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How Important is Each KH Game to the Overall Story?


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#1 Dagesh Lene

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 12:12 AM

If there's one thing that irritates me, it's when people think that Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 are somehow more important than the rest of the games in the series.  Even people who realize that every single game in the Kingdom Hearts series has essential information seem to think that all of the non-numbered games are still not as important as the numbered games.  So, I decided to give my take on how important all of the KH games are to the overall story and how essential they all are in order to understand what is happening in Kingdom Hearts III.

 

I divided the games into two groups: Games that are extremely important to understanding the overall story and games that are less important.

 

Extremely Important Games

 

1. Kingdom Hearts

2. Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories

3. Kingdom Hearts II

4. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

5. Kingdom Hearts [Dream Drop Distance]

 

Less Important Games

 

1. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

2. Kingdom Hearts Re:coded

3. Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]/Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover

4. Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-

 

Many people mistakenly think that Kingdom Hearts II is the sequel to Kingdom Hearts 1.  However, Chain of Memories is the sequel to Kingdom Hearts 1.  Kingdom Hearts II is the sequel to Chain of Memories.  Now, Chain of Memories isn't necessarily needed in order to understand Kingdom Hearts III (other than maybe having to know about Riku Replica, Marluxia, and Larxene), but Kingdom Hearts II is, and if you skip Chain of Memories, you won't know what's going on in Kingdom Hearts II.

 

Birth by Sleep is extremely important because it introduces us to Terra, Aqua, Ventus, Vanitas, and Master Xehanort.  All of these characters are extremely important to Kingdom Hearts III.  I mean, Master Xehanort is the main antagonist!  It also shows us the fates of all of these characters, which we will need to know for Kingdom Hearts III.  Not to mention, we find out what Master Xehanort's ultimate goal is in this game: to forge the χ-Blade and start a second Keyblade War (this isn't as important to know ahead of time since we probably will be told this in Kingdom Hearts III, but this is when we are introduced to his goal for the first time).

 

Dream Drop Distance is also extremely important because it literally sets up Kingdom Hearts III.  It ties everything from the past games together (or at least it attempts to), informs us of what Master Xehanort's new plan to achieve his ultimate goal is, and leaves us with the heroes preparing for what to do next.

 

The remaining four games (five if you count Back Cover as its own thing) are still important but are less important than the other games since they only have a few things in each of them that are needed to understand the overall story.  358/2 Days is the most important out of all of them because Xion's story is the story of the game, and Xion is who you need to know about for Kingdom Hearts III (assuming she plays an important role in the game, that is).  All you need to know about from Re:coded is that there are people tied to Sora who are waiting for him to save them (also that Maleficent and Pete are now after the Book of Prophecies, which you find out in a new cutscene added to Re:coded in KH 2.5, but this probably isn't as important since you will probably be told this in Kingdom Hearts III).  It is unclear how much you need to know of Union χ[Cross]/Back Cover, but you definitely don't need to know everything.  You at least need to know about the Book of Prophecies, the black box, and what was revealed about Master Xehanort's Keyblade (you may also need to know about the Foretellers since Young Xehanort mentions the "lost masters", who he says started the Keyblade War, to Young Eraqus in one of the first Kingdom Hearts III trailers).  I don't know how much from 0.2 you need to know, but I assume that you will at least need to know that Riku and King Mickey are off on a mission to save Aqua from the Realm of Darkness, that Kairi is going to train with Lea, and that Sora, Donald, and Goofy are off to Olympus Coliseum so that Sora can learn from Hercules how to regain the strength that he lost (most of this will probably be told to you in Kingdom Hearts III, so I don't know how much of this you will actually need to know before you play Kingdom Hearts III).

 

So, that's my take on how important all of the games are to the overall story and to Kingdom Hearts III.  While it is true that not all of the games hold the same level of importance as others, I think that many of them are more important than people make them out to be, especially Chain of Memories, Birth by Sleep, and Dream Drop Distance.


