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  2. Kingdom Hearts III
  3. New to Kingdom Hearts? Here's how to get into the series. [2016 ver.]

User Info: slmcknett

4 years ago#1
Since this question pops up oh so very frequently, I feel like this topic should be made. This is how you -- a new player -- would be able to get into the Kingdom Hearts series without any problems.

Now, as we all know, Kingdom Hearts is quite an expansive series that's had games on a myriad of gaming systems, GBA to PS4. And for a newcomer, seeing all these games for all these systems might look a bit confusing and/or off-putting. So I'm here to tell people know exactly how to get into the series, the exact order the games should be played, and how to not be lost in catching up in the franchise.

So first off, what order should you play the games in?
The correct answer is "release order." Always. The order in which the games were released is the most efficient way to play the series -- it's the way the series is meant to be played after all.

Now, there are quite a few games, so what exactly is the "release order" of the games?
1) Kingdom Hearts (2002, PS2)
2) Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories (2004, GBA)
3) Kingdom Hearts II (2005, PS2)
4) Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (2009, DS)
5) Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2010, PSP)
6) Kingdom Hearts coded (2010, NTT docomo) *
7) Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] (2012, 3DS)
8) Kingdom Hearts X (2013, browser)

* - [coded] was released episodically from 2008 to 2010, with its ending coinciding with the release of [Birth by Sleep]. Therefore, it technically was released in full after [Birth by Sleep].

These are the eight distinct installments that are out right now, along with the systems they originally came out for. Looks like quite a lot of systems, right? During the initial run of the series, you needed a total of 6 different gaming consoles (and a Japanese phone) to experience the full series. Kind of nonsensical, eh? And on top of that, [coded] and [X] only ever officially released in Japan.

Then, through the years, Square Enix repeatedly kept re-releasing updated versions of these games, occasionally on different systems, for one reason or another. Which might look even more confusing to people, since you wouldn't even know which version of a game to buy now. So what are these re-released games?
1) Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (2003, PS2)
2) Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories (2007, PS2)
3) Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (2007, PS2)
4) Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix (2011, PSP)
5) Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (2011, DS)
6) Kingdom Hearts Unchained X (2015, iOS/Android)

The two games with the "Re:" prefix are just the original game entirely remade for a different console. They also include new additions to the plot and gameplay as well. And [Unchained X] is simply [X] remade for smartphones instead of a browser, now available to countries other than just Japan. And the plot of [Unchained X] is planned to go farther than where the plot of [X] ends -- something like a "second season" as far as Square Enix is concerned.

But then there's the ones labeled as a "Final Mix," which basically means it's a "Director's Cut" in a way. It's taking the vanilla version of the game, and then slamming in even more weapons, bosses, cutscenes, items, areas, and even restructuring some mechanics along with recoloring all of the enemies. Basically, they're vast improvements over the original versions, and what one should typically get over the vanilla versions. The downside? The Final Mixes were never released outside of Japan.
Kari Wahlgren: "Guys, I just can't wrap my mouth around it."
(edited 4 years ago)

User Info: slmcknett

4 years ago#2
But don't worry! Because Square Enix just recently made it up to us by re-releasing all of those Final Mixes in HD collections for the PS3 and PS4. And for non-Japanese countries this time, to boot! Which means everybody can now enjoy the full story of Kingdom Hearts without any language barriers. What do these HD collections contain, you ask?

1) Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX
~Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
~Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
~Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (theater)

2) Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX
~Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
~Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
~Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (theater)

3) Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue
~Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance
~Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep (playable mini-episode)
~Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover (movie)

So as you can see, 5 of the 8 games are now fully playable in HD on these sets. However, 3 of the games in these sets aren't -- the ones labeled with "theater" above means that they're basically collections of cutscenes, taking the shape of 3-hour long movie. Now, these movies definitely have enough content to give you the full story of the original games they're being adapted from, but nobody would fault you if you just want to play the original games instead. Also the one labeled "movie" -- called [X Back Cover] -- is an hour-long cinematic showing the story of "Unchained X." It differs from the original game, however, since [Unchained X] is a light-hearted mission-based game where you can make an avatar character and fight Heartless, while [X Back Cover] is from the perspective of other characters and acts as a behind-the-scenes look at what's really happening in the plot that your avatar doesn't know about. So you can still play [Unchained X] if you want, but the actual plot-related information you will need to know will be held in [X Back Cover].

Meanwhile, [0.2 Birth by Sleep] isn't a full game -- it's only the length of a single world and acts as a prologue for [Kingdom Hearts III].

And as an aside, you may notice that [358/2 Days] is on the first set while [Kingdom Hearts II] is on the second. This may seem contradictory to the "play in release order" advice, but honestly, when it comes to these two games, their plots almost go hand-in-hand. And since this is the way Square released the HD sets, it's safe to say that this is their way of saying that it's alright to play [Days] before [KH II]. Though, of course, the choice is yours -- you can play either in whatever order. Though, naturally, playing [KH II] first is the most preferable, but again, it's up to you.

So with that all out of the way, what is the recommended way to play the Kingdom Hearts franchise?
1) Kingdom Hearts Final Mix HD (PS3)
2) Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories HD (PS3)
3) Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix HD (PS3)
4) Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) / Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (HD theater) (PS3)
5) Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix HD (PS3)
6) Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (DS) / Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (HD theater) (PS3) *
7) Kingdom Hearts HD [Dream Drop Distance] (PS4)
8) Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep (PS4)
9) Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover (HD movie) (PS4)

And there you, you're all caught up with the series!

