So you’ve seen the flashy trailers for Kingdom Hearts 3 and maybe you’ve always been meaning to get into the series. But now there are so many of them on different platforms and most of them don’t even have numbers so where do you start with Kingdom Hearts? How do you make sure you don’t miss anything important? Well thankfully, we’ve got a handy dandy guide just for you.
When Kingdom Hearts came out back in 2002 it was a PlayStation 2 exclusive but for some reason the direct sequel, Chain of Memories came out on the Game Boy Advance. This trend continued throughout the rest of the series with games being released for the PS2, PSP, DS, 3DS, mobile phones, and eventually PS3 and PS4. If you have all those consoles you can of course play the games in their original formats but the best way to experience them is probably the remakes.
If you have a PlayStation 3 you can get Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 Remix separately. They’re fairly cheap these days and include 6 different games… technically. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix includes the remixed edition of the first Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories, and a movie version of 385/2 Days. This is a pretty sweet deal because it’s cheap and the games all get a nice graphical upgrade, with Chain of Memories being completely remade in 3D as it was previously only available on the GBA in 2D.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is comprised of Kingdom Hearts 2, Birth By Sleep, and the movie version of Coded. Just as before the two that are playable have seen graphical upgrades as well as some gameplay improvements with a few new bosses and the like. The changes aren’t massive and unless you know the originals inside out they won’t make much of a difference.
While getting those two is probably the cheapest way to experience the story, you’re still not getting all of it. The PS3 releases don’t include Dream Drop Distance or Birth By Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage, which are important for understanding the story as a whole.
However, to get the most bang for your buck I would suggest the HD Remix releases on the PlayStation 4. There you can get Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 & 2.5 Remix in one package. It’s the same as the PS3 version except it’s not two separate purchases and has faster loading times. Moreover, the PS4 also has 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Like the other ones we’ve got two playable games and one in the form of a film. Final Chapter Prologue has Dream Drop Distance HD, with a few alterations from the 3DS version to make it playable with a controller. It also includes 0.2 A Fragmentary Passage, which is a short game – more like a teaser, and Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover.
Back Cover is a short film, this time not using the cut scenes from previous games, to tell a new story that gives a bit of back story to the series. What makes the 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is the fact that Dream Drop Distance includes written plot summaries of all the games in the series so far. It might be jarring to start there if you haven’t played the rest but at least you’ll be able to catch up without having to play 6 or 7 other games.
In short, the PS4 is the way to go here if you don’t want to spend a whole lot of time and money. If that’s your thing though and you want to enjoy the original releases, here’s a list of each game and the platforms they came out on.
- Kingdom Hearts: PlayStation 2/3/4
- Kingdom Hearts 2: PlayStation 2/3/4
- Birth By Sleep: PSP/PS3/4
- Chain of Memories: Game Boy Advance/PS3/4
- 385/2 Days: Nintendo DS/PS3/4
- Re:Coded: Nintendo DS: PS3/4
There you have it, that’s all you need to know about where to start on playing Kingdom Hearts. Keep in mind though, if you want to start at Kingdom Hearts 3 and not bother playing all these, you can read the plot so far in this helpful guide we’ve written.