It's a little odd to say this now, since I already knew what was in the game, and even played through it on an emulator before. But playing FM at not a horrible frame rate, with everything fully translated and voiced in english, it really put in stark relief how much better all the additions make this game. Of course the new optional bosses are all good stuff (possibly my favorite addition), but I won't talk about that, because they aren't as necessary as some other things. *mild content and story spoilers below* I was really excited when vanilla KH2 came out, but after the new-ness wore off, I was kind of underwhelmed. Aside from a few curveballs, it was a very straightforward, almost obligatory sequel, and with the exception of a few boss fights, combat was really easy. The extra scenes work wonders for fleshing out the universe and its characters. The Organization is cool and all, but most of them you barely got any sense of, so it wasn't that satisfying to beat them. Seeing their round room discussions let you see more of them as people, and not just how they are when they're on the job, messing with you. As someone who played Chain of Memories before KH2 was released, I felt slightly disappointed by how little recognition that game got. Obviously KH2 picked up a little ways after CoM left off, but it seemed like it was tip-toeing around talking about it as much as possible (probably wise, given sales, but frustrating nonetheless). As you may recall, Final Mix was originally released alongside ReCoM, so it was reasonable to assume that pretty much everyone with FM played it, which allowed them to throw in a few references to Castle Oblivion, as well as having a few appearances from the other Org members (I think I had a couple friends who were confused about what the "XIII" in Organization XIII meant). Those little throwbacks, along with the hints to Birth by Sleep, made it feel less like a one-shot, standalone title, and more like a satisfying entry in a series. More than anything else though, the playable Roxas fight and the new scenes that followed felt like the most necessary inclusion. Having an animated fight sequence was a first for the series, and on that level it was a really awesome moment, albeit a bit of a missed opportunity. Getting to fight the guy who's a better version of you is always a top-tier video game moment. As is getting to fight another playable character. Still one of the better moments in the game, but the overhaul it got for FM made it hands down my favorite part. In no small part because of the music change. It went from a sort of ominous, yet tame theme, to a powerful and sad tone. Instead of presenting Roxas as an evil character, it made him look really tragic, which is a lot more accurate. And one of the following scenes gave much needed closure for both Roxas and Axel, in what is one of the most touching parts of the series. I have been highly critical of Kingdom Hearts II in the past, and to a degree I still am. It's definitely not perfect: for one thing, I think it could have used a bit of editing. 11+ hours of cutscenes is a bit much. Looking past that however, I think it's come a long way since its first release, which I consider to be the most disappointing game in the series. It's gone from being one of my least favorites to one of my favorites, and now it actually feels like a worthy sequel to me. I want to know if anyone else had a similarly transformative experience. I understand a lot of people love vanilla KH2, and many hail it as the best in the series, so I'm probably in the minority here. But either way, I'm glad we finally got Final Mix internationally, and I'm glad I changed my mind about it.