And so it goes on. With Square Enix uploading all of the past Kingdom Hearts games to The Cloud, naturally the enthusiastically-titled Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue has arrived – another compilation, this time bringing one full game, one four-hour teaser for Kingdom Hearts III and another inscrutable movie comprised of cutscenes. Compared to the majestic 1.5 + 2.5 HD ReMix, this package is frankly threadbare for its price, but fans will have to have it.
That’s not to say what’s included here is bad. The main event, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance HD, remasters the previously 3DS-exclusive game in a bold and rather vital style. Being the first game in a long while to actually move forward from Kingdom Hearts 2 (at the time of its original release, the first for seven years), it adds a good deal to the proceedings, not least the new “FlowMotion” combat that allows you to spring off walls, spin around poles and generally make an athletic nuisance of yourself, running rings around enemies.
But wait, that’s not all. There’s also a brand new (and frankly unnecessary) virtual pet-style addition that sees you levelling up “Dream Eater” creatures to fight alongside you, two at a time. Increasing the level of said creatures unlocks abilities for you to utilise, but in something of an irritating oversight these aren’t applied unless you have the specific Dream Eater in your squad. It makes a sort of sense that this approach was taken, but it limits your options to whichever is simply the “best” Dream Eater.
You’re also able to play as Riku for the first time since re:Chain of Memories, thanks to the polarising “Dive” feature. Essentially, Sora is on a time limit as the on-screen Drop metre fills – when it reaches the top, you’ll switch over to Riku and play from his perspective. Many found this frustrating back on the 3DS, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a somewhat unnecessary-seeming addition that really just gets in the way a lot of the time. Thankfully, you can use consumables to stave off the Drop. We didn’t find it too irritating; it’s interesting to enforce variety in this way, but maybe not the most player-friendly idea, especially given if you Drop during a boss battle, said boss will regain all its HP.
Despite these quirks it's still a lot of fun — the Command Deck returns from Birth By Sleep and the various Disney worlds and characters are interesting and different (not to mention the cameo from the cast of The World Ends With You). It's a good 30 hours or so of game, too, but manages to maintain good pacing throughout. It also runs beautifully (with the usual Cloud Version caveats...) and looks miles better than its 3DS source material.
Elsewhere in the package, the ludicrous nomenclature of Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep 0.2 A Fragmentary Passage obscures what is ultimately an enjoyable little micro dose of Kingdom Hearts action, following up on Aqua's story after the PSP original. At the time of release it was something of a teaser for Kingdom Hearts III, with its beautifully rich visuals and enhanced combat, but nowadays remains an enjoyable little curio. Aqua begins at Level 50 and rapidly gains all her moves so it's a nice little continuation of her tale, and important series lore. It won't take you longer than a few hours to experience but there are plenty of additional challenges and secrets to find if you have the urge to revisit.
Finally, you've got Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, an hour-long CGI movie that fills in some of the earliest backstory for the series. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it consists of the characters standing around yammering at one another, making it really rather dull stuff. It, again, ties into the next mainline game, but we'd honestly recommend just reading a synopsis than bothering to watch through this.
So, game-wise this is more of a mixed bag, but as we said at the top, the inclusions here are by no means bad, just not up to the standard the first in this trilogy of releases.
It's a sickener of a thing, though, that we have to experience this package in such a substandard form. All the caveats that generally come along with Cloud Versions are present here; any kind of connection issues or momentary weaknesses can result in input lag, stuttering, out of sync music, freezing or outright crashing out of the game, costing you progress. We have a strong, stable connection and it was still 50/50 on a full reset if we accidentally put the system into sleep mode. The connection would be even more stable if you only played on the TV using an Ethernet cable straight into your Switch dock, but if you're going to do that you'd do better to investigate versions of these games running natively on other platforms.
Ultimately, there are a ton of potential issues you may or may not run into, and seemingly no real advantages to running this on Switch — unless you simply have no other choice but to play these games on this console. As a fan, and as a player who just wants a consistent gameplay experience, it's incredibly disappointing.
While both Dream Drop Distance and Fragmentary Passage are good stuff, this is a much more niche product than the previous compilation, and far more difficult to recommend. It's essential if you're a fan, but... let's face it, if you're a fan, you've already played these games. And on a system on which they run natively, rather than this (again!) erratic, temperamental Cloud Version. We feel like it's our destiny to repeat ourselves on the matter, but if you can buy this package for another system we'd earnestly implore you to do so — it may not be handheld, but at least it would be yours to keep and it would run reliably and consistently. As it stands, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue on Nintendo Switch is yet another compromise. If your internet connection is consistent and strong, it runs great... when it's running great. But, you know, stuff happens. Using Ethernet while docked helps, but it's still putting a sticking plaster on a glaring wound. So, once again, another good package but presented in the worst way. And slightly less good than the last one.
