Making Sense of the Story of Kingdom Hearts

Strap in, this is gonna take a while...

29 March 2022
by camcritiques 4
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The story of Kingdom Hearts is notoriously confusing, to say the least. Even if you’ve played the games before, it’s quite likely that you’ve forgotten some key plot points. Now with the mainline series available on Switch (in cloud form), many of you may be looking for a refresher, or a way to skip an entry without getting lost. Whatever the case, I’m here to help! I’ll be revisiting each Kingdom Hearts game in release order while attempting to explain what goes on. Before we get into that, there’s a few things you should know.

  • In Kingdom Hearts, a heart is not an organ, but instead, something closer to a soul.
  • Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, as not everything is explained fully.
  • We still don’t really know why people can time travel, or how some hearts became connected.

As long as you’re okay with all that, we can move on!

If you like JRPGs, the Kingdom Hearts series is well worth the time and effort it takes to get into it. Of course, it’s best to start at the beginning! Let’s kick things off with the original Kingdom Hearts in an attempt to make sense of it, and the entire Kingdom Hearts storyline so far.

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Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts all begins in an original location known as Destiny Islands, which is where you’re introduced to Sora, Riku and Kairi. This trio of friends plans to leave the island someday in the hopes of exploring the world. You take control of Sora, and fairly early on, he encounters a mysterious robed figure who shares some cryptic words. Soon afterwards, the island comes under attack by the Heartless, the series’ basic enemies. Sora is suddenly able to manifest the iconic Keyblade, and he attempts to fight the Heartless off with it, but isn’t successful. The island is destroyed, and he, Riku and Kairi are all displaced. Riku voluntarily enters an area of darkness, curious about what it may contain, while Sora and Kairi are both sent adrift.

Sora then wakes up in another original location known as Traverse Town, where he apparently drifted to after the destruction of his home. Here, he encounters more Heartless, along with Final Fantasy characters, who explain that Heartless consume hearts and can only be defeated by use of a Keyblade. They also tell of Ansem, the king of their homeworld that was overrun by Heartless. We also learn that Ansem was studying the Heartless at this time.

Sora encounters Donald and Goofy here, who were sent on a mission to find the “key” in a note left by King Mickey. The three team up to fight a large Heartless together, then decide to travel as a group afterwards. Donald and Goofy continue their search for King Mickey, while Sora is trying to hunt down Riku and Kairi. Using the Disney duo’s Gummi ship, a device that lets them travel between worlds, the newly-formed trio leaves Traverse Town to visit a variety of Disney-based worlds.

As the trio explores, they find Keyholes; passages through which the Heartless enter the world and attempt to steal the world’s heart. The gang learns that if a heart is stolen, the results will be that world being lost to the mysterious Realm of Darkness. This is exactly what happened to Destiny Islands. Thankfully, Sora can lock these Keyholes using his Keyblade, which in turn, saves the worlds from being lost. Thus, we follow Sora as he visits multiple Disney-themed locations to fight back the Heartless, and lock each world’s Keyhole. At the same time, we learn that a group consisting primarily of Disney villains, led by Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent, are trying to find the seven Princesses of Heart. These Princesses are required to open the Keyhole that leads to Kingdom Hearts. Trying to explain what Kingdom Hearts is becomes a little difficult as the series progresses. In the original title, “Kingdom Hearts” is understood to be the source of all hearts, and it’s known to house great knowledge and power.

We eventually see that Riku is part of the villainous group mentioned above, as he found them when he entered the darkness at Destiny Islands. The villains convinced Riku to join them by saying they’d help him find Kairi. Throughout the game, this group manipulates Riku, turning him against Sora. They do eventually lead Riku to Kairi, but she’s missing her heart, so Riku feels compelled to stick with the villains until this can be remedied. By this point, Riku is fully convinced that Sora is an enemy, and all that matters to Riku is saving Kairi.

Sora, Donald and Goofy eventually end up at Hollow Bastion, homeworld of the Final Fantasy characters and the aforementioned Ansem. It’s here that the group encounters Riku, and are shocked to see him take Sora’s Keyblade, despite Sora being the supposed rightful owner. This prompts Donald and Goofy to join Riku and abandon Sora, as their primary mission was to follow the “key.” Regardless, Sora presses on alone, and eventually rejoins with Donald and Goofy to reclaim his Keyblade by beating Riku in combat. Riku flees in shame, and gives into darkness after being convinced to do so by the cloaked figure seen all the way back on Destiny Islands.

