1. Kingdom Hearts
All three of us who worked on this Top Ten went into our very first conversation assuming that Kingdom Hearts would be the top spot, no questions asked. The game in of itself is a legend – I remember, when I was but a young child in school, I would walk down the hallways hearing my fellow classmates talk of the game that meshed the worlds of Final Fantasy and Disney, the one where your weapon was the key to unlocking Kingdom Hearts. And when I sat down with a friend to play for the first time, the opening cutscene started me on a journey I would not soon forget. And now, a little over ten years after the last installment in the main series (it was on my birthday in 2005, teehee) we are all excited to sink our teeth into Sora’s tale once more in Kingdom Hearts 3.
Maybe it was the novel idea of travelling in between the worlds of beloved Disney characters, or the tale of a boy and the amount of bonds he makes with others, or the memorable music, or the complex plot, but there’s something that can’t tear us all away from the Kingdom Hearts series. No matter how many spin-off games or side-plots there are in this complicated web of tales, we all know that we just unabashedly love the darn thing, no matter how many times they deny us the next game. We just have to see Sora, Riku, Kairi, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and everyone along the way again, much like they are our own old friends, and we are coming back to catch up.
But whatever the reason, Kingdom Hearts is able to do something that the rest of the games on this list do not, and that is string various Disney stories together, intricately, so that they mean so much to the story, and yet at the same time nothing at all. We all have our favorite world we like to go to, like coming home after a long day. We all have our favorite Keyblade based on our favorite Disney film, looking to see how the design and quirks tie in to beating in the face of the nearest Heartless. But all in all, Kingdom Hearts sees that all the worlds hang in the balance of the story equally, none having more importance than the other. But knowing that everyone is counting on you makes the fight worth having, hoping that you will always have friends like Jack Skellington, or Simba, or Pinocchio waiting for you back home.
And that’s why Kingdom Hearts matters so much, I think. The friendships that you make are not wholly in Sora’s heart, but yours as well, and I think that Kingdom Hearts 3 will prove that no matter how many times Goofy uses all your items or Donald doesn’t heal you, it will be nice to finally be home again.