When it comes to complex plots and characters, one franchise reigns supreme. That franchise is none other than the widely loved Disney/Final Fantasy crossover RPG known as Kingdom Hearts. The first installment in the action-packed series came out in 2002 and hooked us instantly. We saw Sora, the kid from Destiny Islands, go from a happy-go-lucky kid just living life to a badass Keyblade wielder destined to save the world. There have been a variety of entries in the series, with the next installment, Kingdom Hearts III, coming at some point within the next year and a half (we hope).
The game features a wide variety of familiar faces from both the Disney universe as well as the heroes and villains from the Final Fantasy series, in addition to the series’ own original characters. From warriors to wizards, the series boasts some of the most intriguing fights against some imposing characters, but not all of them carry the same intimidation or difficulty of others. This same aspect applies to the heroes of the story as well, with some of them being more useful in a fight then Sora himself. On the other hand, there are those who need to pretty much be babysat due to their poor strength and survivability.
While many of the names will be familiar, some of them may shock you at their inclusion as a strong or weak entry. Check out the list and see the strongest and weakest in the series (listed in no particular order). Let me know who you think can carry themselves in a fight and who should probably just sit them out.
15 Strong: Darkside
Darkside is the first true enemy that Sora faces in his adventures and the largest Heartless in the series’ first game in the franchise. He is especially difficult since the first game was far more difficult than Kingdom Hearts II and the fight with him is pretty much the first fight you get into in the series.
Darkside appears at the Dive to the Heart, Destiny Islands, and makes his final appearance in the first game at the End of the World. Each fight is more difficult than the last and his giant stature and Shadow spawning powers ensure that it is never a fight between just you and him. He is memorable, unique and to say he is strong would be an understatement.
14 Weak: Mulan/ Ping
We first meet Mulan when she is impersonating a Chinese soldier by the name of Ping. It’s exactly the same as in her film, but this time around it isn’t the Huns she’s facing off against. She is fighting Shan-Yu and his army of Heartless while trying to protect the emperor.
She is somewhat helpful, but this is solely because of the fact that her world is early on in the game and the enemies are more numerous than powerful. But when it comes to the more powerful foes that you face, such as the Assualt Rider, she is essentially harmless. Then again, so are you! Those things are pretty ridiculous and she doesn’t seem to help in any way that matters. All she does is swing her sword fast and often, but never really seems to kill anything.
13 Strong: Twilight Thorn
The first boss in Kingdom Hearts II is essentially the Nobody version of Kingdom Hearts boss Darkside. Twilight Thorn appears in the Dive to the Heart and despite being what is pretty much a tutorial boss, he puts up one hell of a fight.
As with every other Nobody, Twilight Thorn has an incredibly erratic and unpredictable movement pattern. This makes him difficult to fight because you never really know where he is going to attack from or where you will be able to attack him. The use of quick time events was also a new addition, with this fight being the first to feature them. Your timing has to be perfect if you want to avoid catching a beat down from one of the weirdest enemies in the series.
12 Weak: Clayton
One of the early bosses in Kingdom Hearts, you encounter Clayton in the Deep Jungle and with the help of local wildman, Tarzan, you manage to take down the psychotic hunter and free Tarzan’s family of apes.
The fight is definitely difficult, but that isn’t because of Clayton, it’s actually because of the giant chameleon Heartless he rides into battle that can fade away into the background and become completely invisible. Clayton is just a guy with a gun and even with the help of a giant reptile, he is easy to kill. All he does is shoot from the top of the Heartless until you do enough damage and he falls off. Then you have to attack him while watching for the Chameleon. He is simple enough.
Now the Stealth Sneak is a different story completely.
11 Strong: Ansem, Seeker Of Darkness
Ansem is the Heartless of Xehanort and the man who serves as the primary antagonist of Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, as well as Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The power that this guy exudes is off the charts!
He has numerous forms and after defeating him and his guardian on the recreation of Destiny Island’s beach, you face off against him again after he has merged with the World of Chaos and becomes a monstrous human-ship hybrid. He is also way more difficult since you have to begin fighting him alone, without the help of either Goofy or Donald. He is deceptively difficult and his guardian will often protect him from your attacks, allowing him to survive even longer and beat the living hell out of you!
10 Weak: Demyx
When people think of the villainous Organization XIII, they usually tend to think of the badass agents such as Xigbar, Xaldin and, the big bad himself, Xemnas. They present some of the most difficult and imposing fights in the game, but one of their members doesn’t really live up to the strength of the rest of the organization. That would be the Sitar-playing, water bender Demyx.
