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Kingdom Hearts Timeline - Chronologically Confused - Angry Video Game Nerd (Episode 165)

The Nerd: Let's take a trip back to the early 2000s: PlayStation 2, GameCube and original Xbox are duking it out but ehh...let's not get into all that console wars shit right now. So anyways, Square Enix which was still called Square Soft at the time is the RPG master. With the long-running success of their Final Fantasy series and hot off the release of Final Fantasy X, the company makes an announcement that at the time, hit the world with shock and confusion.

The Nerd: Enter Kingdom Hearts, an ambitious crossover between the Final Fantasy universe and Disney. Yeah Disney. If you were to see screenshots of the game in magazines at the time, you'd think it was a joke but it wasn't. In fact, it was a big success and it was followed by Kingdom Hearts II in 2005 and since then, everybody's been waiting for the third game but little did they know, it wouldn't be out for 13 years. Now I'll admit, I haven't played any of the games so far but with all the hype surrounding it and with the third game right around the corner, I was wondering "Is it worth getting into?" I mean, there's not that much to catch up with, there's only three games, right? Yeah, well, well, well. Kingdom Hearts is a massive series with about 20 games altogether containing sequels, prequels, remakes, HD remasters and even concerts.

The Nerd: If you think you can play just the main three games and know what's up, then, oh, think again. The first game starts off simple enough: It tells the story of a boy named Sora who lives on the Destiny Islands with his friends. The group dreams of leaving the islands and exploring new worlds but one night, the islands are attacked by evil monsters called the Heartless. To battle the Heartless, Sora obtains the Keyblade. It's not really a blade so much as a big fucking key that you use to bash the ever-loving shit out of enemies with. Sora defeats the Heartless that attack their home, but the island is destroyed and at the same time this is happening, Donald Duck and Goofy set out to find Mickey Mouse using a spaceship and end up landing in Traverse Town where they meet Sora and begin their quest to find their friends and stop the Heartless. It's a decent action RPG that stands up with Square's usual standard quality of games. The story can be kind of confusing, but makes sense within the confines of the universe it establishes. Then the second game comes out, and that's where it gets really nuts.

The Nerd: It starts you off in Twilight Town as a new guy, Roxas and his friends. Well, that's fine but what happened to Sora, Donald and Goofy? These new characters are never mentioned anywhere in the first game, but all of a sudden they're the main characters? Sora, Donald and Goofy don't even show up until about two hours into the game, so what happened? Well, it turns out, to get the full story, you have to play Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories on the Game Boy Advance before playing Kingdom Hearts II. That's where Roxas gets introduced, and it also gives the story in between the first and second game, but come on! You can't just stick some new characters in the main sequel without any explanation or proper introduction. So now, you have to get a Game Boy Advance if you don't already have one and play through another game just so you can be up to speed on part two. Okay, imagine if you're watching the Back to the Future trilogy: You finished the first one and can't wait to see what happens, then the movie starts and it's just a bunch of new characters you've never seen before and Doc and Marty finally show up 45 minutes into the damn movie. Then you find out you were supposed to listen to a book on tape before you watch it. I guess it's like also how you have to sit through an hour of the awful Star Wars Holiday Special just to see the introduction of Boba Fett. Geez, hopefully that's the last time I have to reference that unsalvageable waste of recording media.

The Nerd: However, even if you do play it, Chain of Memories doesn't even explain who Roxas is. It just introduces him. Roxas is Sora's Nobody. In Kingdom Hearts, if someone with a strong heart loses their heart, they create a Nobody so when Sora gave his heart to save Kairi in the first game, he created Roxas. Well that's all well and good, but how about explain that shit! Most of the prequels and in-between games came out in 2008 and onwards. That's 3 years after Kingdom Hearts II was released and 6 after the first. Oh, and the names, you want to get into the titles? Boy, did they use every possible naming convention under the sun. You have numbered games, games using the Greek alphabet, decimals and even fractions. The game about Roxas is called uhh... (Shows the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days logo) that, look. That's the title. I can't even think of any sequels in general that use fractions. Maybe The Naked Gun movies, but off the top of my head that's about it. I don't even know if it's intended to be a fraction. After reducing it down, it should be called Kingdom Hearts 179 Days. Yeah, yeah, I know it's supposed to be 358 days between two characters, but seriously, the first time I saw this title I didn't even know how to read it. Is it 358 Over Two days? Is it 358 Halves Days? No, the way it's supposed to be read is Kingdom Hearts Three Five Eight Days Over Two. Why not just call it Kingdom Hearts Roxas Story? Why all the convoluted, cockamamie names?

