I first heard about Kingdom Hearts at my cousin’s place and it but it barely registered in my mind. Then a few years later my friend started telling me about this game with the same name with some of my Favorite Final fantasy characters and Disney characters.
A few short weeks later on a trip out of town I randomly found Kingdom Hearts 2 on sale for 7 euro and decided “why not” and i never looked back, I’ve played through most of the games many, many times on PS2, PS3, and PS4 and I still do it to this day.
Now I’m going to try the harrowing task of ranking them from worst to best.
Everything is subjective of course and many factors go into deciding how much someone like certain entries.
Just fair warning, I have only watched the movie versions of 358 days and coded so the placement of those game will be based on that alone.
I hope you will enjoy.
Kingdom Hearts Coded
As I already said above, I only experienced this game in the 2.5 remastered version where it is an updated movie containing all the cutcenes and some additional cutscenes, so it is very possible that the gameplay is so good that it would make up for it.
As it stands however, this is a pretty pointless and boring entry.
It is essentially just a repeat of past worlds with nothing added to the story apart from maybe 2 minutes of content that i’m sure wasn’t even in the original. While 358 days surprised me buy keeping me hooked enough to watch in one sitting, Coded made me happy i watched with a friend, because if i didn’t……well I’m skeptical that i would have been able to keep myself awake. So I really feel no guilt putting this game right at the bottom.
Also, there’s a rumor that Nomura wrote the screenplay to this game in one night while drunk and I don’t find it to be all that unbelievable.
Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]
I haven’t played much of this one, only went back 3 or 4 times for a while and i really can’t bring myself to get into it for more than a little while at a time. Most Kingdom Hearts games can stay fun throughout the whole experience because you level up and get new abilities, fight new enemies etc, but this one just felt too repetitive to me. You basically engage in the same combat from start to finish where you tap or swipe enemies and if you have good enough medals you win, if not, grind for better medals……how fun. With gameplay that I find little interest in, the story would have to really deliver to make up for it but after over 700 missions at the time of writing, it really seems to be stringing people along with teases of greatness that never happens or is left forgotten.
I’m not saying i hate it, i just hate think i hate the lost potential, because it really does sound interesting when described to me, I just can’t bring myself to sit through it.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance
Yeah. I’m afraid I have to say I’m part of the large group of people who dislike this one.
It’s not horrible or anything, it’s playable enough, some of the story and mystery can be mildly interesting, but it’s just very forgettable and convoluted. Even before this Kingdom Hearts as a series was known for it’s complicated story, but this game was written with the intent to be as complex as possible. It had time travel, plot twists and end game surprise that were unnecessary and pointless.
- The X sigil tells the Orginization where Sora is at all times despite them never having any trouble finding him and showing up randomly before.
- Xigbar being half Xehenort. (whatever that means)
- Orginization XIII growing hearts.
I would call those spoilers, but i really don’t think they have any impact on anything, ever, even in the game. Other than that I guess the gameplay is fine, flowmotion can be broken but it’s fine even if balloon spells break the game.
I thought i was done, I even had by closing statement, but i guess there’s more.
Sora turns into quite the character in this game and not for the better. You see, Sora is a bit…….special here, he is overly trusting to the point he trusts Neku despite their only interaction being a betrayal by Neku, he seems goofy and silly to the point of being unlikable and at one point Riku risks his life to save a sleeping Sora only to be met with the image below when he comes back.
Anyway I think that’s enough about DDD and I should probably move on. Not horrible but probably the last console Kingdom Hearts I would play again.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth By Sleep a Fragmentary Passage
I Think I will keep this short, fitting for a shorter entry. This is essentially the Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes of Kingdom Hearts. You play what is basically the length of 1 world of Kingdom Hearts 3. The gameplay is similar but not quite as flashy or fleshed out of course, being basically a teaser game.
You have missions and you can play dress-up but there isn’t too much to say. You play as Aqua in the realm of darkness and fight some heartless until you beat the game. Along the way she see’s visions/apparitions of her friends and shows them off in the new fancy graphics and shows off some of the features of Kingdom Hears 3 (Demon towers for example)
Everything from here will be more positive and loved so I hope It doesn’t look like I hate the franchise, i swear it’s one of my favorite franchises.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
I feel like I should make it clear again that I only watched the movie version of this game on the PS3 remaster. So similar but opposite to Coded, my feelings could be different if the gameplay to the DS game was horrible, I doubt it could be too bad but you never know.
When I first sat down to watch this it was a pretty daunting prospect, 3 hours can be a lot at the best of times, I fully intended to watch this in 3 or 4 shorter bursts. However I ended up so invested that I watched it all in one sitting.
