Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind is a much awaited retcon

Last year Kingdom Hearts 3 released and while it was certainly one of the most fun Kingdom Hearts games mechanically, its plot left something to be desired. Yes, even by Kingdom Hearts standards. Kingdom Hearts is well known for its off-the-wall anime filled Disney crossover plot filled with hearts, darkness, time-travel, and so much more, but it always had a sort of internal consistency, an internal consistency that Kingdom Hearts 3 lacked. Some blame Disney for not letting Square Enix make the plot they wanted. Some blame Tetsuya Nomura for an inability to plan plots ahead of time. Some simply believe the series has overstayed its welcome. Equally as many, simply didn’t care. They have been in it for the long haul and the series could do no wrong.

It’s clear that Square Enix, didn’t have the same confidence, because Re:Mind, the latest KHIII DLC that costs half as much as the game itself, feels like it’s addressing all the complaints that fans had.

The ending didn’t make sense? Fixed it.

We didn’t get to see Sora rescue Kairi? Fixed that too.

Where are all the Final Fantasy characters? Here they are!

The game was too easy? Get ready to feel the pain in your thumbs.

Welcome back

Yes, Re:Mind is looking to fill in all the holes that Kingdom Hearts III left open, and that leaves it in a weird position. While it’s certainly more satisfying than the main game, it feels like it’s too much and not enough at the same time. Let me explain.

Re:Mind comes in a few parts. The first is the self-titled expansion which takes place both before and after the ending of Kingdom Hearts III. Sora has to use the power of waking to restore Kairi after she is shattered by Master Xehanort. To do this, he has to travel through time and connect seven hearts of light to get her back.

Effectively, this has you play through the entire ending of KHIII all over again, but with extra scenes added in. Not only that, but you’ll get a couple extra battles as well and all of these battles have a gimmick. Maybe you’ll get to play as Roxas, Axel, Ven, Terra, Aqua, Riku, or any of the other Keyblade wielders. Maybe you’ll fight a new enemy or an old enemy with a new set of rules.

The new scenes are incredibly significant and explain a lot about KHIII’s endgame. However, the gameplay isn’t different enough. It totally turns the KHIII formula on its head, giving us the story we want and dry repetitive gameplay featuring many of the same fights, scenes, and locations of the main game. It’s clear that many of the assets were re-used here, giving it somewhat of a Majora’s Mask vibe. Square Enix was using assets they already had to tell a dark side-story tacked on to the end of their normal game.

Not too hard

Re:Mind proper is laughably easy. You can button spam your way through it thoughtlessly on any difficulty level as long as you have beaten the original game. However, there is another chapter to the story that you unlock only after you beat Re:Mind, and that’s the Limit Cut.

Limit Cut is a boss rush style mode that puts you in one on one fights against the members of True Organization XIII, except this time they have all been given a massive power-up. These fights will test your skills, and your patience. Many are simply just difficult boss fights while some, like Luxord’s fight, are endlessly frustrating mini-games disguised as a fight.

You might think that you can just skip this mode if you aren’t into challenges, but no, no my good friend. Square has saw fit to include important story details in this boss rush mode, so if you want the whole story, you gotta tough it out. Besides, you get some really neat pieces of equipment for beating them. In fact, every piece of this DLC gives you some sort of bonus that makes you more powerful, whether it’s rare equipment, stat boosting items, more item slots, or max MP/HP bonuses, you can effectively level yourself past 99.

Make it through the Limit Cut and you’ll gain access to the DLC’s secret boss, which can really be said to be the true secret boss of KHIII. Not only that, but you’ll get two different endings depending on how you do in the battle. Both of these endings are, once again, important to the grand plot of KHIII.

Once you’ve done all that, that’s it. There’s not much more content. There are a ton of new options for the main game, allowing you to make it absurdly easy or monstrously hard, and these will certainly get some play in the streaming and speedrunning communities, but there’s just not more new content.

Which begs the question… is it enough?

Is it worth it?

That’s a hard question to answer. KHIII didn’t age well. As time passed I became more and more infuriated with its ending. It is kind of nice that Square Enix pulled an End of Evangelion and gave us a better ending that makes more sense and teases where the story is going in the future…

But…

When you step back and look at Re:Mind for its content, you aren’t actually getting much new. Yes, you are getting new story, but everything you do here you have done before. With the exception of a few particularly fun set pieces and the secret boss, all you are doing is fighting against True Organization XIII again, twice, and going through two late game worlds that you have already seen. The extra story content is something everyone wanted, but it doesn’t feel extra. It feels like its Square Enix fixing up a game that they screwed up in the first place.

And that’s worrying, because this is becoming a pattern with Square Enix. Final Fantasy XV suffered from the same problem. It was a great game, once you downloaded all the DLC. If you just played the main game, however, it felt like there were holes in it. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with DLC that actually expands upon a game’s main story, but DLC that completes an otherwise incomplete game… well that feels a little, I don’t know, scummy? I don’t want this to become Square’s business as usual.

You’ll probably fall into one of two categories when it comes to Re:Mind. If you are a hardcore Kingdom Hearts fan that has been with the series since the beginning, purchasing it is a no brainer. Yes, $30 is a steep price, but you probably won’t care considering you get a little more gameplay and a lot more story.

If you are a more casual fan, Re:Mind probably isn’t worth it. Unless you are planning to do a whole new run of the game with the new difficulty modifiers, then you can get all the new story revelations by watching YouTube videos, streams, or just hanging out on the Kingdom Hearts subreddit. There’s not a whole lot actually worth playing here, aside from the aforementioned interesting set pieces.

When it comes down to it, I didn’t dislike Re;Mind. I think it was actually a well put together DLC that fixes some glaring problems with KHIII. I just sort of wish that those problems weren’t there to fix in the first place.