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I Finally Finished the Kingdom Hearts Series

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As of last night my wife and I (I will now say "we") officially finished the Kingdom Hearts series! This is a huge accomplishment for us, and one we've been working on together for the past three year as we awaited the launch of Kingdom Hearts 3.

If you're uninitiated, the first game originally came out in 2002 for the Playstation 2. The series has since expanded with games releasing on the DS, 3DS, PS3, and PS4.  Since their original launches, all of the games are now available in some form or another on the PS4, contained with the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. (Links are to the official KH website)

The Order to Play Kingdom Hearts Games

The order we recommend for playing the Kingdom Hearts games is as follows, and this is the order we'll share our thoughts. Note that this is not the chronological order, but rather the order we feel the series presents itself best in, and the order where everything will make most sense -- if that's possible.


Play Order

Game Title

Found In


Kingdom Hearts Final Mix HD

KH HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories HD

KH HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix HD

KH HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (HD theater) 

KH HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix HD

KH HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (HD theater)

KH HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD

KH HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep - a fragmentary passage

KH HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts x Back Cover

KH HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (PS4)


Kingdom Hearts Union X

iOS Phone Game (KH X Back Cover)

Our Thoughts on the Kingdom Hearts Games 

(Without spoilers or much detail. Just general impressions.)

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix HD

The very first Kingdom Hearts game to ever release. As far as RPGs go, this was quire confusing. What we love most is probably the strong ties to Disney it presents, with its Final Fantasy tendencies. Combat is 'ok' and the game feels a bit 'floaty', but the hardest part to get over will be the raw difficulty and understanding just what is going on and what you're supposed to be doing. You aren't given much lead here.

Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories HD

This was our absolute least favorite of the entire series. The game presents itself as more of a card game with its combat. You draw cards from a deck that shuffles to engage in combat. It's also a significant recap of the first game. The bosses are frustrating, the game itself is confusing, and it's hard to stick with it.

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix HD

KH2 is where things really started to pick up for us, but not until after you stick it out past the first part of the game where you're playing as another character called Roxas (whose identity ultimate becomes key). The combat got soooo much better here, and the story started to coalesce. So I guess you could say a lot of the confusion began to coalesce too. We really enjoyed KH2's gameplay.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (HD Theater)

If you weren't completely lost by now, first congratulations, and second ... you're going to be. 358/2 Days is a movie you can watch now rather than play the DS game.

  • Days 1-24 take place at the same time as the finale of Kingdom Hearts.
  • Days 25-27 take place at the same time as Chain of Memories.
  • Days 28-358  take place before Kingdom Hearts II

Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix HD

Birth By Sleep was originally difficult for us because it's the first game where you're not playing as Sora and his friends. At first we thought this was some sort of spinoff and a game we wouldn't enjoy at all. It was towards the end of the game when suddenly it clicked that this was the most important game of the entire Kingdom Hearts series, and the linchpin of the entire series. 

You start by playing 3 completely unknown characters who will, by the end of the game, become the most monumentally important names and faces you'll see. You also end up fighting the main villain of the entire series, and see his plan set into motion.

It was here that we finally made sense of the story and started to piece everything together. By the end, we loved it.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (HD Theater)

Another movie, and this time much harder to get through as you refill the pages of Jimini's journal that were wiped clean by Namine. However hard to watch, the story is crucial as it reveals more of the major plot of the villain and reveals the Nobody and Heartless version as it starts to tie together Xehanorts master plan.

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD

I have to admit that this was hard to get through for the first 3/4 of the game, but not because the story was confusing. By now the story was clear. What really sucked were the "drop" mechanics forcing you to swap between Sora and Riku as well as the "spirit" pets you had to mess with. However, by the final world the story was once again so utterly important it was mind-blowing.  DDD brings in BBS's story to give you the 100% complete vision of everything going on, and setting the stage for KH3.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage

Birth By Sleep follows the journey of Aqua, one of those "unknown characters" introduced in Birth By Sleep. Not to spoil too much, but her journey through the Darkness isn't a fun one for her. She's beaten down, completely emo, but remarkably now in gorgeous HD! Fragmentary Passage is the first game on the Unreal 4 engine, and pretty much gives you a perfect idea of what KH3 will play like. I have to say... we're stoked. The combat is A++ compared to anything else in the series, magic is finally what it should be, and finisher / combo playstyles from BBS are back. We seriously hope this is what KH3 feels like.

