[kingdom hearts coded]Kingdom Hearts： Every Spinoff Game And How They Are Important To The Main Story
Kingdom Hearts: Every Spinoff Game And How They Are Important To The Main Story
By Kent Anderson-Brettell
Published Apr 01, 2021
Kingdom Hearts’ unnumbered entries should not be ignored, as most spinoff games in Square Enix’s franchise are important for the main story.
Kingdom Hearts has a lot of games, spread out over a variety of consoles. In fact, before the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, Square Enix republished them all in a number of multi-game collections to ensure every fan could experience the entire series leading up to the finale of the Dark Seeker Saga.
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With varying opinions as to what counts as a mainline game versus a side game, it can be confusing to know what games truly need to be played to understand the entire series. And with the Kingdom Hearts series releasing on PC, it is a good time to learn just how the stories interconnect with each other.
Released two years after the original game on the Game Boy Advance (and on the PS2 as Re: Chain of Memories in 2007), Chain of Memories provides a core connection between the ending of the first game and the beginning of the second, introducing key characters and plotlines to be paid off in the sequel.
With Sora traveling to reunite with Riku and King Mickey, he winds up in Castle Oblivion and introduces the player to Organization XIII, as well as Namine, Kairi’s Nobody, leaving Sora unconscious and recovering his memories. Riku, stumbling upon the castle as well, struggles against and gains control over the darkness within him, and teams up with DiZ to infiltrate and stop Organization XIII.
Originally available only as an episodic mobile title in Japan between 2008 and 2010, Coded was released worldwide as Re:coded on the Nintendo DS in 2010. While not providing any core story progression,?this game builds upon the themes of memory and the heart remembering even if the mind forgets that run through the very core of the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
By setting up Sora’s lingering connections to Roxas, Xion, and Ventus,?Coded prepares the player for the events of Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts 3. Given the very repetitive gameplay of the DS version, the best way to experience this entry is through the movie version included in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX.
The game with arguably the hardest name to pronounce (Kingdom Hearts Three Five Eight Days over Two), 358/2 Days was released on the Nintendo DS in 2009, introducing players to the 14th member of Organization XIII: Xion. With her name being a modification of No. I, or an imaginary number,?Xion is established?as a created being, a Nobody designed without an original Somebody.
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Created as a failsafe from Sora’s stolen memories from Chain of Memories, Xion is the real reason to experience 358/2 Days. The game continues to reinforce the series themes of memory and friendship, and it also provides Axel and Roxas their reasons for betraying the Organization. As with Coded, the best way to experience 358/2 Days is the movie version included in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX.
Although debatable whether it should count as a spinoff game or not (as it was teased at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2), Birth by Sleep was released on the PlayStation Portable in 2010. It serves as a prequel to the original Kingdom Hearts, providing the origin story for Xehanort and the reason why Mickey is searching for Keyblade wielders.
Birth by Sleep also?introduces?players to Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, as well as sets up the reason why Sora, Riku, and Kairi gain the ability to wield keyblades. Birth by Sleep does a lot of the heavy lifting on setting up the story for the finale of the series and is a game that absolutely can not be skipped.
The first game to continue the story directly from the end of Kingdom Hearts 2 (coded technically happens during the ending of the game), Dream Drop Distance, like Birth by Sleep before it, has to carry a lot of weight in setting up the finale. Released in 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS, Dream Drop Distance sets up Riku’s ascension to Keyblade Master, introduces fans to the Power of Waking, and also informs them of the consequences of defeating a person’s Heartless and Nobody, the revival of their original form.
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With Xehanort back and his plan to use Sora as a vessel for his True Organization XIII in motion, the story ramps up and leads directly into the confrontation in Kingdom Hearts 3.
Released in 2013 as a mobile game, and completed with the mobile sequel Unchained X (later Union X), Kingdom Hearts X works as the ancient backstory to the series. Setting up the original whole world, as well as the origin of Keyblades and the Keyblade War, X provides supplementary information that isn’t critical for understanding the story of Kingdom Hearts but helps to fill in the cracks.
Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, a film story told in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, provides all the core information needed to understand Kingdom Hearts 3. However, some lingering questions about characters like Ventus will remain unless X is played.
Released in 2017 as part of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, A Fragmentary Passage serves as a very short sequel to the end of Birth by Sleep, prologue to the ending of the original Kingdom Hearts, as well as a prologue to the events of Kingdom Hearts 3.
While mostly serving to explain why Aqua is still in the Realm of Darkness, and how time seems to flow differently there, A Fragmentary Passage also?shows how both Mickey and Riku got to the door at the end of the first game (and why Mickey wasn’t wearing a shirt when he did so).
Released as an addition to Union X in 2020, Dark Road serves to tell the origin story of Xehanort and how he became the Keyblade Master and Seeker of Darkness that he was in his later years.
RELATED: Kingdom Hearts Union X Dark Road Is Ending, Team Is Moving On To Next Phase
The game doesn’t provide much in the way of story, mostly serving to flesh out Xehanort’s origin story beyond what has been seen in previous games and to give a reason for why he ended up on the path that he did.
Originally released in 2020, Melody of Memory was the first game to be released as a direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts 3 and is also the first Rhythm game in the series.
While the story impact of the game can only be speculated?as there is little information on future?releases in the Kingdom Hearts series, Melody of Memory appears to be setting up the next entry by providing a definite location that Sora ends up in at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3. It also?gives Kairi and Riku their next goals.
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About The Author
(11 Articles Published)
Kent Anderson-Brettell is a freelance writer and game designer based in Toronto, Canada. He is a prolific MMO-player, JRPG enthusiast, and advocate for story-heavy games.
From Kent Anderson-Brettell