Sora and friends defeat Maleficent once and for all, but soon encounter Riku once again, who’s now donning a mysterious outfit, and wielding a powerful new Keyblade with the ability to unlock hearts. We learn two important pieces of information here; Riku’s body has been entirely taken over by Ansem, and Kairi is the last Princess of Heart, joined by the likes of Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast’s Belle. Apparently, Kairi’s heart has been trapped inside Sora’s heart ever since Destiny Islands was destroyed. Sora and Ansem (using Riku’s body) fight, and Sora emerges victorious. However, Sora realizes that Hollow Bastion’s Keyhole, the Keyhole that leads to Kingdom Hearts, can’t be sealed if it’s not completed. Remember, this Keyhole can only be opened using the hearts of all 7 Princesses of Heart. Knowing Kairi’s heart is inside his, Sora takes Ansem’s keyblade and uses it to unlock his own heart, freeing Kairi’s in the process. This briefly turns Sora into a Heartless himself, but it also returns Kairi’s heart to her body. Miraculously, through the power of friendship, Kairi is able to bring Sora back. With this Keyhole completed, Sora resolves to close it once and for all. Sora, Donald and Goofy follow Ansem into the Keyhole, and they all end up at the End of the World, a location made from bits and pieces of other worlds already lost to darkness.

Here, after a long battle, Ansem (no longer in Riku’s body) finally opens Kingdom Hearts. He believes that darkness is the heart’s true essence, so Kingdom Hearts, the source of all hearts, should be the ultimate source of darkness. However, Kingdom Hearts ends up being the ultimate source of light instead, killing Ansem as he opens it. On the other side of the Kingdom Hearts door lies the Realm of Darkness, where King Mickey is finally found, along with Riku, who’s regained control of his body. With their help, Sora is able to seal the door, though Mickey and Riku are forced to stay on the other side. This causes all the destroyed worlds to reform, and Kairi is whisked back to Destiny Islands as part of its reconstruction. Despite everything, Sora is still separated from his friends, and Donald and Goofy are still separated from King Mickey. They decide to continue their search, and end up following Pluto, King Mickey’s dog, who holds a letter bearing Mickey’s iconic logo. This brings us to…

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Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

Chain of Memories picks up right where the original Kingdom Hearts ended, with Sora and friends chasing Pluto. Eventually, a new mysterious robed figure shows up and guides them all to Castle Oblivion. The group loses all of their skills and, as they progress through the castle’s many floors, they lose more of their memories. However, Sora also gains new memories of a girl named Naminé, a supposed childhood friend who had never been mentioned. Sora learns that Naminé is apparently trapped at the top of Castle Oblivion, so he continues to go deeper, despite the inevitable memory loss he’ll suffer.

Throughout Castle Oblivion, Sora encounters many members of a villainous group we’ll mention quite a bit going forward; Organization XIII.

Eventually, thanks to the help of an Organization XIII double agent named Axel, Sora encounters Naminé, and learns that she’s been the one manipulating his memories. The thing is, Naminé was forced to betray Sora by Marluxia, another Organization XIII member who’s trying to gain control over the Organization with the help of his colleague, Larxene. Sora defeats Marluxia, stopping his plan, and Naminé puts Sora, Donald and Goofy into pod-like machines that restore their memories. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of the gang losing their new memories from Castle Oblivion. Sora vows to befriend Naminé once again, even though he knows he’ll have no memory of her existing.

Meanwhile, Riku is transported from the Realm of Darkness to the castle’s basement. He fights manifestations of his inner darkness as he climbs to the world of light. Riku encounters many Organization XIII members as well, whom he also fights. The Organization uses these fights to collect data on Riku and create a replica of him, a character that both Sora and Riku encounter throughout the game before his untimely demise by Riku’s hand.

Along the way, Ansem (still present in Riku’s body) tries to regain control, but Mickey’s power stops him. Another time, Riku’s almost dragged back to the Realm of Darkness following a fight with another Organization member, and Ansem once again nearly takes over until Mickey’s power intervenes.

