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The Westfield Voice

Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind DLC Review


*Spoiler Warning*

A few months ago, I wrote an article based on my hopes and predictions for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III DLC expansion. A couple of the hopes I had felt silly and impossible, but I was completely wrong. Most of the predictions that I made actually came true, in one form or another. One of my biggest gripes with Kingdom Hearts III was its conclusion and learning that the DLC was going to surround that made me very excited. The original ending left many topics unanswered and it frustrated a lot of fans who wanted a simple and satisfying ending to the saga that has been ongoing since 2002. For me, Re:Mind satisfied all of my complaints with the main story and it impressed me with improvements in gameplay, as well as post game activities.

Before the actual Re:Mind expansion was dropped, Square Enix released a free update that was associated with the DLC that added new combo modifiers, new original Keyblades, and updated graphic improvements to the cutscenes within the main story. Getting to witness these fixes made me so excited for the next day to access the rest of the content, because the developers actually listened to the fans feedback and complaints when it came to the gameplay. Sora in the base game could be rather slow, especially when doing the regular combo and its finisher left him vulnerable to attacks. However, these new abilities that are instantly given to the player when they start the game makes Sora faster than before and makes completing a combo satisfying. These new abilities include: Quick Slash, Flash Step, Radial Blaster, Aerial Sweep, Aerial Dive, and Last Charge.

Quite a few of these abilities look rather familiar and it is because they are moves that were previously featured within Kingdom Hearts II. These abilities make Sora better to control and more responsive, making it easier to cancel combos and get away from danger instead of being stuck. This was one of many additions that made me thankful for this expansion.

The next day, right at 12am, the full Re:Mind DLC dropped and I was instantly on top of it. I was ecstatic to discover what exactly happened at the end of the game and see where the series is leading. The story begins giving more focus on the characters Xigbar and Luxord. By the end of the main storyline, it is learned that these two characters are both from ancient times of the Kingdom Hearts timeline and it makes it exciting to see these two interact. Later, we see Young Xehanort conversing with the Master of Masters, a mysterious figure whose identity we do not know. It is learned that the Master subtly helped steer Xehanort on his path and gave him the trademark coat that the main villains Organization XIII wears throughout the series. The last we saw of the Master before this scene was in the 2017 release of Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, a deep dive into the history of the Foretellers, ancient Keyblade wielders from the “age of fairytales”. Seeing this character interact with the main antagonist of the saga gave me full confidence that he will be the new main antagonist of the next saga.

A third cutscene explains the origins of the remaining vessels that Xehanort has required in preparation for the upcoming Keyblade war between him, the Organization, and all of the heroes in the main game. It gives important information for how Xion has returned and why they are specifically recruiting her for the battle between light and darkness. These three cutscenes are so important and were a great addition to the game as they gave us important plot that was previously unknown with Young Xehanort and the Master of Masters, it filled up plot holes that were left in the main game in the case of Xion, and it planted the seeds of how important Luxord will be for the next saga. Kingdom Hearts has always been about advancing the plot forward while at the same time answering questions, and these three scenes did it very well.

After the three introductory cutscenes, we are then shoved right into the end of the main story, right as Sora leaves to find Kairi. We are sent back to The Final World, essentially purgatory for people who have lost their hearts or are simply in between realms. Sora describes his mission to use his powers once again to bring a friend back from the dead, something that Sora did six times in the main game. He is told that he has committed a forbidden act, a nature taboo and that the price of changing history will cause him to lose his powers and be banished from the world. This serves as a great exposition for the beginning of this DLC, with Sora knowing that he will disappear, but he wants to save Kairi anyways. Sora then travels back in time to connect everyone’s hearts in order to find Kairi. The gameplay finally begins with a nerfed version of the secret boss from the base game. This boss is simple and easy to beat, but it definitely gives hints at a challenge coming later on. This is the first time that we get to utilize the new abilities in the DLC and getting to slap around Dark Inferno with these new combos make the boss even more fun to experience. We also get to face Terra-Xehanort one on one, and he is stronger than he was in the original game, showcasing new attacks.

