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Kingdom Hearts: best to worst?



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Audo

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I always thought Blank Points was meant to be more symbolic than anything else, though, and mostly not truly occurring (at least not with the characters that it couldn't have been happening with at that time), but I could be wrong.

And you do bring up a good point about DDD. Haha:) Though since Xion has that whole gimmick of people seeing her as others--and Naminé's the closest idea Sora has about someone being forgotten--it just seems to make sense that it was really Xion he was seeing the whole time and not Nami.

And maybe the scenes with the people in his heart, and then the ones with everyone else, were separate? I'm reaching, I know, but he saw RX (and possibly Naminé) first, before Sora was as far into the dream (and they were trying to wake him up, I guess?), but when he went further into the dream maybe he, well... Literally started dreaming, whereas before the people were at least somewhat real?

And as for Terra and Aqua, it was Ven--reacting within Sora--who was seeing those two, right?

And actually... wasn't Riku in Sora's heart at that time, in his dreams of TWTNW? I forget.

But even if he wasn't, and had left by then (and now that I think about it, I think Riku did leave Sora's dreams for part of the last world) you could argue that Sora saw Riku because of their connection and that he'd been in his heart earlier. Same thing with Kairi, actually.

IDK.
i mean, i don't know why people upset with how the girl characters get shafted would go out of their way to interpret the scene as shafting the girls even further lol. but the whole dream is sora following people only for them to turn to someone else when the camera changes. Sora follows Pluto who turns into DGM who turn into Nami who turns into Xion who turns into Roxas. Like it's just a trippy dream showing people who are connected to Sora and he keeps following them all as it leads him further and further into the nightmare.

And yet people only argue that the Nami wasn't really Nami lol.

Now that's just silly, imo. Not debating that you're right here (in fact, I think that you most likely are=]), but to me that'd be just like leaving Tinker Bell out of credits--if she was in the game in question--just because she doesn't speak.

Sheesh.

And here I thought this series couldn't treat its original girl characters any worse. If they were in the game, they should've been in the credits, imo, whether or not they spoke or not.

I mean, KH makes a habit of trying to get everyone and their mother into the credits so why not them, who are actually original and important to the main story?
For what it's worth, Dilan and Even who are also present also don't show up in the credits because they don't speak either.

Don't tell me there's Lexaeus-Yaoi out there somewhere...
I..
Okay.
Lexeaus/Zexion usually, due to their relationship in CoM.
 

LightUpTheSky452

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i mean, i don't know why people upset with how the girl characters get shafted would go out of their way to interpret the scene as shafting the girls even further lol. but the whole dream is sora following people only for them to turn to someone else when the camera changes. Sora follows Pluto who turns into DGM who turn into Nami who turns into Xion who turns into Roxas. Like it's just a trippy dream showing people who are connected to Sora and he keeps following them all as it leads him further and further into the nightmare.

And yet people only argue that the Nami wasn't really Nami lol.

Huh. I never thought Pluto turned into MDG, or that Xion turned into Roxas. Probably because for the Roxas thing, Sora drops between seeing the two of them (I think), so they always seemed like two distinct scenes to me.

And as for the Pluto MDG thing, I always thought that Sora saw Pluto first, and then MDG showed up in his dream, and then they were all there together at the same time? The more you know, I guess:)

And I guess we interpret the scene this way because we've completely given up on the writers when it comes to the girls, and don't see any reason but to expect the worst and just don't want to get our hopes up anymore.

At the very least, they seem to give them less thought than they do the other characters, unfortunately (if they give them any thought at all).

I often wonder if this is because of the more... louder parts of the fanbase. Or the bad parts, I should say, that were all like, "OMG! Kairi's such a witch and so useless! She gets in the way of SoRiku, despite the fact this series is about friendship and if anyone gets in the way of SoRiku it's Sora, and was mean to Sora and Riku... like characters like Joshua also weren't, and yet we still love them!!!!!!!!" (And this kind of thing can be applied to some of the other girls, too, though mainly Kairi and Xion it seems.)

I feel like people are going to be mad at me for my above post (I'm not talking about the yaoi shippers, or even the people who are indifferent to, and maybe even hate, Kairi but are civil about it; I'm talking about the people who are ridiculous and draw pictures of the boys viciously killing Kairi and stuff like that, which happened a lot in the post-2005 years), but the fact that SE has admitted that they listen to the fans' wants... It's not too hard for me to make this kind of leap.

Especially since Kairi seemed to get the most hate after KHII, and who hasn't been in most of the games since then? And what relationship has the games really been queer baiting with lately since people fell in love with it in II? Oh yeah, Sora and Riku in Coded and Dream Drop Distance.

If SE thinks that people hate these girls so much, that they might not even buy the games for things about them, they're not going to take that risk. It's just the way it is.

