As of March 30, 2021, the entirety of the Kingdom Hearts franchise is available on PC via the Epic Games Store. The iconic video game franchise has been around for nearly two decades, enchanting its players with one of gaming’s wackiest narratives, and its unique universe comprising worlds based on various Disney properties, from Steamboat Willie to Tangled. PlayStation and Xbox players have had access to the games for quite some time, but if you’ve got a gaming PC ready to go, there’s a lot to be excited about.
So what is Kingdom Hearts? Well, it’s a lot of things. It’s an action role playing game from Disney and Square Enix, mixing elements of both Disney films and Final Fantasy games. It was a crazy pitch for a concept, but it worked. An epic that spans many years of releases, Kingdom Hearts at its core is about Sora, the wielder of the Keyblade, and his travels to different Disney worlds to protect them from the ever growing threat of the forces of Darkness. That’s about how simple I can make it out for you.
For the newcomers to this franchise, Kingdom Hearts spans over ten games, all of which at one point existed on specific exclusive consoles. When the first game launched on the PS2, it was followed by a Game Boy Advance “interquel” that was equally important to the plot as the numbered, “true” console sequel, Kingdom Hearts 2. This pattern continued with two DS games, a PSP game, a 3DS game, and even a mobile game. And I’m still missing a couple entries depending on how you look at it.
I’m biased, I’ll admit, as I was (and still am) an enormous fan of these games, but I highly recommend that you try them out if you haven’t already. Now is a perfect time, as the series is not only available on PC, but PS4 and Xbox One as well (and by proxy the PS5 and Xbox Series S and X via backwards compatibility). Square Enix has streamlined all of the releases into several collections, making for a much more accessible way of playing them. The price is still high on PC and Xbox, but don’t let that scare you away.
You might be asking, “Great. So why should I care?”
While this is by no means a perfect series, with a lot of weird anime dialogue, a few games that are definitely not the best, and some questionable story elements, its high points can give you some of the richest, rewarding gameplay moments in any game you’ll ever play. The boss fights are extremely fun, and the fun peaks when exploring the Disney worlds. I like to view the whole series as one big, giant role playing game story that is meant to be enjoyed over a long period of time. A few of the titles included in the collection (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, and Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover) are actually just cutscene collections of their DS counterparts to preserve the story, but every other game is represented here in the package properly.
Even if you don’t love every game, with their ridiculous titles and experimental ideas, or even like some of them, the main numbered games are a heck of a great time. If you are a Disney fan at heart, a lover of frenetic action games, or even if you’re just curious, it’s worth at least trying. When I say these games have some of the best boss fights you’ll ever go up against, I mean it. And for PC users, the one thing I’m looking most forward to are the mods and increased performance.
So take the dive. This series has quite the legacy, and it may be ridiculous most of the time, but there’s a reason people sing its praises. At the very least, try out the first couple games on the 1.5 + 2.5 compilation and see if you want to go further in. The titles you can buy are Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD Remix, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, Kingdom Hearts III, and Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory. Confusing numbers aside, it’ll be one heck of an experience, I can promise you that.