Earlier this week, we discussed the first half of the rankings of every Kingdom Hearts game. Now we will continue with the second and final part of the list. If you haven’t looked at the first part of the rankings, be sure to do so, as this part will continue on from there.
Note: This list will not include final-mix versions of previous games or non-playable new content released in any remasters. The content will mainly focus on original versions of games released on consoles, with some exceptions due to the higher recognition of certain remakes compared to their originals. This list will also not include Kingdom Hearts Unchained X and Kingdom Hearts Union X due to the constant story updates of these games. With that out of the way, let’s begin with every Kingdom Hearts game ranked (part 2).
4. Kingdom Hearts 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage
Kingdom Hearts 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage exemplifies the growth of the franchise. Its main issue, however, would be its short length. With only three hours worth of gameplay, players could easily finish the game in one run. It makes sense when you consider that the plot follows Aqua and her time in the Realm of Darkness, which creates limitations in story-telling. Aqua traverses the empty realm on her own for most of the game, meaning that any story beats will almost always involve conversations with herself. This doesn’t exactly leave much room for much to happen.
Despite this one problem, A Fragmentary Passage offers its best in everything else. The combat flows smoothly and is fun to engage in, with combos feeling quick yet powerful at the same time. The visuals are also amazing, showing off the quality graphics achieved on the PS4. The environments, character models, and combat effects all look better than any Kingdom Hearts game has ever looked. If this game is any indication of how Kingdom Hearts III will look and play, then fans will have much to look forward to. Kingdom Hearts 0.2 earns high marks in both its gameplay and graphics, but falls short on the fact that there isn’t much of it. Because of this, players are left wanting more of this amazing experience.
3. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Set ten years before the first game, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep tells an important part of the bigger story of the series, and it does it well. The game follows Tera, Aqua, and Ventus as they travel different worlds while trying to thwart the plans of Master Xehanort. Each of the main characters has their own campaign to play through, which provides plenty of content for players to enjoy. Also, the story itself is probably one of the saddest you’ll ever experience – even being up there with 358/2 Days. The story gets you invested in each character to the point where you want to see them succeed in their efforts to maintain their friendship. The visuals surprisingly look very good as well, considering the game was originally developed for the PSP. The character models look polished and the worlds look well detailed for being on a handheld system.
Unfortunately, Birth by Sleep does suffer in the gameplay area. This game was the first in the series to implement command decks, which allowed players to customize each character by equipping different sets of attacks and abilities. The problem with this system comes from the fact that certain commands would be over-powered, leading to players simply spamming these instead of using any strategy. Also, having each character travel to the same worlds within each of their stories in a similar order ends up feeling repetitive. Sometimes even the cutscenes at certain points are exactly the same for each character. While Birth by Sleep may suffer slightly in combat, its beautiful story and amazing character development make it one of the best games in the series.
2. Kingdom Hearts
The original Kingdom Hearts is the game that started it all. Even after sixteen years, it still holds up in every aspect of a video game. The story flows well throughout, and the characters introduced do an excellent job of creating bonds with players. The combat, while a bit simple when compared to more recent entries, manages to remain entertaining and satisfying. Perhaps the best quality of the first game involves its world design. Each world feels expansive and encourages exploration with the use of hidden items throughout. This adds a layer of depth to the worlds that some later installments fail to replicate.
Despite its positives, Kingdom Hearts still has its shortcomings. The character models can look a bit off-putting at times, likely due to hardware limitations of the PS2. Also, the difficulty of the game seems to spike drastically later on, which wouldn’t bother some as much if it weren’t for unskippable cutscenes. To put it frankly, Kingdom Hearts laid the foundation for an amazing franchise and won the hearts of gamers who would end up following the series for years to come.
1. Kingdom Hearts II
Ask any Kingdom Hearts fan which is the best game in the series, and almost all of them won’t hesitate in giving the spot to Kingdom Hearts II. Rightfully so, since the sequel took everything that worked in the first game and made it even better. The story, while being a bit more complex than the first, still tells a heartfelt, loveable, comedic, and tragic story while also surprisingly giving each character its own development. The inclusion of new worlds, along with further developing returning ones, also adds diversity and depth that aren’t really seen in any of the other games.
The combat tops everything else though, as it improves the sometimes sluggish feel from the first game. attacks now feel faster and more epic, while the addition of quick time events puts each battle on a grander scale. The inclusion of drive forms is also a fan favorite, with each form giving its own set of abilities and move sets that intensify action in the game. Simply put, Kingdom Hearts II impressively executes what any video game should strive to do: make the game fun for players. This game does so in a manner that no other installment has managed to duplicate, making it the best Kingdom Hearts game to date.
What are your rankings for the Kingdom Hearts games? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to follow us on all of our social media pages for all things gaming!