onlytheycreate (onlytheycreate) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

ONTD Original™ - A Detailed Guide to Getting Into the Kingdom Hearts Series Part 1

The time is almost here, ONTD. A game some of us have been waiting for for almost thirteen years will be released near the end of 2018. We did our waiting, we paid the price. But what about all of you who are interested in getting into the series and have no idea where to start? Where better to look for advice then a celebrity gossip site owned by Russian oligarchs? I'm here to help, after all.

Kingdom Hearts has a reputation for being inacessible; for years after Kingdom Hearts II in 2005, the games were spread out on three different handheld consoles, making it very difficult to follow. Luckily, that's now been fixed with the remaster collections. This is the best time to become a fan.

All the games are now in one place: Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 and Kingdom Hearts 2.8 for the PS4.
This is it... this is the entire series and everything you need.
But even then, there tend to be lingering questions:
"Where do I start? What order should I play them in? Which games are important, and which ones can I skip?"
I have all those answers for you and more. But for the record, even though a bit of homework is required to keep up with the complicated story (and I've provided the study notes), these games are ultimately FUN! That's what you're here for in the end, to play something you really enjoy, and that's what you'll get.

Do you want travel across various Disney worlds? Hear Donald Duck say the name "Sephiroth" out loud? See Cindrella's evil stepmother and stepsisters burn to death from dark forces? Watch Pete from Steamboat Willie use the ghost of Scar from Lion King to haunt Simba and his crushing insecurities about his abillity to be king?
(Oop, we're getting into Black Panther territory, also a Disney property now. Don't you love capitalism?)

Kingdom Hearts is that lucky bastard: the sprawling fan fiction saga filled with likeable OCs that get to live out your self-insert fantasies, except with a budget and gameplay produced on the Unreal Engine. And somehow, despite everything, it's still compelling and makes you feel emotions. We're all Square Enix's hostages in the end.

So, shall we?
Trailers for 1.5 + 2.5 and 2.8:

My Take:

– Don't spoil things for yourself.
– Consume the games in the order they were published. I've provided such a list below.
– Play all five full games. (If you don't like the combat in Chain of Memories, you still need to know the story, and I have provided recap videos).
– Watch the two cinematic remasters (Days and Back Cover – I have provided recap videos for these also... you can 100% skip Coded).
– Always do Proud mode difficulty. By doing so, you will get access to the secret endings in each game (If you're not up for that though, the secret endings are listed below).
– Collect and read the Reports of each game. The first game makes it easier, but whenever you can.
– Check out the recaps, secret scenes and endings I've provided below.
– Never trust series creator Tetsuya Nomura. He is a lying liar.
– Have fun!

If you'd like a recap of the entire series, this is the best one:

Are you a new player or veteran looking to refresh your memory of where the series began?

1. Kingdom Hearts
Original Release: 2002, PS2 – Collection: 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix
Do you need to know the story? Yes Should you play it? Yes
The Game:

You never know who you will run into next.
When a young boy named Sora is ripped from his home and separated from his friends Riku and Kairi by dark forces known only as the "Heartless", he sets out to find them, charting across different worlds with the help of Donald and Goofy, armed only with the power of a mysterious weapon called the Keyblade.
My Take:

This is where it all started: who would have thought that sixteen years later the franchise would have lasted this long from this one game? Not just one JRPG for the PS2, but one that combines Disney and Final Fantasy elements?

If you're just getting into the series, you're about to have a lot of fun.

Things you should know:
Play the game on Proud mode. It's more fun and will unlock the secret ending.
Be considerate when choosing your weapon and answering questions in the very beginning. (This will affect your level growth and abilities in combat, and there are plenty of online guides to help with what is a simple decision tbh – or just wing it!)
Read all of the Ansem reports. They're documents you can collect throughout the game relevant to the story. If you speak to Aerith (three times) in the Hollow Bastion library after clearing the level, she will give you the ones you didn't find.
– Fight the "Unknown" secret boss. A portal will appear in the Hollow Bastion cathederal after you start the End of the World level. If you don't want to beat him (because it's really challenging) the scene afterwards is below.
Watch the secret ending. If you don't get it in the game by playing Proud Mode, I've provided it below.
Have fun!



