There are a lot of Kingdom Hearts games.
Sure, you may have dipped in now and then to try them out. After all, the hype around the original game felt earned, with a concept that honestly seemed like some sort of fever dream. Disney's most beloved characters crossing over with the heroes and villains of the Final Fantasy series? Back in 2002, you could sign basically everyone up.
But the series' lore spans more than just its numbered titles, and for plenty of potential fans the recently released Kingdom Hearts III is just a make-good for a generation of players who haven't heard from the series in 14 years. Though that's not entirely true, because plenty happened in the franchise's handful of titles released between its numbered entries.
So, what happens if you don't have much exposure to the series at all and want to jump into Kingdom Hearts III? Well, it's mighty confusing.
Kingdom Hearts III opens with an montage of events from the series up until now sans any kind of narration. Longtime fans will probably know exactly what's happening, as glimpses of the earlier games and the many worlds explored show up here, like Tron: Legacy, The Little Mermaid and... The World Ends With You? For a new player, this is more music video than anything else, and then you find yourself in the playable shoes of series protagonist Sora before you know it.
With limited exposure to just the opening moments of the first Kingdom Hearts, this beginning will seem familiar, as you select broad attributes based on short clips that seemingly influence your "build" when you start the game. Are you a fan of friendship -- or power? For friendship, maybe you'll get some extra HP. For power, maybe a boost to your attack.
Before you know it, the baggage of the series comes into play, and a leather-wearing, zipper-clad Mickey Mouse will address you as a budding "master of the Keyblade," the series' signature weapon class. Goofy and Donald Duck are also there as your allies and party members once again, and then it's just cameo after cameo from characters like Yen Sid from Fantasia, Jiminy Cricket and Chip and Dale, all of whom have seemingly played huge parts in the lore up to this point. Chip and Dale make you a cellphone in this one.