After Marluxia’s demise, another Organization member, Zexion, almost defeats Riku. However, Naminé, disguised as Kairi, saves Riku and helps him further gain control over his inner darkness.

Riku then meets a mysterious man named DiZ, who becomes very important in the next game. DiZ summons Ansem in order for the two to fight each other, but only after Naminé informs Riku that Ansem is located within his heart. Riku wins, completely reclaiming his body for himself, and then sets off on his own journey with King Mickey to learn how to harness his powers of darkness for good. This brings us to…

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Kingdom Hearts II

Kingdom Hearts 2 begins with you playing as Roxas, a new character, in Twilight Town, a location briefly brought up in Chain of Memories. Right off the bat, something seems wrong, as the world appears to be glitching out. Upon further investigation of these problems, Roxas discovers that he was living in a simulation Twilight Town created by the aforementioned DiZ. Roxas is referred to as a Nobody, a being created when an individual loses their heart to darkness. Back when Sora became a Heartless near the end of the original game, Roxas came into existence. We also learn that Naminé from Chain of Memories is Kairi’s Nobody, and she was also created at the same time. Recall that at the time, Kairi’s heart resided within Sora’s. If Sora wants to wake up from the pod he was placed in, where he’s been for a year now, Roxas needs to completely merge with Sora. In other words, this simulation was created by DiZ with the goal of merging the two. Axel, a friend of Roxas briefly mentioned earlier, tries to stop the merge, but Roxas fights him off and sacrifices himself to save Sora.

The player now regains control of Sora as he awakens with Donald and Goofy to meet King Mickey and Fantasia’s Yen Sid. From here, the trio is sent off to search for Riku and find out what Organization XIII’s goal is.

The gang travels through Disney worlds new and old, fighting Organization members along the way. They encounter Maleficent again, who’s been revived, and is now joined by Pete, the classic arch-nemesis of Mickey Mouse. They show up a lot throughout the game, searching for new ways of obtaining power, but Sora and friends always stop them.

When Sora’s group next sees King Mickey, it’s revealed that the first game’s Ansem wasn’t Ansem after all. Instead, he was a man named Xehanort. Xemnas, Xehanort’s Nobody, leads the Organization with a goal of creating their own Kingdom Hearts. Xemnas plans to accomplish this by using the hearts released from Heartless defeated by Sora. With the Organization holding Kairi captive, Sora has to continue fighting Heartless if he wants to save her. All the while, Sora knows that with each Heartless he defeats, he’s adding to the power of his foes.

After further searching throughout the many Disney worlds, Axel sacrifices himself to show Sora and friends a path to The World that Never Was, the Organization’s home base. It was in Twilight Town all along, right where the game started. Once there, Sora finds a captured Kairi, along with Riku, who’s now bearing the appearance of the fake Ansem that once possessed him. It’s here that we learn the mysterious DiZ is actually the real Ansem. DiZ tries to stop the Organization himself, attacking the new Kingdom Hearts, but he fails, and ends up being taken by the darkness. DiZ didn’t die in vain, though, as his efforts allowed Riku to return to his original form, and also weakened Kingdom Hearts enough for Sora and Riku to defeat Xemnas and stop the Organization. Sora and Riku end up trapped in the world of darkness, but thanks to the power of friendship once again, Kairi is able to call them back to Destiny Islands. Finally reunited, all seems well for a bit…until a mysterious letter from King Mickey arrives. There are a few prequel games to cover before the letter’s contents are revealed, though. Starting with…

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Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

This game follows Roxas during the 358 days he spends in the Organization. This takes place while Sora is sleeping in his pod, and before Roxas is put in the simulation at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 2. Despite other Nobodies having memories of their past selves, Roxas remembers nothing. This allows him to develop his own unique personality, and his own heart throughout the game.

Roxas is sent on missions to various Disney worlds to fight Heartless with his Keyblade, which only he, and the newly introduced secret 14th member of Organization XIII, Xion, can use. This frees hearts and brings the Organization closer to creating their own Kingdom Hearts, the same way Sora was contributing to its development throughout Kingdom Hearts 2.

