Since the Kingdom Hearts series began back in 2002, we have visited a manner of different worlds, defeated countless enemies and encountered several characters from the various Disney and Square Enix universes. Unlike many game series, each main game and its various spin offs play a role in establishing a larger narrative, rather than being a separate story that has little or no connection to its predecessors. With the latest remaster collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue having just been released in Europe, we have decided to list what we consider to be the best six entries in the series so far.
6. Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days
After the relatively successful Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the Game Boy Advance, Square Enix opted to release another Kingdom Hearts game for a Nintendo system in 2009. The game included Sora’s Nobody Roxas as the only playable character, after his appearance in the prologue of Kingdom Hearts 2.
The story focuses on Roxas as he performs his daily tasks as a member of Organization 13 during the year that Sora is sleeping in Castle Oblivion. Although the game wasn’t the most visually pleasing release for the system, it did a respectable job at recreating the graphical style of the series. Along the way, it was possible to equip Roxas with new abilities and attacks using the Panel system, and visit various worlds from the perspective of the Organisation. Although it is at the bottom of this list, 358/2 Days offered a portable action role-playing experience that stays true to the essence of the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
5. Kingdom Hearts
The beginning of this critically acclaimed series was released on the PlayStation 2 in March 2002 in Japan, followed by an international release later that same year. The Japanese exclusive Final Mix release was used as the basic template for the remaster version for the PlayStation 3, which was included as a part of the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix collection.
A young teenager named Sora dreams of leaving his island home with his friends Riku and Kairi. His wish comes true, but in a way he could never have expected. After his home is destroyed by dark forces known as the Heartless, Sora gains a a powerful weapon known as a Keyblade, and forges an alliance with Donald Duck and Goofy to help them find their missing king, as well as track down his missing friends. The first entry in the series does a very good job at setting the game mechanics in place, such as the real time battle system and the Gummi Ship mini game when travelling between the various Disney worlds. Despite its innovations, it does have some flaws which unfortunately place it further down the list than its successors, such as the slightly clumsy controls for the platforming sections which require a degree of precision, the occasionally cluttered menu for performing magical attacks and the camera which often place itself in the worst possible position for trying to engage in battle with the nearest enemy.
4. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
This prequel to the Kingdom Hearts series is set ten years before the original game, and was released for the PlayStation Portable in January 2010, and an international release came out the following September. Like the first two Kingdom Hearts games, a high definition remaster was included as a part of the Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix collection for the PlayStation 3.
The story centers on the journey of three young Keyblade apprentices, Aqua, Terra and Ventus who live with their teacher Master Eraqus at a sacred training site. After a respected Keyblade Master named Xehanort goes missing, the three friends travel to various worlds in order to find him. One of the highlights of this portable spin off is the ability to play three separate scenarios, each with their own unique encounters and boss battles. Another positive element is the combat system, which is far more complex than anything previously seen. As well as creating healing items to be use in battle, you can also create an entirely custom set of Deck Commands, allowing for all new attacks such as the Sliding Dash and the Deep Freeze magic attack.
3. Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ
This mobile exclusive video game was originally released back in June 2016 for iOS and Android devices, after being originally developed in 2013 as a game that could only be played on Japanese web browsers. A movie that takes place during the events of the game is included as part of Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue.
One of the biggest differences for Unchained χ is that you create your main character as one of the hundreds of Keyblade wielders who aim to keep the world free from darkness. The holders of the sacred keys are divided into five separate unions, which are headed by the Foretellers, who are tasked with ensuring that the light of the world is kept safe. The game is perfect for mobile devices, as it is split into several five minute missions which add up to a larger story which takes place over a hundred years before the original gameAlong with the touch screen controls which made battling the numerous Heartless a breeze, you can customise your character with various accessories, and use powerful medals to call on your friends and allies whilst in the heat of battle.
2. Kingdom Hearts 2
The long awaited sequel to the original Kingdom Hearts was released back in December 2005 in Japan, and was followed by an international release in September 2006 for Europe. Like the original game, a HD remaster of Kingdom Hearts 2 which included most of the Japanese exclusive Final Mix content was included in Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix. This sequel introduces a whole new breed of enemy, as well as revisiting some of the older Disney worlds such as Agrabah from Aladdin, as well as a host of brand new locations like the Pride Lands from The Lion King.
After defeating Ansem and sealing Kingdom Hearts, Sora, Donald and Goofy are mysteriously sent to sleep for a year. When they awaken, they find that the Heartless have returned, as well as a new type of enemy known as the Nobodies and their apparent leaders who are known as Organization 13. Along with the new worlds which were included in this release, one of the best new features of the game is the Reaction Command system, which is used to activate special moves with guest party members, as well as context sensitive actions in battle, such as opening chests. The second main game also introduced the Drive System, which allows Sora to temporarily bond with his allies to gain powerful new abilities, such as wielding two Keyblades at the same time.
1. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
This portable spin off was originally released for the Nintendo 3DS back in March 2012 in Japan, and received an international release the following July. Unlike the previous games in the series, Square Enix opted to not develop a Final Mix version of the game. A remastered version of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is now available as part of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
After they learn that Master Xehanort has managed to return, Sora and Riku are asked by Master Yen Sid to unlock the seven Sleeping Keyholes in order to obtain the Mark of Mastery so he can be defeated once again. For the first time in the series, it is now possible to switch between two characters at any time, with both characters encountering parallel versions of the worlds they visit along their journey. Besides this, the Dream Eater party members are an entertaining new mechanic. Beside the ability to give affection at them like a virtual pet, raising their experience level enables you to add new abilities and skills to Sora or Riku, depending on who has raised the Dream Eater in question.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is available now for the PlayStation 4 in Europe. Do you believe that there is another Kingdom Hearts title which deserves a place on this list? If you do, please let us know in the comments section, watch the latest trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue which has been provided below, or check out our previous coverage of the newest HD collection in the Kingdom Hearts series.