Kingdom Hearts is a beloved franchise which beautifully mixes the worlds of Final Fantasy and Disney together for a fantastical, yet slightly cheesy story. But the timeline is slightly convoluted, and that itself is even an understatement! To celebrate the release of Kingdom Hearts finally coming to PC, let's have a look at the entirety of the series... in chronological order.
All Kingdom Hearts Games in Order
If you have only played the main three titles and noticed a considerable gap between Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III, then this list will clear up the confusion. We have also included the different editions and what's included in them, so you know that you're not missing out on anything.
Kingdom Hearts χ (2013-2016) + Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover (2017) + Kingdom Hearts Dark Road (2020-2021)
If the series weren't confusing enough, it doesn't technically even start with the OG Kingdom Hearts, but rather a browser game called Kingdom Hearts x (Cross) followed by Kingdom Hearts Dark Road. These games allow you to become a Keyblade wielder during an era before the Keyblade War.
Then there was a CGI feature called Back Cover. This feature goes into more detail about the Keyblade War and takes place in a time long before Sora's journey.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2010) + Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix (2011)
This is the game which introduces us to Ventus, Aqua and Terra's full story. It shows the timeline before and after they encounter Sora and Riku, as well as delving into their training with Eraqus for the Mark of Mastery exam. It became available on other consoles other than the PSP when it was bundled with the 2.5 Remix.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- (2017)
This story takes place right after the original Birth by Sleep ends, and informs a lot more about what happens in Kingdom Hearts III. The story itself leads into the events that happen at the beginning of the original Kingdom Hearts.
Kingdom Hearts (2002)+ 1.5 Remix (2013)
This is the game that started the series off, but comes fourth when it comes to today's chronology. Join Sora, Donald and Goofy (yes, in that order) to start the mission of a lifetime: to defeat the Heartless and take down Maleficent. The 1.5 Remix is the HD remaster, and it is a definite improvement!
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories (2004) + Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories (2007)
The battle system for this game is different as it relies on card-based battle mechanics. However, it explains what happens between the original Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. Re:Chain was the remake released to PS2, and it likewise gained a remaster with the 1.5 Remix.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (2009)
Originally a Nintendo DS game, it was adapted into a cutscene movie for the 1.5 + 2.5 Remix. It covers what Roxas does during the events of Kingdom Hearts and Re:Chain of Memories. This game/movie fast-forwards us to the first few hours of Kingdom Hearts II where Roxas' role becomes a lot more prominent in the series. The film is, quite literally, all of the cutscenes strung together—so for context it is important but you might as well start KH 2 instead.
Kingdom Hearts II (2005) + Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (2007) + Kingdom Hearts II 2.5 Remix (2014) + II.8 Chapter Prologue (2018)
This title merges many key plot points, and does clear a few things up in its own way. You regain control of Sora and discover what the Organization is doing whilst working to defeat their Nobodies and the Heartless. Maleficent makes a return this time alongside the near spineless Pete. It is most certainly one of the best KH titles if you can wrap your head around the lore! The II.8 Chapter Prologue variant includes the remastered version for the next title in the list, Dream Drop Distance.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (2012) + Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD (2017)
The game that was called 3D because it has three words beginning with D in the title... Anywho! This game does actually set up the beginning of Kingdom Hearts III. It brings back members from the Organization and also shows us how Sora and Riku went through their Mark of Mastery exams, and how Riku became a Keyblade Master like with Ventus, Aqua and Terra. Lea (Axel) also surprises everyone by joining the fold and abandoning the Organization.
Kingdom Hearts III (2019) + Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind (2020)
Kingdom Hearts III has a lot of lore in it if you have only played the other main two games beforehand. Without knowledge of the releases in between it can be quite confusing! As always we return to fighting again the Organization and essentially trying to prevent another Keyblade War. This title also has a lot of newer Disney worlds to visit such as Arendelle from Frozen and San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6. Overall it is a fun game, but some of the worlds could have been fleshed out a bit more, like the Toybox from Toy Story. Re Mind was the downloadable content which furthers the story.
Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory (2020)
Taking place after Re Mind, this story follows Kairi's search for Sora due to the ending of Kingdom Hearts III. It is the latest release for the storyline and, with that, the end of the timeline.
We've no doubt there will be more Kingdom Hearts lore to brush up on in the future. Got it memorized? Don't worry, neither have we!
Need some more KH content? How about how long it takes to beat Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory?