UPDATE 3/15/2020: Kingdom Hearts 3 ReMind DLC was re-reviewed on the Xbox One X. There were no changes to the review below.
Kingdom Hearts 3: ReMind is the long-awaited DLC for the thirteenth installment to the hit action JRPG series. In Kingdom Hearts 3: ReMind, you take control of Sora again after the events of the base game’s pre-credits ending scene after beating Master Xehanort on an adventure to rescue his long-time friend, Kairi. Throughout the first three-hour journey, you relive events of the final hours of Kingdom Hearts 3 through the perspective of the keyblade wielders you previously fought alongside. Along this journey, you (and Sora) learn each keyblade wielder’s fears and what they are fighting for. Along with additional story, ReMind comes with two new “Cuts”, Limit Cut and Secret Cut, adding the highly requested Data Organization fights and a super boss, respectively, to the game.
When I learned that Kingdom Hearts 3 was getting DLC, I was ecstatic. I’ve been a fan of Kingdom Hearts since Kingdom Hearts 1 launched on the PS2 back in 2002. In 2019, we not only got our first Kingdom Hearts game on Xbox, but we also learned that Square Enix was planning DLC for the game. Well it’s here, and to say that I was excited when I hit start is an understatement. This DLC is the culmination of 18 years of storytelling and will cap off the Xehanort Saga. Plus, there were many unanswered questions and loose ends that needed to be tied up, particularly with how the endings of Kingdom Hearts 3 not only were confusing but caused a major shock when Sora disappeared with no explanation as to why.
Square Enix and Tetsuya Nomura, Kingdom Hearts Project Director, answered some of those unanswered questions, but hit us with many more (that we also learned may soon be answered, as the next installments are already in production). But to get those answers, you are sent down a tedious three-hour boss rush. There are great story elements, but for the first 90 minutes, you are fighting the same bosses over again. This is where one of the biggest selling points of the DLC came into play: playing as characters other than Sora. At certain points before a boss fight, you are given the option to continue playing as Sora or choose the other keyblade wielder who is important for that moment. But I was excited to learn that if you chose that other keyblade wielder, they aren’t overpowered like your level 99 Sora with Ultima Keyblade is. No, you are at a good level to go against your opponent, giving each encounter a more tense feeling, making it more meaningful, and overall more fun. After the 90 minute recap where you see extra scenes that honestly should’ve been in the main game, you go on an even wilder journey leading to those long sought after answers like, “How did Kairi return?”, “How is Naminé back?”, and “What happened to Sora?!”. When I rolled credits on ReMind, I was crying. Those final moments explained so much and were extremely heartwarming. But the whole experience felt sour to me up to the brand-new content because it did feel so reused. It felt like just a way just to have me see some new scenes here and there that added enough context behind motivations or why certain events unfolded the way they did.
But even at the start of the DLC, more groundwork was laid out for future installments. There are two long cinematics before you even get back to Sora that explain some of Xehanort’s motivations, but also, what Xigbar was up to. These cutscenes, placed right at the beginning, felt like a weird and extremely convoluted left turn. Each also felt more like a post cutscene, “Congratulations on getting these collectibles”-type scene that the series is known for.
I’ll be honest, ReMind was fun, but my favorite part of the DLC was the addition of the Data Organization encounters in the Limit Cut. Unlike Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix, where you found the Data Organization room through exploration, the Limit Cut is a separate experience that can only be accessed after beating ReMind and is ONLY the Data Organization. This is a separate save file that places Sora back into the familiar ring of doors, each displaying a symbol of one of the Organization XIII, and you cannot leave this place. Overall, this was my favorite part of the DLC. Out of the 13 bosses available, 11 of them have been amazingly well-crafted fights. You may hear that they are unfair, but I can assure you that each fight is designed to push your skills to the limit. You must create your own openings and learn patterns quickly. Each boss has a very unique encounter with moves you remember from their original fights, but with more flair, more combos, and beautiful desperation moves. Each win against a member of the Data Organization XIII felt earned, and just felt good to complete.
As for the Secret Cut, it felt weird that Square Enix made this its own entity. There is nothing for you to do except fight the new super boss. Plus, they made the ending even more confusing with two possible endings you can achieve. I won’t say more for this cut except there needs to be answers in the next installment. The ending to this cut felt like the most convoluted and confusing piece of lore Nomura has produced, especially since it was locked behind one of the hardest bosses I’ve fought. The boss fight is a beautiful spectacle though.
I’d be lying to myself if I said I didn’t enjoy my time playing through everything. What was added made me cry and fall back in love with the series. They somehow added difficulty and challenge back into the game through post-release content that was sorely lacking during my first playthrough. ReMind made the original ending feel so much more meaningful than it did on its own, but it still felt like half of it should’ve been included at launch. Limit Cut was a fun addition that made the final bosses of the game feel more unique and more difficult than the punching bags they originally were. Secret Cut was tough and set up the next chapter for Sora and the Keyblade Wielders well. But the overall package does not seem worth the $30 price point unless you are a die-hard fan who wants all that extra story. If you are on the fence about picking up ReMind, I suggest waiting until everything is eventually available in one package. While fans did get a bow on top of the present we've waited so long for, all the additions felt hastily tied together rather than a beautiful gift.
Final Score: 7/10