*DISCLAIMER: This review will not be an overly critical assessment of the quality of each game in the collection. While some of that IS taken into account, this is not a full-blown review of each individual entry.*
If there's one thing "Kingdom Hearts" fans wanted just as much as "Kingdom Hearts III," it was the "Final Mix" versions of the first and second games, along with "Birth by Sleep." In 2013, the fans got their wish (or rather, part of it, because they had to wait another year for the other part) when "Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX" was released for the PlayStation 3. There was much rejoicing, as fans finally got to play the "Final Mix" version of the game, and boy, was it a faithful collection!
"Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX" upscales the games to look far better, and it's impressive to see the visuals hold up so well. The addition of new scenes and gameplay tweaks, as well as changes to the soundtrack, make things very impressive. Toss in the fact that this collection also includes "Re:Chain of Memories" and "358/2 Days" (the latter in the form of a cinematic retelling), and there's plenty of beef to this collection.
There are a few minor flaws that take away from the experience for me. For starters, "Re:Chain of Memories" hasn't aged nearly as well as the first game (blame it on the card-based battle system), and it's still as frustrating as you remember, so the addition of the game could be either a blessing or a curse. Meanwhile, some fans might be turned off by "358/2 Days" only being included as cutscenes and not in playable form.
Even so, "Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX" is a great way to experience the "Final Mix" version that fans have been waiting so long for, and it's definitely a great way to get into the series if you haven't already!
Final rating: 8 out of 10 "Great"