* = the PS3 version of [Re:coded] has additional scenes that are plot-important. If you opt to play the DS game, keep in mind there's more to watch in the HD theater. However, it is best to view this after playing [Dream Drop Distance] to avoid spoilers.
Kari Wahlgren: "Guys, I just can't wrap my mouth around it."
(edited 4 years ago)

User Info: slmcknett

4 years ago#3
But before wrapping up, let's address one more question new players have. And that's, which games are most important to the plot?

This question honestly means, "Which ones can I skip?" or "I don't have enough money to buy all of them, so which ones should I prioritize buying?" Which are good questions, of course. Although, with the HD collections, they're kind of outdated questions, since you can get the entire series for around $100 nowadays.

But let's pretend this is before the HD sets came out. My answer to that question would be to break down the series into small categories. A "main games" category, a "side games" category, and a "bridge games" category. I'll explain exactly what that last one means in a moment.

Now, which game goes under which category?

~Kingdom Hearts
~Kingdom Hearts II
~Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

~Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
~Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]

~Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
~Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
~Kingdom Hearts Unchained X

Of course, the "main games" are the most important, being the numbered titles and all (keep in mind, [Birth by Sleep] is considered a "Kingdom Hearts 0" in a sense), and at the bottom we have the "side games" which are -- while still necessary for full comprehension of the story -- the ones you would normally skip if pressed for time and/or money. Honestly, that's probably one of the reasons they simply got movies in the HD sets instead of full-blown playable remakes.

And in the middle we have what I've coined the "bridge games." I call them that, because they're like bridges that connect one "main game" to the next "main game." Almost like midquels, if you will. [Chain of Memories] acts as a bridge between [KH I] and [KH II], while [Dream Drop Distance] acts as a bridge between [KH II] and [KH III]. And suffice it to say they are vastly important to the plot. Both of them introduce new concepts all across the board, as well as a multitude of new characters and worlds. Skipping either one of them wouldn't be the best choice at all if you're interesting in the storyline at all.

So honestly, my answer to, "Which should I skip?" would be: "Really only [Days], [Re:coded] and [X]." You can't really afford to skip anything else.

Of course, this issue isn't really an issue anymore, as I've explained, thanks to the HD collections. But I still think it's a topic worth addressing here.

And now that that's all cleared up, go forth newcomers! And maybe even have some fun while playing through the Kingdom Hearts series!
Kari Wahlgren: "Guys, I just can't wrap my mouth around it."

User Info: slmcknett

4 years ago#4
This is a remake of my previous topic, but with up-to-date information. I'm going to be getting the old one un-stickied and replaced with this one.
Kari Wahlgren: "Guys, I just can't wrap my mouth around it."
(edited 4 years ago)

User Info: HipsterSora

4 years ago#5
oki sticky re-requested
LoL : Hipster Sora : Talc V. Add me i'm smarter than the average udyr main
LOOK UP NARCOLEPTIC DOGS ON YOUTUBE, you will not be disappointed

User Info: englishhedgehog

4 years ago#6
See, if I made this topic, I'd simply write in the OP "Google it. Is that so hard?"
No sexual fetish is weird. Unless it's a fetish for not thinking of me as anything other than 100% flawless.

User Info: KH2Rulz

4 years ago#7
Sticky requested. Amazing summary.

User Info: JustSnilloc

4 years ago#8
I always vouched for the ReMix playing order, even before the ReMixes were a thing. To me it always seemed to flow better if Days was experienced before KH2.

Regardless, this was well done, a little info heavy, but it pretty much covers everything. Nice job, slm.
[J.S.] The Lost King ---> http://justsnilloc.proboards.com/
~~~~ 0====[[::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::x::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::}}====0 ~~~~

User Info: Limen123

4 years ago#9
slmcknett posted...
~Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
~Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
~Kingdom Hearts Unchained X

I know this is the case for KHx and KHUx, but isn't the actual story with the Foretellers(KHxBC) going to play at least some part in KH3? It seems important to MX's motives and even possibly his back story. Then again, I guess it's still just extra info unless it becomes pivotal to the plot.

Also sticky requested. Nice one again slm.
FC: 5112-4398-8979; NNID: Limen123; PSN: limeylimelimen; Official CoM Namine of every board to exist.

User Info: HipsterSora

4 years ago#10
Honestly, I don't think there's a BAD playing order for this series.

KHUx scenes -> BBS -> KH1 -> CoM -> Days -> KH2 -> RE:Coded -> DDD -> 0.2 -> KH3
It's not so bad.
The scenes from KHUx being first would give you some cool lore, fight scenes to get you pumped, and some background information. It doesn't really spoil anything either.
BBS doesn't ruin any events of the games past it, obviously. It does however give you a background, so you know more about whats happening in the future as you get there.
KH1 good
CoM Days good
KH2 good
DDD good
0.2 leads up to KH3
youd probably wanna rewatch the KHUx scenes tho

play Days before KH2? Cool, now you know the people you're facing.
KH2 before Days? Cool, now you're going up against a mysterious gang whom you can learn more about later if you're interested.

That's about every order too.
LoL : Hipster Sora : Talc V. Add me i'm smarter than the average udyr main
LOOK UP NARCOLEPTIC DOGS ON YOUTUBE, you will not be disappointed
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