In 2002, if you’d told me that Square Soft and Disney had come up with a concept for a game that combined their best characters in an original story.  I’d looked at you like you were retarded…because I did when someone told me this.  Seriously, I almost got into a fight with a guy over this, and I stated how retarded the idea of the two crossing over would be.  I was 18 at the time.  That same friend told me that the game would be directed by Tetsuya Nomura.  At the time, and still to this day I was in love with his work.  He to me was the level I wanted to achieve with my own work, and still is.  Still a skeptic I bought the game, and fell in love with the story.  The game play had me pulled in, but the story had me hooked.

Kingdom Hearts, 2002, Squaresoft

From the offset of the game, we are introduced  to three kids, and three concepts.  First, the power of 3, second is the power of love and friendship, and third is the meaning of a journey.  Three heroes, three party members, looking for loved ones and making new friends along the way.  The way the story was told required you to traverse several worlds in search of your missing friends.  Along the way you’re given the indication that you, Sora, are a chosen wielder of a weapon called the Key Blade, and this weapon can can stop creatures called Heartless.  As the story progresses you find out that one of your lost friends has been spending his time trying to end you, and your other friends heart is stuck inside of you.  At a certain point you end up fighting your best friend, and turning into a heartless yourself.  You see the world from the eyes of the very creatures you’ve worked so hard to destroy.  When it’s all said and done you stop the villain and start a new journey to try and get home find your missing friend, and get home.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, 2004, Squaresoft

This game attempted to push the boundaries of what a handheld could do.  The game play system was very similar, but different at the same time.  To start with you had a set number of cards that acted as your commands, and you also had to make combos to do special moves.  The game came out on the Gameboy Advance and it had CG cutscenes…that was huge back then.  The GBA wasn’t capable of actual CGI cutscenes but the team made it happen and it looked amazing.  The game itself took place not more then 6 months after the first game.  Sora, Donald and Goofy end up at a place called Castle Oblivion, upon entering they loose their memories.  Memories of their previous adventure, and how or why they’re there in the first place, and more importantly where the were going.  Sora forgets how to fight.  During this time we are also introduced to a group called Organization XIII who’s in the middle of a internal dispute, and they want to use Sora to get rid of the other members and take over Kingdom Hearts, and you are introduced to a young girl named Namine who has the ability to change peoples memories.  As the game proceeds the events of the first game begin to get mixed up and Namine writes herself into Sora’s memories.  Along the way, Sora starts picking off the memebers of Organization XIII, and near the end Namine confesses her crime to Sora and offers to fix Sora, Donald and Goofy, by putting them to sleep.  She tells them it will be a year before she can full fix them, and proceeds to replace everything she broke.

Kingdom Hearts 2, 2005, Square Enix

This game happens almost 2 years after the original.  The game play is a return to the first games action menu setup.  The game is much faster then the first and a lot of the actions are much more dynamic.  It’s built to show Sora’s growth and change in swordsmanship and ever growing power and control of his Keyblade.  The tone of the game is much darker, there is a lot more emphasis on sorrow, pain of loss, and death.   This is heavily depicted through the main portion of the game where a new character, Roxas, a being called a Nobody.  You are introduced to him as your tutorial into the game, through Roxas we learn of the combat system changes.  After playing as Roxas we’re introduced to an older Sora, Donald and Goofy, and the enemie Nobodies.  As the story progresses Sora continues to fight the remaining members of Organization XIII, and the Heartless.  During this time we are shown Ansem, a vilian from the previous game, who is revealed to be the original.  We are also introduced to Xenohart.  By the games end we learn that Riku, the missing friend can wield keyblades as well as well as Kairi, a princess from the previous game, and friend to Sora.  Again setting up the concept of the “Power of three.”  We also learn that these three are not the only wielders in existance.  There are three others who are currently missing.  We are introduced to the previous three key blade wielders at the end of the game.

Kingdom Hearts: Coded, 2008, Square Enix

This game takes places right after Kingdom Hearts 2.  This one was a bit of an odd ball game, and the battle system was originally setup for a cellphone but was ported to the DS.  Basically it’s about Jimnie Cricketts journal, and how Namine tried to fix it after she messed it up in CoM.  It just goes over the previous events and leads us to the next chapter of the series.

Kingdom Hearts 365/2 days 2009

This Was one of the prequel games that started to come out.  The battle system went back to more of a command based system.  You also had the ability to control the other villains in Kingdom Hearts 2.  The game explains why Roxas left the organization, and why he and Sora eventually, can dual wield the keyblade.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, 2010, Square Enix

THE prequel game.  The system in this game was on par with that of a numbered game.  The system again was a deck based hybrid.  This gave the game more of a Kingdom Hearts 2 feel, but separate at the same time.

You play three separate scenarios…all of which show the story from three different perspectives and converge at one major point.  This game takes us through the tale of how all of the remaining Key Blade Masters disappeared.  We’re introduced to Aqua, Ventus, and Terra during what called the mark of mastery exam.  The overseers are  Master Eraqus, Square Master and he resembles Hironobu Sakaguchi, and Master Xehanort.  Aqua is declared the newest master, then all heck breaks loose and the three characters leave their world, each for different reasons.  The events of the story account for how Xehanort takes on his appearence in the previous games.  We meet the original members of the Organization and come to understand how they became who the are when they were human.  The other members aren’t shown or seen.  The story converges with the display of of the “Xi” blade and Xehanort’s bid to take over Terras body and become the Xehanort we know today.  We are also shown how Sora, Kairi and Riku are given the ability to wield key blades later in life.  Sora gets his from Ventus as he accepts his heart into his own.  Terra conducts a transition oath with Riku, and Kairi during the game is saved by Aqua and touches her keyblade.  At the games end we are fast forwarded back to the end of Kingdom Hearts 2 with Sora, Kairi and Riku reading King Mikey’s letter to Sora, which had been sent at the end of “Coded.”

 

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, 2012, Square Enix

This game has yest to “drop” in the states, but as far story is concerned this will carry us into Kingdom Hearts 3.  The game comes out March 28, 2012.  Happy 10 Kingdom Hearts, your story is a Japanese Star Wars with Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters mixed in.  Its better when the person in charge of it want to make a genuine interaction with story driven characters.  Three cheers to you Square Enix.  Keep up the good work.