Wow. Your reviewing all the kingdom hearts cloud games? That’s dedication! I woulda just gave them all 0’s and be on my way.
Like I said for the previous review:
Always say no to cloud ports.
Especially for last gen games.
This practice is horrible and Switch users deserve better.
Removed - unconstructive
Get the 3DS or PS4 version, guys.
Don't even bothering the Cloud version.
Punish SquareEnix by boycott the Cloud version.
Don't give them any penny for a BS product.
Do they ever think about newcomers when packaging and naming and releasing and pricing these things? I’ve never played any Kingdom Hearts, but I’ve always been aware it’s a big thing, apparently. Had they made one good new game, I would have definitely tried it. Preferably named KH and a number.
Instead they release a 90€ cloud something that consists of what exactly? Final Papaya 2.11 Remix Prologue Antenna? Which actually is a CGI movie and 4 remakes of portable games wait what? And it doesn’t work?
0.2 is honestly better than KH3.
Tar and feather SE for this crap.
@ALinkttPresent Yeah, lemme just move out of the connectionless country just so I can play decade+ old games that work perfectly fine offline on other consoles
Removed - flaming/arguing
@ALinkttPresent Yes because just having good internet is just something everyone have. Oh I also forgot internet Is a perfect working specimen with no flaws whatsoever.
But wait, wasn’t there this thing called a Nintendo switch? And it’s portable? Please tell me how I can go, on the go, with my clouds ports of KH games?
Not everyone has that option.
I live in the rural United States. I have literally the best internet option I can have. I can play Black Ops Cold War without lag.
But I can’t stream games. The input latency is awful.
Control on Switch, I understand why it had to be streamed. There’s no way to downgrade that title to a level where the Switch could run it natively with acceptable performance and still keep the original presentation the developers aimed for.
That’s not the case with the Kingdom Hearts Collection. All of the games, with maybe the exception of KHIII, could have easily been ported to the Switch natively.
This was SE being lazy. Plain and simple. So they deserve every bit of the hate they are getting.
I liked all the Kingdom Hearts games. My favourite might be Birth by Sleep but it's difficult to choose one. However, cloud version on Switch is the worst way of playing them. Obviously, good fibre internet (not available everywhere anyways) is not good enough on Switch as stated by other users. Bear in mind that Kingdom Hearts games require the best possible frame rate and input lag unless you play them casually. The most difficult battles and the extra battles run at lightning speed. I don't mean just optional story battles but the specific battle rings. I was barely able to get 100% at 60fps locally a few years ago. They can be very demanding games. Some battles are absolutely chaotic, where the main objective is trying to survive long enough to be able to connect the required number of hits. You need to play Kingdom Hearts on Xbox/PS instead.
This one especially stings with the main game included being a legitimate 3DS port 😔 It definitely deserved better.
I will NEVER support games that do not actually have the game on the cartridge. Cloud gaming is nothing more than a long term game rental.
"The included movie is fairly insipid".
It's not. It's an introduction to everything and worth watching if you want to understand the convoluted story. But yes, it's just an introduction.
@nessisonett Re:Coded was almost better than KH3 even...such a disappointment after such a wait.
I even beat the two Nintendo DS games on top of the collections and III. I didn't love Re: Coded but 358/2 Days is amazing!
@Broosh I’m not sure I’d quite go that far because RE:Coded is hot garbage but yeah, 3 was a disappointment!
Missed opportunity for the tagline to be "Heartless".
The cons to the game really ruin this game big time. Thanks for the review.
I got the whole collection for around £20 in a sale on the PlayStation store, so I'd recommend getting this on playstation instead, even if it means lending one off someone you know for a few weeks, still better than getting these awful rip off cloud versions
@ALinkttPresent even if you have, services like Stadia, Steam Cloud, Xbox cloud or Nvidia Geforce Now. All are much better options. Cloud services is for devices that are not created to play videogames, like chromebooks, mid to low end phones, cheap pcs, smart tvs, etc...
@ALinkttPresent Just have good internet
Bahahahah...let me tell you this internet access is not equal nor available in all places nor for that fact access to high speed broadband. NA still has internet deserts so until Broadband is Universal in NA don't talk about having good internet because sometimes you only have one choice to pick. And that doesn't always come with guaranteed Broadband.
@PharoneTheGnome Cloud gaming is nothing more than a long term game rental.
It is rental only one owns nothing and has no say what they do with Cloud game. People forget that-Digital download you will have on the Switch Device but Cloud you have no downloaded Game to play Offline.
Whoever came up with the names of the games clearly had too much free time.
@ALinkttPresent y’know I wonder how many dislikes your comment has.
Please, nobody buy this 🌥 💩.
