Kingdom Hearts has built a lore so deep and complex, it would be a puzzle to try and explain the entire series. On the surface, it may seem like a childish game modeled after an anime show, but the dramatic themes and action-packed gameplay are what keep the series engaging.
In the main story, we follow a young boy named Sora as he uses the power of light to defeat enemies of the dark. Sora travels to different worlds from beloved Disney films, befriending favorite characters and fighting well-known villains along the way.
The Kingdom Hearts games are sometimes released out of order, which makes the timeline even more confusing. Here is a summary of all the Kingdom Hearts games, in their correct chronological order, to simplify the amazing story.
- Union X
- Birth By Sleep/A Fragmentary Passage
- Kingdom Hearts
- 358/2 Days
- Chain of Memories
- Kingdom Hearts II
- Dream Drop Distance
- Kingdom Hearts III
- Melody Of Memory
Union X is the prequel to the rest of the Kingdom Hearts series. Throughout Union X, your player is mostly a background character to the overall story.
As of right now, the story is still ongoing, so it’s best to keep this simple: the Master of Masters hands over a book of prophecies to the five Keyblade Masters and gives each of them their tasks.
When the Master of Masters disappears, the faction leaders find out that there is a lost page…and a traitor in their midst.
Meanwhile, Master Ava is tasked with forming a faction of Keyblade wielders, so they can live on as lights of the past called the Dandelions.
The leaders clash, and each faction fights one another to gain Lux. Eventually, a Keyblade warrior emerges.
While the entirety of Union X is still being updated, it is recommended to watch the Back Cover movie—as well as playing all the DLC in the game—to catch up on the entire story.
Birth By Sleep/A Fragmentary Passage
Birth By Sleep follows the perspective of three Keyblade Wielders: Aqua, Terra, and Ventus.
Aqua and Terra are sent on a mission to protect the seven princesses of heart from a new threat called the Unversed. Meanwhile, Ventus chases after his friends to make sure they are safe.
The three Wielders work together to stop the Unversed, Master Xehanort, and his apprentice Vanitas.
In A Fragmentary Passage, After Aqua fell into the Realm of Darkness, she goes on a search for her friends while also looking for a way out.
Ten years later, we meet Sora, a young boy who lives on the Destiny Islands with his friends Riku, Kairi, and other characters from the Final Fantasy series.
Sora’s friends go missing, and his world becomes swallowed in darkness. Suddenly, Sora is granted the power to wield the Keyblade.
He teams up with Donald Duck and Goofy to find his friends, fight monsters known as Heartless, and explore different worlds from Disney movies, as well as some created just for the game, before the man responsible spreads his evil darkness throughout every world.
After the events of Kingdom Hearts, a boy is born with the power to wield the Keyblade.
However, he has no memories of who he is or where he came from…until a man in a black cloak approaches him and says he can give him a name and purpose.
The man gives him the name Roxas and welcomes him into Organization XII. Its members teach him more about his powers, as well as the purpose of the organization: to collect hearts.
Along the way, he befriends a member named Axel. After Axel takes him to eat ice cream at the end of a mission, it becomes a daily routine for them.
When Axel gets sent on a secret mission to Castle Oblivion, Roxas goes on missions with the newest member of Organization XII, Xion. They become fast friends, and together they discover that she can also use the Keyblade.
Chain of Memories
Chain of Memories takes place at the same time as 358/2 Days, and immediately after Kingdom Hearts.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy are on a search for Riku and King Mickey, until a man in a black cloak directs them to Castle Oblivion.
When they walk into the castle, their memories slowly start to fade. Sora is told that his friends can be found at the top of the castle.
As he ascends further and further, however, his memories fade more and more.
Kingdom Hearts II
When Sora wakes up in a strange chamber greeted by Donald and Goofy, they continue their search for Riku and King Mickey.
A new threat emerges. They call themselves Nobodies. The Nobodies, along with Xemnas and Organization XII, attempt to steal the hearts from all the Heartless that Sora defeats.
Meanwhile, Sora is confused as to why everyone in the organization keeps calling him Roxas.
Dream Drop Distance
Dream Drop Distance takes place sometime after Kingdom Hearts II.
Sora and Riku are preparing to take the Mark of Mastery exams to become Keyblade Masters. When a young Xehanort infiltrates Sora’s dreams, Sora must figure out what he is planning.
At the same time, Riku goes through the mark of mastery exam, but senses that Sora is in danger.
Kingdom Hearts III
In Kingdom Hearts III, Sora must learn the Power of Awakening to awaken the worlds that were once lost in darkness.
Meanwhile, Riku and King Mickey go back into the Realm of Darkness to find Aqua. Together, they prepare for the upcoming threat of Master Xehanort and his plan to control Kingdom Hearts.
Melody Of Memory
Melody of Memory is a rhythm-based game that sums up the entirety of the Kingdom Hearts series.
However, towards the end of the game, more story for Kairi is added. It reveals that she and Riku have been investigating the whereabouts of Sora. Kairi then decides to finish her training as a Keyblade wielder with Master Aqua. Riku goes into a new, undiscovered world in search of Sora.
The Kingdom Hearts games might make your head spin, at first. But their rich, compelling story is enhanced with every new game, once you get the order of events right.
Action-packed with vivid worlds and characters, great video game monsters, and and a great soundtrack, the franchise draws in new players with every new release. It also continuously reels in old fans who can’t wait to see how the story unfolds or other players taking breaks from their games such as Metal Gear looking for a fresh adventure.