You might have heard a few thousand times that Kingdom Hearts III releases this month. The last time this series had a “proper” sequel was 2005, meaning the last time the series had a numbered title. For better or for worse, Square Enix spread out the Kingdom Hearts love across various platforms. GameBoy Advanced. PSP. Mobile. DS. 3DS. It was insane. I’m STILL shocked Kingdom Hearts III is releasing before a Vita title. I swore that would be next, but obviously that will never happen now.
Thankfully, Square Enix was kind enough to re-release all of these spin-off titles into numerous PS3 and PS4 packages. They were even nice enough to condense both Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded into a series of cutscenes. Neither of those would have translated to a console very well, and I’d argue that Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance barely translates well. But at least fans can play/watch all of the games in one place now.
Newer fans will never know the pain the rest of us have endured trying to learn the whole story of Kingdom Hearts across so many handhelds. Normally you can skip spin-offs in a series, because they’re, well, spin-off, but it’s never been the case with Kingdom Hearts. Those who started Kingdom Hearts II had no idea why Sora was asleep for a year or why Jiminy’s Journal only had the words “Thank Namine.” scrawled in it. But back then, not everyone was as insane as me who was willing to invest in different handhelds to play the additional games.
And even then, the fact that each game was on a different platform was not the only deterrent for fans. Each game also completely revamped the gameplay. Chain of Memories turned the action-RPG combat into a card game. KH2 went back to the action-RPG formula, but changed it up. 358/2 Days introduced the backpack mechanic for combat. I could go on an on. On the one hand, it gave each game a unique voice, but on the other, it was a giant pain in the ass. If your first experience with the series or the series’ spin-offs is with the collections, then obviously you’ll never know the pain of the backpack.
As such, I’ve taken it upon myself to rank all of these Kingdom Hearts games. And no, Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage is not included as that’s essentially Birth by Sleep DLC.
Well I know all of you have opinions about what I hath said, so bring it on! Just know you’re all wrong.