Edited by Dagesh Lene, 10 August 2018 - 06:59 PM.


#2 Allwil13

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 03:51 AM

I agree with everything laid out here. I've always been particularly frustrated when people say that Birth By Sleep isn't important because Tetsuya Nomura said in an interview before the game came out on PSP that it should be considered Episode Zero of the series. You've pretty much hit the nail on the head here though. Exactly my feelings on this whole subject.

 

In terms of games that can/should be skipped because they're not important enough, there is only one that comes to mind, and that is Coded. Not that the game is bad, it's just that its plot and events aren't really relevant to the series as a whole. The bulk of the plot just retreads the worlds and their events from Kingdom Hearts 1, and the stuff that happens in Disney Castle doesn't really have any importance to 3D (the only game aside from KH3 that takes place afterwards). The only stuff that's important is the conversation with Data Namine and the secret ending added in 2.5. Now, none of the games in the series should be skipped, but if someone were to insist on skipping a game, this would be the one to skip. But the game isn't bad. It's fun to play, and the story was somewhat interesting for the most part. Not their best foot forward.



#3 Isaix

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:45 AM

You should make a 3rd categorie "not important at all" and put Recoded in it lol

#4 VocaloidLover13

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 07:31 AM

I am very curious to see if in this community there are people who really think low of these games. Those non-numbered haters are ratherly found on other sites and forums, but it is understandable considering that the users here have more knowledge of the story. This is a KH site after all.
But there may be some around here. I wonder if they will say* something.


Edited by VocaloidLover13, 09 August 2018 - 08:31 AM.


#5 Perkilator

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:34 AM

I agree PERFECTLY with what’s laid out here. Also, I second Isaix above me:

You should make a 3rd categorie "not important at all" and put Recoded in it lol



#6 Tyranto Rex

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 03:25 PM

I would kinda disagree about needing to play Chain of Memories before Kingdom Hearts 2, cause I played Kingdom Hearts 2 in middle school without playing Chain of Memories OR even Kingdom Hearts 1 and I think I had most of the story down. For Kingdom Hearts 3 though, if someone does care about the story they should probably at the very least do some research and watch some videos if they don't have the time to play all the games, if they don't care that's OK too.

 

I....do have issues with them releasing games that have big important story elements on multiple consoles though and always have. But, it is what it is now and I hope they plan a little more ahead for the next saga.



#7 Dustin Lübbers

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 04:04 PM

I can totally agree with that list

You should make a 3rd categorie "not important at all" and put Recoded in it lol


You are right but than again isnt that what a spin of game should be? On the other hand nomura made himself famous by making every single one of his games expand his story and the he just dosent so there are some expectations

I would kinda disagree about needing to play Chain of Memories before Kingdom Hearts 2, cause I played Kingdom Hearts 2 in middle school without playing Chain of Memories OR even Kingdom Hearts 1 and I think I had most of the story down. For Kingdom Hearts 3 though, if someone does care about the story they should probably at the very least do some research and watch some videos if they don't have the time to play all the games, if they don't care that's OK too.
 
I....do have issues with them releasing games that have big important story elements on multiple consoles though and always have. But, it is what it is now and I hope they plan a little more ahead for the next saga.


I was in the same Situation as you i dint have the money for all the handhelds to buy every spin of game but i could understand the relationship between axel and roxas thanks to the flash backs just fine. Though the beginning of kh2 the way soras journet began was one big huge HÄ? moment

#8 Dagesh Lene

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 05:57 PM

I would kinda disagree about needing to play Chain of Memories before Kingdom Hearts 2, cause I played Kingdom Hearts 2 in middle school without playing Chain of Memories OR even Kingdom Hearts 1 and I think I had most of the story down.

