Hey guys! Yesterday I discussed the best way to play the Kingdom Hearts series, but today I’m going to talk about the chronological order of the series. Yes, the series can be played in this order, but it’s probably not the best way to go since some of the games spoil each other, as I mentioned yesterday. As I go through the list, I’ll talk about the major plot points in each game. So Spoiler Warnings!
Union X/Back Cover
Union X and the Back Cover movie both take place thousands of years before the original Kingdom Hearts game. While this mobile game may seem pointless at first glance, the story is actually holds major plot points for the entire series. The game is offline now, but the cutscenes are still available to watch. In this game and the movie, we are introduced to the mysterious Master of Masters (who I will be discussing more in a later post) and his six apprentices. We also get to see Marluxia and Larxene’s Somebodies, Lauriam and Elrena. But by far, the biggest surprises Union X had was that Ventus and a few other characters traveled to the future, Xehanort is a reincarnation of Player (you), and Ephemer, one of the game’s protagonists, is the founder of Scala Ad Caelum (the world at the end of Kingdom Hearts III). Both the movie and the game serve as an important foundation for the series’ plot.
Dark Road is still ongoing as of now, and not much has been revealed about it. Dark Road takes place many, MANY years after Union X, and follows Xehanort and Eraqus as a teenagers, and how Xehanort became the villain of the series. The gameplay is dull, and so are the side characters, but I have a feeling we are close to seeing a major twist at the end of this game.
Birth By Sleep
Years after Dark Road, we have the events of Birth By Sleep. This game has Eraqus and Xehanort again, though they are much older now and they are training apprentices of their own. Eraqus is training Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, while Xehanort trains Vanitas. Vanitas, as it turns out, is the dark half of Ventus. Xehanort was trying to recreate the Keyblade War that happened in Union X times by splitting the light and dark halves of Ventus, but he only succeeded in nearly killing Ven…at first. Ven survived, obviously, but his dark side took on a human form. Ven was now a pure light, with Vanitas being pure darkness. This was the perfect recipe for summoning Kingdom Hearts.
Unfortunately, the game ends with this happening. Terra ends up falling to the darkness and becomes Terra-Xehanort (Xehanort used Terra as his vessel, since he was kinda getting old). Aqua gets trapped in the Realm of Darkness, and Ventus falls into a comatose state after losing his heart. Don’t you just love happy endings?
A Fragmentary Passage
A Fragmentary Passage is in a strange place on the timeline. The game only takes an hour or two to beat, and it begins right after Birth By Sleep, but for the in-game time, it actually goes through ten years of plot. Aqua is trapped in the Realm of Darkness (time moves differently here than in the real world). You play as her trying to escape, and at the end of the game, we actually arrive at the end of the original Kingdom Hearts. Sora and Riku are trying to shut the Door to Darkness, and Aqua ends up sacrificing herself (again) to help them, and ultimately gets stuck there for a couple more years. Turns out those two years were critical to her well-being…
As I said, Fragmentary Passageway ends right with Kingdom Hearts. While Aqua is trying to find her way out of the Realm of Darkness, we meet Sora, Riku, and Kairi. They’re just kids in this game, and their long adventure is just getting started. After Riku turns to the darkness and Kairi is taken, Sora teams up with Donald and Goofy to save them. The most major event in this game is when Sora unlocks his heart in order to free Kairi’s heart, since he learned her heart merged with his (I know, it’s confusing!). This splits him into a Heartless and a Nobody (a person without a heart), but I will say more on that in a bit. Sora survives the ordeal and returns as a human being (which is highly peculiar, since his Nobody still survives as well, for awhile at least). At the end, Kairi gets her heart back and goes back home, Riku gets locked into the Realm of Darkness (unaware that Aqua is with him), and Sora continues his journey.
Chain of Memories
Chain of Memories opens up where we left off. Sora enters Castle Oblivion, where Organization 13 is introduced. This is the first time we see the Organization, so it’s a pretty important game to play! As Sora goes up the tower, he loses a memory and gains a fake one on every floor. By the time he reaches the top, his memories of Kairi have all been removed…removed and replaced, that is. In this game, we also meet Namine, who is Kairi’s Nobody. She has the ability to mess with people’s memories, and she replaced Sora’s memories of Kairi with memories of, well, Namine. We also learn of Replicas in this game, and we meet Riku Replica, who the Nobody Vexen created.
