Kingdom Hearts is a brilliant game. I look back at all of the games thus far and try to make sense of the wacky storyline and characters. Join me will you? **This article is filled with spoilers so read at your own discretion***
When first introduced to Kingdom Hearts what originally sold me were the Disney characters. I grew up on that more than I did Final Fantasy characters so I was already sold on the idea. Kingdom Hearts was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002 and looked great and played decent. All (or at least most) of the voice actors for the Disney characters came back, whether the movie version or TV version (Robin Williams does not supply the voice of Genie but instead Dan Castellaneta [voice of Homer Simpson] does, from the Aladdin TV Show.)
Sure the Gummi Ship section can suck my toe but everything else worked pretty well. After a long and great journey throughout all the worlds I finally finished the first Kingdom Hearts. It was a wonderful unexpected success and after understanding exactly what was going on with a simple story and fantastic pacing. The game ends with our heroes getting a note from King Mickey and surely the adventure continues. The secret ending had a person with two Key-blades kicking so much ass he made a Linkin Park music video on YouTube. I couldn’t wait to play with two key blades.
Once Kingdom Hearts 2 came out I happily ripped the package with my teeth and inserted that sweet, sweet blissful game. I couldn’t wait to see if Sora meets new Disney characters, I couldn’t wait to see the old gang. After all the game came out in 2006; 4 years after the original. It was a good break and the timing was right. But, right away I was confused. A number of questions arose:
1) Why was Sora sleeping in a chamber when in the end of Kingdom Hearts he was running?
2) Who the hell is Roxas?
3) What the hell is up with this Little Mermaid section?
Anyways, I liked the fact that all the characters remembered each other (Aladdin remembered Sora as opposed to be confused like any usual sequels). I also really enjoyed the new and improved levels including the Lion King levels. Sure the story added Roxas but he was only in the beginning and didn’t bother me, also I knew I was never going to see him again. He introduced the idea of “Nobodys”, a new enemy type opposing the “Heartless”. I also enjoyed that Sora actually grew up and got a little older (he was a teen now), which meant that these characters actually aged and all the knowledge they experiences stuck with them.
But, once again, the story was spinning like the Tail Spin cartoon. Organization XIII was introduced along with characters like Axel and Ansem who was actually was the Heartless of Xehanort. Yeah I’m still confused on what happened. It’s ok though because that just meant that Kingdom Hearts III was coming out for the PlayStation 3 since the PlayStation 2 was slowly dying by this point, I couldn’t wait, I knew that Kingdom Hearts III would answer all these loose ends. Besides the secret ending looked so bad ass, it showed the original Key-Blade holders and I knew that would push the story onward.
Then Birth by Sleep came out… on the PSP…in 2010 I later learned that that was the secret ending to Kingdom Hearts II, which meant I had to purchase a PSP to play it. I did. I was still confused as to why Sora was in a pod sleeping in the beginning of part 2. Where was that scene with the clock tower and the guy in the cloak? In fact, why was Sora sleeping in that pod? That’s because the direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts wasn’t Kingdom Hearts II like the title implies, but rather Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, which was released in 2004for the Game boy Advance!! This means I had to purchase that too because that’s what I have to play for the story to make sense!
AND I DID!
Going back and playing Chain of Memories to make sense of the gap between Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 didn’t fill it, it made it deeper! I was more confused now. Who the hell is this white chick? What’s with the cards? Why was it a 2D title with 3D cutscenes? Well some questions were answered. You enter a new castle called “Castle Oblivion” which slowly faded Sora’s memories, the deeper you go, the more you forget.Axel shows up again which now makes sense as to why he was in Kingdom Hearts 2 and so does Organization XIII. When you defeat Marluxia (Don’t ask who this is as I have already forgotten) Naminé (the white chick) puts Sora in a pod to “regain his memories”. Which now answers the question as to why Sora was in a pod! It makes sense now! I completed the game (resulting in a broken Right-shoulder button [true story]) and said “Alright! Onto Birth by Sleep“.
Life gets in the way and only played as Terra and currently playing the game as Ventus, so as that’s going on I later find out that there was a Mobile version called “Kingdom Hearts: Coded” and this was before iPhones and Androids. So no, I will pass on this because it was only released in Europe and my Nokia can’t even process a phone call let alone a game. But I digress.