 

I played Kingdom Hearts II before the rest of the games too.  However, I didn't pay attention to the story at all and didn't even watch the cutscenes my first time playing through it because I didn't have a memory card for my PS2 and tried to play as much as I could before having to stop and lose all my progress.  Even when I did finally get a memory card, I still skipped all the cutscenes because that was just what I was used to doing and I wanted to get through the stuff I had already played numerous times.  I do see your point though.  You don't need to play the previous games in order to pick up on the story, but I would say that, if you want to know what's going on, you should play them or at least find out what happened in them.

 

For Kingdom Hearts 3 though, if someone does care about the story they should probably at the very least do some research and watch some videos if they don't have the time to play all the games, if they don't care that's OK too.

 

I agree.  I don't mean that they need to play all of the games.  If they don't want to, that's fine.  I'm just saying that their stories are more important than people realize.

 

I....do have issues with them releasing games that have big important story elements on multiple consoles though and always have. But, it is what it is now and I hope they plan a little more ahead for the next saga.

 

I would have to agree with you.  I don't mind releasing them on two different consoles (such as the PlayStation and Nintendo DS), but they released them on pretty much every console known to man.  However, I think that they may have learned their lesson, especially since they released them all on one console now, but I guess we will have to wait and see.


Edited by Dagesh Lene, 09 August 2018 - 05:59 PM.


#9 Isaix

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:02 PM

You are right but than again isnt that what a spin of game should be? On the other hand nomura made himself famous by making every single one of his games expand his story and the he just dosent so there are some expectations

Recoded is more a sequel then a spinoff I'd say and the game "tries" to fit with the other games with some plot points but it's all pointless.The other side games are all important or at least interesting,so it's weird that they wasted time making such a long story that serves like no purpuse,I was falling asleep when I watch the cutscenes in 2.5

#10 Tyranto Rex

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 10:21 PM

Recoded is more a sequel then a spinoff I'd say and the game "tries" to fit with the other games with some plot points but it's all pointless.The other side games are all important or at least interesting,so it's weird that they wasted time making such a long story that serves like no purpuse,I was falling asleep when I watch the cutscenes in 2.5

 

The weird thing is, I heard as a whole that Re:coded is a really fun game gameplay wise (I rented it once when I was younger and did not finish it because I got stuck on a part, so I never finished that one). It's just the story that was weak. Like I would not even mind if it was a stand alone story in the vein of 358/2 days (arguably). It's just a boring story overall. So I find it kinda funny that they included the weakest part in 2.5. It would have been nice to have the gameplay.



#11 Allwil13

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 03:46 AM

The weird thing is, I heard as a whole that Re:coded is a really fun game gameplay wise (I rented it once when I was younger and did not finish it because I got stuck on a part, so I never finished that one). It's just the story that was weak. Like I would not even mind if it was a stand alone story in the vein of 358/2 days (arguably). It's just a boring story overall. So I find it kinda funny that they included the weakest part in 2.5. It would have been nice to have the gameplay.

This is a very good point. I had a lot of fun playing Re:Coded; the gameplay is super enjoyable and fun, but the story is pretty boring since most of it is just a retread of KHi. So I agree; Re: Coded in 2.5 should have had the whole game, not just the cutscenes.



#12 Seyin95

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:38 AM

Thing with 'importance of games' is I find people base what they consider important based on how they find a particular game, hence why I've seen/heard CoM, Recoded and Days be viewed in less regard. I don't think it's a surprise that the numbered titles are held in such a high regard due to the gameplay experience, however we are dealing with a very heay plot driven franchise and it's wrong to exclude certain games. I agree with the majority of your points, but as with many things in this series we need to view things in context. In order to fully appreciate KH1, both BBS and 0.2 become essential, not only for understanding how our seemingly average character has been set up, but also to see this as an ongoing issue. Moving on, CoM sets up not only KH2, but continues an arc from BBS and coincides with Days and DDD. KH2 is the real 'middle piece' of the series and not only acts as a reflection on what has transpired since BBS and KH, but also sets up the tone for DDD and yes, re coded. Days provides backstory for Roxas, which whilst alluded to in KH2 was needed, plus we learn more about the Organisation and saw Namine's definition of being blurred as accurate. 