Roxas is trained by Axel and often works with Xion, who, like him, also lacks memories of her human life. Along the way, their bond grows, and all three become great friends.

Eventually we learn that Xion is a replica of Sora, similar to that of Riku from Chain of Memories, which the Organization created in case something went wrong with Roxas. The Organization needed a Keyblade wielder to release hearts, and there aren’t too many options for that, at least not yet. The thing is, both Roxas and Xion are absorbing Sora’s memories, preventing him from waking up. Riku informs Xion of this, and when she learns of Roxas’ power being absorbed as well, she defects from the Organization.

Upon hearing this news from Xemnas, Roxas leaves the Organization in search of both Xion, and answers about his own existence. Roxas is forced to either face off against Xion or give into being fully absorbed, so he fights. Upon defeating Xion, she disappears, and everyone forgets she ever existed as her heart merges with Sora’s. Her dying wish was for Roxas to stop the Organization, so he heads back to do so. But, before Roxas can accomplish this, he’s stopped by Riku. Roxas initially defeats Riku, but after Riku unleashes his inner darkness (giving him the appearance he has throughout most of Kingdom Hearts 2), he’s able to take down Roxas and help DiZ place him in the simulation Twilight Town to reawaken Sora. This is right where Kingdom Hearts 2 begins. Much further back in the past, we have…

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Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

Birth by Sleep is set years before any of the other games in the series up to this point, and it takes place in an original location called the Land of Departure. You’ll follow three students of Master Eraqus; Terra, Aqua and Ventus. All three are training to become Keyblade Masters, with Ventus being of particular importance. Ventus’ heart is connected to Sora’s, as Sora’s heart sensed the damage in Ventus’ heart, and offered refuge on Destiny Islands.

The game begins with Terra and Aqua taking the Mark of Mastery exam, which, if passed, will grant them Keyblade Master status. It’s judged by Master Eraqus, as well as another familiar name, Master Xehanort. Xehanort manipulates things so that Terra fails and Aqua succeeds. Soon afterwards, new enemies called Unversed appear throughout the many worlds, and Xehanort vanishes. Eraqus asks Aqua and Terra to defeat the Unversed and find Xehanort, while Ventus is told to stay at the Land of Departure. At this point, Vanitas, an apprentice of Xehanort, convinces Ventus to follow Terra.

Upon hearing of these developments, Master Eraqus additionally tasks Aqua, the only Keyblade Master of the trio, with monitoring Terra’s darkness. Significant darkness is emanating from Terra, exacerbated by his frustration with himself for failing his exam. On top of all that, Aqua is also given the task of bringing Ventus back home.

As Terra travels throughout the worlds, he assists many villains, who, in return, give him information about the location of Xehanort. When he finally finds Xehanort, Terra is tricked into becoming Xehanort’s apprentice. Terra is encouraged to embrace his inner darkness by bringing down Vanitas, Xehanort’s apprentice, who was apparently born from the darkness within Ventus’s heart. Ventus continues to follow Terra, while Aqua has to clean up the messes Terra leaves. Along the way, younger versions of Sora, Riku and Kairi appear, all of which touch one of students’ Keyblades. As it turns out, this is a prerequisite for becoming a Keyblade Wielder. Aqua, Ventus and Terra eventually reunite, but are soon driven apart by arguments related to Terra’s actions.

Ventus learns of the origins of Vanitas and is told of Master Eraqus’s plan to destroy him, so he can’t merge with Vanitas again. Master Xehanort plans on facilitating such a merge so he can obtain the ultimate Keyblade, called the χ-blade, or the chi-blade. Ventus, helped by Terra, goes back to the Land of Departure and takes down Master Eraqus to save himself. Suddenly, Xehanort appears, covering the Land of Departure in darkness and finishing off Eraqus. Terra, Ventus and Aqua are all told to go to a new location known as the Keyblade Graveyard by Xehanort, Vanitas and Yen Sid respectively.

At the Keyblade Graveyard the trio is told of Xehanort’s plan to use the χ-blade to unlock Kingdom Hearts and start another Keyblade War. Apparently, in this universe’s distant past, Keyblade Wielders were far more common. This all changed when the first Keyblade War nearly brought the world to its end. The Keyblade Graveyard is full of the ancient keyblades of deceased combatants from this war.

