Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix is a Japan-exclusive reissue of Kingdom Hearts II, that uses primarily English voice acting with Japanese text, subtitles and controls, as well as bonus content.
Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix was rumored in middle-late 2006. Though Nomura did not confirm its development, he stated that if a Final Mix version were to be created for other countries, he would use a "trump card".
In September 2006, Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix was finally announced, and released on March 29, 2007, hitting stores all across Japan. Currently no official plans have been announced for release in the United States or other countries, despite the topic being popular across Kingdom Hearts-related forums. There were rumors of a fall 2008 release in EGM magazine and 1up.com, although this did not pan out. The director of the Kingdom Hearts series, Tetsuya Nomura, has quoted, "The Final Mix games are only Japanese exclusives. In due time I may release a Final Mix into other countries, but Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix are not my choice."
In October 2013, Disney Video Games announced Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX, including English versions of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and remastered cinematics from Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. The game is to be released some time in 2014.
Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories are also notable for being the final games Tetsuya Nomura made for the PlayStation 2.
Initial previews and announcements
Scans of magazine articles and preview videos appeared on numerous websites in the weeks leading up to the game's release. They included additional scenes involving the three mysterious armored knights at the end of the Kingdom Hearts II secret ending. Later screenshots showed one of these three knights in combat with Sora, Donald, and Goofy. The being serves as a secret boss with incredible power and an enormous amount of HP, much like the Enigmatic Man from Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix. The preview videos also showed that battling Roxas would be possible as opposed to the cutscene in the original game. Square also revealed that data replicas of each member of Organization XIII could be challenged in a secret area in Hollow Bastion, independent of the story line.
Voice-acting on Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix was announced to be mostly in English, with Japanese subtitles, like Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, but the new scenes used Japanese voice-acting when viewed in Theater Mode and were voiceless when viewed in-game with Japanese subtitles. This is most likely due to the new scenes featuring Organization XIII members from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, whom did not yet have English voice actors.
- A new difficulty mode called Critical Mode.
- A new Drive Form called "Limit Form" has abilities from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, and also bears resemblance to Sora's outfit from the original game.
- A new mini-game called Puzzle, which unlocks special items.
- New cutscenes based on the Kingdom Hearts II novels were added; some involve Roxas, including scenes of him conversing with Axel in Twilight Town while wearing the Organization's signature black coat. There are also additional scenes of Roxas and Riku, including shots of their second battle, where Riku takes on the form of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Naminé leaving with Axel, Riku and Sora talking before they battle 2nd Armored Xemnas, Xigbar and Zexion talking about Xemnas, and the Organization discussing their plans and commenting on incidents like Axel's death.
- All of the new cutscenes are silenced and only the Japanese subtitles can allow one make out what the conversation is about. However, this is only for the initial playthrough and English audio track. All scenes have full voicing for the Japanese audio track when viewed in Theater Mode.
- Zexion's weapon is revealed, a large book called a "Lexicon", which he can use to trap his enemies in an alternate reality.
- Character models for Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story are present in the game data of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, but were unused.
- Members of Organization XIII that were eliminated in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories can be found and fought in the various worlds of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. They each use different fighting tactics from the ones they employed in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. They include Vexen, Larxene, Marluxia, Lexaeus, and Zexion.
- An area of Radiant Garden, called the Cavern of Remembrance, can be accessed. It houses a series of battle simulations with each member of Organization XIII. This is a separate feature from the secret battles with the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Organization members in that the simulation allows the player to repeat any battle with an Organization member as often as they like. The simulation features highly powered-up Organization members, similar to the level bonuses offered to enemies in the Hades Paradox Cup.
- A battle against the mysterious Lingering Will can be unlocked following completion of the main story line at Disney Castle.
- Battles with the Mushroom XIII can be fought.
- The battle between Sora and Roxas in the Station of Awakening is made playable.
- A "Theater Mode" - menu where previously viewed cutscenes can be watched again with either English or Japanese voices by pressing L2 and R2.
- A new secret ending video titled "Birth by Sleep", a teaser for Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.