After completing Chain of Memories for the Game Boy Advance and working on Birth by Sleep for the PSP I was excited to hear of a new title for the Nintendo DS called 358/2 Days. “Well, that’s a stupid name” I thought and was more excited because I actually already owned a DS–a DS Lite to be precise. So yes, I bought it and was happy to see So–Goddamn it, Roxas!!
Yes in this game you play as Roxas, Sora’s “Nobody”. It’s his origin story. Which means you’ll meet other characters like Axel and some other characters you’ll forget instantly. They all belong to a cult (Organization XIII) and have “X’s” in their names for eXtreme bad guys (Actually I don’t know why that’s the case, nor do I care really). Since RoXas is an anagram of Sora with the letter “X” in it a lot of the characters had this, see back in 2004…And I bored myself and the reader.
Anywho, 358/2 Days came out in 2009 andis the origin story or Roxas. He is Sora’s nobody and is recruited into the Organization. Axel and Xion become close friends with him and they spend their night drinking beer and partying–Or eating a Popsicle atop a clock tower.
So sure there are multiple games on multiple platforms with multiple characters but at least the story is tiring up nic–well no that’s not true. At least the games are all coming out on one sys–nope not that either. Dammit why do I keep buying these games?
Around this point I heard there was a new title that was sort of a remake for the DS. “Yes!” I said, “Maybe this will stop making the game’s story so damn convoluted and make it start coming together again”. Also it was the first time since the PlayStation 2 games that two Kingdom Hearts titles came out on the same console. The game was called ReCoded a remake of the mobile game I mentioned earlier. I bought it, played it, and hated every minute of it and couldn’t understand why Jiminy Cricket’s hand-written journal had corrupt data like my Windows 95 computer did, and why it looked like an episode of Reboot when trying to play. It didn’t add anything new to the game but I forgave it because it was originally on a mobile and I should know better. It was just a rehash and only proved that Jiminy Cricket is an idiot for using a digital journal. At least the Kingdom Hearts games are sticking to one system, so far so good.
What the hell is this crap?!
After spinoffs and prequels and side-stories to prequels, after sequels and made up stories that explained origins of characters that were made in the other spinoffs, there was an announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3DS. I was excited and disappointed. Excited because it was on the DS (I thought) and it was finally part 3! It had to be! It couldn’t be a bad play on words. It didn’t need the words “3DS” in the title; this isn’t the Nintendo 64 where every game had the numbers sixty and four. But later would be revealed that the games title is Dream Drop Distance so in some awkward way they managed to turn that into 3D and 3, D’s. Get it?
Anyways the games story involved visiting dream worlds to unlock key holes in the dream worlds and although I did enjoy the gameplay the story is a different boat. With now Dreameaters instead of heartless and nobodies. I’m telling it’s becoming silly. It’s confusing and really messed up the place like a 12-year old washing the dishes, it’s a nice gesture but next time let me handle it.
So where does the Kingdom Hearts series go from here? Everyone clearly wants part 3 but there has been nothing on it, no information, or even leaks of it. The PlayStation 3’s life span isn’t going to be around forever (it’s going to be on the ps3…it better be on the ps3). Or will it make its unexpected debut on the Wii U, meaning you’ll have to buy, yet, another console? Why do we enjoy this game that’s scattered on so many systems? Why are there so many damn spinoffs that make things more complicated than it should?
So to make sense of the story, you’ll have to play it in this way (according to my own speculation): Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Coded/ReCoded, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. Oh, and you’re going to need the following systems, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, and a PSP. Ah, screw it, I made a chart that’s very easy to follow and not confusing in any way.
I really tried to understand the Kingdom Hearts series, I want to understand the Kingdom Hearts series, but there are too many characters characters to remember. Sora, Ventus, Terra, Roxas, Riku, Ansem, Mickey, Donald, goofy, Aurora, Squall–wait they’ve been missing in the recent titles. I completely forgot about the Final Fantasy characters–wow they were just sort of swept under the rug and slowly disappeared from the series altogether, give or a take a Moogle here and there. So it’s no longer Final Fantasy meets Disney, it’s just Disney! Unless…you know the next Kingdom Hearts have these characters in it.
Whatever the case I love this series and can’t wait for Kingdom Hearts Birth by Dreams /2 Days on the new iPhone 5. Sorry, it’s not easy to understand Kingdom Hearts.
Let us know in the comments if you love/hate the game, why/why not, and what console you think Kingdom Hearts III will be out on.