-by Dylan DiBona
Hello my friends and readers, welcome back to my fairly new blog series titled So You Want to Get Into. This series is for people interested in trying out specific video game franchises, but want a little bit more knowledge and guidance on if and where they should start. Now I don’t consider myself an expert on many series, but I think I’m knowledgeable enough to guide a beginner. For the second entry we will focus on a series I used to love with all my heart, Kingdom Hearts.
What is Kingdom Hearts?
Kingdom Hearts is Action-JRPG birthed by the idea of combining Disney characters with Final Fantasy characters and worlds. It’s an insane mash-up that for the most part works. In most games you play as Sora, a boy who wields a magic key-shaped sword rightfully known as the Keyblade. Sora, with his companions Donald and Goofy, fight evil creatures known as the Heartless. Gameplay consists of running around Disney themed worlds and fighting Heartless. These aren’t the most complex games when it comes to design or gameplay, but there’s an addictive element within them.
What Game Should You Start With?
Ok so unlike many other JRPG franchises, Kingdom Hearts is a series that needs to be played in order. The franchise is dependent on every game because it tries to uphold a ridiculous story about light, darkness and hearts. To be frank, I find the story so stretched out and ridiculous that it’s no longer a real concern of mine. There’s really only one place to start, the original Kingdom Hearts on PS2.
I’m very happy to tell you that you can play every Kingdom Hearts game on your PlayStation 4 now. Pick up the 1.5 + 2.5 collection, and then the 2.8 afterwards. The names can be confusing but trust me, 1.5 + 2.5 is the way to start.
Some fans may recommend going in canonical order because of course there are prequels, but don’t bother with it. Release order is the way to go with this incredibly complex story.
If you’re insisting on canonical order, Birth by Sleep on PSP or the 1.5 + 2.5 pack is your best bet.
What Should You Expect?
A story that’s in over its head – I hate it when one person dubs another persons creation as “pretentious”, but that’s exactly what Kingdom Hearts story is. This is coming from an ex-diehard fan who really cared about each character; Kingdom Hearts is filled with mumbo-jumbo about friendship, light and darkness and having a strong heart. It’s corny as hell, and there’s something I still find endearing about that.
Fun battles – The gameplay is why I’d return to this series; slashing a bunch of enemies while summoning monsters and using spells never gets old. Donald and Goofy can be a bit stupid sometimes, but overall the AI is good. Boss battles are great and the variety of Heartless is to be commended.
Endless spin-offs – The main reason I lost most respect for the franchise is the way Square Enix has milked it endlessly. I only consider series being “milked” when the quality is lessened in favor of output for profit, and that’s exactly what happened here. Sure Birth by Sleep is great, but we didn’t need a Re:Coded, a 358/2 Days or A Fragmentary Passage. Just give us more numbered games! What really hurts the fans is what I said before, the story is reliant on basically every game. So if you don’t feel like playing a third spin-off, prepare to be a little lost sometimes. Kingdom Hearts was supposed to be an experiment by combining two very different franchises, it should’ve started and ended a very long time ago.
I’ll Sum it Up For You
Kingdom Hearts is cheesy, borderline fan-fiction cheesy, why jump into it? Aside from the fun gameplay, there are lovable characters and moments. If you were a Disney kid, (unlike me) then you will adore these games. The fanbase is a little insane, but it’s fun to be a part of. If you want a series that will last you a long time, look no further.
Go get into Kingdom Hearts.
So is anybody here thinking about getting into Kingdom Hearts? Do you have any specific questions bout the series for me? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply. As always, thanks for reading.
This article is a part of JRPG JULY, a celebratory month where I post JRPG themed articles every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.