In general this is also an important game for the minor story cues you get. Most of the game is a flashback to the time Aqua spent in the Darkness BEFORE the ending of KH1, but you get an idea of what Riku, Mickey, and others were up to. The cutscenes AFTER the gameplay (and before) set up KH3 entirely, and give you an idea of where the story is now going.

Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover / Union X

This is where the phone game comes in (the one my wife plays every single day and loves) and where people like Graev (and so some extent myself) completely check out. For the most part, Union X is 100% skippable, and a big reason why they released Back Cover. It's a F2P game with a hard-to-commit-to story presentation. However, it does have some implications for KH3 and if you're going to consider yourself a fan of the series then it makes sense to at least commit the time to watch the movie. The game takes place before the great keyblade war, during, and then after. There's a lot of information which may come into play about the 13 Darknesses.

Finally Mastering the Kingdom Hearts Story

After all of these games I can now say I am finally in complete lockstep with the story. At this moment in time I feel like I could answer any questions people have, but I'm holding on to it by a thread. I know what the "X's" in people's names mean, what Kingdom Hearts is, everyone in the organization, and what every incarnation/possession/clone/etc of every bad guy means.

My favorite characters are definitely Axel/Lea, Mickey, and Riku, Aqua, and Sora. Maybe in that order. As the 7 Lights and 13 Darknesses begin to be revealed (we definitely have our list figured out already) that all may change...

 If I can just hold on to this for THREE MORE WEEKS!

  • It’s one hell of a series to keep track off, but I’ve been in love with it and it’s characters for 15+ years (damn, now I feel old). It’s amazing how a relatively simple game like the original Kingdom Hearts gave rise to such a complex story spread through this many games and years.

    • That relatively simple game kicked my butt at times. 😛 At times I felt like the story wasn’t the only thing needing a wiki to explain! I agree though, amazing story and in a way I’m glad I have only been a die-hard fan for 3 years. I can’t imagine waiting 15.

  • I loved Kingdom Hearts & Kingdom Hearts 2. I was excited for KH3… 13 years ago.

    I got a headache just reading the titles of all those games/movies, let alone trying to make sense of the convoluted story. It’s a shame, these games were great lighthearted fun but for some reason the developers doubled down on crazy “serious” backstory, making something even more convoluted than the most confusing Final Fantasy plot. What happened to Sora, Donald, and Goofy just having fun and saving different Disney worlds?

    It doesn’t help that I haven’t really kept up with Disney movies over the years. Part of the reason the first 2 games were great was because they were filled with all these beloved characters of my childhood. I haven’t even seen half of the movies that KH3 is based on (ie Frozen, Tangled, Wreck-It-Ralph).

    I really wish I was excited for this game, but at this point unless the reviews are amazing I think it’ll be a pass. Oh, and Sora’s voice acting in the trailers is just so painfully cringey. Japanese developers still really seem to struggle with getting good voice acting for their Western releases.

    • What’s so great about the story is that Sora, Donald, and Goofy really are just saving different Disney worlds. Sora is that innocence and pure of heart. He’s not serious at all — and that’s what gets him in Dream Drop Distance. Setting off into KH3 he’s back to that exact same innocence.

      Seems most of the serious story is being handled by Mickey, Riku, Yen Sid, Kairi, Aqua, and Lea right now.

      What’s funny is that the voices are the same voices from 2002! It’s an all-star cast in its own way. Haley Joel Osment is the voice of Riku, David Gallighar is the voice of Riku, etc. Almost every Disney character was voiced by their original actor — even from Beast to the Little Mermaid. I was always geeking out along the way over the voices!

  • How you were able to muster the willpower to continue this series to the end is the stuff of gods. Kudos!

    I look forward to seeing your thoughts (hopefully in-depth 🙂 ) on the Kingdom Hearts. I’ll never find the time (or willpower) to play/finish it, so I will live vicariously through you!