Where to Start

With Kingdom Hearts 4 was first announced, it took the internet by storm. After the Xehanort saga ended, many fans were wondering where the series would go next. But for those who are new to the Kingdom Hearts franchise, there are 13 games that you would need to go through to understand the lore/characters.

I’m going to talk about all 11 games in the order that I believe would be best for the user to understand the games. This may contain some spoilers, so please proceed with caution. If you want to play any of these games, the 1.5, 2.5, and 3 bundles are all available on different platforms.

Kingdom Hearts 1 Final Mix

To start the list is the OG Kingdom Hearts. It’s the beginning of Sora and friends adventure. This is the basis and foundation of the game. I truly think this is the best game to start because you understand Sora, Riku, and Kairi’s characters and meet your party members of Donald and Goofy. as well as the Disney and Final Fantasy characters you meet. Thus, the trio of Sora, Donald, and Goofy begin.

Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories

The second game for this list is Re: Chain of Memories. Originally released for the Game Boy Advanced, and later remade for the PS2, this game was considered a “spin-off” because it didn’t hold the main title. However, I don’t consider them as spin-offs, but they’re more like mini-arcs. The story for this, after the end of KH1, Sora, Donald, and Goofy find a strange castle. They go investigate it and the deeper they go, the more memories will be forgotten while stumbling into Organization XIII.

The only gripe that I have with this game is the new battle system. It’s a card-based attack RPG. This means Sora can move around freely, but enter an RPG arena when a battle starts. It’s a good thing to try at first, but I would recommend watching the cutscenes just to get through this one.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

This entry is essentially Kingdom Hearts 1.9. What I mean by this, this game is about Roxas. Roxas is an important to Sora’s arc. But I won’t get too much into detail about this. However, this game comes before Kingdom Hearts 2. You play as Roxas, who just got intiated by the Organization XIII to help Kingdom Hearts (an actual object) and you fight along side the organization to bring hearts to Kingdom Hearts.

This game was originally released for the Nintendo DS. However, in the 1.5 HD collection, the game was remade into cutscenes into full HD and text scenes to summarize the story. This one may give you a tear jerker.

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Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix

Easily one of the best games in the franchise. Kingdom Hearts 2 is the official next mainline title for the franchise. After the events of Chain of Memories, Sora wakes up and explores the whole new world who need his help fighting the heartless while encountering the nobodies and Organization XIII. Sora and friends are still on the hunt for Kairi and Riku.

That’s all I can summarize about this game. The game has so much improvement into fighting mechanics from the last mainline entry. While adding new abilities and summons, this game still holds up to this day and have so much replay-ability However, this is just the start, there’s a lot more to come.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix

Now its time to go back before the events of Kingdom Hearts 1. Birth by Sleep is one of the prequels that sort of have a big importance. You play as three characters, Ventus, Terra and Aqua. They have three different perspectives. But still end up on the same ending. This was really a unique game. Here you get to meet the big baddie, Xehanort

Originally on the PSP, this game caught my expectations by surprise. What was really nice was seeing the events of this game. Playing this game leaves the player on a cliffhanger… so for number 6…

Kingdom Hearts: 0.2 Birth by Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage

What a title. Possibly one of the longest title of in the whole franchise. But this game follows the ending of Birth by Sleep and see how the Birth by Sleep story connects with the very first game of the franchise. I can’t spoil who is in this game because it is MAJOR spoilers.

This game was also had some significance. This was in the 2.8 Collection bundle. This bundle contained one other game and cutscenes. But this game specifically was originally the opening title card for Kingdom Hearts 3 as well as the major graphics change from the Kingdom Shader to Unreal Engine 4.

Kingdom Hearts: Union X/Dark Road

Time to go further back, way before the events of Birth by Sleep. Union X is all about the keyblade war. A long time ago, keyblade wilders joined a team who was lead by one of five foreteller keyblade masters. The 2nd part of this game is Dark Road. Its about a young master Xehanort and young master Eraqus (Terra, Aqua and Ventus’s master). This game shows the events of them being younger and the adventure they had before one succumbed to darkness.

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This game was originally released as an online PC game exclusive to Japan, however was turned into a mobile gatcha game around the world. Later on, Dark Road was added as an expansion for mobile. However, the game are no longer able to play online. You can still view cutscenes and character designs, but no online functionality.

Kingdom Hearts: X Back Cover

This entry was the first official original story but released as a movie. No sort of text just straight cutscenes. This entry follows the foreteller keyblade masters and their specific mission. However, the Master of Masters informed that there’s a traitor amongst them and they need to figure out. This entry is definitely worth watching alone.

Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded

Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded is a port from a mobile game exclusively in Japan. The story follows as Jimminy Cricket finds a mysterious entry in his journal, and when taking it to Mickey, he reveals that the journal is filled with bugs that are slowly erasing the journal entries. From there, Mickey awakens Data Sora to traverse the journal to decipher the mysterious message.

This game was one of the weaker arcs. Just like 358/2, it was a cutscene as it was ported to the DS and for the 2.5 HD Collection, it was made into a “movie” with text. The ending of this game led to the next game. The game that holds Kingdom Hearts 2 and 3 together.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

The game that was probably one of the best mini arcs there is. Dream Drop Distance is following both Sora and Riku after Master Yensid summoned them to take the Mark of Mastery Exam. The same exam that Terra and Aqua took to see if they are Keyblade masters. However, Yensid warn Sora and Riku that after they defeated Xehanort’s Heartless and Nobody, they need to be ready for Xehanort’s reawakening. Sora and Riku travel to worlds that have fallen asleep to reawaken them whist facing the dream eaters that are taking over the world.

Originally released on the 3DS and ported to PS4, Xbox One and PC, this story still holds up. This is the major bridge between Kingdom Hearts 2 and 3. After this game, we get to see the conclusion of the Xehanort Saga come to an end.

Kingdom Hearts 3/Re:Mind

The second to last installment of the Saga. Kingdom Hearts 3 brings the main characters we see throughout the series fight against the true Organization XIII led by Xehanort. As you travel through the Disney World, you fight against the Organization one by one. Sora will finally be up against Xehanort for one final battle to free Kingdom Hearts.

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After the end of this game, the DLC, Re:Mind, follows the story from a different perspective. It also adds data battles and different playable characters for the main story.

This game was the cultivating definition of a saga ending. However, the fan base was split due to the ending of the game leaving some underwhelmed. The only way I felt for this was during the DLC, not the mainline story. This is one of the best endings to a game I’ve played (nothing still can beat Kingdom Hearts 2 though).

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory

One last game in the Xehanort saga is Melody of Memory. Just like the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy game, this one is a rhythm game. The first half of the game recaps all the stories from that Sora and friends have adventured whist the second half is new content.

In my opinion, this is another weaker entry to the saga. This still leaves so many questions on what happened at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3 that we don’t get to see it resolved at the end of this.

The End of a Saga, New Chapter Begins

On April 22nd, 2022, Kingdom Hearts 4 was announced by surprise on the Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary video showcasing upcoming content for the franchise.

The surprise was that we were getting Kingdom Hearts 4! Which took everyone by surprise. The internet was going wild about this. Speculation and theories started coming out what new Disney Worlds can happen. Until we can get more information, it’s just all speculation.

Hopefully this timeline was pretty straightforward. It’s just a waiting game to open on what’s going to happen for Sora’s next adventure.

All of the Kingdom Hearts are available on all platforms through 1.5 Bundle, 2.5 Bundle, 2.8 Bundle and 3/Re:Mind bundle.

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