collection.[8] Developers designed the game to take several hours to play, or approximately one game world in a regular Kingdom Hearts title.[6][7][11] A Fragmentary Passage ties into the story of Kingdom Hearts III and uses technology such as the Unreal Engine 4 from that game.[6][7][13] In terms of gameplay, the “Doubleflight” ability returns, which allows Aqua to leap higher and do a mid-air double jump, while also gaining a burst of speed mid-jump.[14]

Kingdom Hearts χ Back CoverEdit

Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover is a one-hour long cinematic film set during the events of the video game Kingdom Hearts χ.[15][16] The film tells the game’s story from the Foretellers’ perspectives, explaining their actions during the game’s events.[5][12] Square Enix developers utilized the same technology used to make Kingdom Hearts III in Back Cover, including Unreal Engine 4.[6][7]

DevelopmentEdit

In January 2011, with the release of the game Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, a secret ending was discovered in the game, titled Birth by Sleep: Volume 2. This game content, which looked like it bridged the story gap between Birth by Sleep and the original Kingdom Hearts, was believed to be a potential future game in the series.[17] In October 2014, when asked about the content seen in the secret ending, Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura stated, “It shows the existence of Aqua’s story in the Realm of Darkness. It means that she didn’t just wander about in the Darkness for ten years, but that she passed through many experiences. However, it is a 'Fragmentary Passage,' as the name suggests–that story was severed and wasn’t told. I hope I can tell it when given the opportunity.”[18] In the credits of the game compilation Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, there were clips of the game Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. There was also a secret ending related to Dream Drop Distance, hinting at a possible new Kingdom Hearts game compilation.[19]

In September 2015, Square Enix announced Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, for release in 2016.[5] Nomura stated in that same September that Square Enix developed the collection alongside the game Kingdom Hearts III. They made the collection so players could experience some of the new gameplay elements being developed for Kingdom Hearts III "sooner than later." The developer also intended to release the collection on the PlayStation 4.[6][7] Nomura explained the game compilations title, stating that Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is considered "number 2.6" in the series since it follows the events in HD 2.5 Remix. The χ games, with the absence of Sora, are considered 0, while Birth by Sleep is 0.1, thus resulting in 0.2 for A Fragmentary Passage. When added together, the numbers totaled 2.8.[20]

In December 2015, a trailer for the game debuted at the gaming festival Jump Festa, and critics praised the game collection for its aesthetic quality.[21] A trailer released in September 2016 at the Tokyo Game Show featured a new remix of Kingdom Hearts theme song Simple and Clean, produced specifically for 2.8, and the games opening cinematics.[22][23] In July 2017, Nomura spoke on bringing the collection to the Xbox One console, saying he did not believe there was much demand for it outside of North America. However, he also said it could be a possibility after Square Enix completed development on Kingdom Hearts III.[24] At the X019 gamer event in November 2019, Shinji Hashimoto and Ichiro Hazama announced that the 2.8 collection, along with 1.5 and 2.5, would be released on the Xbox One in 2020.[25]

ReleaseEdit

Initially scheduled for release in December 2016, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue was released in Japan on January 12, 2017, and worldwide on January 24, 2017.[26][3] Preorders for the game included an official Disney Collector's Pin for the game.[27] Square Enix later bundled Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue with the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix collections as part of a new compilation, Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far, released in North America on October 30, 2018, for the PlayStation 4. The Xbox One and Xbox Game Pass versions released on February 18, 2020.[28][4]

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic76/100[29]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid7.5/10[30]
Famitsu34/40[31]
Game Informer8.5/10[32]
GameSpot7/10[33]
GamesRadar+     [34]
IGN7.5/10[35]

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue received "generally favorable" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[29] It sold 137,797 copies within its first week of release in Japan.[36]

Reviewers universally praised the graphical re-creation of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance on the PlayStation 4 from its origins on the Nintendo 3DS. US Gamer referred to the games conversion from one optimized for a two-screen portable game system to a console one "lovely."[37] Game Informer was also very impressed by the visual improvements made from the game's rerelease.[32] However, GameSpot criticized the lack of any other changes to the title, such as populating the games "overly roomy, empty worlds."[33] US Gamer also praised the title A Fragmentary Passage for being a sort of tech demo of Kingdom Hearts III.[37]

Critics had very mixed feelings about the value of the collection and its stories. Jonathan Dornbush of IGN said that the collection is "A great glimpse at what’s to come, but the return to the past is an at-times unsatisfying appetizer."[35] GamesRadar's Anthony John Agnello concurred, said that "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue is essential for the faithful, flummoxing for newcomers, and a promising start to the series’ life on PS4."[34] Chris Carter from Destructoid called the title "A solid game that definitely has an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short and there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun."[30]

Some reviewers did find things to praise about the collection, such as Push Square, which was excited to explore resolutions to the many cliffhangers left by the previous Kingdom Hearts games.[38] RPGamer stated that if anyone wished to understand what happened plot-wise between Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III, the game collection was essential.[39] The Independent praised the gameplay of An Fragmentary Passage as "gorgeous" and called Aqua’s journey through the Hall of Magic Mirrors "devilishly fun."[40] GameSpot also praised the compilations’ inclusion of new stories, and Game Informer called the titles "good preparation for what’s ahead."[32][33]