After completing these first couple of new bosses, we are then brought back to the Keyblade Graveyard’s Labyrinth from the original game where we face all of the Organization. However, this time you are able to make the selection of what character you want to play as, such as Riku, Aqua, and Roxas. This was not featured in the original game and it makes the replay value of these battles all the more successful. I have found myself coming back to play as Roxas many times since this DLC was released. In addition to these fights, they also added new scenes that happened in between each battle to give a new perspective on what Sora after the fact is experiencing. They even altered some of the scenes to make them more cinematic and to make the scene more coherent and easier to understand, such as when Roxas makes his grand return. They added an entire section dedicated to Roxas, Xion, and Axel regaining the connection that binds them together. I won’t lie, seeing these improvements on the main story and getting to see more content of Kairi, Roxas, and Xion made me so happy because they were the characters I was most looking forward to seeing make a huge impact. They truly did them all justice within this expansion.

The next main section of this DLC involved the new Scala Ad Caelum expansion, the only major hope that I had and desperately wanted. Being able to access brand new areas of a world that is so ominous was breathtaking, and each area was developed well. They even exceeded my expectations when they decided to include a puzzle that gave us a bit of lore when it comes to the world, discussing its possible origin. After the Scala dungeon, the gameplay shifts to the rest of the Keyblade wielders who were not with Sora in Scala and they all battle the rest of the vessels Xehanort has remaining. This made for some wonderful character interactions with Terra and Riku, as well as Roxas and Ventus. These were interactions that I wished I got during the main game, but I am happy that they added it within this. Mickey also got an incredible moment in this section where he looked like an absolute force to be reckoned with after defending himself against all the vessels in order to save everyone. These are the aspects I was craving in this expansion; character defining moments and wonderful story that evokes emotion.

The main part of this DLC comes to a close as Sora finally reunites with Kairi and is able to reconnect with her and saves her. However, the final battle of the Re:Mind scenario is once again Master Xehanort, and you get to play as Kairi this time around. Kairi’s gameplay is very fun, but it does make the boss battle significantly harder if the player is at a lower level. Using Kairi’s shotlock is so much fun and her team limit with Sora is absolutely adorable. I had so much fun with this boss fight that I purposefully died a couple times so I could continue playing as Kairi. When Sora and Kairi return to the present and their current time, an extended ending is revealed, branching off of the original ending with a couple more scenes. In the end, Sora still fades away but the ending becomes more cohesive and complete as a whole, making it much easier to understand.

The DLC in its entirety does not end there however, after completing Re:Mind, the Limit Cut Episode is unlocked and it allows the player to combat against the Organization XIII in one on one data battles that are scaled up to level 99. These boss battles require patience and the ability to learn an enemy’s attack pattern. If you do not take your time and understand how these super bosses work. Brute force probably won’t get you far. These bosses are hard hitting and they are relentless, they are meant to be a huge challenge for players and Square Enix definitely delivered. These boss battles are why I praise Kingdom Hearts’s gameplay. When they want to make compelling and difficult boss battles, they shine and develop something incredible. My favorite data battles were definitely facing off against both Xion and Saix. Although Saix can be annoying, I used so many different strategies in order to win, including using summons that I previously never used throughout the game.

After completing the Limit Cut episode, the final sequence of the DLC is unlocked in the form of the Secret Episode. When accessing this menu, you are instantly brought to the pause menu where you can change Sora’s abilities, giving off the idea that a boss battle is soon to come. Once started, Sora awakens in The Final World, taking place after the events of the main story and the DLC. Sora then meets a young man known as Yozora who tries to attack him, and thus begins what I consider to be the greatest boss in Kingdom Hearts history. This battle with Yozora is spectacular because it seems like he never has a set moveset, it always seems to change every time you face him. It is possible to learn his patterns, but they won’t always happen one after the other. Adaptation is key with whatever he is doing, following memorization will not always help. There are multiple phases of his boss battle, for example, one where he sends an army of mechs after Sora, which can be easily avoidable by using dodge roll to get out of the way. Losing and winning this battle can result in two endings. One where Sora is crystalized and Yozora says that he will save him, and another where Sora wins and Yozora fades away. However, both end with Yozora waking up inside a car, somewhat confused but also with a look of determination, although he cannot make sense of what is going to happen.

The Re:Mind DLC has given Kingdom Hearts III a breath of fresh air and a new lease on life, as it has truly helped fix the confusion of the story, but as well as the depth of the gameplay and how addicting and fun it is. The game has now climbed up the rankings of best Kingdom Hearts titles, as well as one of my favorite video games of all time. Before the release of this DLC, I genuinely thought I would no longer be excited for anything new that would come out of the series, but the lengths that the director Tetsuya Nomura and the team went to excite the fans with the new upcoming story has once again reeled me back in and I could not be happier. The updates definitely made this entry into the series more satisfying and pleasing as a faithful end to the Dark Seeker saga.

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