At the end of this game, Sora is put to sleep so Namine can repair the damage she’s done to his memories, and the game switches over to Riku. This game was the first time Riku was playable, and he’s quite fun! As you can see, this game was a first for a lot of things. Riku meets Namine and fights Riku Replica, and chaos ensues. In the end, he finds out about Sora being put to sleep, and he decides to help Namine out (though I honestly don’t remember if this was at the end of Chain of Memories, or if this fact was revealed in 358/2 Days). Anyway, after this game, Sora remains in a coma for an entire year.
353/8 Days takes place partly during Chain of Memories, and ends right before Kingdom Hearts II. This is one of the more depressing games int he series, because, like Birth By Sleep, we are introduced to a tragic trio: Axel, Roxas, and Xion. The three are all in Organization 13, which is made up of Nobodies (a person without a heart/soul). They become good friends, but, of course, when it comes to Square Enix, good things end rather quickly. The major points of these games are (1): Roxas finds he is the Nobody of Sora, the protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series, (2): Xion isn’t actually a Nobody at all, and is a Replica created by Vexen (another Organization member), and (3): both Roxas and Xion were meant to take Sora’s power, which was making it difficult for Namine to fix Sora’s memory.
Xion was essentially draining Sora’s memories and taking them for herself. However, when she realized this, she decides she’s going to do away with herself so Sora can wake up, because she believes the Organization is bad and Sora must stop them. Unfortunately, Xion forces Roxas to kill her, and it’s all very tragic. After this, everyone loses their memory of Xion, so it’s like she never existed at all. At the end of the game, Roxas tries to kill Riku, but fails when Riku gives himself completely to the darkness in order to become more powerful.
Yeah, so there’s a lot going on here, and this is only the half of it. Confusing, right??
Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts II picks up right where 358/2 Days left off. Riku took Roxas to the character DiZ, who is actually Ansem the Wise in disguise (Ansem the Wise is a scientist who was studying the heart). They put Roxas in a digital world to keep him occupied while Namine did her best to hurry and fix Sora’s memories so he could wake up. The first two hours of this game are pure genius, I have to say. You play as Roxas as he lives out his summer vacation in this weird digital world of Twilight Town. He soon comes to realize that not all is right in this world. After the first two hours, Roxas decides to give himself up so Sora can wake, much like Xion did. This scene is another famously sad moment, when Roxas tells Sora, “It looks like my summer vacation…is over”, before merging with his Somebody.
We get to play as Sora again after this, and he goes through the Disney worlds stopping the Heartless and the Organization 13. The main point of this game is that all of the Organization was destroyed including Axel, who had turned his back on the Organization to help Sora. For the first time in a while, Sora and Riku (who is back to normal after his fight with darkness) get to return home to Destiny Islands.
Re:Coded can feel like a pointless game sometimes, but trust me, it is NOT! In this game, Jiminy Cricket finds some stuff in his journal that he doesn’t remember writing. He shows the journal to Mickey, and they decide something bad must be happening, right? Well, they upload the data onto a computer and find out someone’s hacking into their stuff. Well, they don’t want to bother Sora, since he just got back home after a tiring journey, so they decide to create a data version of Sora to fix things. Weird, right? Well, this game can be pretty boring at times since it goes through the first game all over again. The important are near the end when it’s going through Sora’s trip up the many floors of Castle Oblivion, like he did in Chain of Memories. At each floor, he encounters a mysterious Black Coat (Organization member). Us players will know from Kingdom Hearts II and 358/2 Days that this character is Roxas, though, of course, Data Sora won’t know this. Their conversations are pretty interesting, so this game is worth playing, or at least watching now that a movie version is available!
At the end, Data Sora finds out the stuff in the journal was put there by Namine. Once everything’s settled, Mickey promptly writes a letter to Riku and Sora, which we saw them receive at the end of Kingdom Hearts II. The secret ending of Re:Coded is a huge moment, since we see the Nobodies coming back to life as their Somebodies. This leads straight into the next game…
Dream Drop Distance
Dream Drop Distance is a crazy game, not only because of the story, but because of the gameplay as well. If you read yesterday’s post (or you’ve played this game), you know this game kinda has a duel timeline thing going on. You can play as both Sora and Riku, but the game will change between them after a timer runs out. You can also switch between them if you like, but this does have a small impact on the story. Finishing one side of the story before the other can cause events to be out of order, but this isn’t a big deal, like I said yesterday. It happened to me multiple times. Anyway, there’s some major story events here, especially since it ends directly before Kingdom Hearts III.