The χ-blade is formed, but Aqua and Mickey destroy it, and Ventus destroys Vanitas from within. This results in Ventus losing his heart and becoming a lifeless husk, much like Kairi in the first game.

Terra’s body is taken over by Xehanort, much like Riku’s body was in the original, but his “Lingering Will” remains in his armor and is able to stop Xehanort.

Aqua takes Ventus’s lifeless body back to the Land of Departure and turns it into Chain of Memories’s Castle Oblivion in order to hide Ventus away and keep him safe.

Right at the end of the game, Xehanort, still struggling to take control over Terra’s body, stabs himself with his own Keyblade when he briefly regains control, sending them to the Realm of Darkness. Aqua is able to jump in and save Terra before it’s too late, but she’s trapped in the Realm of Darkness as a result. When Terra is found, Xehanort is the one in control. Now, there’s only one game left before the timeline moves forward, that being…

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Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded

This was initially a mobile game, so the plot isn’t too intense or important. That said, there are a few noteworthy tidbits to learn. Jiminy Cricket, who chronicled Sora’s adventures throughout past games, finds a note in one of them that he doesn’t recognize. Jiminy gets King Mickey to digitize the journal, hoping to analyze it and get to the bottom of this mystery. Doing so reveals that the datascape generated by the journal is full of bugs, preventing them from locating what they need. As a result, King Mickey creates and inserts a Data Sora to delete the bugs.

After clearing up the bugs, Jiminy and King Mickey find that the mysterious message was left by Chain of Memories’s Naminé. While restoring Sora’s memories before he awakens in Kingdom Hearts 2, Naminé found traces of those connected to Sora’s heart who had been forgotten; namely Roxas, Axel, Xion, Ventus, Terra and Aqua. She wants Sora to save these individuals, and he is tasked with doing so by the message King Mickey delivered to Destiny Islands at the very end of Kingdom Hearts 2. Sora embarks on this journey in…

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Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Dream Drop Distance begins with Sora and Riku taking on their own Mark of Mastery exams to become Keyblade Masters before they head off to save those connected to Sora. The two also want to be prepared for a fight with Xehanort, as they know he’ll inevitably return. In their exam, the duo dives into “sleeping” worlds to bring them back into the light. They’re sent back in time to the destruction of Destiny Islands, and embark from this sleeping world on a journey to many others.

When their journey is finished, Sora and Riku end up at The World that Never Was instead of the Realm of Light. A young Xehanort, who had traveled to the future, reveals that the whole game thus far had been a trap set up by him and his new Organization XIII. Sora was, in actuality, under their control all along, and the only reason he had yet to succumb to darkness was because Riku had been unknowingly traveling through Sora’s dreams, fighting the darkness off. Sora is almost taken over by the darkness many times here, but he’s saved by Ventus’s armor, along with Lea, the human form of Axel. Another thing you need to accept about Kingdom Hearts is that nobody really dies. If someone’s corresponding Nobody and Heartless are destroyed, they apparently come back as a human. That’s why Lea is here, and that’s why the original Xehanort is back. The new Organization XIII is made up entirely of different Xehanorts who have time traveled, including the aforementioned young Xehanort, Birth by Sleep’s Xehanort, Xemnas, Ansem, and old Organization XIII members imbued with fragments of Xehanort’s heart. If these 13 seekers of darkness clash with 7 guardians of light, the χ-blade can be reforged. They still plan to use the χ-blade to summon Kingdom Hearts and bring about a second Keyblade War, pretty much solely fueled by curiosity. The Xehanorts all go back to their timelines, asserting that they will return.

