Kingdom Hearts

What is Kingdom Hearts?

Kingdom Hearts is a series of action RPG games developed by Square Enix, (in)famous for its extremely cheesy blend of Disney and Final Fantasy characters. The first game came out 20 years ago (in 2002), which is mind boggling to me. I consider this franchise to be one of the PS2 classics, due to it's great combat and hard secret bosses, but a lot of people write it off due to it's slightly uncanny and goofy blend of FF and Disney characters. There's a lot of spinoffs and prequels, but the mainline games follow a spiky-haired teenage boy called Sora on his adventures throughout Disney worlds. As you can see on the picture, his weapon of choice is the keyblade, a big-ass key he uses to defeat enemies and... do some special key related magic with! He's accompanied by Donald and Goofy, a marvel to behold, honestly.

I'll order the games chronologically instead of by release dates, to just point out how weird my clear order was. I'll also add the original platforms they were released on. Final Mix versions of games usually include an extra difficulty mode as well as secret bosses, extra areas, and endings.
  • Kingdom Hearts X - Android, iOS
  • Kingdom Hearts Union X Dark Road - Android, iOS
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep + Final Mix - PSP
  • Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage - PS4, Xbox One
  • Kingdom Hearts + Final Mix - PS2
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories - PS2, GBA (they're vastly different)
  • Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days - Nintendo DS
  • Kingdom Hearts 2 + Final Mix - PS2
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded - Nintendo DS
  • Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance - Nintendo 3DS
  • Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind - PS4, Xbox One
  • Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory - Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC

My history with the games

My history with Kingdom Hearts begins in 2010, when I got my PSP and bought Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. While I was aware of Kingdom Hearts due to the sheer insanity of its fandom online, I could never play it, as I only had a PS1. Coincidentally, it's also the first video game I ever bought. I cleared it way more times than necessary, and I really fell in love with the main cast. To this day, I think the main characters in BBS are my favourite crew in KH in general. Story-wise, BBS is a prequel to the main story, and it's events are very important in the third mainline installment. The way in which I played the games is extremely cursed. After finishing BBS I saved up enough money to buy an old second hand PS2. Yes, in 2011, 2 years before PS4 came out lmao. My next game was Kingdom Hearts 2, which, I don't know why I did that. After I cleared KH2, I decided to get the Final Mix version that had extra bosses, and I had to apply an english patch to the iso, because the english translation didn't exist at that point. I cleared all of the secret bosses, including the known to be difficult Lingering Will. Next, I cleared Re:Chain of Memories, which people are very divided on gameplay wise. I was on the "I didn't really like it" team, sorry. Re:CoM had a more RPG-like system, but all your skills were actually cards and it was kind of randomly determined which cards you'd have, iirc. Wasn't a big fan of that, but I cleared it nonetheless. Finally, I went on to clear the original Kingdom Hearts, and I loved it. Compared to KH2, the combat felt a bit heavier and harder to master on the hardest diffculty which, actually had some difficulty to it even outside of secret bosses, if I remember it well... The world design was also great, and is probably the most superior in all of the KH games.
Now, 10 years after clearing all these games, I finally cleared Kingdom Hearts 3, which is what inspired me to make this site.

Review: Kingdom Hearts III

First of all, I closely followed the release of this game back in pre-pandemic 2019. One of the rare times I watched a twitch stream, but not even KH3 could keep me watching, and I tuned out around the second world lol. Last year it came out on PC but life happened and I forgot about it... But now I finally played it! I went in head first, critical mode (hardest mode) right out of the bat. All in all, it took me 39 hours, which apparently is 10 hours longer than average, but I'll get to that in a bit. If I had my PS2 here I'd compare it to my KH2 and KH1 playtimes, but alas. I have only completed the main story, I didn't go for a collectibles run yet...