In Dream Drop Distance, Sora and Riku go through the Mark of Mastery exam, which is essentially going to determine whether or not they are worthy of becoming full on Keyblade Masters. You’d expect Sora would pass, right?
In a surprising turn of events, Sora ends up diving into the darkness, getting deeper and deeper until he becomes just another empty vessel in which Xehanort will pass on a piece of his heart. Obviously the others save him, but this brush with darkness proves that Sora isn’t ready to be a Keyblade Master, and he fails the test. Riku, on the other hand, proves that he has mastered control over his darkness, and the title of Master is given to him. So now he’s Master Riku. Look how far he’s come from the first game! The character development is so cool to see in this series, especially for Riku!
Anyway, in this game we also see that the Nobodies have returned, namely Xigbar, and they are giving themselves up as vessels for Xehanort. The plan is for thirteen vessels of darkness to get together with the seven lights to recreate the Keyblade War, which will allow them to forge the X-Blade (pronounced chi-blade/keyblade) and summon Kingdom Hearts. Xehanort’s plans are coming to fruition, and it’s up to Sora and the others to stop him from summoning Kingdom Hearts.
Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts III is the second to last installment in Phase 1 of the Kingdom Hearts series, and some big stuff went down here! KHIII picks up right where Dream Drop Distance left off, and we now see the seven Guardians of Light gearing up for the big showdown with the thirteen Seekers of Darkness. But as Sora is traveling through the Disney worlds to regain the power he lost during his brush with darkness in the last game, he is also trying to find the Power of Waking. Here’s the deal: some of the Guardians of Light are in danger, like Aqua and Ventus, and it’s up to Sora to save them.
In this game, we have a very large emotional reunion between characters. Sora and Riku rescue Aqua from the Realm of Darkness, Ventus’ heart, which had been embedded into Sora’s heart, returns, and he is able to wake up. The Guardians of Light head to the Keyblade Graveyard, and the showdown begins.
TONS of stuff goes down here, but the major points are that Terra is himself again, the members of the New Organization 13 were defeated, and *surprise!* Xion and Roxas make a comeback, and it was so cool to see! Unfortunately, while we did get back a lot of characters, Kairi ends up losing her life. Sora is determined to find a way to bring her back, and it turns out that he will have to sacrifice his own life in order to do so. A life for a life. At the end of the game, we find out Sora has gone through with the sacrifice, and he is not bale to celebrate a victory with the rest of the guardians.
Also, Xehanort is defeated as well, so it was a win for the Guardians! We also get a major plot twist here when we find out that one of the Master of Master’s apprentices, Luxu, is actually the #2 Organization 13 member, Xigbar.
ReMind is a DLC extension for Kingdom Hearts III, and it mostly just goes over the end of KHIII with some added stuff, so nothing really new happens. Again, we see that Sora ended up sacrificing his life to save Kairi, and ReMind sheds some light as to how that went down exactly. After the beginning of ReMind, and after fighting through some difficult Data Battles, we get to see the secret episode. We find that Sora is in this strange world, and he meets Yozora, who is a new character introduced in Kingdom Hearts III. Yozora and Sora duke it out, and there’s two endings. If Sora loses to Yozora, then he is crystalized, and Yozora wakes up in the back of a car, which is a scene taken straight from the deleted scenes of Final Fantasy 15. If Sora wins, the same thing happens, except for some new dialogue (and, of course, Sora doesn’t turn into a crystal). It’s all very confusing, and no one is quite sure which ending is actually canon, but we should be finding out more soon!
Melody of Memory
Melody of Memory is a game that takes us through the entire Kingdom Hearts timeline, and at the end, we get some new content! We get to play as Kairi, but honestly, the end is mostly cutscenes so we don’t get to do much with her, which is a bummer. Anyway, Kairi and Riku go to the Final World, which is basically the Kingdom Hearts version of Purgatory I guess. They’re looking for ways to save Sora. Riku has been having some weird dreams about him, and he thinks he knows what happened to him. He finds out about this world called Quadratum, and he decides to go there to search for his friend. Kairi wants to go, but ultimately agrees to stay behind and train to use her keyblade with Aqua, which I think will be really cool!
And that’s it! Boy, there is a lot, and I think this may only be the half of it! There’s so many little details that go into this series alongside the main points, and it is hard to understand the story without playing through it yourself (and you’ll STILL be confused even if you do that!).
Have you played through Kingdom Hearts? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments below! And as always, God bless y’all and have a great day!
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