I’ve been having these weird thoughts lately…So, we can now play most of Kingdom Hearts on PC thanks to Square Enix teaming up with Epic Games. With some of the games in the series being more than a decade old, why would you be interested in the collection at all, and why on earth would you want to pay full price?
Over the years, I’ve had to trim down on my consoles. I’ve kept my N64, SNES, and PS1 for nostalgia, but just couldn’t really justify keeping any of my past PlayStation models. And, with so many Kingdom Hearts titles spread across different consoles, it starts to become a little messy to try to keep all of those consoles in order. It’s just not feasible for me to keep all of this junk around anymore just to play one game. When Kingdom Hearts was announced for the PC however, my heart leaped for joy. Having converted to being a PC gamer over the past few years, I still hadn’t purchased a PS4, so I never got the chance to play Kingdom Hearts 3, and with the PS5 newly released, I couldn’t justify purchasing an older console when I could just save up to buy the new one since it was backwards compatible. The problem with that, is that PS5’s are incredibly hard to secure right now with bots eating them up before consumers can as soon as sales go live. While paying full price for decade old games certainly felt pretty steep, the Kingdom Hearts collection felt like a pretty great opportunity for me personally to relive some nostalgia and finish the latest title in the series.
From PS to PC
How well do the graphics transfer to PC? Pretty well, in fact. A nice feature that the PC port has brought to the series is a slew of new game settings for some titles that can be adjusted. You can adjust everything from resolution, framerate, and quality right from the Game Settings window. The most I remember being able to configure on my PS2 was inversing analog sticks, so it was nice to see some quality of life upgrades for those that might not have a monster of a gaming PC. Every once in a while I noticed a little bit of sharpness around the edges of textures or a character’s hair while playing Kingdom Hearts 3, but the overall experience was pretty much the same as the original games and just as enjoyable.
Goofy in HD
With each of the collections, you gain access to a chunk of games from a portion of the series. Unfortunately, some of the games aren’t truly available to play. For example, in the KINGDOM HEARTS HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX collection, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded are only present in the form of cinematics. For those that missed out on playing these games, it’s a nice introduction to important parts of the Kingdom Hearts lore that they missed, but a disappointment that they won’t get to experience it themselves through playing the game. It seems a little silly to not include the game when the price of the bundle is so much, but there are already four core games that you can play included in the collection. I guess we’ll just have to be happy considering the cinematics as bonuses.
Mickey Mouse + Keyboard or Controller?
Those games that are available to play are naturally played by using a mouse and keyboard. Honestly, I lasted all of 15 minutes before deciding to swap over to a USB controller, and that made all of the difference in the world. There isn’t anything inherently terrible about playing Kingdom Hearts with a mouse and keyboard, but there’s some mechanics that just don’t naturally translate well to using a mouse, like locking onto targets. However, many of these mechanics are easily tweakable in the customization menus so you can make up for some of the strangeness. Kingdom Hearts just feels infinitely better with a controller, and that definitely still stands true for the PC port. At this point, I’m just using the PC as a gateway to introduce more heartless into my life while also trying to emulate console play. Does that mean that the port has failed? I don’t necessarily think so. There are plenty ports of games that just play better with a controller because they were designed that way initially. It’s still enjoyable, just more so with a controller.
All for One and One for All
The best part of having the collections on PC is hands down the access to all of the games on one platform. Each collection has a launcher with a grid that you can choose a game to play from so you don’t have to keep booting up each game individually. You can just select which one you’d like from the launcher screen, and start playing. I never had a Nintendo 3DS, as it just came out at a weird time in my life, so I completely missed out on Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. It may not look like it from the cover, but Dream Drop Distance is an integral part of the Kingdom Hearts story which covers Sora and Riku’s mastery exams and segues directly into Kingdom Hearts 3.
I set out to play (or watch) every single Kingdom Hearts game in the collection before I moved onto Kingdom Hearts 3 because I wanted to catch every detail. KH3 is the culmination of my childhood nostalgia, and I wanted to be able to experience it in full! I didn’t expect to find myself falling in love with Dream Drop Distance as much as I did, however. The colorful characters, revisiting old worlds and visiting new ones, a Pokemon-esque pet system with the Dream Eaters: It was delightful! Kingdom Hearts 2 has always been my favorite in the series, but Dream Drop Distance easily gives it a run for its money. I wouldn’t have been able to experience it without the PC port, so I’m thankful that its gameplay was successfully ported over in the collection.
…Like is any of this for real, or not?
How was the total experience, and is it worth the money? I would say yes, it is worth the money. You’re gaining access to a decade’s worth of polished games all in one place so that you can relive and continue on your childhood nostalgia. For newcomers to the series, it’s a fantastic option because, obviously, you’re not gated by a hundred different consoles just to experience the story for yourself. It’s incredibly easy just to boot up one of the collections and get started carving your way through armies of heartless. For veterans of the series, it’s a great way to relive your childhood for the exact same reasons. Either you didn’t have access to all of the consoles growing up, or life threw you a curveball that prevented you from seeing your favorite story play out to its fruition. The Epic Games PC port allows you to experience all of that nostalgia and more. You won’t have to give up an arm and a leg for it-maybe just a few fingers and share a paopu fruit.