First of all I'm going to talk about the difficulty. I started with the hardest mode first and honestly, I was impressed by how hard it was. I even died to the tutorial boss, but I'll blame that on being really rusty and unprepared. Countless times I died to simple mob swarms, which is something I don't think I ever had happen, outside of maybe KH on expert and even then - I don't remember it being a common ocurrence. But here, oh boy, I had to play it quite safe. Some boss fights took me HOURS to clear, namely the doll heartless in the Toy Story world, the wolf boss in the Frozen world, and the last boss in the Monsters Inc. world. Those had me almost raging at points. The final bosses (the 6 hours worth of fights and cutscenes from Keyblade Graveyard and on I'll count as final bosses LOL) I kind of cheesed with shotlocks when I had to fight multiple at once, and frankly the whole ending onslaught of fights was making me a tad impatient and I wanted to get it over with! The Re Mind DLC introduces extra ways to make the game more difficult, and I used some of them. I turned off all the summons, links and those special Donald/Goofy skills. I only left shotlocks on from all the "extra" stuff. I didn't even use food, except for the two last forms of the final boss, because it was late and I wanted to finish the game before sleep. The game plays very similarily to other mainline games but mostly KH 2, with the way magic and abilities work. It borrowed shotlocks from BBS and the Formchange ability is a good mix of BBS Command Styles and KH2 Drive Forms. Personally my favourite magic system is the BBS one with the way skills worked and how you could fuse them and discover them yourself, but the mainline one isn't bad either although it's more simplistic.
After searching a bit online about peoples opinions, it seems the general consensus on the critical difficulty of KH3 is that it's too hard. In all honestly, I completely disagree lmao. It took me a bit longer than average to play because most players, including me in the past, usually clear the game on an easier difficulty before tackling the hardest one, so I died a ton because I had to learn everything right away. But I still had a lot of fun doing it, and every fight was a challenge. I truly mean every! It felt like playing a colorful Dark Souls (insert outdated x of Dark Souls meme here), except KH has the added advantage of not punishing you for dying, in fact you can even choose the "Prepare and Retry" option that lets you switch up your equipment, abilities etc. and go back to the boss fight. It's quite convenient, and makes learning less of a pain in the ass.

Disney worlds level design

I will touch the Disney worlds plot here because I'll talk about the way these worlds are structured so it's inevitable. I read a lot about this online and I think my opinion differs from the majority. The way all KH games functioned Disney worlds wise prior to KH3 is that you'd visit all of them twice. Basically you'd go there for the first time, meet the characters, start the plot in that world, resolve a small problem and then the second time you'd come back only to find out the plot has progressed, you need to beat the final boss and tie loose ends up. It's a formula that worked well enough, but I'll admit sometimes visiting worlds for the second time would be a chore for me in the original games. KH3, however, ditched that formula and instead of two visits, you'd have one longer visit. I... liked it. It had some flaws depending on the world which I'll get to later but I think it was fine all in all. I can't say which formula I prefer though. Another complaint was that the plot in all Disney worlds you'd visit would just replay the original plot from the movies, but that wasn't the case for every world, there was a fair bit of variety. Frozen and Tangled got the complete replays, while other worlds didn't really? In fact, most of the worlds differ in the way they're structured, so in some worlds you'll be looking at a lot of cutscenes with not much exploration, sometimes you'll be following the story closely, sometimes you'd be part of the plot and more included etc. I think the way the worlds/levels were designed was pretty diverse, for better or for worse. My one complaint is that there wasn't enough world exploration, and the one visit made you I guess less "attached" to the relationships you form with the Disney characters, but I was never a huge Disney fan myself so this wasn't detrimental to me. I remember getting lost for HOURS in KH1 in some worlds because I had to find something or talk to someone and while some people would see this as a design flaw, I think it made you explore more and get immersed in the world. While the worlds weren't full on just corridor maps like the BBS ones were, some of them weren't as great as the KH1 ones which is a shame because KH1 is a 2002 game and I think KH3 should be capable of doing a lot more considering the platforms it was made for. San Fransokyo and Arendelle seem pretty complex design wise but I'm yet to confirm that as I haven't gone on a collecting spree, lmao.
One other thing I'd like to point out regarding the Disney worlds is that the animation was really good. Like they went off the rails with the facial expressions, movements and even dialogue. The KH original characters felt stiff by comparison at times, which kind of sucked? It seems like it's a purposeful choice then, to make the atmosphere kind of awkward, when the scenes with Disney characters seem so well executed. I kept thinking it might be because Disney cares about it's IP's, but the difference is really noticeable!