There's also the fact that even when they seem to be doing well, SE still somewhat Fs up with their female characters--like when it comes to Aqua, and how no one congratulated her for gaining the Mark of Mastery, and how she didn't have her own arc or main villain or anything like that--but I don't really want to get into all that now (and how unfortunate is that Aqua gave Kairi a Keyblade by accident, without even realizing it, and not because she saw anything special in her; just compare that to the Terra and Riku scene, and the meaningful moments between Ven and Sora; apparently girls aren't allowed to look up or admire things about other girls in this series)...

And I realize that I must seem like the most ridiculous feminist fighter ever on this site (though I try to stay away from talking about these kinds of things too much, and to mostly post about other things on here; or to, at the very least, be nice about it all when I am giving my opinions)... but if at least one person doesn't complain about this stuff, how else will anything ever get done about it?

Though tbh, I didn't even notice any problems with the girls in this saga until Coded (so it isn't all bad with them, though a lot of people more active than I am with this topic might disagree with me on that). Until then, everything was A-Okay in this franchise and its female treatment to me.

But when I want to be able to look at a girl as a role model in this saga, and have really no one to choose from, then yeah: I have to recognize that as a problem.

Also, to prove I'm fair, you guys should know that I also get on the Madoka Magica fandom a lot for not having more boys or implementing the ones that they do have well. In fact, the fanfic for Madoka I'm writing now has an entire element that was completely selfish on my part, and had no other reason to be in my story, than for me to try and combat their poor/unfair boy writing. (It's in my "If I Just Ignored This" Madoka Magica story on fanfiction, where I tried to give the insignificant character "Nakazawa" a more important role.)


Edit: Upon rereading my above post, I realize that some of my phrasing was really weird. And I have no idea where I was going with some of this. I apologize for anyone who had to read this:/ You so don't have to now, actually!
For what it's worth, Dilan and Even who are also present also don't show up in the credits because they don't speak either.

I thought they were unconscious and having issues upon being recreated, though? So who knows if they're even alive?

They still probably should've been in the credits, however, seeing as how this was the ten-year-anniversary game and all. If Nomura was going to go all out with this (and he did), he might as well have fully committed.

I mean, how cool would it have been if we got a Kairi and Naminé walking into the light moment, and making the "III" thing? (Since if Kairi had walked into the light with Sora and Riku, it would've made "IIII" instead.)

I mean, Kairi and Naminé are the "main girls" of this series, and Nami's uber important, so it would've been so neat and meaningful! And Kairi's a Princess of Light, c'mon!

Also, on that note, I hope the title picture for KHIII is of Sora, Riku, and Kairi, but I'm not getting my hopes up.


Lexeaus/Zexion usually, due to their relationship in CoM.

I'm also pretty dang sure I've seen some Roxas/Lexaeus stuff, because of the whole "Limit Break" scene... This fandom is weird. LOL. Nothing says love, like smacking someone so hard in the face that they hunch over and lose ninety-nine-point-nine percent of their health!
 

VoidGear.

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I often wonder if this is because of the more... louder parts of the fanbase. Or the bad parts, I should say, that were all like, "OMG! Kairi's such a witch and so useless! She gets in the way of SoRiku, despite the fact this series is about friendship and if anyone gets in the way of SoRiku it's Sora, and was mean to Sora and Riku... like characters like Joshua also weren't, and yet we still love them!!!!!!!!" (And this kind of thing can be applied to some of the other girls, too, though mainly Kairi and Xion it seems.)

Problem is that Kairi - for example - is hard to identify with in any of the games, because her whole character is built up on her relationship with Sora. She's "the girl" and not really much more. We don't really see her act in any way except for saving Sora's body with stupid unexplainable (or hard to explain) powers.
Of course there are people who hate characters because they get in the way of their ships (I feel like that's mostly young teenagers though), but many people dislike females and prefer homosexual guys because they just like the male characters better overall.

And I realize that I must seem like the most ridiculous feminist fighter ever on this site

Lol, no. There's been way heavier discussions.

Though tbh, I didn't even notice any problems with the girls in this saga until Coded (so it isn't all bad with them, though a lot of people more active than I am with this topic might disagree with me on that). Until then, everything was A-Okay in this franchise and its female treatment to me.

Ya think? Kairi has been un(der)developed since KH1. Her leaving off to save Sora in KH2 was ridiculous because it only functioned as her becoming a damsel in distress AGAIN who needs to be saved by either Sora, Riku or Naminé. It would've been even better to just let her stick on he island than THAT...

But when I want to be able to look at a girl as a role model in this saga, and have really no one to choose from, then yeah: I have to recognize that as a problem.

I think Aqua will be one HELL of a girl in KH 0.2 / KH 3. BBS had many character-problems, and if KH3 does better on that. Damn...

I'm also pretty dang sure I've seen some Roxas/Lexaeus stuff, because of the whole "Limit Break" scene... This fandom is weird. LOL. Nothing says love, like smacking someone so hard in the face that they hunch over and lose ninety-nine-point-nine percent of their health!

Lol, man. I remember I once saw Sora x Kairi's grandma. That was the worst.
 