358 days tells the story of Roxas and Axel from Roxas’ “birth” to the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 2. A lot of this game is the 2 friends chilling between missions, building the relationship between them and their friend Xion, as well as friends and enemies of the rest of Orginization Xiii There is also the events of Chain Of Memories going on on the side and you see the effects and reactions of that.
The big mystery of this game is learning more about Xion, which leads to rifts between the friends, I don’t like to spoil too much so I’ll leave it at that, especially considering a lot of people might watch this as a short movie.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Seeing as this is the newest significant entry, it is the one game i will give a big spoiler warning on because it i very hard to talk about my feelings on this game without talking about late story
The only Kingdom Hearts game i was ever excited for (excluding collections and remasters) This could be one of the most controversial to place, but for me, in the one play-through i had with this game, this seems like a good spot. It’s possible that a lot of it is nostalgia based, or maybe things taking longer to have certain effects, but as of this time, this seems like a good place for it to be.
Kingdom Hearts 3 had a lot to live up to, with over 10 years of hype and expectations, so many games in between 2 and 3 and even people thinking it would never happen. When it finally showed it’s first trailer at e3 in 2013 it took people by storm, I still remember it to this day and i watched the trailer over and over and can till feel chills running through me from how exciting and amazing the reveal was.
4 year later it finally came, unfortunately the trailers revealed almost everything that happened, every world, cool character reveals, but it was still a really good experience.
First off this game is beautiful, even compared to 0.2 it looks significantly better and of course the variety of worlds and environments doesn’t hurt that. Combat flows well and feels great even if the game was a bit too easy when i played through on normal, the new Keyblade transformations were all very fun and exciting to test out and the new additions such as attractions were definitely an absolute blast to use (except the vr blaster thing, that was pretty annoying)
The worlds were bigger and more beautiful than ever, to the point i would constantly pause to try to take screenshots, more character could join your party to avoid having to decide between characters thematic to the world or your default familiar party, all the favorite characters from the series were back, everything was amped up to 11 as they say. So with all this praise and high words, why only number 5? Well.
For one, the story, yeah it was ok, I liked it enough but they really had an awkward way of doing it. You would go through a 2-3 hour Disney world, then have 5-10 minute of story, often teasing future parts of the game, I think 90% of the story of this game happens in the last world.
They let you play as Riku very early, which gave me high hopes, multiple playable characters? maybe i can fight some Orginization Xiii members as characters besides sora?
NOPE, you play as Riku twice and that’s it, really seems pointless.
Kairi. Since Dream Drop Distance in 2012, she was built up to be training to use her Keyblade, not only does it suck to never be able to play as her, but she doesn’t do anything.
She comes in at the end after all her training…….and she gets beaten without doing anything. Now I’m not saying she should have been at the level of Sora or Riku or any of the strongest characters, but either leave her as a weak character or have her do something useful with her training, having both is just making people want it more and giving expectations that wouldn’t be as strong otherwise.
Xehenort. Ok I understand that it’s tragic and complicated when a voice actor for such a big character passes away, it’s entirely possible that nobody could fill the void of Nimoy, I really do get that, but couldn’t they get someone with a deeper voice or…….something?
Then it turns out, oh, he’s not so bad after all, he had good intentions and could be forgiven, they couldn’t just let him be a cool bad guy.
(Full disclosure, I checked and Rutger Hauer the voice actor for Xehenort in KH3 also passed 6 months after this game released, so I don’t want to criticize to hard or speak ill of the dead)
Naminé. She was on the box and only appeared for like 5 minutes at the end, which i more personal to me because she’s my favorite character. Every time she was mentioned it got me excited for the future of this game.
Maleficent and Pete just kind of showed up to set up Kingdom Hearts 4 a few times, Jut like pretty much like every game except 1 she has been useless.
Superboss, and I use that term very loosely, was boring compared to any other game.
I could probably go on…..and on, but basically I did like it enough for a single play-through, but a lot of that was hope for what could have been, and getting excited about what wad teased only to not get the delivery. It did make me almost break down in tears at the end though and I can’t hate it but I really felt like it had too much to deliver on as well as too many things to wrap up. I will never regret playing it, but have little desire to return to it any time soon.
Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
This game takes place 10 years before the events on Kingdom Hearts 1. Starring 3 brand new characters, Terra, Aqua and Ventus ( who look exactly like Roxas) it was teased in a secret ending in Kingdom Hearts 2 years before and people’s imaginations and questions went wild, people couldn’t wait for what some thought was going to be Kingdom Hearts 3. Instead it was a prequel released on the psp
A lot of people have this one at the top of their lit for Kingdom Hearts games, it is a dearly beloved game and in a lot of ways I see why, even when I’m playing other Kingdom Hearts games part of me often wants to go to this one instead. The gameplay is solid with tonnes of abilities to use, upgrade and fuse together. The story and characters are very interesting, the world you visit are mostly great, Xehenort is an intimidating villain voiced fantastically by Leonard Nimoy and even if I feel alone in this, the board game is one of the most addicting mini games ever put into a video game. The part at the end of each character story where they all fight him still holds up every time I see it and the music is perfect for it.
