Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix is a reissue of Kingdom Hearts II that contains bonus content.
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix was rumored in middle-late 2006. Though Tetsuya 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. 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."
On October 14, 2013 at D23 Expo it was announced that Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX contained Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix along with Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded as HD cinematics and was released on October 2, 2014 in Japan and was released internationally 2 months later.
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 at Hollow Bastion and fought independently of the storyline.
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 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.
- Most textures are redone with better definition and quality.
- The addition of a new Drive Form called "Limit Form", granting Sora access to abilities from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, and bearing resemblance to his outfit from the original game.
- A new mini-game called Puzzle, which unlocks special items.
- Many Heartless have received palette swaps.
- 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.
- Zexion's weapon is revealed - a large book called a "Lexicon", which he can use to trap his enemies in an alternate reality.
- The battle between Sora and Roxas in the Station of Awakening is made into a fully playable boss fight.
- Members of Organization XIII that were eliminated in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories can be found and fought again in the various worlds of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, in the form of "Absent Silhouettes". They each use wildly different fighting tactics from the ones employed in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. They include Vexen, Larxene, Marluxia, Lexaeus, and Zexion.
- A new series of Heartless, the Mushroom XIII can be challenged to duels in the forms of various mini-games for special prizes and rewards.
- A new section of Radiant Garden, called the Cavern of Remembrance, can be accessed. It houses entirely new, very difficult Heartless to battle for unique prizes, and when conquered, grants access to the Garden of Assemblage, a room containing a series of battle simulations with each member of Organization XIII. This is a separate feature from the Absent Silhouette battles 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 a mysterious enemy dubbed the Lingering Will can be unlocked at Disney Castle. It is considered the most challenging fight in the entire game.
- The addition of a "Theater Mode" - menu where previously viewed cutscenes can be watched again with either English or Japanese voices, switched by pressing L2 and R2.
- A new secret ending video titled "Birth by sleep" can be unlocked; 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.
- A Crown, Bronze, Silver, or Gold, can appear on Sora's head for completing the following in any order:
- 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 a Limit Form mirror in the Mysterious Tower
- Limit Form is granted to Sora upon sealing the world's Keyhole
- Hollow Bastion Changes:
- After the event with Sephiroth, a scene with Yuna and the others flying out of a hole in the castle wall (leading to the Cavern of Remembrance) is shown
- During the battle with Demyx, the time limit for defeating ten water Forms has been increased from ten seconds to thirteen
- Land of Dragons Changes:
- The Morale Gauge depletes at quicker intervals requiring the player to finish the missions faster.
- Value of “Surprise Attack” Morale Gauge has been reduced
- The destructible fireworks, barrels, and wagons don’t immediately reappear upon changing rooms
- Beast's Castle Changes:
- Conditions to end the battle in the Parlor have changed (Either connect 100 hits, go below 30% health, or battle for ninety seconds)
- Cogsworth's Stamina depletes faster
- Olympus Coliseum Changes:
- The time limit for which the player must defeat Pete while assisted by Hercules has changed from two minutes to ninety seconds
- Disney Castle changes:
- Enemies do not drop prize boxes while escorting Minnie
- Timeless River changes:
- Changes have been made to the four time window battles
- Agrabah changes:
- Conditions to end the battle in the city's 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 exclusive to Christmas Town
- 100 Acre Wood changes:
- Time limit for Episode 4 has been increased from three minutes to five
- Episode 5 rules have been changed
- Drive Forms, or Limit Form specifically, are available during minigames
- The World That Never Was changes:
- Xigbar has a different animation when attempting to snipe Sora from above.
- Addition of Critical Mode:
- Compared to Standard, enemies inflict twice as much damage, with the exception of the Mushroom XIII, whom inflict 1.25× damage
- Compared to Standard and Proud, Sora inflicts 1.25× as much 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 the other difficulties, HP and MP quantities from Bonus Levels are halved (Sora may only obtained a maximum of 60 HP, as opposed to the usual 120)
- Compared to the other difficulties, EXP gained is three-quarters of the normal amount
- Save file displays "Critical Mode"
- In the PS2 Browser screen, there is a symbol attached to the save data file on the memory card
- Unlocking the "Birth by sleep" secret video requires the player to only obtain the Gold Crown
- Filling the Drive Gauge is easier and the maximum amount of points for the Drive Gauge has increased from seven to nine
- New weapons and accessories:
- Shaman's Relic+, obtained from the Necromancer Heartless
- Centurion and Centurion+, synthesized after its recipe is obtained from Lexaeus's Absent Silhouette
- Plain Mushroom, Plain Mushroom+, Precious Mushroom , Precious Mushroom+, and Premium Mushroom, obtained from satisfying Mushroom XIII's No. I, III, V, VII, IX, and XI at various ranks
- Akashic Record+, obtained from the Runemaster Heartless
- Frozen Pride and Frozen Pride+, synthesized after its recipe is obtained from Vexen's Absent Silhouette
- Joyous Mushroom, Majestic Mushroom, Majestic Mushroom+, and Ultimate Mushroom, obtained from satisfying Mushroom XIII's No. II, IV, VI, VIII, X, and XII at various ranks
- 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.
- Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories were the final games Tetsuya Nomura made for the PlayStation 2.
- Character models for Buzz Lightyear and Woody summons from Toy Story are present in the game data of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, but were unused.
- This video shows the graphical differences in both versions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qkr21oREfc