Sephiroth0812

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Problem is that Kairi - for example - is hard to identify with in any of the games, because her whole character is built up on her relationship with Sora. She's "the girl" and not really much more. We don't really see her act in any way except for saving Sora's body with stupid unexplainable (or hard to explain) powers.
Of course there are people who hate characters because they get in the way of their ships (I feel like that's mostly young teenagers though), but many people dislike females and prefer homosexual guys because they just like the male characters better overall.

Lol, man. I remember I once saw Sora x Kairi's grandma. That was the worst.

This is mostly the crux of it as Kairi hardly gets anything truly outstanding or worthwhile on her own due to the constant neglect of her character. The assessments of her that she's only a living plot device (due to her status as a PoH) and the designated/obvious opposite gender "love interest" for the main male (and a trophy to fight over in the first game no less), despite how generalizing they are, do have some slice of truth in them at least in the main medium of the games themselves.

In regards to shipping though that train certainly goes both ways as there are also many within the "shipping-swamp" who push for Sora/Kairi explicitly to invalidate/cast down any possible non-hetero ships/pairings at least in regards to Sora.
It's also telling that in this vein the actual chemistry between the characters themselves and hints dropped throughout the series for Sora's possible feelings for both Riku and Kairi (bisexual and polyamorous people do exist after all) is often ignored in favor of what the fan/shipper in questions likes more in terms of the portrayed gender combination.
I've said it in the past and I say it again. If everything in the whole series from KH 1 with the Paopu fruit up to the wild hugging fest in DDD would remain completely the same but Riku and Kairi would switch genders (or Sora being a girl) many more people would be pushing for Sora/Riku and less for Sora/Kairi.

If there is one rule in the realm of shipping it is that there is no rule. <__<
 

VoidGear.

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In regards to shipping though that train certainly goes both ways as there are also many within the "shipping-swamp" who push for Sora/Kairi explicitly to invalidate/cast down any possible non-hetero ships/pairings at least in regards to Sora.

I suppose many people notice this less because it's not a "character-bashing Anti-Riku" attitude, but rather: "Huh, why would Sora be gay -.-". It's sad but it's not seen as "normal" by many that he might as well be.
 

Audo

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And I guess we interpret the scene this way because we've completely given up on the writers when it comes to the girls, and don't see any reason but to expect the worst and just don't want to get our hopes up anymore.
Well probably best to work on that, otherwise you'll always find reasons to look for the worst in everything, which likely won't make things very enjoyable for you :/

At the very least, they seem to give them less thought than they do the other characters, unfortunately (if they give them any thought at all).
It's easy to fall into the trap of cynicism and endless negativity, and in this series one can definitely say it's warranted or learned, but, c'mon. Clearly they give them some thought otherwise they wouldn't have been in the game at all. Do they give them enough thought? No, probably not. But I'd recommend trying to approach things with a balanced perspective otherwise, again, you'll just find more and more reasons to look for the worst in things, and once that starts it is very difficult to pull yourself out of.

I often wonder if this is because of the more... louder parts of the fanbase.
It's not. I really don't think one should place the blame on the fandom for the shortcomings and mishandling done by the developers, and absolve them of responsibility.

The fact that SE has admitted that they listen to the fans' wants... It's not too hard for me to make this kind of leap.
Even if SE does listen to fans' wants, I don't really think that would mean they are looking at fanart or fanfic to discern that sort of stuff, nor would they likely let that sort of thing really sway them very much. Kairi may be getting the shaft a lot, but everything points to her being developed for a more prominent role in KHIII, not less.

Especially since Kairi seemed to get the most hate after KHII
In my experience, most people point to how Kairi acts in KHI as the source of their dislike?

and who hasn't been in most of the games since then?
To be fair, Kairi is hardly in any of the games even before 2006? She has a long history of being downplayed and shafted by the series, it's not a new thing.

And what relationship has the games really been queer baiting with lately
Okay, I'm going to stop here.

I don't think it is a good thing to say that any close non-romantic relationship between boys is inherently queerbaiting (I mean, what kind of message does that send that we think boys can only have close, intimate relationships if they're romantic?). For me, queerbaiting is largely about intention. It's creators saying shit like "Well we're leaving it up for interpretation" and "You never know~~~~" and "we love how deep this relationship is, but for now....". It's characters in the story constantly confusing the pairing as a couple, or as being gay, only for them to dismiss it. It's stuff like that. Stuff that is intentionally goading this sort of stuff, getting people invested, telling queer fans it's just around the corner, only to never, ever, make them explicitly gay. That's... not really what is happening in Kingdom Hearts.

Nomura has never made comments like that. No one is bringing up the topic of Sora/Riku being gay only for Nomura to be coy in response. No one in the series confuses them as a couple, or makes gay jokes, or suggestive innuendo or whatever. Sora and Riku's relationship is (pardon the word choice) played straight. It's a deep, intimate relationship between them that is treated seriously and is given narrative importance and weight. Which, yes, can lead people to interpret it as romantic or platonic or what have you. But that isn't the same as saying it's queerbaiting.

Close relationships between boys isn't inherently queerbaiting, and I'm saying that as someone who would love nothing more than for Sora and Riku to be made explicitly queer lol.