Riku saves Sora from the darkness by wielding the power of waking, and he’s declared a Keyblade Master, thus passing his exam. Sora, on the other hand, fails. He resolves to train further in preparation for a fight with the new Organization, and Yen Sid sets off a plan to collect 7 Keyblade Wielders to fight and stop the Organization to prevent the targeting of the 7 Princesses of Heart to create the χ-blade. We also learn that both Lea and Kairi are Keyblade Wielders, and they begin their training to become masters themselves. This is all setting up for Kingdom Hearts 3. But, there are a couple small things to cover before that. Namely…

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Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-

Despite this game’s ridiculous name, it actually has one of the most simple stories in the series. Remembering the info gleaned from the journal in Re:Coded, Yen Sid tasks the Keyblade wielders gathered thus far with saving Ventus, Terra and Aqua to bolster their forces. Mickey recalls that when he was in the realm of darkness during the original Kingdom Hearts, he encountered Aqua. She helped Mickey and friends close the door to Kingdom Hearts at the end of the original game, but she took an attack for Riku, and was forced to stay behind. Riku sets off to save Aqua, Sora joins with Donald and Goofy to train with Hercules to regain lost power, and Kairi and Lea begin to train under Merlin. As Sora and friends depart, Goofy says, “may your heart be your guiding key,” claiming it was something Yen Sid used to tell them before important missions.

This was more of a demo for Kingdom Hearts 3 than anything else, the actual gameplay has you controlling Aqua in the Realm of Darkness during the time of the first Kingdom Hearts, so nothing too critical happens. But, before we get there, I have to mention the Kingdom Hearts browser game, later rebooted as a mobile title. It takes place during the time of the original Keyblade War, and its story is largely disconnected from the console titles. However, there is some important lore that lies within. Thankfully, they created a movie to communicate the vital info. That movie being…

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Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover

This movie tells of 7 individuals, the Master of Masters and his 6 apprentices, who protected the world’s light in the time before the first Keyblade War. The Master of Masters has written a Book of Prophecies, which supposedly tells of everything that will happen in the universe, though none know how. They all live in Daybreak Town, a new location to the series. The world’s end has been foretold, and the Master of Masters gives his 6 apprentices unique tasks before disappearing, stating that it’s the only way to stop the approaching destruction. Along with their mission statements, the Master tells his apprentices to follow the familiar words, “may your heart be your guiding key.”

It becomes known that there’s a traitor located among the 6 apprentices, and this leads to a lot of internal conflict. Ultimately, it seems like the whole task thing was a setup from the Master of Masters, and the fighting amongst his 6 apprentices, fueled by the roles they were secretly assigned by the Master, is what ultimately leads to the devastating event that is the original Keyblade War. Some Keyblade Wielders are sent into hiding, an apprentice named Luxu disappears with a mysterious black box, and the rest is made clear by the many Keyblades of the deceased at the Keyblade Graveyard seen throughout the series. This finally brings us to…

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Kingdom Hearts III

In Kingdom Hearts III, Sora picks up right where he left off in Dream Drop Distance and 0.2, traveling to Disney worlds to train again. In particular, he wants to acquire the power of waking that Riku used to save him, which he can use to save the other lost Keyblade wielders.

Many former members of Organization XIII have switched to Sora’s side, and they do some research for him throughout the game. Eventually, they learn of Roxas’s heart, located in Sora’s heart, which Roxas developed despite being a Nobody. They also learn that many of the time-traveling Organization members are using fake bodies reminiscent of the replicas used for fake Riku in Chain of Memories and Xion in 358/2 Days. Using this knowledge, they save Roxas by similarly transferring his heart to a replica.

Riku and Mickey eventually locate Aqua in the Realm of Darkness, though her heart has been corrupted. At the same time, Sora discovers the keyblade of her former master Eraqus washed up on Destiny Islands, which leads him to where Aqua is. The gang is able to fight off this corruption and save Aqua once and for all.

Aqua leads them all to Castle Oblivion, which she transforms back into the Land of Departure. Sora is able to save Ventus, who was left asleep here, by using the power of waking, which he’s finally learned how to utilize.

The seven keyblade wielders, Sora, Kairi, Riku, Aqua, Ventus, Lea and King Mickey, journey to the Keyblade Graveyard so they can stop Xehanort. The possessed Terra, one of the Xehanorts in the new Organization, almost defeats them rather quickly, but Terra’s Lingering Will steps in and saves the day,

Terra is able to come back after taking out his possessed form, and Xion is saved similarly to how Roxas was. Even though all had forgotten her, the old Organization members still found her heart lingering within Sora’s. The Keyblade Wielders all gather and prepare to face Xehanort.