Demyx appears numerous times throughout the course of Kingdom Hearts II and every time he becomes a little more difficult, but he's never really a real threat to Sora. One of the more difficult fights against him isn’t because of his abilities, but rather because there is a very short time limit where you have to defeat him. A cool concept for a character, but one that ultimately doesn’t challenge the player enough.
9 Strong: Cloud
The only man with a sword that can rival that of a certain angel-winged man with a Masamune, Cloud first meets Sora and friends while they are visiting the Olympus Coliseum in Kingdom Hearts and, after a show of strengths, he sort of befriends Sora. He later appears in Kingdom Hearts II and helps Sora during the siege of Hollow Bastion.
He is one of the most powerful and combat effective allies that Sora has and he makes it known through his actions. His attacks are so far reaching that he can rip through an entire battlefield in seconds. His giant Buster Sword is a trademark and one of the most feared swords in gaming. That destructive weapon helps him destroy hordes of heartless and nobodies throughout his appearances in the series.
8 Weak: Vivi
Adorable? Yes. Mysterious? Yes. Powerful and intimidating? Not so much. Vivi, the adorable little Black Mage from Final Fantasy, found his way into Kingdom Hearts II and faced off against Roxas early in the game’s prologue. While it’s not technically the real Vivi, this fake version is even stronger than the real Vivi.
He the least imposing of Seifer’s gang members due to his tiny stature and child-like voice. He is easily defeated by a low-leveled Roxas with little trouble, which makes sense as when he regains consciousness, you realized he is more of a lover than a fighter. He isn’t one to enjoy fighting and is even a kind and helpful person. Which is good for him because he's far from a battle-ready warrior.
7 Strong: Sephiroth
It’s hard to refute the fact that Sephiroth is one of the most difficult enemies that Sora and company will face along their travels. This beast of a man wields one of the most badass swords in gaming history, known as the Masamune. His attacks are devastating and his agility is pretty much blindingly fast. He appears as a secret boss fight in both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II and you need to be ready to fight for your life.
Sephiroth is one of the most challenging and demanding fights in the series and patience is a virtue is you hope to defeat him in either title. Especially since his attacks can rip through the entire battlefield in the blink of an eye. He is in a league all his own when it comes to Sora’s adversaries.
6 Weak: Pete
Even though Pete is portrayed as a thuggish brute who believes he can beat just about anybody in a fight, this ultimately proves untrue with every single fight he is in. Pete is nothing more than a walking joke in the series, just as he is the Disney cartoons.
He shows up to fight Sora numerous times throughout Kingdom Hearts II while on the hunt for Mickey and every single time he becomes stronger, as is the usual with recurring video game villains. Sadly, he never becomes strong enough to ever pose a real threat to the heroes and is dealt with quickly and easily every time. His little temper tantrums are funny though, especially since he thinks he is tough.
5 Strong: Aqua
Aqua is a Keyblade wielder who serves as one of the three protagonists of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Along with her friends Terra and Ventus, she wishes to become a Keyblade master and, of the three of them, she is the only one to accomplish this goal. This badass Keyblade hero gave up her own armor and Keyblade to save her friends and free them from the World of Darkness.
If you have any doubts as to how strong and badass Aqua is then just remember that she made her way through the World of Darkness all by herself (alright maybe with a little help from Venus’ and Terra’s Keyblades). This woman was driven by her love for her friends and it literally took her to the end of the world.
4 Weak: Donald Duck
Donald Duck is one of the more pathetic main characters in the series. During his adventures with Sora, we get to watch as Goofy and Sora pretty much carry him through the game. He very rarely contributes anything amazing to a fight. He is pretty much only good for healing your team and keeping you alive, which is also a letdown since he is notorious for healing you only after you have already healed yourself.
His offensive abilities aren’t as good as the other teammates that you can get which makes sense, as he's predominantly used for his utility capabilities. Sadly, this isn’t very useful when you can’t depend on him to deliver on his duties to keep you and Goofy and whoever else is with you alive and in the fight.
3 Strong: The Lingering Will
The Lingering Will is by far the most difficult boss fight you will ever have to endure. This secret boss is only encountered in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix after passing through a portal in Disney Castle and it’s definitely not a fight you want to take lightly if you hope to actually win.
Lingering Will is the lost mind of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep protagonist and Keyblade wielder Terra. After his body is stolen by Xehanort, his mind is left trapped within Terra’s armor and this armor knows how to fight. He possesses a number of powers that just about instantly kill very high level players. His speed, strength, and magical abilities place him in highest tier of enemies and I think most would agree.
2 Weak: Ariel
Sora makes a lot of friends on his journey and some of them offer up their services to help him fight and protect their worlds along with him. While many are strong and offer up a nice change of pace from Goofy and Donald, none of them are as useless and pathetic as the princess of Atlantica herself, