Why Kingdom Hearts Is Dearly Beloved

It’s impossible not to get nostalgic when I think about Kingdom Hearts. Although I dove into the first game when Kingdom Hearts II was about to release, I feel like I’ve been with the series since the beginning. There’s something incredible about this franchise that I can’t get over, and with Kingdom Hearts III on the horizon, I thought I’d go over some of what makes these games so special.

“Dearly Beloved”


It’s been more than 10 years since Kingdom Hearts II released, and although there have been several releases in the series since then, the third true entry kept evading us, mainly because it didn’t exist. Kingdom Hearts III started as a beautiful dream, but as the years passed, became a nightmare that clawed at my heart more harshly with every passing year (so dramatic). 

Now that Kingdom Hearts III has an official release date of January 29, 2019, I can finally put those nightmares to rest. This game is real and it’s only several months until we get to play it ourselves. Let me tell you why I love the Kingdom Hearts series.

“Treasured Memories”


An impulse purchase at Best Buy led to one of the most transformative video game experiences I’ve come across in my 20 plus years of gaming. People constantly talked about how Kingdom Hearts, at its core, didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t more than 15 years later. I mean, how is it supposed to when two radically opposed cultures and storytelling styles are combined? Despite that, it does work. It’s kind of a miracle.

My brothers and I quickly booted up the mysterious game on our PlayStation 2 and were swept away in the dynamic opening that oozed with unique pop charm. Three characters created for Kingdom Hearts (Sora, Riku, and Kairi) were thrown at us out of nowhere and after two minutes of CG animation, singing, drama, lots of water, and artistic bliss, the game finally began.

“Destiny’s Union”


I won’t spend too much time telling you what Kingdom Hearts is since there are plenty of resources for that out there. The briefest way I can explain is that Kingdom Hearts is a video game where the worlds of Disney films and Final Fantasy games blend into one giant, immersive, musically brilliant, visually breathtaking, narrative experience that comes together neatly despite all the contradiction.

I grew up with everything Disney but that wasn’t what drew me to the games. It wasn’t Final Fantasy either since I don’t think I’d played any of them at this point. It was actually Kingdom Hearts that got me into Final Fantasy, with FFX being my first entry in the series. I just felt drawn to Kingdom Hearts after reading up a bit on them online. Maybe it was destiny or maybe I just got lucky.

“Dive Into the Heart”


No matter what I write, the words I pick will feel inadequate at describing what this series signifies in my life. It could be that I was still developing as a person as I played through some of the games. It could be that I was a Disney fan from early childhood or that I experienced the series with my family. It could be that it was one of the first story-heavy games I played or maybe it was the transcendent music. Maybe it was a sum of dozens of parts that has got me lovesick for this series.

There’s just something magical and pure about Kingdom Hearts. Sure, there are some crazy complicated plot threads to follow and some nonsensical ideas, but the core feeling of the game really reaches the heart. The stories of searching for lost youth and longing for broken friendships; tales of reconciliation and heartbreak; anything having to do with death and rebirth; you’ll find all of this and more in this series. You can criticize the franchise for several underdeveloped characters or reused narratives but none of that does much to hold back this series.

“Vector to the Heavens”

I just want to talk about some of the music in the KH series for a moment. For me, the score for these games is like no other. I hate to describe it as magical, I really do yet, here I am. It’s really the best word to describe the soundtrack. There’s so much variety in the music and so much feeling that I keep coming back to it to listen year after year.

Composer Yoko Shimomura holds nothing back in her exploration of dark and light, as well as everything in between. I don’t think she gets as much credit as she deserves; her scores rival that of the all-time greats like Zelda’s Koji Kondo and Final Fantasy’s Nobuo Uematsu. No other music makes me feel like hers. Here are some of my favorites from the soundtracks:

Vector to the Heavens

Simple and Clean (Orchestral Instrumental Version)

Rage Awakened

“Fate of the Unknown”

People complain about Kingdom Hearts III being delayed for years but it’s only been delayed once after it was officially announced a few years ago. I’m confident that the game will maintain its current release date and there won’t be another delay.