If SE thinks that people hate these girls so much, that they might not even buy the games for things about them, they're not going to take that risk. It's just the way it is.
There is really no evidence that SE is under that impression. I'm fairly certain that in popularity polls in Japan, the KH girls tend to rank reasonably high. S-E is also aware that the demographic for KH is skewed female. And, typically, most data companies like S-E collect is more about the stuff fans like than the stuff fans don't like. For example, in the only known time that I've seen Nomura address fan polls, the only questions about what you liked the least were worlds and enemies (not characters). The poll was largely about what you liked the most. (And, hilariously, on that poll Riku didn't even break the top five of favourite characters, yet you certainly don't see his presence in the games being decreased any time soon lol)

Anyway, it's difficult to really assign any worth or assumption to this kind of stuff because the truth is that we honestly just don't know what kind of feedback data S-E looks at or collects, and how much it impacts them or not. So it's honestly best to just not make it a part of our interpretation and understanding of the series, imo. We also have to remember that the vocal minority often feels bigger than it is. KH is a huge series, a multi-million sales series, and the general playing public has no problem with characters like Kairi, even if the local fandom may feel full with vocal dissenters.

There's also the fact that even when they seem to be doing well, SE still somewhat Fs up with their female characters--like when it comes to Aqua, and how no one congratulated her for gaining the Mark of Mastery
I mean, I wouldn't really call that diddlying up Aqua's character or story.

and how she didn't have her own arc or main villain or anything like that--but I don't really want to get into all that now
I don't think she really needs her own villain to have an arc. It'd be nice if her arc didn't revolve so much around Terra and Ven, of course, but Aqua still has a story and character of her own. I don't think she would be one of the most loved characters (that aforementioned poll I talked about has Aqua at number 4) if she didn't have a story or character that affected people.

That said, she definitely could have been handled better (though to be honest, I kind of feel like every character in BBS could've been handled better. I think the only one that's really done well is Ven)

and how unfortunate is that Aqua gave Kairi a Keyblade by accident, without even realizing it, and not because she saw anything special in her
Personally, this doesn't bother me, but I'll admit it's because of my own interpretation that Kairi's "accidental" nature is going to play a role in KH3. I'll likely be disappointed of course (and may retroactively dislike this), but for now I'm hopeful lol.

And I realize that I must seem like the most ridiculous feminist fighter ever on this site
You don't seem ridiculous at all.

(though I try to stay away from talking about these kinds of things too much
Please don't. These discussions are much more interesting than arguing about Xehanort for the billionth time. I wish this site had a lot more discussions based on a feminist + literary criticism lens and the like.

Though tbh, I didn't even notice any problems with the girls in this saga until Coded. Until then, everything was A-Okay in this franchise and its female treatment to me.
Eh, see, I don't agree. This series has always had a problem with how it treats its female characters, and how few of them there are. Coded was just the first game to really make it obvious, but the problems have been there from the beginning. Kairi is the only prominent original female character in KH1 and she spends nearly the entire game in a coma, with people kind of just using her like an object, and then even when she does become an active force again, they find a way to write her out of the plot, which then begins this weird trend of her being used as symbol for other characters (mostly Sora) while she herself gets no screentime and development. She's not in CoM. She's hardly in KH2 (where she is made a damsel not once, not twice, but three times). In BBS she's again damseled. Coded she doesn't really appear. In KH3D she's used for shock value.

But like, yeah, it's been a series problem. Even Aqua and BBS, people tend to forget this since she's prominent (more so than Kairi ever was) but in BBS the original male characters outnumber the original female characters something like 14:2 (which is actually worse than Coded, technically, where it's 3:1 [which is actually the same ratio as KH1, which probably shouldn't be surprising])

Of course this is just looking at original characters, but the point is that the series has always struggled in this regard and it's not a new trend.

But when I want to be able to look at a girl as a role model in this saga, and have really no one to choose from, then yeah: I have to recognize that as a problem.
It is definitely a problem. It's just not a new problem.

But, hopefully, things are changing. Aqua was prominent and popular and is considered a key character (and is technically getting her own game, short as it is). Ava is the most prominent and important Foreteller in KHx so far. Kairi seems to be being set-up for an important role in KHIII. It's not much, of course, but I'm hopeful that things are getting better.

I mean, how cool would it have been if we got a Kairi and Naminé walking into the light moment, and making the "III" thing? (Since if Kairi had walked into the light with Sora and Riku, it would've made "IIII" instead.)
It would be pretty out of place considering they're not really in the game as it is lol

Also, on that note, I hope the title picture for KHIII is of Sora, Riku, and Kairi, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
Do you mean the boxart or the menu screen? I'm positive SRK (and likely many more characters) will be on the boxart, but, keeping with tradition, I imagine Sora standing in the water will be the menu screen for KHIII.
 
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Zul

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I like the idea of both Sora and Young Xehanort standing in the(presumably DI beach) water for the menu screen. Both of them started at that world and ended up with two very different lives( Also since this is likely that last game that we'll see him ).
 

