There’s no IP quite like Kingdom Hearts, a franchise that loves to take its fans on a rollercoaster of emotions with its many plot twists and uneven writing. It’s a jumbled mess of plotlines, keywords and Disney characters, yet it’s hard not to love or get emotionally attached to the characters. Kingdom Hearts III represented an end for many of the ongoing plot threads, but some threads were left wide open. With some glaring plot holes, Kingdom Hearts III needed new story content to tie things up properly. For previous entries, this would result in a ReMix version, which would add new cutscenes, keyblades, bosses and Quality-of-Life improvements, among other goodies. Instead, we have Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind, a $29.99 DLC that aims to wrap up the story. Does Re Mind and its high cost-of-entry provide a satisfying end to Kingdom Hearts III’s story or is this just another convoluted mess?
Re Mind takes place before and after the events of Kingdom Hearts III. Opening cutscenes aim to fill in some gaps from the start of the game. Once that’s over, however, the game transitions to the ongoing plot, right after Master Xehanort’s defeat at Sora’s hands. The primary focus of the DLC is Sora’s journey to save Kairi. To do this, he’ll need to travel through time and relive the moments leading up to Xehanort’s defeat.
Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind leans heavily into the worst element of the series, time travel, not only as a plot element but as an excuse to rehash previous content. The bulk of Re Mind’s story takes players back to the Keyblade Graveyard and has them replay every boss fight. There are a few new cutscenes and even a new boss fight, but there’s not much substantially different. A few battles let you take control of popular characters like Riku, Aqua and Roxas, but it’s only for a single battle each.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything new. Perhaps the most rousing part of the DLC is a new boss fight where players control multiple characters at once. The combination of spectacle, music and gameplay creates one of the best boss fights the franchise has to offer. The other significant addition, Scala Ad Caelum, is the exact opposite, though. Despite the promise of a big new world to explore, Scala Ad Caelum is merely a distraction on the way to the next setpiece. There’s nothing to do in the world asides from completing a few simple puzzles and fighting some Heartless and Nobodies.
Re Mind wraps up after 3-4 hours with the same final cutscenes and secret endings as the base game, albeit with a handful of alterations. It’s a breathtakingly short amount of time considering the high cost and the fact that a large amount of that time is spent replaying content from Kingdom Hearts III.
After the credits roll, players can hop into the Limit Cut episode, which offers the only cutscenes, including the missing Final Fantasy characters. Despite Square Enix putting a heavy emphasis on the return of the likes of Aerith, Squall, Yuffie and Cid pre-release, they’re limited to Limit Cut. Radiant Garden, where they’re located, remains an unplayable world.
That’s not to say that Limit Cut doesn’t offer anything worthwhile. In fact, Limit Cut provides the best content of the DLC with its data boss fights. These challenging boss fights take the base Organization XIII members and gives them their full, untamed movesets. They’re exhilarating fights, but Limit Cut isn’t for the faint of heart and demands players understand Kingdom Hearts III’s mechanics to the dot. Unfortunately, the DLC’s new secret ending is tied to completing all thirteen insanely difficult fights, something most players might not have the patience for.
The base Kingdom Hearts III experience remains unchanged. Re Mind doesn’t add any additional cutscenes or content. A free update available for all Kingdom Hearts III players does, however, update the main story, add new abilities, the Oathkeeper and Oblivion keyblades, and sharing features. None of this stuff is tied to the $29.99 price tag and can be enjoyed by all players. Kingdom Hearts III remains a great game to play and this update does much to increase that enjoyment. While Re Mind may rehash a lot of content, there’s no denying that the game remains as fun to play as ever.
In 2016, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XV. Like Kingdom Hearts III, XV launched with obviously missing content, plot holes and features. Square Enix spent months updating the game with new cutscenes, quality-of-life features and playable characters, and did this all for free. It hard not to compare the $29.99 Re Mind with the free Final Fantasy XV content because what they both add is so similar. Re Mind rehashes so much Kingdom Hearts III that, when stripped away, leaves little new and worthwhile to dig into. The base game remains as fun to play as ever, but players don’t need to pay extra money to enjoy that. The new Limit Cut battles are a highlight that displays the complexity of the mechanics, but the other new additions aren’t anything special. Scala Ad Caelum and the Final Fantasy characters are deeply disappointing. The new cutscenes are nice, but they don’t answer many of the lingering questions. Kingdom Hearts III remains an excellent game, and Re Mind does allow players to jump back in for a few hours, but $29.99 is too much to ask for a DLC that barely adds anything new.