To me, it seems that every Kingdom Hearts game that isn't Kingdom Hearts 1 or Kingdom Hearts II gets more hate than they deserve. I'm not saying that they are all perfect games, far from it. I'm also not trying to criticize people who think this way. It's just that, in my opinion, most of these games are good, and I'm going to try to explain why.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
This game is probably the most different in terms of gameplay from any of the other Kingdom Hearts games. You spend the entire game in one location (Castle Oblivion), create rooms with cards, and battle with cards. Almost every single world and enemy you fight is from the previous game, and every single world you visit is basically the same world with different enemies in them, making the gameplay feel very repetitive over time. The only important story is told as you exit one world and head to the next world (even though the stories of Disney worlds usually aren't important to the main story of the game, these stories seem really watered down).
So, why is this game better than people make it out to be? This game was originally made for the Game Boy Advance and therefore couldn't have too complex gameplay or world designs. Given the limitations that Square-Enix had, I think that they did a good job and created a new gameplay system that required strategy as you had to carefully plan out what cards to use. The stories within the revisited worlds, while not nearly as good as their stories in the first game, mostly dealt with the game's overall theme of memories, making their stories not completely pointless. The main story of the game I personally found very interesting, and it set up Kingdom Hearts II. So, while the game isn't perfect, I think that it is a fine entry in the Kingdom Hearts series.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
The big complaint with this game is that the gameplay is boring and repetitive. I would have to agree with that. You are just caring out the same missions every day while the important story is happening in between them, much like Chain of Memories. However, while the missions themselves were repetitive, I thought that everything else was good. Plus, I thought that this game had a great story.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
I don't understand some of the hate that this game gets. In my opinion, it is right up there with Kingdom Hearts 1 and Kingdom Hearts II. The only things I agree with is that the combat feels a little floaty and that some of the gameplay felt broken (such as dodge roll making you basically invincible), but those were never things that bothered me. However, even if they did bother me, they wouldn't be enough for me to not like the game. I think that this game has one of the best stories, and I also really liked the way that you could customize your command deck in this game. I felt that it added another element of strategy as you had to choose the commands that you felt would best help you.
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
Other than the parts of the game where you have to enter data sections in order to fix glitches (which I hated), I thought that the gameplay was really good. It took the good parts of 358/2 Days gameplay and made it better. However, the gameplay isn't the stuff that people seem to take issue with. It's the story. I would have to agree that the story isn't that great. Much like Chain of Memories, all of the worlds are worlds that you have already visited, and the stories within these worlds are really watered down from the original stories told in these worlds. However, unlike Chain of Memories, these stories are basically not important at all. They don't connect to a bigger theme, they are just there. The main story of the game itself doesn't even get important until the end when you find out how this story connects to the larger story. So, yes, the story isn't that great, but is that really a good reason to hate this game? For me, it is my least favorite game, but that is not just because of the story but also because of the data sections that you have to enter, which I didn't find that fun. However, other than that, I found the gameplay good, which makes me think that the game is better than people say it is.
Kingdom Hearts [Dream Drop Distance]
While I understand the hate for this game more than I did for Birth by Sleep, I still don't understand why this game gets so much hate. The gameplay is a lot like Birth by Sleep's gameplay, meaning that it is floaty and has some broken gameplay elements (such as Flow Motion), but other than that, like Birth by Sleep, I think that the gameplay is fine. Yes, the story makes everything complicated and confusing, but, like with Re:coded, I don't see a confusing story as enough reason to hate a game. I still think this game is fun to play, and I also personally don't think that the story is as bad as people say it is.
Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]
I really don't get why this game gets so much hate. The only thing I don't like in this game is that most of the missions are filler missions. Other than that, I think that this game is really fun, and I think that there is a lot to do for a game that is purchased off of an app store. Yes, the game wants you to pay it money in order to get the good stuff, but I think that the game has improved a lot since the early days so that you can get a lot of really good medals without spending a cent. Yes, it will take longer, but if you are patient, then you will have a lot of those powerful medals in no time, especially since you can earn a lot of jewels that you can use to buy medals just by completing the story missions.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep 0.2 -A fragmentary passage-
Okay, most people seem to like this one for what it is.
So, there are my thoughts on why these games deserve more credit than they receive. I would like to stress one more time that I am not saying that these are perfect games. A lot of the criticisms I feel are justified. I just think that there are a lot of good things in these games that some people seem to ignore simply because they're not Kingdom Hearts 1 or Kingdom Hearts II. What do you guys think? Do you agree that these games get more hate than they deserve? Do you disagree and think that they deserve the hate that they get? Or do you think something else?