Snotboy00

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1.KH1
2.BBS
3.DDD
4.KH2
5.DAYS
6.COM
7.CODED

KH2 would have been higher if it was more challenging.
 

Vanitas666

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1. BBS
2. KHI
3. KH II VS 3D (can't decide, they both have so many awesome and flawed aspects)
4. Coded
5. Re:CoM
6. KHX
7. Days (the 1.5 version would be above KHX though)
 

TheAuronSavior

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KHDDD
KH:BBS
KH2
KH Re:COM
KH: Re:coded
KH: Days
KH: COM
KH1

The first game is so boring to play through. Probably because I'm used to the more evolved style of the gameplay in more recent titles or anything after KH2.
 

Chuuya

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Kh 2
Kh DDD
Kh 1
Kh Recoded
Kh 358/2
Kh BBS
Kh Re: CoM
 

Grizzly

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After replaying through the entire series, I've arrived at my new list (I typically played on the highest difficulty available). Typically kept in mind that gameplay is king, but still kept all the other aspects of the game as well. I decided not to place KHUX in my rankings due to the fact that it isn't finished and we still don't have Back Cover.

1. KHII (Final Mix specifically): Part of my love for KHII is nostalgia, no doubt, but the game has some of the best gameplay of the series, and while it has some seriously glaring issues, i.e. a poor story and some okay world designs, it is still just so much fun to play, especially on Critical. It evolved KH1's combat in such a brilliant way, and provided a direction for the series from a combat moving forward. I hope we will get to see some of the changes taken away from KHII as the games were put onto handhelds (like staggering) when KHIII appears.

2. DDD: This is the only title I haven't replayed due to the imminent arrival of 2.8, but the gameplay still sticks with me as being some of the best in the series. The addition of flowmotion was the biggest improvement to the core mechanics in the series since KHII. It also has possibly the best level design in the series.

3/4 (tie). Re:CoM/CoM: The themes and plot elements that this game played with were quite interesting, and the concept of sacrifice has never been so prevalent within the series. The first time I played, it didn't resonate with me quite well, but as I returned, I was able to find quite a lot of enjoyment in a different type of gameplay for the series, but one that I wouldn't want to see again.

3/4 (tie). BBS: I struggled with whether or not to put BBS above or below Re:CoM, so I left it as a tie. I truly love the game, but in an order of best to worst, I can't simply overlook its issues. The level design was actually pretty poor, the bosses often felt uninspired, I left wanting a lot more out of some characters, and the saving system was beyond horrid, as the secret ending was totally missable if you simply accidentally saved over an older file. The command deck wasn't my favorite, yet I enjoyed the Command Crafting quite a bit, and D-Links added an interesting concept into the combat, in a similar manner of how Re:CoM worked around having actual party members. I love the interaction between the three characters and how their stories weave together as well. I think the selection of worlds, as in what movies they were pulled from, might just be one of the best in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed playing BBS, and while it has tons of positives, its negatives way heavily for me in some areas.

5. KH1: I originally had it as my least favorite title in the series. It hasn't aged extremely well, but the story was handled much better than most of the other games in the series, and I simply can't get that boss battle against Riku out of my head. The gameplay, while not up to standard of that in KHII, still carries a nice weight to it. The game's atmosphere is absolutely spectacular, and the feeling it generates rivals most other games in the series. My problem with KH1 is that I spent the duration of the game learning certain mechanics and synchronizing certain abilities, but then at the end I found myself facing three last bosses that completely threw away what I had been doing for the game. The gummy ship mini game in KH1 was flat out bad and unenjoyable, the camera was atrocious, and the platforming was no better than bad. That Riku fight and the game's atmosphere alone were almost enough for me to place it another position up, but it didn't quite get there for me.

6. Days: It provided with an interesting look behind the Organization, but didn't quite go far enough. No matter how hard I tried, I could not make myself care a whole ton about Xion. The mission structure worked beautifully for a handheld system, though, and provided the perfect burst of gameplay for me on the go. I enjoyed playing it, but everything in between playing often was sort of a drag.

7. Re:Coded: The game isn't terrible at all, but is the only one in the series that never quite resonated with me in any sense. I don't think any element of the game is particularly spectacular, but neither do I think any of it is absolutely horrible. The problem is, no elements in this game stuck out enough to me for me to be able to reasonably put it above any other game in the series.
 

dlppictures

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To me the Final Mixes are seperate games than their vanilla counterparts, so I usually place 2FM in front of KH but behind KHFM. But I'll just place each entry once, and mark where I would place the other version.

1 KHFM
2 KH2FM (then KH)
3 Re:Coded
4 CoM (then KHII and Re:CoM)
5 DDD
6+7 BBSFM/Days (I am not sure which of these two I hate the most)

UX would propably be number 3 or 4, but as the game is not finished yet, I will not give it an official placing on the list.
 
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Max

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I've put my thoughts on this subject in several threads in the past, but my opinion is constantly evolving. This time I'm going to make two lists, best to worst story and then best to worst gameplay.

