onlytheycreate (onlytheycreate) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

ONTD Original™ - A Detailed Guide to Getting Into the Kingdom Hearts Series Part 2

Sometimes people lie on the internet, ONTD. Hard to believe, I know. But after the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts II came out in 2005, as you can see in GIF form above, people started lying their asses off about that that teaser definitively meant. Because series creator Tetsuya Nomura and his development team had begun work on what was then Final Fantasy Versus XIII (which would go on to have issues for years bc of internal and management issues at Square Enix), we weren't going to get Kingdom Hearts III for years. Indefinitely. Development for KH3 didn't even start until 2013. There were all sorts of rumors and theories abound, and so people started saying that the next numbered title was coming soon.

The secret ending would actually go on to be, as it says at the end, the game called "Birth by Sleep". But fake PS3 cover images of iron-clad Keyblade warriors in a rustic desert, scam preorders circulated on early social media and gaming websites, and reposts of the secret ending video titled "Kingdom Hearts III teaser" permated the internet for a solid year and a half, and so there was a lot of immediate hype for the next game. That could be (part of) the reason why it's felt like such a long wait. But then another secret ending (lol I know lots of secrets) came out in Japan in 2007, and people were confused; why did this teaser have someone who looks exactly like Roxas? Was that first teaser not about KH3? And so on and so forth, until news came in 2008 that Square Enix would make three games on handheld consoles.
All those 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?"

In lieu of of the third numbered title, Square Enix began working on a "trilogy" of games all at the same time: 358/2 Days, Birth by Sleep, and Coded. All three games would expand on story threads from present day while also building up to KH3, by exploring what people confused as "side stories" when they were anything but (well, at least for two of them). The overall theme of these games was about unresolved pain of the past, and the lives that series villain Master Xehanort destroyed in his conquests for power. People that only Sora could save, once the focus returned to him after these three games were done, and so it did in Dream Drop Distance.

Like I did in Part 1, I have all those answers for you and more. Make no mistake; just because these games are on hand held consoles doesn't mean they don't matter (well, for two at least). And more importantly, don't think of them as just "important" or not, because these are ultimately fun games, and fun is what you're here for.

So, shall we continue?

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:

4. 358/2 Days
Original Release: 2009, DS – Full Game / Cinematic Remaster
Collection: 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix (PS3/PS4)
Do you need to know the story? Yes Should you watch it? Up to you
The Cinematic Remaster:
What mattered the most was remembered the least.
Set between the events of KH1 and KH2, a young boy named Roxas joins a mysterious group called The Organization to find answers about where he comes from. When he meets the mysterious 14th member named Xion, who also can't remember her life before, he begins questioning his peers and the world around him, propelling both of them on a quest for answers.
My Take:

Originally released for the DS in 2009, Days was remastered for cinematic viewing in 2013. The original had pretty repetitive gameplay and this really slimmed it down from being a 30 hour game to a 3 hour viewing experience. You do need to know the story, so if you're not that into the series and characters I've provided a much shorter recap video so you can get the gist of the plot.

While it is a sort of side story about a fan favorite character it's still important to the main story. Being the first of the post-KH2 entries, it plants seeds of things to come and begins the major theme of these three games: there are still unresolved threats out there and people like Roxas (and others) that only Sora can save. By the end of Coded, that theme is firmly developed and he comes back as the main focus.

Being the fourth entry on this list, this is not something for new players! I know for some youths this was their first KH game, and props to them for interrogating that major accessibility gap, but it's very intwined with the story of the three previous games. It also hints at the next game, Birth by Sleep.

Things you should know:
– Watch it. I've provided a much shorter recap video below.
Axel and Saix have a complicated history in this entry. Both of them have drifted apart since they lost their human identities (and were close friends), which is important to Birth by Sleep, Dream Drop Distance, and very likely Kingdom Hearts III.
– This entry revolves around Roxas, Axel, and Xion, all three of whom will be very important to future entries like Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts III.
– Xigbar knows much more about Xemnas's plans and history than he's letting on.
Have fun!



Promotional DS trailer:


Full scenes:


5. Birth by Sleep
Original Release: 2010 (PSP) – Full Game / Cinematic Remaster
Collection: 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix (PS3/PS4)

Do you need to know the story? Yes Should you play it? Yes
The Game:
Destiny is never left to chance.
Set ten years before the events of Kingdom Hearts, three young Keyblade Wielders of the previous generation, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, are ripped apart by manipulation and circumstance when strange new monsters called the Unversed start appearing in different worlds.
My Take:

Originally released for the PSP in 2010, BBS is a critically important entry in the series. Square Enix actually considered releasing it on the PS2 (after the PS3 already made its debut) but decided against it. Series creator Nomura also said this game is essentially Kingdom Hearts 0 in all but name. It's that important. You have to play it. But it's also fun!

You play as Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, all of whom have their own strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and play styles, venturing across Disney worlds at different times, meaning you have to finish all three to get the full story. Continuing themes of loss and sacrifice established in Days, many events in BBS, link directly back to Sora, Riku, and Kairi.

Things you should know:
– Play on Proud mode. To get the secret endings.
Play the characters in this order, for both plot and difficulty: Ventus, Terra, and then Aqua.
– Read The Secret Reports (and Xehanort's Letter) as you collect them.
– After you finish their individual stories, play The Final Episode to complete the game. If you finish on Proud Mode, you also get access to The Secret Episode as Aqua after finishing the game. (not story important but a cool thing to do)
– Check out the endings below.
Have fun!


Promotional trailer:




Secret Ending (Blank Points):
6. Coded
Original Release: 2011, DS – Full Game / Cinematic Remaster
Collection: 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix

Do you need to know the story? No Should you watch it? NoNo
The Cinematic Remaster:
Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it.
Set right after the events of Kingdom Hearts II, King Mickey discovers a mysterious message left in Jiminy Cricket's journal. To uncover the meaning behind it, he digitizes the journal only to find it's been corrupted by bugs, and sends a data version of Sora to venture into the digital worlds and uncover the perpetrator.
My Take:

You can see why BBS and Days exist; BBS is a full fledged prequel that is the inception of the events to come in Kingdom Hearts III, and Days is a relevant side story of a popular character. I can find no such explanation for Coded except for a rumor that Nomura came up with the idea while drunk.

Every long-standing series has something like this: the trite cash grab that contibutes nothing to the story but arming parodies to the teeth. Nothing happens in this game, so much so that the remaster actually added in a new scene near the end to make it slightly more story-important. And I've included the relevant scenes below, so you don't need to know anything else.

You will miss nothing by skipping it. No fans like this game. There's nothing else to say.

Things you should know:
– Don't watch it?
– BUT you should check out the tie-in scene and two secret endings below. It will just take a few minutes and then you're set.
– The events of going through the journal in Coded prompt Mickey to write that letter to Sora at the end of Kingdom Hearts II. We needed a whole game for that lmao.
– Malificent decides to pursue the "Book of Prophecies" at the end of Coded. The Book of Prophecies is a very important lore element of Unchained/Back Cover, which will be explained in part three.
Have fun knowing you've been spared!



Full scenes:



Tie-In Ending:

Secret Ending:

Super Secret Ending:

ONTD, did you miss these three games? Because now's your chance to catch up!

And which of the three KH trios is your favorite?


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 3839 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Tags: computer / video games, disney, list, nerd alert, ontd original
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