By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
I’m a bit of a completionist when it comes to games. I’m very rarely going to play the second installment in a series if I haven’t played the first. There are some exceptions to this. The Far Cry games from Ubisoft, for instance, all have self-contained stories that don’t require you to play previous entries to enjoy the current one. I could probably also enjoy the adventures of Nathan Drake in the Uncharted games even if I hadn’t played earlier entries – but the earlier entries do contribute to your understanding of Drake’s growth as a character and make the other entries, specifically Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, more poignant.
One game series that I’d always wanted to try, but was too intimidated by the sheer volume of titles to try until recently, was the Kingdom Hearts series. I picked up the original game for PlayStation 2 some time back, but never got around to playing it on that console. While I was waiting to play that game, Square Enix released Kingdom Hearts 2, Kingdom Hearts 3 and a whole slew of other games for mobile consoles.
This kind of thing happens to me quite often, and I usually just give up on my plans to pick up one of these established series and move on to new games instead. But then Square Enix did a thing – they bundled the original Kingdom Hearts and the subsequent Nintendo GameBoy game Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories into a remastered Kingdom Hearts 1.5. They did the same thing with Kingdom Hearts 2.5. These two games together, and Kingdom Hearts 2.8, gave folks like me a chance to get caught up before diving into Kingdom Hearts III. Square Enix even bundled these games together as Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far.
This, of course, had folks like me – who wanted to experience all or nothing – and those who wanted to replay the games on current era consoles, or to experience the mobile console games they may have missed, chomping at the bit to get it and get through it before Kingdom Hearts III came out. But, as fate would have it, I never picked these up either. It wasn’t until after Kingdom Hearts III came out, and the studio put out an entire bundle, Kingdom Hearts: All-In-One-Package, that I finally picked up the games.
I purchased the All-In-One-Package on the PlayStation store during a sale, more than a year after it and Kingdom Hearts III was launched. But it was only recently (as in this past weekend) that I finally got around to playing the game. Let me say that, so far, the game was worth the wait. One thing I wasn’t prepared for was how closely it related to the existing Square Enix Final Fantasy games. Not only are the Kingdom Hearts titles role playing games in the style of Final Fantasy, they also feature characters and creatures that have been seen in other Final Fantasy games. It’s a little odd to see these characters rubbing elbows with Donald Duck and Goofy at first, but Kingdom Hearts finds a way to make it work. I’m only a few hours in, and have defeated my first boss to move on to Wonderland – as in Disney’s Alice in… – but I’m hooked, and I can’t wait to play through the rest of this title and the others included in the bundle.
If you haven’t played any of the Kingdom Hearts games, or want to experience them again for modern consoles, consider checking out Kingdom Hearts: All-In-One-Package. The games are rated E 10+, for everyone ages ten and up, for cartoon violence.
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