@iLikeUrAttitude agree, I would have bought the collection immediately( at least if they ported 1+2), but never gonna buy stupid cloud versions- when they could easily port all except 3 maybe, but we have Doom Eternal on Switch, so 3 could be ported too with some effort. Companies just care for money more than fans who keep these companies growing. Selfish practice!
@Tyranexx A big miss LOL.
@iLikeUrAttitude When the next cloud review comes out, please re-comment that again!
@Edwirichuu I'll be sure to!
Unbelievable how they made such a pig's ear of these games. People were asking for these games to be ported for a number of years and when they were announced we were all excited, then we learnt they were going to be Cloud versions and they can't even get them working properly.
The day I buy a Cloud game is never.
I'm going to be honest, these games are not worth playing even if they were not cloud based. Probably the most needlessly convoluted plot in the history of the medium. The gameplay is nothing to write home about for today's standards, either. Unlike turn based JRPGs, these don't hold up that well. They had some fun novelty back in the day because of the crossover with Disney, but that's about it.
I’ve only played the first one on PS2. But I one hundred percented it.
I could only imagine the horror of facing the optional battle with Sephiroth with an extra 300 ms of input lag. That battle demanded absolute precision every second. Because most of his attacks one shotted Sora.
@TheRedComet OMG that sounds like a nightmare.
But thats not even close to having to try and fight lingering will with input lag 😱
As a huge, huuuge Kingdom Hearts fan, who gets a big smack in the face of nostalgia every time I hear Dearly Beloved, it kills me that Kingdom Hearts for Switch is treated so poorly by Square Enix.
At least we have Melody of Memory for the music...
@TheRedComet @Snatcher I can imagine myself throwing the Switch far far away 🤣.
Did you beat Kingdom Hearts Re Chain too? I put in a lot of hours but still stuck in Twilight Town/ 12th floor I think. I couldn’t beat the boss. One time I almost did but ran low on cards and lost.
@Don Vexen? That's a huge difficulty spike for sure.
Are you moderator too here?
I rarely saw you posting comments.
Oh, sorry. 😣
I saw a Star sign on your username, not under the avatar icon.
I thought you were a moderator here.
Yes that was the boss. If I level up a lot more will it make the later bosses easier? Having the right cards in this game seems to matter much more than grinding.
@Anti-Matter It's all good!
@Don It's been a while - grinding doesn't really help, you pretty much need a lot of 0 cards to break his attacks and you need to play really conservatively if I recall correctly. He's really, really tough. Hardest boss in the game imo.
Thank you for the tip. I will keep trying.
I'm playing Dream Drop Distance on 3DS for the first time. It's good but not great. The combat is often cheap and you die needlessly at times. Plus the camera controls leave something to be desired. I wish I could just zoom out a bit. The camera often follows to close for my liking.
@Don Hey mate, yes, the HD I.5 REMIX version. In the beginning, I hated the cards system very much but after a while I got used to it and it got more intuitive. I liked the game the more I played it and I appreciated that it offered different gameplay (and it's a good visual upgrade compared to the GBA version). It's been a while for me as well but try what he says. Some boss battles are about playing the cards really fast. Of course, there is strategy involved but also a bit of luck and being fast. Vexen is a tough battle.
You know, I was "Strifing" to come up with a better Cloud pun than I did last time, but I inevitably ended up "Sora" failing.
man i feel bad that someone actually had to sit and play through the cloud versions
Hopefully everyone stop promoting this lazy cash grabbing rubbish.
@Dragwhite I am not going to buy it even with 90% discount.
So let's recap (imo) some Square Enix Recent Poor Decisions:
I mean I could be wrong on some of these (and I'm certain there's more), and perhaps being a bit harsh so forgive and correct me if so, but this is what I can recall off-top smh. Seems like too many seemingly- what should be good news from Square- far too often comes with a caveat or grain of salt... whereas tbh they should be pretty straight-forward wins and hard to mess up lol. Get it together Squeenix smh!
... Wun can only hope.
I didn't expect anything less though I am not too bothered about it. I love the Kingdom Hearts series, but I have played most of them far too many times than I would like to admit. The only one I would have some enjoyment playing again, is Kingdom Hearts 3.
A Fragmentary Passage is sentimental to me, because it was the game I played and 100%’d, when I took breaks from writing my final essay for a university.
Even if I was into cloud gaming (I live in a rural place that simply can’t keep up with that kind of demand), I already have the series elsewhere.
@TheRedComet I just read your comment now, and you put it so much better than I could’ve!
@Banjo- They could have done it. Its Sony that is not letting it physical for Nin. Song & SE still have a strong bond & Sony gives orders to 3rd party what games should be release. They still hate Nin & don't want to see them get a physical copy of the series.
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