- Secret features can be accessed in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix by clearing Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and vice versa.
- Roxas' story is expanded in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, including his fight with Riku.
- A Crown, Bronze, Silver or Gold, can appear on Sora's head for defeating the following in any order:
- All Mushroom XIII Heartless
- All Data Battles
- Lingering Will
- Twilight Town Changes:
- Conditions to end the battle in front of the station have changed (Either connect 100 hits, go below 30% health, or battle for ninety seconds)
- Addition of Limit Form Mirror in the Mysterious Tower
- Hollow Bastion Changes:
- After the event with Sephiroth, a scene with Yuna and the others flying out of a hole in the castle wall is shown
- Land of Dragons Changes:
- The morale gauge depletes at quicker intervals requiring the player to finish the missions faster.
- Value of “surprise attack” spirit gauge has been reduced
- Carts and boxes don’t reappear after leaving the screen and returning (so you can’t get drive balls so easily)
- Beast's Castle Changes:
- Conditions to end the battle in the Living Room have changed (Either connect 100 hits, go below 30% health, or battle for ninety seconds)
- Cogsworth gets tired more easily
- Olympus Coliseum Changes:
- The time limit for which the player must defeat Pete, while protecting Megara, has changed from 2 minutes to ninety seconds
- Disney Castle changes:
- Enemies do not drop prize boxes while protecting Minnie
- Timeless River changes:
- Changes have been made to the four time window battles
- Agrabah changes:
- Conditions to end the battle in the street have changed (Either connect 100 hits, go below 30%, or battle for ninety seconds)
- The battle at the Sandswept Ruins has changed (enemies do not drop prize boxes and the time to activate the switches after examining the monument has increased from thirty to forty-five seconds)
- Halloween Town changes:
- New costumes and music in Christmas Town
- 100 Acre Wood changes:
- Time for Episode 4 changed from three to five minutes
- Episode 5 rules have been changed
- Drive Forms are available in minigames
- The World That Never Was changes:
- Xigbar changes his gun movement when attempting to snipe you from above.
- Addition of Critical Mode:
- Compared To Standard and Proud, enemies inflict twice the damage, except for the Mushroom XIII who inflict 1.25× the damage
- Several abilities are granted on the third day (Reaction Boost, Finishing Plus, Draw, 2x Lucky Lucky, MP Hastera and EXP Zero)
- Roxas's initial AP is 50
- AP increases by increments of 3 instead of 2
- Compared to Standard and Proud, HP and MP quantities from Bonus Levels are halved (You only get sixty instead of 120 HP)
- Compared to Standard and Proud, EXP gained is three-quarters of the normal amount
- Save file displays "Critical Mode"
- Unlocking the "Birth by sleep" video just requires you to complete the main story.
- In the PS2 Browser screen, there is a symbol attached to the save data file on the memory card
- Filling the Drive Gauge is easier and the maximum "level" for the Drive Gauge has increased to nine
- New weapons and accessories:
- Winner's Proof
- Executive's Ring
- Highest Ribbon
- Spell's Relic+
- Akashic Record+
- Frozen Pride and Frozen Pride+
- Centurion and Centurion+
- Shade Archive and Shade Archive+
- Full Bloom and Full Bloom+
- Shock Charm and Shock Charm+
- Two Become One
- Pleasure Mushroom, Pleasure Mushroom+, Precious Mushroom , Precious Mushroom+, Premium Mushroom
- Happy Mushroom, Happy Mushroom+, Palatial Mushroom, Palatial Mushroom+, Limited Mushroom
- Kingdom Hearts II FM was released in a special combo pack that included Re:Chain of Memories titled Kingdom Hearts II FM+. Numerous fans have mistakenly quoted Kingdom Hearts II FM+ as the title of KH2 Final Mix.
- Kingdom Hearts II FM added the most additional content of any of the Kingdom Hearts Final Mixes so far.
- Kingdom Hearts II FM was ranked first among Kingdom Hearts fans, with the original Kingdom Hearts II earning second place.
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