I recently picked up some of the older games to play through parts on my PlayStation 4 in preparation. If I had the time, I would replay the whole series, but I have a massive backlog that keeps me from doing that. I’m sure most of us do.

If you haven’t played more than the first two numbered entries in the series, Kingdom Hearts III is not meant for you. It really is not. There are about half a dozen other entries you missed out on that play a critical role in the story. It’s a complicated series, so if you’re looking to brush up on the story before the release of the third entry, you’d be smart to get ahold of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX for PS4 and play through them.

Kingdom Hearts III is real and it’s coming for us. Prepare your keyblades, warriors of light, it’s almost time.


1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Why Kingdom Hearts Is Dearly Beloved"
  1. […] of exciting games have released or will release this year: Kingdom Hearts 3, Crash Team Racing, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Anodyne 2, Metro […]

Leave a Reply


Yakuza protagonist glaring at the camera in a crowded street

Yakuza 3, 4, and 5 Remasters Announced for PlayStation 4

Sega just shadow-dropped Yakuza 3 on PlayStation 4 today, with 4 and 5 remasters releasing months afterwards. By February 2020, all mainline Yakuza games will be readily available on PSN. On October…

August 20, 2019, 5
Promo image for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Classic 2D Events Coming to Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

After a three year breather (which now seems to be the common pace for the Olympic Games series), Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will unite polarized…

August 20, 2019, 23
Logo for Gamescom Opening Night Live on a purple background

Gamescom: Opening Night Live Round-Up

Gamescom: Opening Night Live just aired and there’s quite a bit to talk about. Hosted by the creator of the Game Awards Geoff Keighley, the stream featured a number of…

August 19, 2019, 75

Sony Interactive Entertainment Acquires Insomniac Games

[UPDATE] Further information has emerged concerning Sony’s acquisition of Insomniac Games. All of Insomniac’s owned non-Sony exclusive IP, which include Sunset Overdrive, Fuse, Song of the Deep, Edge of Nowhere, and…

August 19, 2019, 71
Promotional image showing off new games coming to xbox game pass

Gamescom: Inside Xbox Round-Up 08/19

Xbox kicks off its Gamescom 2019 with an Inside Xbox live conference, showing off some new footage for upcoming titles. Over the 40 minutes the stream ran for, a ton…

August 19, 2019, 93
Nintendo's Indi World Presentation Title Screen

Nintendo’s Indie World Round Up 8/19

Nintendo kicked off the Gamescom announcements this year with ‘Indie World’, a bite-sized Nintendo Direct style video to show off some of the best indie games heading to Switch later…

August 19, 2019, 95
Rainbow Road as seen in Mario Kart 8

Nine Tracks I’d like in Mario Kart 9

I’m a big fan of Mario Kart 8, and with Crash Bandicoot and Sonic getting racing games this summer, I can’t help but hope for a Mario Kart 9 on the horizon. In no…

August 16, 2019, 210
Gary Whitta

Halo 5 Writer Gary Whitta Announced as PAX West Keynote Speaker

Gary Whitta, writer for games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Halo 5: Guardians, and Prey and movies like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Book of Eli, and After…

August 15, 2019, 112
Dead Island 2 Saints Row 5

Dead Island 2 Changes Developers, Saint’s Row V Coming Says THQ Nordic

THQ Nordic will be busy with some old series likely over the next couple of years. In a press release to investors, the company announced not only that development of…

August 14, 2019, 134
Title screen for Plants vs Zombies Battle for Neighborville

Plants Vs. Zombies Battle for Neighborville Trailer Leak + Switch Version Rumored

Man, what is it with Plants vs Zombies and leaks? Last week, screenshots of a new PvZ game were leaked, then a few days later the official title of the…

August 13, 2019, 260