X
X

Kingdom Hearts 3: The Definitive Preparation Guide

We are all excited for the upcoming release of Kingdom Hearts 3. When is it coming out? We have no idea, but there is a lot of content to consume in preparation for that release. But let’s not beat around the bush. Even most hardcore Kingdom Hearts fans can agree that Kingdom Hearts is insanely convoluted when it comes to understanding the story. New fans often find themselves intimidated and asking, “Where do I start? There are so many Kingdom Hearts games now!” One of the charms of Kingdom Hearts is knowing every single game is connected to one overarching story. It is one of the few franchises where you are absolutely required to play every single title to fully experience the vision of the creators. We will attempt to shed some light to prepare you for the anticipated release of Kingdom Hearts 3. This will aim to be as spoiler-free as possible.

This guide assumes you have a PlayStation 4. There are alternative consoles for many of these titles, but this guide will only loosely mention those. In order to experience Kingdom Hearts in its entirety spanning up to the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, you will need copies of Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5 HD ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts II.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue.

Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5 HD ReMIX

Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5 HD ReMIX

Kingdom Hearts I.5 + II.5 HD ReMIX is a compilation of two compilations released on the PlayStation 3 covering six titles in the series for the PlayStation 4.

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is a reissue of the original Kingdom Hearts for the PlayStation 2 with additional content. If you have never touched this series before, this is the game you want to start with. It teaches you the fundamentals of the story and introduces you to most of the characters that will play an integral role in the rest of the series.

Kingdom Hearts was originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002.

Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories

Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories

Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories is a 3D remake of the Gameboy Advance game titled Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. This game takes place directly after the events of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. This game plays drastically differently from every other Kingdom Hearts game. It features a random battle system with a pseudo action combat system powered by a deck of cards. Clearing the game once will unlock Riku’s story mode, showing the events of this game from his perspective.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was originally released for the Gameboy Advance in 2004.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is where the series begins to get a bit confusing. This mode is based on the story cinematics of the Nintendo DS release of this game sharing the same exact title. Unlike the original release, this mode completely omits any gameplay and is strictly three hours of cinematics showing the events of the story taking place starting near the climax of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and ending before the start of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was originally released for the Nintendo DS in 2009.

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix is a reissue of Kingdom Hearts II for the PlayStation 2 with additional content. Your head will start to spin with this one, since this is the game that really skips around in chronology. This game is takes place two years after the events of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, one year after Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, and immediately after the events of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.

Kingdom Hearts II was originally released on the PlayStation 2 in 2005.

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix is a reissue of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep for the PlayStation Portable with additional content. It is a prequel taking place 10 years prior to the events of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. The combat mode is slightly altered, taking core elements from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix as well as incorporating a deck-base system similar to Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories for special attacks. This game features three different story modes following Ventus, Aqua, and Terra at different points in the same story.

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep was released for the PlayStation Portable in 2010.

Kingdom Hearts Re: coded

Kingdom Hearts Re: coded

Kingdom Hearts Re: coded is a mode similar to Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. This mode is based on the story cinematics of the DS game that shares the same exact title. Unlike the DS version, this mode omits gameplay, featuring three hours of cinematics that chronicle the events of the story taking place right after the end of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.

Kingdom Hearts coded was originally an episodic mobile game that was released exclusively in Japan from 2008 - 2010.

Kingdom Hearts II.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue

Kingdom Hearts II.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue

Kingdom Hearts II.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue rounds up the last two games in the series, as well as a prologue to Kingdom Hearts III using the game’s engine, exclusively or the PlayStation 4. (A big thank you to @MicDaMicrophone for taking the time to capture the splash and title screens for me.)

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD is a remake of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance for the Nintendo 3DS. This game takes place after Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded and right before what we suspect to be the start of Kingdom Hearts 3. It features gameplay similar to Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix. It contains a single scenario played simultaneously between Sora and Riku.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2012.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A fragmentary passage -

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A fragmentary passage -

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A fragmentary passage - is the latest installment in the Kingdom Hearts timeline demoeing the use of Unreal Engine 4, which will be present in Kingdom Hearts III. It takes place after the events of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, following the perspective of Aqua between then and Kingdom Hearts Final Mix.

Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover

Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover

Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover is a cinematic adaptation of the 2013 browser based game Kingdom Hearts χ (pronounced “chi”) that was eventually made into a mobile game. Much like Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Re: coded, this mode omits any gameplay and is strictly one hour of cinematics. Ths game serves as a prequel to the entire series. Like Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A fragmentary passage -, it is rendered in Unreal Engine 4 and gives us a small taste of what to expect in Kingdom Hearts III.

Kingdom Hearts χ (pronounced “chi”) was originally released on PC in 2013 exclusively in Japan. It was re-released as Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ for free on iOS and Android worldwide in 2016. The sequel titled Kingdom Hearts Union χ (pronounced “cross”) will update the base game worldwide April 2017.

The timeline in chronologial order

Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover serves as a prequel to the entire series
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix takes place 10 years before the first game in the series
Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A fragmentary passage - takes place after the end of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is the first game in the series
Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories takes place directly after the first game
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days takes place during the first game and ends right before the start of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mi takes place two years after the first game, one year after Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, and right after the end of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Kingdom Hearts Re: coded takes place right after the end of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD takes place right after the end of Kingdom Hearts Re: coded

It is a lot to take in, especially if you are new to the series. My advice is to start with Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix if you have not touched Kingdom Hearts before. It is relatively short compared to the other Kingdom Hearts games, uses modern mechanics that make the flow of the game easier than the first game, and it really sets the stage for the rest of the series. Once you have everything out of the way, you will be fully prepared to experience Kingdom Hearts III.

Visit Chatty to Join The Conversation