In the epic battle that follows, Kairi is defeated, the χ-blade is formed, and Kingdom Hearts is summoned. While fighting in Xehanort’s home of Scala ad Caelum (what the mobile game’s Daybreak Town eventually became), Sora achieves victory, and uses the χ-blade to seal the Kingdom Hearts that Xehanort had summoned.

Sora, despite being warned of its danger, then uses the power of waking once again to try and save Kairi. He succeeds, but is lost to the Realm of Light.

In the post-credits and DLC scenes, there are a few big teasers for the future of the series. We see that the Organization XIII member known as Xigbar was actually Luxu all along, the one who hid the Master of Master’s mysterious box. We also see Sora awaken in what is clearly a spin on Tokyo’s Shibuya, staring at his right hand in front of The World Ends with You’s 104 Building, based on the real 109 Building.

Riku is spotted in a take on Tokyo’s Shinjuku, where we also see the Master of Masters, and a mysterious character named Yozora, first introduced earlier in the game as the protagonist of a popular video game within the world of Toy Story.

In the DLC, Yozora defeats Sora in Shibuya, vowing to later save him. We then see a scene play out which is a shot-for-shot recreation of a trailer for the canceled Final Fantasy Versus XIII, heavily reworked into Final Fantasy XV, with Yozora taking the place of Noctis.

That mostly brings us up to date, but there’s one more game with a few story tidbits. Last but not least, we have…

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Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory

Melody of Memory is a rhythm game that takes place within Kairi’s heart, where the defected Organization XIII members-turned-researchers hunt for clues as to where Sora could be. Eventually, through this exploration of her heart, Kairi learns of the existence of another reality. The Fairy Godmother leads her and Riku to a girl who’s supposedly from the other side, and she recognizes visions Kairi has been having as being those of a world called Quadratum. She opens a portal to this reality and Riku goes through, searching for Sora. Kairi goes home to train under Aqua.

And that’s it! That’s all we have so far. In summary…

What You Should Know

  • Xehanort is defeated
  • All the known Keyblade Wielders of the current age have been saved
  • Xigbar is Luxu
  • Sora isn’t in the realm of Disney worlds any longer

What We Still Need to Learn

  • What’s in the mysterious box hidden by Luxu?
  • What exactly is Quadratum?
  • Who is the Master of Masters?
  • What’s the deal with “may your heart be your guiding key”?
  • Who exactly is Yozora?

It seems pretty clear that the future of Kingdom Hearts games is tied to Square Enix universes. We’ve seen landmarks from The World Ends with You along with recreated Final Fantasy trailers, and we know Sora is in a location called QUADratum. Beyond that, we don’t know too much, other than the Xehanort arc being fully concluded.

Considering where the story is now, there’s never been a better time to jump in! If you’ve read this piece, you’re in great shape for whatever comes next in the story. If you want to experience the story for yourself, you can play through the complete Xehanort saga on Switch right now! Remember, these games are cloud-based, so check out the demos to ensure your internet is up to snuff.

About camcritiques

camcritiques

Cameron, AKA Cam, AKA Cam Critiques is a big fan of all sorts of video games, especially platformers and RPGs. He covers news and contributes the occasional feature here at GoNintendo, but you can also see more of his game-related work at https://www.youtube.com/camcritiques

Add Comment

Comments (4)

thedevilcomet

7M ago

Thanks for this. It's a nice refresher. I don't remember much about the original Kingdom Hearts and I really want to get to Kingdom Hearts II. I'm skipping Chain of Memories because that card battle system just did not click with me. Hearts = Souls is a good thing to remember.


voodoothur

6M ago

This was a fun read, and very handy for someone who's been baffled by the plot since 2002!


donutmuffin

6M ago

It was nice to have all of this information in one place. Thank you for your efforts on such a good job summarizing such a complicated story, Cameron.
I really want to get the collection on Switch but $90 is a lot of money to spend on a game dependent on internet. Here's hoping it gets a physical version eventually for a Nintendo system.


cestri

6M ago

I never managed to got into KH, the only one I played and finished was KH Chain of Memories on the GBA, I used to have KH 3D but played just a bit, it just didn't click with me. I was happy to try it again from the beggining with the collection, but being an cloud version killed all my interested. Thanks for the story and that actually made my peace with not being able to play the games XD