Menu Trailer:




Secret Scene and Boss:

Secret Ending:

Beta trailer (not required of course, just cool to see early development!):

2. Chain of Memories
Original Release: 2004, GBA ~ Collection: 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix
Do you need to know the story? Yes
Should you play it? Up to you
The Game:

Ahead lies something you need – but to claim it, you must lose something dear.
Taking place directly after the events of Kingdom Hearts, Sora finds himself at a crossroads one night with Donald and Goofy still looking for their friends when a mysterious figure suddenly appears, leading them to a place called Castle Oblivion.

The figure claims what he truly seeks lies deeper within its labyrinths, but there's a catch; the Castle operates on the power of memory. The further in Sora and his friends venture, the more the Castle will make them forget their lives before.
My Take:

Acting as an interlude between KH1 and KH2 by tying up certain plot threads while setting up new ones, Chain of Memories was made for the GBA in 2004 and then remade for the PS2 in 2008. Personally I prefer the GBA version because it feels appropriate to the personal scope and the dialog is cleaner, but the remake is the one that's in the collection.

The card system in the game offers more strategy and nuance to the combat but tends to be divisive. COM is also when the franchise started to go full video game universe (?) territory after the success, meaning there are some characters and story elements you need to be familar with for KH2 and beyond.

Things you should know:
– Play the game. Check out the combat. If you find you really don't like the mechanics, you still need to know the story, and I've provided recap videos below.
Don't feel like you have to battle every Heartless in every room. (One time I breezed through like three floors and was fine no worries).
Play the second half of the game after finishing Sora's side. There's more story and the decks are pre-selected, meaning the runtime is much shorter and won't take nearly as long to complete.
– Marluxia, the villain of this game, is going to be in Kingdom Hearts III. He also appears in X/Unchained. That just bumped up the importance of this entry even more.
Watch the two endings and the mid-credits teaser I've provided below.
Have fun!




Gameplay trailer:

GBA Trailer:




Mid-Credits Teaser (starts 3:53):
3. Kingdom Hearts II
Original Release: 2005, PS2 ~ Collection: 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix
Do you need to know the story? Yes Should you play it? Yes
The Game:

The story is not over.
Sora, Donald and Goofy return one year later to find that a new group called The Organization is terrorizing different worlds, using dark forces to achieve their own ends. Setting out again to find Riku and King Mickey, the three seek to reunite with their lost friends and uncover the Organization's true goal.
My Take:

Kingdom Hearts II is a grand adventure and a huge expansion of the world and characters from the first two games featuring some of the most enjoyable combat of its console generation.

It's also not just hugely important on its own as the second numbered title, but plants the seeds of multiple future games. Also this is the last time we got a full home console game can you believe it's been 13 (thirteen) years.

Things you should know:
– Play on Proud Mode. It's more fun and you unlock the secret endings.
– Enjoy the beginning of the game. Don't rush through it. The prologue is slow but a worthwhile and satisfying story I appreciate more every time I play it.
Be considerate when choosing your weapon in the glass mirror stage. (Similar to KH1, it affects your ability growth)
Completing Atlantica is optional in this game. I repeat, Atlantica is optional! If you don't care about getting one spell upgrade (or the Lingering Will secret boss), you don't need to play through the musical numbers after your visit number and visit. Yes, musical numbers.
– Read the Secret Ansem Reports as you collect them.

Fight the Lingering Will secret boss. A portal will appear in the Hall of the Cornerstone after you beat the game (and all the worlds) and save your clear data. I've provided the cutscene below if not.
There are a lot of secret bosses available via the Absent Silhouettes and the Data Fights. You'll find the Silhouettes throughout the worlds and can access the data fights via the Cavern of Rememberance in Hollow Bastion.
Watch the two secret endings I've provided below. (If you don't play on Proud mode)
Have fun!



Promotional trailer:



Secret Boss:

Both Secret Endings:

ONTD, what's your favorite entry? Characters, worlds, scenes, etc.? What are some of your earliest and best memories of the series? And through your answer, how would you entice people to get into the series?

And newcomers, here's your chance to get started! Feel free to ask any questions if you're confused or need help.


Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57
Tags: computer / video games, disney, list, nerd alert, ontd original
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