Review: Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind

It's been almost a year since Kingdom Hearts III made its long overdue debut. Amidst the disappointment that fans had with the highly anticipated game, the most popular question of all was "What about Kairi?" The new Kingdom Hearts III: Re Mind DLC, which came out yesterday, attempts to answer this question. Kairi is essentially the princess of the Kingdom Hearts universe, but is never treated as such. She is constantly placed on the sidelines, even after she receives her own keyblade to fight with at the end of Kingdom Hearts II. The Re Mind DLC addresses this issue immediately. When you start up the game after installing the DLC, a lovely new illustration of Kairi slowly fades into existence next to Sora's on the menu screen as a gentle reminder that she has been patiently waiting for her turn to be included in the story.

For half the price of the game, I can understand why some people would consider Re Mind to be a disappointment. There are some new scenes and gameplay, but the main part of the story can be completed within three to four hours. For all intents and purposes, it should have been included in the original Kingdom Hearts III after we see Kairi get obliterated by Xehanort and show up again during the ending with no explanation. As much as I enjoyed the bonus quests in the beautiful world of Scala ad Caelum to restore Kairi's heart, I couldn't help but feel that the first two hours of the DLC were wasted by rehashing battles and cutscenes that I had already played through in the original game. In order to restore Kairi's heart, Sora must travel back in time and collect fragments from the people who were closest to her. That means repeating most of the boss fights at the Keyblade Graveyard between the seven Guardians of Light and the New Organization XIII and watching their cutscenes over again. The only difference is that now it gives you the option to fight as Riku, Aqua, and Roxas instead of Sora.

After the clip show, things finally start to get interesting. Sora finds himself in Scala ad Caelum and finally gets the opportunity to explore this surreal environment. There are a few puzzles to pass in order to restore Kairi's heart, but for the most part, they're pretty self-explanatory. The reward for completing all these missions is the ability to fight the final boss as Kairi alongside Sora. Though this is the only part of the DLC where you can play as Kairi, it was fun to hear the harp-like sounds of her keyblade and see some of her special attacks. I may have missed something because I wasn't able to unlock the attack from the trailer where she flies over the enemy and throws her keyblade into a magic circle. The special attack I unlocked for her was called Seven Wishes, a tasteful reference to the seven Princesses of Heart, seven Guardians of Light, and seven shards of Kairi's heart that Sora collected. The attack itself is fairly generic. She flies at the enemy really fast and strikes seven times. The combined special attack that can be unlocked as either Sora or Kairi was the one that was truly special. "One Heart" is a beautiful ability that allows Sora and Kairi to hold hands and grow a pair of sparkly angel wings like Rinoa Heartilly from Final Fantasy VIII in a visual feast of love and magic.

The ending of the Re Mind episode is mostly a rehash of the game's original ending, which made me feel like my time was being wasted yet again with footage I had already seen. There were a few new nuggets, but I wish they had left out the repeat footage entirely. The Re Mind episode gives context to why Kairi appears on Destiny Islands during the ending of Kingdom Hearts III, but the fact remains that Sora channeled his inner "Little Mermaid" and needed to sacrific himself in order to bring her back. That's where Limit Cut, the second episode of the DLC, comes into play. Limit Cut introduces the return of the Final Fantasy characters that were teased in the trailer. Sadly, we don't get to see much more of them than the footage that was already out. In Limit Cut, Cloud, Aerith, Yuffie, and Cid show Riku the data that they collected about Sora in their computer, where the majority of gameplay in this episode takes place. If you've ever played the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts II, you are probably familiar with the Data Organization battles. Limit Cut is more of the same. You play as the data version of Sora and must defeat thirteen nigh impossible versions of the New Organization XIII in order to release the data in Cid's computer.

One of the most common complaints about Kingdom Hearts III was that it was way too easy. As much as I agree with that, I don't the best solution was to lock Sora in a room surrounded by thirteen super bosses that were so difficult that my husband threw his controller across the room. Yet, this is the only way to watch the final movie on the DLC. The 100 hours I spent maxing our Sora's level and equipment in Kingdom Hearts III meant absolutely nothing when it came to the Limit Cut battles. I had no advantage of the enemies, even with the Ultima keyblade. Is it so hard to ask for a middle ground? While I could have spent the next few months losing the same battles over and over again, I decided to watch the final movie(s) on YouTube, which made the Limit Cut portion feel of the DLC like a complete waste of money. I'm not sure who they intended this section for, but the only people it benefits are hardcore gamers who want bragging rights after breezing through the rest of the game.

In my opinion, most casual fans will consider the Kingdom Hearts Re Mind DLC a waste of time and money. As a princess fan, I found it to be worth it because it resolved Kairi's story from the end of Kingdom Hearts III, one that was desperately in need of a resolution. There were some touching romantic moments and beautiful new imagery of Sora and Kairi together in battle. However, it was frustrating to go through so much of what I had already seen and played in Kingdom Hearts III just to get to the new quest in Scala ad Caelum. The Limit Cut episode was complete bogus, and I wish there was an easier way to unlock the final scene legitimately. There is no real benefit to maxing out Sora's stats because everything is way too easy until it isn't, which makes the extra work becomes meaningless. Still, the mini-quests to find Kairi's heart were pretty fun and add an extra layer of satisfaction to her cameo during the game's ending. Overall, the DLC just doesn't have much to offer people who don't care about Kairi or aren't monster gamers that can take on any challenge.


Amy said…
Does it finish up any of the Final Fantasy storylines?
Lisa Dawn said…
It doesn't cover any Final Fantasy storylines. It just shows the Final Fantasy characters in the Limitcut episode using Cid's computer to try to to bring Sora back.
LeAnn Holsclaw said…
You know Kairi will be able player in future Kingdom Hearts game?
Lisa Dawn said…
They haven't announced any future Kingdom Hearts games yet, but they are probably planning some featuring Sora and Yozora because of how Re Mind's secret episode ended.

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