 

 

Now I'll include re:coded as it's own paragraph. Fundamentally what we have is a DS version of an episodic Japanese video game, now what do we expect from this? We essentially had a fun mobile version of KH1 (yes, people can argue Com was a GBA version of KH- that's reasonable), the overall goal was to essentially tell us what Mickey's letter said during the end sequence of KH2 and does it achieve that? Yes, now whilst it's route from A-B can be viewed as 'irrelevant', end of the game Mickey is able to tell Sora that numerous people connected to him are hurting and need his help, thus stating why a Mark of mastery is essential ( excluding the scene of Yen Sid telling Mickey OMX has returned, which again is crucial). Now whilst small, the plot isn't irrelevant nor less important. We needed a reason for Sora to leave DI, especially since his main goal in KH2 is to locate Riku and return home. During the Re Coded film, the two new cutscenes arguably added more importance, it built upon M+P's future goals, rather than be clowns and we also learn about the will of the keyblade and how this could connect back to the MoM and Xehanort. Now as a 'filler sequence' it does rank lower in my opinion than CoM and DDD, however it achieves it's purpose in telling us what Mickey's letter contained and why Sora left DI. 

 

DDD is significant for numerous reasons, not only do we learn about the whole lights vs darkness aspect, OMX return, but crucially the game didn't resolve an aspect which I feel many expected and that was the resolution of TAV. Things remained unclear and looking back we have to question whether Aqua was 'norted' by then or not, and if not then Terra's whereabouts are completely in the air.



#13 Tyranto Rex

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 10:58 AM

Thing with 'importance of games' is I find people base what they consider important based on how they find a particular game, hence why I've seen/heard CoM, Recoded and Days be viewed in less regard. I don't think it's a surprise that the numbered titles are held in such a high regard due to the gameplay experience, however we are dealing with a very heay plot driven franchise and it's wrong to exclude certain games. I agree with the majority of your points, but as with many things in this series we need to view things in context. In order to fully appreciate KH1, both BBS and 0.2 become essential, not only for understanding how our seemingly average character has been set up, but also to see this as an ongoing issue. Moving on, CoM sets up not only KH2, but continues an arc from BBS and coincides with Days and DDD. KH2 is the real 'middle piece' of the series and not only acts as a reflection on what has transpired since BBS and KH, but also sets up the tone for DDD and yes, re coded. Days provides backstory for Roxas, which whilst alluded to in KH2 was needed, plus we learn more about the Organisation and saw Namine's definition of being blurred as accurate. 

 

That's true. I think a lot of people consider the numbered titles more important because in general they are the better games, cause you know, them being on consoles and all. The other ones started as handheld games which limited them in some aspects. Though to be far, in comparison to other handhelds they are quite well done, but when you compare them to the console games, they are less impressive. But yes, plot wise a lot of them are needed if you want to understand what's going on. But it is really confusing at times.



#14 Seyin95

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 12:11 PM

That's true. I think a lot of people consider the numbered titles more important because in general they are the better games, cause you know, them being on consoles and all. The other ones started as handheld games which limited them in some aspects. Though to be far, in comparison to other handhelds they are quite well done, but when you compare them to the console games, they are less impressive. But yes, plot wise a lot of them are needed if you want to understand what's going on. But it is really confusing at times.

 

In relation to the handheld titles, my biggest gripe was how they were so scattered across too many devices. Prior to the remixes, I can sympathise with how difficult it was to keep up with the franchise and consequently how easy it was to miss titles accidentally or due to financial restriction. Another reason I think people 'devalue' the handheld titles is because they weren't 'KH3', now it's silly to compare games to something that until 2013 was not confirmed to exist, but you'll never remove fully the 'I've waited since 2006 for KH3 argument'.  