Story:
1. Kingdom Hearts - Yeah, yeah, nostalgia goggles. I felt like it's simpler themes and strong cast resonated really well though, and when I think Kingdom Hearts I always think of the first game.

2. Kingdom Hearts II - When I finally played this I felt like I had waited FOREVER for this game. It was what, 4 years since the first, and 2 since Chain of Memories? While Chain of Memories was a good filler in between I and II, the plots of the Disney world's in Chain of Memories really sucked. Some people weren't even huge fans of them in II, but they were way worse in Chain of Memories. I didn't mind the Disney plots in II though, and the overall plot with the nobodies and Kingdom Hearts and just- everything, I thought it came together very well, and gave a good enough conclusion if someone would be to finish this game and not want to proceed further in the series.

3. Dream Drop Distance - I loved jumping back and forth between Sora and Riku, story and gameplay-wise. Honestly, I feel like the story of Birth By Sleep should have been handled more like Dream Drop. In Birth By Sleep every world just felt very rushed and abrupt since you only experienced a third of the story at a time, and picking up that world's story again 20 hours later as a different character didn't automatically make it feel better. The world's had two different stories in Dream Drop anyway and weren't quite connected the same as in Birth By Sleep, but it was still nice to wholly experience both stories of the world at once with our two heroes. Not to mention the ending and that setup for Kingdom Hearts III, talk about hype.

4. Chain of Memories: Good God, this was probably the first portable game I had ever played with a story that blew me away. Yeah the Disney stories were lame, but the stories in between, as well as those last few worlds, were all just so great. I felt like I was dying inside waiting for a follow-up to Kingdom Hearts, and I wasn't even in the least bit disappointed when I found out the direct sequel moved from PS2 to GBA. Sure, the gameplay took a hit, but I have always been a story first kind of guy, and the story of this game have me exactly what I wanted: to know what was at the end of the road. Riku's story was a nice touch as well, and I will never EVER understand people who played Kingdom Hearts II before this and claimed to understand everything (liars).

5. Birth By Sleep - Does this game have a good story? No. Better than that, it has a phenomenal story. So why is it so low on the list? Because I LOATHE the story presentation. I won't get as into it here since I pretty much summed it up with Dream Drop, but I hated seeing a third of a world's story at a time, and then getting it's conclusion 20 hours later (longer for me actually, because I'm a game completionist). I just wish the game would have been designed in such a way that character rotation was a thing, like with Dream drop, and you could just finish entire world's at once. Terra I felt got kind of jipped in the worlds too, seeing very bland sides of everything. Ben in my opinion pretty much got to experience the fun sides of each world's story, while Aqua got to see most conclusions. This left Terra's side of each world just feeling very unfullfilling while playing through his story. The overall story really is great though, and I love these characters. I can't wait until Kingdom Hearts III to finally learn their fates.

6. Coded - WHAT?! CODED ISN'T IN LAST FOR STORY??? No. Coded at least brought something new to the story, which is why I put it before Days. While Coded's story isn't overly important until the end, the end still ended up being necessary to the progression of the overall plot, kind of giving the series it's next direction into Dream Drop and then Kingdom Hearts III.

7. 358/2 Days. Will I call this Three Five Eight Days Over Two? No, that's dumb because I read left to right. This will forever be There Five Eight Over Two Days to me. They want to give it an obscure-ass title, I will say it in an obscure-ass way. So I like Days, I really did. Roxas was one of my favorites introduced in II, and I enjoyed the interactions with the organization members. The thing was though, I never felt like I would be missing out on anything important by not playing Days. Like yeah, Xion's a thing now, and she's okay, but... If this game didn't exist, and she didn't exist, then I wholeheartedly believe that the rest of the series would still be exactly the same and exactly where it's at.

8. Unchained X - I'm counting it. Fuck this game's story. I am all caught up, and the important parts are really interesting, but they are so filler with uninspired Disney world fluff that it is so hard to care. "If you don't like it don't play it." I have OCD and its canon, so I have to play it. If you want to make your next game a mobile game and call it canon, then try to make the story the same quality as the main series. I know it's not finished yet, but when about 10 or 15 out of 400 missions present any relevant story content, then I can be pretty damn sure my opinion probs won't change later no matter how well they clean it up.

Gameplay:
1. Coded - WHY DO PEOPLE HATE THIS GAME IT IS SO FUCKING FUN?!?!?! Every world having it's own twist on the gameplay style was amazing, I wish every game in the series was like this! I liked the leveling better, it felt just like a PS2 game on a DS, the gameplay was just superb. Castle Oblivion at the end shook up the gameplay even more! This game was the fastest I ever got through a Kingdom Hearts game, and that is due to the sheer amount of fun I was having the whole goddamm time.

