Kingdom Hearts’ Story is a Mess, and That’s Just Fine

Kingdom Hearts 3 is finally here and I absolutely cannot wait to play it. I was a bit hesitant to jump back into the series after years of side-stories and spin-offs turned the plot into an intimidating monstrosity, but I’ve been thinking about it and I’m actually okay with not knowing exactly what’s going on. I mean, I’d like to know where exactly Sora and the gang are at in their adventures, but that’s never really been what playing Kingdom Hearts is about for me. In fact, the story might be the very last thing I care about in a Kingdom Hearts game.

For me, Kingdom Hearts has always been about two things: warm-fuzzies and gameplay. I’m not sure if it’s exactly in that order, but that’s basically what I care about in this series. I want to have a grand ol’ time hitting enemies with a giant key and running around with my favorite Disney characters. I also want to see Sora/Ventus have heartwarming moments with their friends as they work their way towards saving the world from a creepy old guy and his twelve copies.

Does it matter how those copies came to be and what everyone’s been doing up until now? Sure. At least a little bit. To be honest, I watched at least three videos trying to break the plot and characters down and I still only understand 60% of it. All I know is this: darkness bad, light good. Defeat darkness by visiting Disney worlds and having the biggest “power of friendship” moment ever. Hooray!

In all seriousness though, I think the reason Kingdom Hearts is so beloved by so many is because it’s able to touch something in those that play. Somehow, it’s able to connect with that piece of our psyche that’s still a young kid and bring out just a little bit. Maybe it’s the flashy gameplay; maybe it’s getting to run around with the characters that left such positive impressions on our young selves; maybe its that vicarious sense of relief that emerges whenever Sora gets to have a reunion or heart-to-heart with one of the people he cares about.

Such moments are all too rare in the real world, but are common in Kingdom Hearts. Perhaps that’s why it’s gotten so popular over the years, or perhaps that’s just me reading way too deeply into it. Either way, I just don’t think the story is all that important so long as the gameplay continues to wow and the emotional moments continue to hit home. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got me some worlds to save and some Heartless to bash. I’ve waited 13 years for this, I’m not gonna wait any longer!

What’s your take on Kingdom Hearts’ Story? Why do you enjoy these games?

Lede image captured from the Kingdom Hearts 3 E3 2018 trailer.

One Comment

  1. duckofindeed says:

    I actually really like the story in Kingdom Hearts, even if it became super convoluted after KH2. I, admittedly, rushed through Kingdom Hearts 3 because I wanted to know what was going to happen. But you are right, it’s still the emotional moments that make the KH series so amazing, whether that be the characters we’ve grown to love or getting to visit locations from our favorite Disney movies. The series would benefit from a less confusing plot, but I suppose the weird developments in the story don’t really detract from the fact that these games have, well, heart.

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