#15 Tyranto Rex

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 03:05 PM

In relation to the handheld titles, my biggest gripe was how they were so scattered across too many devices. Prior to the remixes, I can sympathise with how difficult it was to keep up with the franchise and consequently how easy it was to miss titles accidentally or due to financial restriction. Another reason I think people 'devalue' the handheld titles is because they weren't 'KH3', now it's silly to compare games to something that until 2013 was not confirmed to exist, but you'll never remove fully the 'I've waited since 2006 for KH3 argument'.  

 

And now we have the mobile game. I was really hoping the mobile game would be a stand alone story but it ended up not being the case. Hopefully it's impact on KH3 is minimal. 

 

I think what some people mean when they say they have been waiting for KH3 since 2006 mean they have been waiting for a main console game for over ten years. Not counting remakes/remixes.



#16 VisitJoan

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:13 PM

I think a lot of the “side games” contain a lot of background information on characters and events. The reason I like Axel as much as I do is because of what he did in Days. If you wanted to experience the story from Sora’s Perspective, you would limit yourself to numbered titles, CoM and DDD. The other games are important, don’t get me wrong, but Sora would not have experienced any of it (minus that one cutscene in BBS with Aqua). I think that people who played only the numbered titles are going to be just like Sora while playing KHIII, wondering what exactly is going on and having to learn about other people and events through word of mouth. If you want the whole story, you need to play the other games. Re:Codded is the only one I skipped - if I wanted to play through KH again I would go play KH - but I did watch the cutscenes at the end.

#17 ienzo628

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 09:12 PM

Recoded is more a sequel then a spinoff I'd say and the game "tries" to fit with the other games with some plot points but it's all pointless.The other side games are all important or at least interesting,so it's weird that they wasted time making such a long story that serves like no purpuse,I was falling asleep when I watch the cutscenes in 2.5

I was too busy watching Youtube videos or reading fanfiction on my end..


Edited by ienzo628, 11 August 2018 - 09:12 PM.


#18 Seyin95

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 01:56 AM

And now we have the mobile game. I was really hoping the mobile game would be a stand alone story but it ended up not being the case. Hopefully it's impact on KH3 is minimal. 

 

I think what some people mean when they say they have been waiting for KH3 since 2006 mean they have been waiting for a main console game for over ten years. Not counting remakes/remixes.

 

I really hoped the mobile game would be a community within a community, rather than essential to the plot. What I'm hoping is the references are only towards the keyblade war, which we already knew about and the black box as this connects to M+P's earlier goals. I'm seriously hoping we don't have a 'Ven has a revelation and remembers where his book of prophecy is' moment etc as that would be 'messy' and the 'original' games already have loose ends. 



#19 Isaix

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 11:00 AM

The weird thing is, I heard as a whole that Re:coded is a really fun game gameplay wise (I rented it once when I was younger and did not finish it because I got stuck on a part, so I never finished that one). It's just the story that was weak. Like I would not even mind if it was a stand alone story in the vein of 358/2 days (arguably). It's just a boring story overall. So I find it kinda funny that they included the weakest part in 2.5. It would have been nice to have the gameplay.

To me even the gameplay bored me,it's just KH1/Days/BBS,with the same worlds we've seen a billion times at this point

#20 Tyranto Rex

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 09:13 PM

I really hoped the mobile game would be a community within a community, rather than essential to the plot. What I'm hoping is the references are only towards the keyblade war, which we already knew about and the black box as this connects to M+P's earlier goals. I'm seriously hoping we don't have a 'Ven has a revelation and remembers where his book of prophecy is' moment etc as that would be 'messy' and the 'original' games already have loose ends. 

 

Yeah I hope it's very minimal. Not a lot of people are gonna wanna play a phone game as it is. Not to mention one that's not even done yet.

 

 

To me even the gameplay bored me,it's just KH1/Days/BBS,with the same worlds we've seen a billion times at this point

 

That's understandable. Have not played much of it myself to make my own judgments, just heard it had decent gameplay. Them reusing the same worlds is a common complaint. And for Chain of Memories and Re:coded it basically uses the same plots minus the overall plot. Thankfully they fixed this with BBS and DDD.