2. Dream Drop Distance - So since every title's gameplay can't be as fun and unique as Coded's (what a shame), in the more classic sense Dream Drop has the most superior gameplay in the rest of the series in my opinion. Flowmotion made battles far more fast paced and fun, almost perfecting a feel in battle I would have expected a DBZ game to figure out first. Switching back and forth between Sora and Riku on the fly felt great, keeping things fresh and just making the whole experience great from beginning to end. I used the Circle Pad Pro when playing this game, make the camera control and back button reactions flow even better and feel even more natural. Oh yeah, and how about the level design? Phenomenal! Hopefully we can keep that same kind of design in Kingdom Hearts III, but with some actual NPCs walking around.

3. Birth By Sleep - The intoduction to the command deck was a welcome one, allowing me to line up and arrange only my most favorite and useful skills for battle. The command deck changed the game in my opinion, and like Coded, this just felt like a portable PS2 game. My only issue with the game,was the camera, I so wished that I had a right analogue stick. The gameplay was perfected on PS3 though with a proper controller. My only other gripe is in regards to the harder difficulties: Ven is the only character I can comfortably use through critical of trying to take on every extra boss. Terra is too slow, Aqua is too weak, Ven,is the only character that hits a nice middle ground like our past Kingdom Hearts protagonists. This gripe is very much more personal though than the rest, as I guess Ven just more fits my preferred play style.

4. Kingdom Hearts - it feels kind of strange putting this above Kingdom Hearts II, but I am doing it. While I almost want to say Kingdom Hearts II is more smooth and dare I say more fun, I felt like the first game was much more balanced. I liked the level design of the first game better, and never while initially playing the first game did I have gripes about the combat, as it was the best action RPG I had played up to that time. It presented equal amounts of fun and challenge, and I still feel that way after having played through Final Mix within the last year (Final Mix's new camera and triangle inclusion were welcome though). Side note: fuck gummi missions.

5 Kingdom Hearts II - Oh how close you made it to being number 4. Smooth combat and fun worlds as well as improved (still unwanted, but improved) gummi missions sounds to me like this should go above the first game. Limit forms were fun as well, oh man! So what's the problem.... The problem is the first Kingdom Hearts took me the upward side of a year to complete. Mind you indidnt have a memory card for the first week so I restarted anytime someone shit off my playstation, but still, what's a week. My problem is that as a kid I didn't feel like the first game held my hand, and I experience the challenge and difficulty that the game presented. I didn't have internet either, so if I got stuck I had to figure it out and make my own boss strategy or explore the world more, the good ol' days. In my opinion Kingdom Hearts II became much more streamlined. Not Final Fantasy XIII streamlined by any means, but shit, as opposed to taking a year to complete the first game, and probably 6 to 8 months on Chain of Memories (several of those just me lolligagging because I was stuck mInd you), it was disappointing when I beat Kingdom Hearts II in a weekend. Friday night to Sunday night and the journey was done. I level design didn't feel as complex, and the game was WAY TOO EASY! I jumped on Proud Mode, just something about the name drew me in: Proud Mode. But no, I didn't really feel super proud when I completed the game in a mere two days on Proud while ONLY DYING ONCE (Fuck you Xigbar, Mickey saved me anyway), because I never felt challenged. Its like I played the game with my eyes closed, the battle system was ALMOST TOO IMPROVED, its like I mastered it and then boom Proud Mode easily became beginner. I still haven't played critical on Final Mix+ though, so we'll see.

6. 358/2 Days - Not much to say about this one. It played like Kingdom Hearts II, which felt fine, but something about it just didn't feel... As good. It may have been the lack of analogue sticks, I don't know. Never did I hate playing it, but it didn't bring anything new to the table and the monotonous mission system made the gameplay begin to feel a bit stale.

7. Chain of Memories - Just ditch the card system and let me mash A (or X on the PS2)! For real though, this battle system wasn't awful, it definitely worked better on the GBA than on the PS2 though. While the new level of strategy it presented was nice though, it got very old very fast when running through drawn out battles just to ensure you can survive the next hallway boss.

8. Unchained X - Obviously the mobile game is a mobile game. While the gameplay isn't horrible, it's not like I'm sitting there having a blast playing it. I simply just don't enjoy mobile gaming on a phone.
 

The_Echo

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1. Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
KHIIFM earns its place at the very top almost entirely on its gameplay. It's just so much fun, you guys. The whole game is a blast and even the vanilla version I had played ad nauseum back in the day.
The combat is fast, responsive, varied, flashy. It just feels good to smack things around with the Keyblade. The additional content in FM certainly needs no explanation, it's just stellar. Exactly what the base game desperately needed to complete the package.

As for the story, objectively speaking it isn't the greatest, but I do find myself endlessly charmed by the atmosphere and the "reunion" feeling when it comes to visiting old friends (Aladdin, Mushu, Herc, Beast, etc.). KHII is unique in this as it's the only time in the saga that Sora genuinely revisits worlds. I wonder if KHIII will be able to capture the same feeling.

2. Re:coded
Recently I've seen a community upswing in Re:coded's reception which warms my heart, because I have always loved this one dearly.
Like KHIIFM, the combat is the main course here. Easily the best utilization of the Command Deck style of play, with fast commands which flow easily into Keyblade combos and back again, as well as allowing aerial combat (which its predecessor Birth by Sleep woefully neglected) for both.
On top of this fantastic base, the game is structured for replays, NG+, collection et cetera. It's designed for a completionist and it's designed for customization. More than any other KH title, this one gives you complete control.