Other reviewers, however, found the stories confusing and felt the game was merely a teaser for Kingdom Hearts III. Ars Technica called the three titles unconnected in any way to each other.[41] They also cited their confusion with the story of Dream Drop Distance, calling it "hard-to-follow gibberish with flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks."[41] US Gamer called the compilation "one big teaser" for Kingdom Hearts III.[37] Game Informer also believed that the title was yet another game meant to kill time before the release of the at the time unreleased Kingdom Hearts III.[32]

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Kingudamu Hātsu Kī Bakku Kabā (キングダム ハーツ キー バックカバー)
  2. ^ Kingudamu Hātsu 0.2 Bāsu bai Surīpu: Furagumentarī Passēji (キングダム ハーツ 0.2 バース バイ スリープ -フラグメンタリー パッセージ-)

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ "第3ビジネス・ディビジョン キャリア採用 Square Enix - Recruiting-". March 25, 2017. Archived from the original on June 6, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Barder, Ollie (9 June 2016). "'Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue' Looks Amazing In Its Latest Trailer". Forbes. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Donaldson, Alex (September 13, 2016). "Kingdom Hearts 2.8 to miss December, now out January 24th". VG247. Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  4. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (February 18, 2020). "Classic Kingdom Hearts games come to Xbox One in two big collections". Polygon. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Wallace, Kimberly (September 15, 2015). "[Update] Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Revealed For PS4". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on September 17, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e Sata (September 19, 2015). "Details On What's New In Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 And Aqua's Story". Siloconera. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e Romano, Sal (September 20, 2015). "Kingdom Hearts 0.2 uses Kingdom Hearts III technology". Gematsu. Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d Mystic (June 15, 2016). "Tetsuya Nomura discusses Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8, III, and more". Gematsu. Archived from the original on December 16, 2019. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Dornbush, Jonathon (June 14, 2016). "E3 2016: Kingdom Hearts 2.8 is a Primer for Kingdom Hearts 3". IGN. Archived from the original on June 15, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  10. ^ Frank, Allegra (June 15, 2016). "Kingdom Hearts' timeline continues to befuddle with 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 15, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Wallace, Kimberley (November 30, 2015). "Preview: Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue". Game Informer. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  12. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (September 15, 2015). "Square Enix announces Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue for PS4". Polygon. Archived from the original on September 16, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue 発売決定のお知らせ" (PDF) (in Japanese). Square Enix. September 15, 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  14. ^ Wallace, Kimberley (June 14, 2016). "Wonderfully Paving The Way For Kingdom Hearts III". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on June 17, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
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  18. ^ "Nomura hopes to tell Birth by Sleep -Volume 2-'s story one day". KH13. October 1, 2014. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  19. ^ Dunsmore, Kevin (January 14, 2015). "Get Ready to Play a New Kingdom Hearts Game in 2015". Hardcore Gamer. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  20. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (September 22, 2015). "Explaining Kingdom Hearts HD II.8's Bizarre Title". Kotaku. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  21. ^ Whitaker, Jed (December 18, 2015). "Kingdom Hearts III and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue get a new trailer". Destructoid. Archived from the original on February 22, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  22. ^ Kollar, Phillip (September 13, 2016). "This Kingdom Hearts trailer is baffling, but it has nice music and a release date". Polygon. Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  23. ^ @_KINGDOMHEARTS (September 13, 2016). "そういうわけで、ついに何らかが!『Kingdom Hearts2.8』の発売日が発表されました。本日の情報解禁に合わせて自分からコメントを添えさせて頂きます。是非こちらもご覧下さい。それではまた何らかで!@野村 #_KH" (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved September 13, 2016 – via Twitter. Translation via KH13.com Archived 2016-09-16 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew; Schwartz, Terri (July 15, 2017). "Kingdom Hearts 3 Director: Switch Version 'Maybe' Possible After Xbox One, PS4 Versions Are Released". IGN. Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  25. ^ Heaney, Duncan (November 14, 2019). "X019: Classic Games in Kingdom Hearts Saga Come to Xbox One". Xbox. Archived from the original on November 15, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  26. ^ Makuch, Eddie (June 8, 2016). "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Gets Release Window, New Trailer". Game Spot. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  27. ^ Kato, Matthew (October 6, 2016). "Pre-Order Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue For An Exclusive Mickey/Sora Pin". Game Informer. Game Stop. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  28. ^ Khan, Imran (October 5, 2018). "Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far Bundle Includes Every Game You Need To Get Caught Up". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  30. ^ a b Carter, Chris (January 23, 2017). "Review: Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue". Destructoid. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  31. ^ Romano, Sal (December 27, 2016). "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1465". Gematsu. Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  32. ^ a b c d Wallace, Kimberly (January 23, 2017). "A Great Collection Leading Into What Comes Next - Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue - PlayStation 4". Game Informer. Archived from the original on January 25, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
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  36. ^ Sato (January 18, 2017). "This Week In Sales: Kingdom Hearts Runs Out Of Games To Remix". Siliconera. Archived from the original on January 20, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  37. ^ a b c Bailey, Kat (January 24, 2017). "Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is One Big Kingdom Hearts 3 Teaser". US Gamer. Archived from the original on September 29, 2019. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
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  40. ^ Withey, Josh (January 31, 2017). "Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Review: A Sliver of What You've Been Waiting For". The Independent. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
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External linksEdit