If i was going to pick some downsides, they really don’t do as much with the fact that it’s a prequel as they could, some character motivations seem to be unsure or confused or make no sense., the gameplay can feel cheap at times and the character relationships can be rushed or, again, make no sense as if they forgot to add some scenes to make sense of characters lashing out. It was also the beginning of Final Fantasy characters being removed except for Zack.
Overall this really is a great game though and there’s a reason it’s the 4th best entry for me. I’ve played through it all the way twice and I know i will do it more times in the future. Still never even attempted secret bosses or highest difficulties in this one.
Kingdom Hearts Chain Of Memories
I first played this on the gameboy advance around the same time as the original 2, I got very close to the end but one thing very similar between the p2 and GBA versions is the difficulty, this game can be really tough. Years later one the ps3 it was still hard to get into, mainly because i take long breaks sometime and forgot how to play with the new card battle system.
This game take place right after the original, looking for Riku and King Mickey, Sora, Donald and Goofy end up in Castle Oblivion. They begin losing their memories and have an excuse to re-visit the worlds from Kingdom Hearts 1. It sounds like a cynical way to start the entry for my 3rd favorite game here, but it’s everything in between that I truly love.
Between worlds you first meet some members of Organization xiii who are using Naminé to replace and mess with Sora’s memories.
They battle system can be hard to get a hold of, every attack, healing, and special moves are done by cards that you collect throughout the game. I think collecting and getting better decks makes the battle system here surprisingly fun and tactful. The bosses can be repetitive but they really are extremely satisfying to beat. The final boss as Sora against Marluxia is one of the most amazing and memorable boss battle’s ever, easily in my top 5 in my years of gaming. After Sora’s story you get a short additional story playing as Riku too, Giving a little insight to his journey between Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2.
It’s hard to say too much about this game but I really do think it’s one of the best.
Kingdom Hearts 2
This is the kind of game that think would be contentious no matter where it placed and for good reason. To many it is the best, to a huge group it is the first entry they played and to so many people it is the best game they ever played (including me) This game has touched so many people so deeply that they will never forget the impact it had on them and it’s a passion that live strong to this day over 15 years later.
Like I’ve stated, this was my introduction to Kingdom Hearts, I had no knowledge of it other that Final Fantasy and Disney were involved, when I first popped it in it was so exciting, every Disney character I saw in the flashbacks to Kingdom Hearts 1 I would run down to tell my brother and cousin, it was like nothing I had ever played. I played this game so many times I can’t count, on PS2, 3 and even got the platinum trophy on PS4.
Taking place after Kingdom Hearts 1 and Chain Of Memories, you start this game in a 3-5 hour prologue playing as Roxas instead of Sora, a sequence a lot of people really hate, it tends to be something people are passionate about either loving or hating. I’m on the love side, maybe because I enjoy the slow start, maybe because at the point I played it I never knew Sora, who knows. I still never have any disdain for it even after so many play-through’s.
The worlds, while unfortunate in how they flow (shortened, weaker retelling’s of the movie) I still do enjoy them. The pride lands is still epic and adorable, timeless river is just wonderful and I even enjoy Atlantica a lot, it’s stupid, it’s awkward but I can’t hate it like others can, I just love it.
The battle system is much more fluid compared to previous entries, more combos, more are time, more abilities, drive forms and reaction commands and more enemies to fight make it less frustrating than a lot of Kingdom Hearts 1.
This game also has the best secret bosses as far as I’m concerned, especially the Final Mix version. Sephiroth, Lingering Will, the tough as nails replica data battle’s against the rest of Orginization Xiii. Some of them took me a while, some made me suffer and I didn’t think I would ever do it but every time I beat one it was amazing and satisfying beyond belief, especially doing it all on critical for the first time. After so many times I wanted the challenge and I’m glad i took the risk. It wouldn’t have had nearly the same impact or been as memorable to me if I took the easy way out and just replayed on easy to get the Platinum trophy for it., especially because I tried on PS3 and din’t get close even on proud and thought it beyond my reach.
I love this game so much and while i personally have 1 game I like more, Kingdom Hearts 2 will always hold a very special place in my heart. It was my beginning, I still love it after so many year and after playing it so many times, I’m even watching a second let’s play of the game, so it’s safe to say I’m not getting bored of this game any time soon.
