There are certain gaming franchises out there that can be daunting to try and get into – and Kingdom Hearts certainly falls into that category.
The unique title, a mixture of Final Fantasy and Disney, a combination that shouldn’t work but definitely does, has been going since 2002 and its story is one that can be hard to keep track of considering how much is going on.
So unless you already have knowledge of the games, a guide for how to play them will come in handy. But it is worth noting that the series has different games across multiple consoles and this makes it harder than most to play through everything on offer.
But here is how to play them in order and happily, there are collections out there so you don’t have to seek out all the titles individually.
Kingdom Hearts games in order of release
If you want to play Kingdom Hearts series in order, this is your best order to play the games:
- Kingdom Hearts
- Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
- Kingdom Hearts II
- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
- Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
- Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded
- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
- Kingdom Hearts X
- Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: Fragmentary Passage
- Kingdom Hearts III
The first game released for the series remains the best one to play if you want a good introduction to the world on offer. And you will definitely get a sense of the kind of storytelling that you are in for by starting here as it wastes little time in showing how much they are willing to cram into the complex story. If you do get into the PS2 title, and it is a great story, then you will instantly want to crack on with the next which picks up immediately from the end of this one.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain Of Memories
If you are into the story, you will want to play this one – even if it is a totally different beast to the previous entry in the series. This is more of a card-based strategy game and while that is far from what you would have just played, this will give you important story information that will become key to the game that you will play next.
Kingdom Hearts II
People may have loved the first game, but it was Kingdom Hearts 2 that really captured the attention of gamers with some extremely positive reviews coming along when it was released in 2005. As well as expanding on stories started in the previous two titles, this one sets up new questions too and you will be best placed to keep up with it all if you took the time to play Chain of Memories. We highly recommend doing so because this second main entry in the Kingdom Hearts series is well worth playing.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Bit of a strange one this and not just because of the title. This came out on the Nintendo DS and it would be fair to say that the style of the game did not mix well with the Nintendo console at the time. If you are a fan of origin stories, you will want to experience this as key character backstories are explained, but luckily, there is an easy way to go about it. The game’s cut-scenes were released as one whopping three-hour package as part of a Kingdom Hearts collection that we will get to shortly. This is not integral, but if you want to know everything then give it a play/watch.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
More origin story fun here with three characters taking centre stage who are all important figures in the Kingdom Hearts world. If you were muddled by the story before, then brace yourself because things only get more complex from this point on. “Three friends, three destinies. Everything will link back to the beginning”, said the game ahead of release – and it certainly does just that.
Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded
This is another that we would say is for the completionists out there only. There are things to like about Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded, but in all honesty, it is one game that you can move past without missing too much of value. And again, if you just want to be up on everything to do with the narrative, this one also has a movie edit of all the cutscenes that you can sit back and watch at your leisure.
All six games mentioned so far are part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5/2.5 Remix that is currently only £13,99 on Amazon.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
This title first launched on the Nintendo 3DS and features Sora and Riku and their quest to become key masters. Fans of the franchise refer to this as one of the stranger entries in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, but it is worth playing as a lot of what you will see here is extremely relevant when you get to the last game in the series.
Kingdom Hearts: X
Another strange one up now, this was a game for browsers and mobile but like every other game, there are key things in the story for this that you will need to know. This is the third title to have a movie-length edit which you can buy as part of the second package that groups together Kingdom Hearts games.
Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage
Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage is short but sweet. It will take you far less time to get through than any of the other games but with the big finale up next, this is one you will want to experience as it sets up a lot of what you are about to play.
This and the previous two games can be brought in one collection called Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 £13.26 on Amazon.
Kingdom Hearts III
The most recent game in the franchise, Kingdom Hearts 3 was released in 2019 and attempted to bring closure and answers to everything that was still up in the air – which was an awful lot. Some may say too much as while the game has a good crack at it, it’s hard to bring a resolution to a story that is so sprawling and has so many elements at play. That being said, Kingdom Hearts 3 gained favourable reviews at launch and if you are already invested in the series, you will find a lot to love here and it is a worthy inclusion to what came before.
You can buy Kingdom Hearts III for £9.99 at GAME.