The story doesn't get quite as much praise but damn you guys.
It's so good.
Chain of Memories and Re:coded are tied for best story of the series for me. Yes yes, "uh but nothing happens in Re:coded until the secret ending."
While this is factually inaccurate, that's not really what matters in a good story.
A good story is a story told well. And dammit, Re:coded's story is about as flawless as a Kingdom Hearts story can be.
Great pacing, well-written dialogue, a good balance between tones, enjoyable characters. What more could you want, honestly?
They even managed to make Maleficent a good villain again. I mean, this scene was pretty great.

3. Dream Drop Distance
I had a lot of fun with this one. The Flowmotion mechanic is a welcome introduction of speed and aerial maneuverability as a follow-up to BbS. The worlds were fun and I see DDD as a comfortable middle-ground between BbS and Re:coded in terms of gameplay.

The story, like KHII, is by no means a masterpiece on its writing or pacing, but you can't tell me that The World That Never Was wasn't triple-dipped in hype juice.

My biggest qualm with DDD is the tedium involved in gaining Link Points to fill out the Link Boards.
Here's hoping that's modified in 2.8, but with a full controller, 60fps and adjusted enemy reaction, I already know it'll be better anyway.

4. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (1.5)
It's the classic. FM adds some much needed mobility and crowd control to Sora's abilities, and 1.5's modified controls make the game noticeably less clunky.

I've never been a huge fan of KH1's story, or seen how Disney worlds were any more relevant here than in other games. Maybe it's just me. KH1's story is simple. Not like it's bad, but there's kinda not too much to go on about. A good base but not much else in my opinion.
It's alright.

Thanks to FM, the gameplay isn't as stiff and unwieldy, though the platforming is still as sticky and cumbersome as ever. And there's really no getting around that.

The pacing in the first act of the game, as well, is uniquely awful and I see so many people dropping the game at or before Deep Jungle.

This one definitely shows its age.

5. Birth by Sleep Final Mix (2.5)
Oh, BbS, how times have changed. Once heralded as the greatest game in the series, now I see you suffer the torment of so many shitposts exploiting you for every little flaw.

You're a good game, BbS. Just... not as good as you wanted to be.

The Command Deck's inaugural romp is rocky, plagued with a tedious melding system, overly-long animations and sticky feet eliminating any and all airtime. The experiment with multiple player characters was an interesting selling point but fell short in the wake of exploring the same areas, collecting all the same commands, beat the same bosses, play the same minigames, three times over, for 100%.

To say DDD one-upped this concept is an understatement.

I shouldn't even have to mention the travesty of boss design called Mysterious Figure.

I specify 2.5 here because the model updates are pretty slick and I can't imagine playing the game on PSP again. Having a second analog stick and L2/R2 really changes the experience.

6. χ[chi]/Unchained χ
The gameplay is fairly simple in both titles but there's a beauty in that simplicity, and a strange complexity that's a little nostalgic for the ideas behind Chain of Memories. In all three launches (browser open beta, JP mobile, NA mobile), I found myself glued to this game for literal hours on end but the localization team pretty much butchered Uχ so RIP in peace.

The story is my favorite part though. Three years in and it's hard not to be all caught up in the theorycrafting and waiting on each new update with bated breath.

I think my favorite aspect of the story is the mystery, and how it at the same time both drops its sequel baggage and carries it with honor, dangling it in the face of the audience like a carrot on a stick. I don't know of many games that do this sort of thing.

7. [Re:]Chain of Memories
As mentioned before, I love the story of CoM. For all the same reasons that I praise Re:coded's story, CoM hits all the right notes.

It's only down so far because the gameplay is... not bad, but...
Y'know. It's a bit tedious, a bit grindy, a bit slow. It's a good system with a lot of thought put into it but it's not something I find myself indulging in.

Also, I'm still hurting after doing the Platinum in 1.5...

8. 358/2 Days
It's trash.

Trash gameplay.
Trash story.
Pretty sure I did a dissertation on how bad this game is in some other thread.
EDIT: Found it.
 
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Elysium

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Max said:
Story:

1. Kingdom Hearts - Yeah, yeah, nostalgia goggles. I felt like it's simpler themes and strong cast resonated really well though, and when I think Kingdom Hearts I always think of the first game.
Don't worry, there are just as many people who can only see KH2 through nostalgia goggles. It's surprising how many players began the series with it and not with KH1. Outside something like the FF series, I would never start a series with 2, personally. *shrug*

And at least I would still think of KH1 a good game if thinking about it objectively... KH2, not so much. The only real argument I could make for it is the gameplay, but even that needed a FM to fix it from being terrible.
 

Chuman

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kh1 and kh2 aren't objectively better or worse than the other imo, kh1 was so much deeper and immersed you more while kh2 was tighter, felt good and had a lot more polish.
 
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