Kingdom Hearts 1
I know this might be a surprise, not that the original is disliked or anything, but I’m not sure how many consider it the best. For a long time, up until a few year ago, if you asked me my favorite it would have been like most people, Kingdom Hearts 2. The main reason this is my favorite is for one simple reason. I appreciate it more and more each and every time I play it
I really don’t know how many times I beat this game. At least a few times on PS2, the PS3 version require’s a minimum of 3 play-through’s to gt the platinum trophy (because difficulty related trophies don’t stack) and I’m currently on my second time playing on ps4, not to mention 2 let’s plays at least.
Where do I begin?
Kingdom Hearts starts off (after a brief tutorial) on Destiny Islands, not as long of a prologue area as Kingdom Hearts 2, but till pretty chill and peaceful. Sora, Riku and Kairi plan to leave to see new worlds on a raft but the Island is swallowed by the darkness. Riku get’s corrupted, Kairi is missing and it’s up to Sora to bring his friends, his island and the world back to normal.
Sora then find Donald and Goofy in Traverse Town and together they set off to find King Mickey and Sora’s friends, bumping heads with some Disney villains and the newly antagonistic Riku, they eventually bring some peace back, defeat the bad guy and save Kairi in one of the most beautiful, tragic and bitter sweet ending I have ever seen. I’m not one to get too emotional over video games, but this ending makes me tear up every time. The music along with everything else never fails to pull on my heart strings.
The battle system, while pretty much undeniably more clunky than most entries, is still solid enough to be a lot of fun. It’s slower nature makes a lot of bosses feel like duels, especially when fighting opponents closer to your own size. Ye it can be frustrating to fall of cliff while fighting and have to climb back, especially in areas like Hollow Bastion, I still think it’s slower combat can make things feel much tighter and satisfying.
The worlds can be a mixed bag, many of them can be amazing but a nightmare to explore, backtracking can be tedious (Deep Jungle might be the worst offender) I still prefer this to the flatter worlds of Kingdom Heats 2 and the original stories that incorporate the player more are very appreciated too.
The villains of this game are fantastic too, lot’s of menacing Disney villains with Maleficent at the head, the only game where she feels like an effective antagonist. Of course after defeating her Ansem comes out ( voiced flawlessly by Billy Zane, but only in this game unfortunately) and while a new villain showing up can be be awkward or less effective, Ansem is a show-stealer and one of the best, most memorable villains ever, despite really only being on screen for 2 or 3 minute outside of battle.
This game really is simple in many ways compared to future entries, but in that simplicity I think there is a lot of beauty. Before Nobodies or time travel. Back when you would defeat Titan’s without summoning roller coasters, you had bad guys, you beat them, you saved the world and had closure and room for sequels at the same time. It really is a wonderful game and one of my favorite’s of all time. I’ve played through it close to 10 times and I will probably do it 10 times more, even in a world with a rapidly growing number of games that can even be overwhelming. This is one I can get a very enjoyable 30+ hours out of any time I go take a visit back to the game that started a phenomenon.
Well. That’s my list. The order placement wasn’t too tough for me but this definitely was longer than I expected, I guess I had more to say about these games than I ever knew.
With the 20th anniversary of this beloved series coming in less than 1 year, I know I’m on board to see whatever comes next. I can’t wait to see what will be done with Kingdom Hearts 4, I do not know what it will be, or where it will go but I know I will be along for the ride. This has been one of my favorite series for almost 15 years and I don’t see that changing. If anyone read this or even skimmed through it, I really appreciate it.
Feel free to tell me your favorite Kingdom Hearts games in the comments 🙂
Here’s to another 20 years! Hopefully they won’t scatter it between 15 systems next time.
Thank you for coming
If anyone was inspired to play for the first time or revisit these games after a long time or anything along those lines, I’ve left a few ling below to find them easily on amazon. Hope you will consider using those links if you plan on shopping from amazon for these games. Thanks again
Kingdom hearts all in one (contains 1.5, 2.5, 2.8 and Kingdom Hearts 3, giving you all the games)
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B084J45N4V?keywords=kingdom hearts all in one ps4&geniuslink=true – UK
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084J45N4V?keywords=kingdom hearts all in one ps4&geniuslink=true – USA
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B084J45N4V?keywords=kingdom hearts all in one ps4&geniuslink=true – Canada
The story so far (The same as all in one but without Kingdom Hearts 3)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07J2KVXY3?keywords=kingdom hearts all in one ps4&geniuslink=true – UK
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J2KVXY3?keywords=kingdom hearts all in one ps4&geniuslink=true – USA
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07J2KVXY3?keywords=kingdom hearts all in one ps4&geniuslink=true – Canada
Patreon and Instagram also linked below if anyone would be interested