May this cheat sheet be your guiding key
Those of you who have been around here for a while, know that I love a good cheat sheet. I have previously written quite a lengthy post here on Nerd Out Word Out regarding Studio Ghibli films and how to get into the studio’s back catalogue . Due to recent events: fan speculation regarding the game’s release date and the fact I’ve started playing through KH2 again. I’ve decided to create a Kingdom Hearts cheat sheet for those of you wanting to get into the series, those who need a refresher before KH3 hits shelves or for those of you like me who have been committed players of the series for quite some time now however because there’s so many confusing instalments and game titles need to be reminded what the hell is going on in the series.
I’m going to be dividing the games into sections of what I believe to be the most important/helpful to players going into Kingdom Hearts 3. However, just a disclaimer: If you want to get the most out of Kingdom Hearts 3, it’s wise to look into every game in this list, however if you’re simply not interested in some elements, that’s okay too. Not every instalment is for everyone.
For the official timelines refer to these charts
(A few games are missing off of these charts but you get the idea)
With a mild spoiler warning in place, let’s begin with the cheat sheet!
The Ones You Will Be Extremely Lost Without
Undoubtedly, there are certain games within a series that if skipped will leave you with more questions than answers and some games that you can gloss over as they only entertain the big fans at this point. These 3 games are crucial if you are serious about getting into Kingdom Hearts.
Kingdom Hearts (2002)
I know it’s obvious but usually the best place to start is with the first release. The first Kingdom Hearts game was released on PS2 in 2002 and introduced us to Sora, Kairi, Riku, etc. as well as the general lore of Kingdom Hearts. “But how am I supposed to play this?! I don’t own a PS2 anymore!” fear not, person who clearly lives under a rock. The original Kingdom Hearts game as well as pretty much all the others have had HD remasters on PS3 and PS4 so now you have no excuse! In this game you’re introduced to everyone’s favourite Disney characters from Hercules, Ariel, Aladdin, Peter Pan and so many more! This game should be your first call to action as otherwise you won’t know why anyone is doing anything!
Kingdom Hearts 2 (2005)
In my opinion, you should start your Kingdom Hearts journey with 1 & 2 as they contain the most story wise. Kingdom Hearts 2 takes place around a year after the original game. You are reunited with Sora, Donald and Goofy just to name a few. In the game you revisit some of the worlds you encountered in Kingdom Hearts 1, but the majority of worlds are new with the addition of a Mulan themed world, a Beauty and the Beast themed world, a Lion King world and many more.
You’ll also be introduced to some new characters that everybody in game knows, except you. This is because of the Game Boy Advance game: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories released in between KH1 & 2 back in 2004 as well as the updated PS2 version released in 2007: Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories but more on that later. Kingdom Hearts elites will think differently but from my own experience, skipping the GBA game before playing Kingdom Hearts 2 worked out fine, I went back and played it after and didn’t enjoy it very much so I’m glad I didn’t force myself to play it before playing the second game.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2010)
Remember the PSP? Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is the only game I used a PlayStation Portable for. You may wonder why a handheld console game deserves to be in the ‘The One’s You’d Be Extremely Lost Without’ category but hear me out. The events that occur in Birth by Sleep take place 10 or so years before the events of the first Kingdom Hearts game. They’re also important as basically a lot of what happens in this game acts as a catalyst for what happens in later games eg: KH1, KH2 and so on. Think of Birth by Sleep as the start of the story… kind of. It’s hard to believe but a game that includes Mickey Mouse fighting with a giant key is actually really complex and even an avid fan such as myself has trouble keeping track of what happens when. Basically, this game is really fun and worth your time as it will explain a lot later.
That concludes part one - I'll be following up with another 2 parts to complete the whole series so please come back soon and check out the others.
For more Kingdom Hearts content look around here on Nerd Out Word Out or head over to my personal blog: hopeelizablog.wordpress.com.