The series so far consists of nine main games, listed below in order of release:
Kingdom Hearts (originally released on PS2)
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories (originally released on GBA
Kingdom Hearts II (originally released on PS2)
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (originally released on DS)
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (originally released on PSP)
Kingdom Hearts coded (originally release on mobile in Japan)
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (origInally released on 3DS)
Kingdom Hearts χ (originally released on web browsers in Japan)
Kingdom Hearts III (ONE DAY)
All games are core to the story; there are no spin-offs. Some people believe only the numbered games are important to the story, which is incorrect, so to properly get into the story you will have to play all nine entries.
Some games can be played on different formats to their original, however, due to remakes and re-releases, the best way to play every entry is as follows:
- Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX (PS3). Contains the Final Mix version of the original Kingdom Hearts (Final Mix being an upgraded initially Japan only version with more content). Also contains the PS2 remake of Chain of Memories if you do not wish to play the original GBA version, nothing is changed in the story in the remake, just a gameplay change. Finally contains the cutscenes from 358/2 Days remastered, but no gameplay.
- Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX (PS3). Contains the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts II, the Final Mix version of Birth by Sleep, and the cutscenes from the DS remake of coded but no gameplay, similar to 358/2 Days in the HD 1.5 ReMIX.
- Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (PS4). Contains the Final Mix version of Dream Drop Distance, along with 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- (a brand new playable episode important to the story), and new cutscenes from χ Back Cover, telling the story of some of the important characters in χ.
- Download χ on your mobile device and play through that. Although HD 2.8 Final Chapter prolog has cutscenes from χ Back Cover, it is a separate story to the core story of χ so the two differ. χ features drastically different gameplay than the rest of the series but is enjoyable nonetheless.
- If you’re not content with just seeing the cutscenes of 358/2 Days and coded and want to play the games instead, get a DS or 3DS and buy 358/2 Days and Re:coded (DS remake of coded) and you can play the games fully.
You are now ready for Kingdom Hearts III, congrats!
Confused? Yeah, it’s not exactly straightforward.
If you haven’t played Kingdom Hearts yet, I wouldn’t start here. Instead, I’d pick up Kingdom hearts 1.5 and go from there. Hopefully the inevitable PS4 remakes are HD versions of the .5 series.
So there you go. You’re ready to fight the darkness now.
Hope that helps!