The biggest meme in Kingdom Hearts in general is the plot. If you're familiar with Tetsuya Nomura... Well that's all you need to know! The writing isn't exactly nuanced. Or concise. Or anything that could be called "quality writing". But you know what? It's ridiculous, and it's really fun. It's so convoluted but I feel like this game made a lot things more clear. Or complicated depending on how you look at it. At points it's really sincere. Dare I say, I liked the whole rescuing Aqua/Terra/Ventus plot. Maybe because those are the first characters I encountered in the KH series so I'm the most attached to them, or maybe because those 3 actually have decent stories tied to them. Plus, they went through the biggest amount of suffering so you can't help but feel bad for them. I think this game, all things considered, was pretty decent as far as Kingdom Hearts goes. It wrapped a lot of loose ends, and only really opened a couple ones this time. Axel and Saix's "girl" they were supposed to protect and.. Xigbar I guess but I'm yet to play Re Mind.
Once again my opinion doesn't really mesh well with the rest of the community. Usually I hate those "character loses all of his powers and has to go on a journey to get them back" plots, especially in anime (at least video games have the excuse of the main playable character having to start at level 1) but I think it wasn't so bad here. It's clear that Sora is suffering from some kind of a crisis starting with him failing the mastery test in DDD (which is kind of cool imo as far as shitty anime writing goes, the main character having big flaws), and he's way too careless with the use of his powers and his savior complex which are actually seen as flaws to almost everyone else and he gets criticized for it quite often. Even ingame mechs such as anti sora are a result of his irresponsibility. Everyone keeps being weirdly mean to him and treats him like an idiot, and I can only hope this will be a good set up for the next game. If it turns out that it's not, well I'll be a bit disappointed but at the end of the day, it's Nomura and my expectations aren't exactly stellar here. Over all, it feels like Sora really regressed as a person in some ways, or barely grew, while everyone else around him matured. I don't think that's a bad thing writing wise, because it makes for an interesting conflict within Sora himself. And other characters really love to point it out too in a true tell and don't show fashion.

Final thoughts

Overall, I think KH3 was a pretty good game. Mostly because of the gameplay, story wise I'm in it for the ride and the cheesiness. It was better than KH2, memorability wise. I'm trying to remember the main plot points in KH2 and frankly I'm struggling, even though I replayed it so much. This game felt very fan servicy with the Org XIII characters I'll admit that, they didn't have too much of a function. I did like how they got btfo'd by Disney characters though, even made me chuckle at points. Lastly, I didn't know where to put this, but the amount of "everyone starts laughing in unison as the camera pans out" anime scenes irked me a bit lmao. They're never NOT awkward. Oh and the "endgame" drags on a bit too long for my liking, it would have benefited greatly from some Keyblade Graveyard exploration, I love that map. That's it though, it was enjoyable enough for me to finish it in 5 days, and I had a blast with all the cheesy character reunions and the goofy plotlines.

My favourites


Aqua! As if it's not obvious from this site.


Oblivion for it's edginness, Destiny's Embrace for the colors. I also really liked Sweetstack when it comes to the sillier designs. All the foretellers have pretty keyblades too.

Disney world:

I loved Wonderland in KH1, Timelesss River in KH2 was pretty cool looking. Toy Box and Kingdom of Corona are probably my favourites in KH3.

KH original world:

Traverse Town!!

Battle theme:

One thing KH doesn't lack is good music ah.. Sinister Shadows maybe.

World theme:

...Twilight town maybe. Really hard to choose.

Character theme:

Organization XIII

Boss theme:

The Other Promise, and Destati if it counts as such... Dark Impetus and Rage Awakened themes are also god-tier. Bless Yoko Shimomura.

Favourite Dearly Beloved:

The Kingdom Hearts 2 one. I think it's the most wistful sounding. No, wait, the BBS one is better.

Favourite Heartless:

Frankly, I think the classic Shadow and Neoshadow are the most iconic. Aside from that, I really liked the cute plushie ones from the Toy Box world.

Favourite Nobody:

First of all, I love the way Nobodies move in general. Dancer and Reaper are pretty cool.

Favourite Unversed:

All the bunny-like ones, like the Mandrake and the Hareraiser.