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Guide to Kingdom Hearts Series
Introduction to Kingdom Hearts
If your a long time fan or just getting into Kingdom Hearts it can take a while to understand the story, especially with 6 titles (and counting) already out. If you don't already know, the series uses final fantasy characters as well as disney characters to create a unique Action RPG game with a unique combo/magic system in every game. The series is spread out over several consoles as well, such as nintendo DS, 3DS, playstation portable, playstation 2, and upcoming games on the Xbox One and Playstation 4.
Each game is unique and while the core games (such as kingdom hearts and kingdom hearts II), have Sora, Goofy, Mickey, Riku, Kairi and Donald as protagonists in other entries you play other characters such as Aqua, or Roxas among others. Kingdom hearts blends combat, platforming and RPG elements as well as an awesome story to create a wonderful experience. I would advise picking up most of the games and playing them in order if possible, some games run concurrently but focus on other story aspects.
The latest kingdom hearts game in the series, sets up Kingdom Hearts 3.
The first kingdom hearts game chronologically, as it's a prequel to all others and available on the PSP.
Story of Kingdom Hearts Series
While the core Kingdom Hearts games focus on Riku, Kairi and Sora, other titles focus on some other major characters as well. Mickey, Donald and Goofy are also important characters that act as companions or to assist in your journey. Other games focus on side stories or develop the story more such as Birth By Sleep which focuses on three keyblade apprentices Terra, Aqua and Ventus. Birth By sleep is a prequel to the whole series and sets the story for the rest of the series, although Birth By Sleep was released after the first core kingdom hearts title.
Essentially the games involve a fight between good and evil, good represented by Sora, his companions and the good Disney/final fantasy characters, the evil being the heartless, the nobodies they create and the villainous Disney characters. While the final fantasy characters stay true to who they are, the Disney characters as well as Sora are sometimes depicted in more darker, serious tones than previously seen. While the different games focus on different aspects of the story, its mainly ridding the different Disney world's of the evil that plagues those worlds. Another key aspect is the use of keyblades, which many of the main characters use, one or two at a time.
The next game in the story line is Kingdom Hearts which focuses on Riku, Kairi and Sora as well as many other Disney characters. Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days take place during the same time but focus on different parts of the story. Chain of Memories is the story of Sora, Donald and Goofy between the first kingdom hearts and the second one. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 is about Roxas and Axel, Roxas being Sora's "nobody" when Sora was turned into a Heartless in the first kingdom hearts.
Kingdom Hearts II is the next game in the storyline which follows Roxas (in the beginning), and then Sora, Donald and Goofy as they fight the heartless and nobodies. Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded/Coded takes place around the ending of Kingdom Hearts II and is a side story based on a cryptic message written in Jiminy's journal and involves a data/A.I. Sora, a digital copy of Sora to fight in a digital copy of the journal and fight the computer bugs in the system.
The epilogue of Birth By Sleep takes place after Kingdom Hearts II and then is followed by Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance takes place after the revival of Xenahort (a main antagonist throughout the series) and is to prepare them to become keyblade masters to better prepare them for the upcoming battles in Kingdom Hearts 3.
What is your favorite Kingdom Hearts game so far?
The original kingdom hearts game that started it all, its on the playstation 2.
The original kingdom hearts but remastered in HD with more features added as well.
Kingdom Hearts Gameplay
Most of the Kingdom Hearts game play as a typical hack and slash with a combos and the magic system borrowed from Final Fantasy. Other games differ in that they have turn based play with cards (such as chain of memories). Generally you work with a couple of characters but can switch them out or summon characters to help you in battle. In the core games such as Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II you play as Sora but you get help from Donald and Goofy and in different disney worlds those characters help as well.
Over time the game play has changed and evolved adding new elements or changing it. Some elements that have been added are drive forms which are forms you can change into which enhance your combat or magic abilities. Reaction commands are available in most of the game as well, enabling you to do certain actions depending on certain enemies or circumstances.
To travel between worlds you typically use what is called a "gummi ship" as well which can be customized and upgraded. There are even side missions you take as a gummi ship (not in all the games), which are quite fun and add to the experience. Over time you can upgrade your keyblade and abilities and level up as well. You keep track of your adventures, enemies you encounter and your progress in jiminy' cricket's journal as well.
In Kingdom Hearts 3 the gameplay will be a mix of past core titles and aspects of mobile or handheld games that have been favorable among fans of the series.
The playstation 4 version
The Xbox One version
Future kingdom hearts titles
There are many titles currently being planned for the kingdom hearts series. The next few releases will be the end of the "Xenahort" saga, but is not the end of the series. The highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts 3 will be released on the Xbox One and Playstation 4. Kingdom Hearts X is also being planned as well as an mmo, which is currently in beta as well.
Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 are going to be remastered and released in HD on playstation 4 (kingdom hearts 1.5 and 2.5). Previously there have been final mix versions of games which haven't always been relased in North America, and only in Japan primarily. Kingdom hearts 3 will be cross platform as well, which is the first time for that to happen on a core release. Kingdom Hearts coded and chain of memories have been released on the DS and playstation 2.
After the "Xenahort" saga there will be some games but not much has been said so far. In the mean time though there are plenty of kingdom hearts games to play in the mean time, with new remixes and remasters of the current games coming out.
The sequel to Kingdom Hearts which is on playstation 2, and adds lots of cool features as well.
Released on playstation 2, this is a redone version of the game boy advance game.
Kingdom Hearts Chronologically listed
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (Main Story)
Kingdom Hearts (Begun)
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Begun)
Kingdom Hearts (Ended)
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Ended)
Kingdom Hearts II (Main Story)
Kingdom Hearts coded
Kingdom Hearts II (Epilogue)
Kingdom Hearts Chronologically listed continued
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (Epilogue)
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
(borrowed from http://kingdomhearts.wikia.com/wiki/Kingdom_Hearts_(series) :) )
Kingdom hearts game that takes place with Roxas and Axel before Kingdom Hearts II on the Nintendo DS.
The Nintendo DS remake of the mobile Kingdom Hearts game.
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The Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance edition.
The collector's edition of 3D dream drop distance with added features.