Kingdom Hearts celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year, on March 28th. The first title in the series, originally published on PlayStation 2, was the trigger for one of the most successful Japanese Action RPG sagas of all time. Sora and company were part of the teenage years of millions of people, fans who grew up in what was once a dream come true: to visit the Disney worlds in an original, charismatic, fun story. If you plan to play Kingdom Hearts (or replay the series) in its entirety, in this article we tell you what is the most appropriate order to play the saga.
Nevertheless, there are so many installments available and so many opinions about the order to play them that we are going to try to give you a hand to choose what suits you best, from the original PlayStation 2 game to the very same Kingdom Hearts III DLC, ReMind. Although there are those who prefer the chronological order of events, since the most widely accepted option is the order of release, we will base our parameters on that order. Before we begin, we list all the games of the saga in chronological order of release and then we will explain everything in more detail. All Kingdom Hearts games, sorted by release date:
What is the best order in which to play Kingdom Hearts?
1. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX; without headaches
As we want to make things easy for you, we will recommend you the easiest way to have on your shelf (almost) everything on a single disc. Write down this name: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX. What’s included? Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix: Kingdom Hearts Final MIX + Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories + Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. As for the second one, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix: Kingdom Hearts II Final MIX + Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final MIX + Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded. We insist that everything is included in a single disc.
2. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Unfortunately, that compilation is not the whole saga, because to have the absolutely complete series you need to add to your shelf Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. It includes Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, the playable episode KINGDOM HEARTS 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage and the video KINGDOM HEARTS χ [chi] Back Cover. If you haven’t backed out, let’s move on to the guide. Another option, with the two compilations in one, is The Story So Far.
3. Kingdom Hearts III and ReMind
The final stroke. The third episode of the Kingdom Hearts saga is the last one, (so far) both in order of publication and in chronological order. This is the installment that we have to play to understand the denouement; but it is highly recommended to have completed all previous installments before entering this third numbered chapter. Finally, ReMind, which is the DLC that closes some of the arcs and pending questions left by Kingdom Hearts 3 in its main story.
What is the order to play Kingdom Hearts?
Kingdom Hearts I
We start with the first of all, the original released on PS2. The Final Mix version has added content, so it looks better than on PlayStation 2. It tells the initial story of Sora, although the lead role is actually shared with Donald and Goofy, who will travel through multiple Disney worlds to find the locks that stop the feet of the Heartless.
Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, originally released on GBA, is this peculiar card game that later saw the light on PS4 with its top-down remastering. We find it in 1.5 ReMIX and it tells us about the adventures of Sora and Riku in the Castle Oblivion. The reason for their close relationship is made clear here, and although it is not essential to complete it to get ready for the second part, there are great moments that then intensify parts that could go unnoticed in the second numbered episode.
Kingdom Hearts II
After the small detour is Kingdom Hearts II. The road has been long, because we are talking about dozens of hours between the first and the second, but if you have decided not to skip 58/2 Days and Re: Chain of Memories you will enjoy this one very much. In 2.5 ReMIX is at its best.
Kingdom Hearts: Re:coded
Before we get to Kingdom Hearts III there are a few more books to read, so to speak. Kingdom Hearts: Re:coded, the original cell phone title and later recreated on Nintendo DS, arrives via 2.5 ReMIX with all its cinematics remastered. Here you can leave the controller on the table and simply enjoy a sort of movie that will help you connect with the events of the impending new episode. Its duration is only 3 hours.
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days
Originally released on Nintendo DS, in the 1.5 ReMIX version we have the sequences remastered in High Definition, although it is not playable. Here as a movie, it is a key title that links the events of KH1 and KH2. Missing it does not prevent you from enjoying the second part, but when you complete it you realize that it has been very worthwhile to know who Roxas is. Some of the questions that Kingdom Hearts 2 doesn’t answer are solved here. Highly recommended not to leave it out; it only lasts 2 and a half hours.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
Originally released on PSP, Birth By Sleep is essential to understand the events that will take place in the work that spawned the phenomenon. It tells the story of Terra, Venus and Aqua, friends who want to become Masters of the Keyblade. Knowing the origin of Sora and Xehanort or how they were the heirs of the Keyblade is elementary. This is where it is best explained.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
Originally released on Nintendo 3DS and later appearing in 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. It is set immediately after Re:coded, with Sora and Riku about to be examined to become Masters of the Keyblade by Yen Sid. A series of events will give rise to the conflict we will encounter, but which are essential to bringing us closer to the true current moment of the saga.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-
Although the main story of this latest remastering of cinematic scenes is chronologically placed next to those of the original game, it is best to do it now because both its beginning and especially its ending are placed just before the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 3. You can find it in 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
Kingdom Hearts: χ Back Cover
We finish with a movie. Its cinematic scenes - available in 2.8 recreated with Unreal Engine 4 - are only an hour-long, a necessary appetizer for the third part that serves as a remake of Kingdom Hearts: Unchained χ, released on smartphones. Here it is more comfortable because it tells the events of the Keyblade War, specifically the story of the five Augurs, Luxu and the Master of Masters. It is a direct link to the beginning of the saga.
Kingdom Hearts III
Everything has an ending. It is inevitable. Eighteen years of adventure culminated, in a way, with the last great adventure of Sora. A contrast of emotions, sensations and plot arcs that are gradually closing in a video game whose staging is undoubtedly spectacular. It is the finishing touch to a saga that thousands of fans were waiting to see concluded. It’s not perfect; in fact, it has many flaws on the gameplay level, with some of them remedied based on updates. Fortunately, players of both PS4 and Xbox One have been able to see that Nomura’s work was not done by chance, but that there was a complex story to tell meticulously to satisfy everyone. It is this factor, arguably, one of its double-edged sword. That being said, yes, it’s worth making it this far.
Kingdom Hearts III ReMind
Let’s suppose you have finished Kingdom Hearts 3, only if you have finished the title, and you were left with doubts along the way; a story that more than closed, opened up even more; secrets that you were unable to answer. This DLC, an expansion of only about four hours long, tells us again the final stretch to finish outlining the story arc of Xehanort’s journey. Opinions have been very polarized around what we find; both for what it promised and for what it has ended up offering. Not in vain, to play it is necessary to have finished the main game of KH3.