The Nerd: The one that really takes the cake for me, and get ready for this is Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage. That's a paragraph! You have a decimal, a subtitle and a tagline? Now that's a motherfucking title. So with that said, let's finally start tackling this timeline. It starts not with Kingdom Hearts 1, but with Kingdom Hearts χ[chi], which was a Japan-only browser-based game explaining the Keyblade War. Nowadays, it isn't even playable, but the cutscenes were remastered in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue for the PS4. What a mouthful! This was followed by Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep for the PSP. Then we have Kingdom Hearts 1, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts II.

The Nerd: After that is where it starts getting really weird...or weirder. After II we get Kingdom Hearts Coded, which only came out on Japanese mobile phones. It was, however, later released as Kingdom Hearts Re:coded on the Nintendo DS. After Coded came Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, the first tongue-twister sequel for the 3DS and the last game before Kingdom Hearts III was Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage. Yeah, that's one of my favorites. That right there is everything you need to know for Kingdom Hearts III. So if you were following from the beginning just to get the full story, you'd be spending hundreds of dollars or maybe even thousands between every game and console you need. You know, just to see Mickey, Donald, Goofy and some anime kids beat the shit out of people with keys. Not to mention, there was a concert in 2017 and 2018 with additional plot points, but the only way you're gonna see that now is if you build yourself a time machine, so on top of the thousand dollars you're spending on the games, you're also gonna have to spend millions to obtain plutonium to power a flux capacitor. Oh, then again, it's on YouTube.

The Nerd: Luckily, nowadays, there's a ton of Kingdom Hearts compilations you can get that pack multiple games into one. There's almost as many remakes and remasters as there are actual games in the series. You have Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Remix Final Chapter Prologue, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix and lastly, Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far. What a convenient title. The Story So Far packs in everything you need to know, the full story before Kingdom Hearts III drops and you don't need to understand complex mathematics or the Greek alphabet to play it. With all the shit packed in well after the first and second game, it makes me think they hadn't planned any of this. The first game is pretty straightforward. You travel to different Disney worlds to stop the Heartless and try to find your friends.

The Nerd: The plethora of side stories and prequels just makes me feel like they were desperately trying to keep the hype train running until the third game finally came out. This series did eventually span three console generations, so I can understand they wanted to give the fanbase something to do in the meantime, but I just wonder if they had this entire story planned or were just patting it out to keep the interest going. So for someone who's just now looking to play these games for the first time, I'm kind of intimidated. Between all the entries in the series, you're looking at over 100 hours of gameplay and that's without even counting Kingdom Hearts III. Well, gee, add that to the whole list of games in general that I'm trying to play, it's gonna be another 13 years to do that.

The Nerd: I guess though by that time, the third game will be old enough to do a proper Angry Nerd review, but these games so far are pretty decent. They provide a nice amount of playtime for your money and the worlds are diverse and interesting. While the Disney stuff is kinda weird, it never feels out of place in the game's universe. Also, now with Disney owning Star Wars and the Marvel Universe's, it'll be cool battling alongside Jedi and Avengers. Will that ever happen? Maybe, maybe not, but maybe when Kingdom Hearts 4 drops in 2030, then we'll finally be able to see Sora, Mickey, Donald and Goofy team up with Han Solo, Luke and Iron Man...or not but until then, who knows how many prequels and spin-offs and side stories and 4K remasters and remakes and reboots and requels we'll see. Only time will tell.

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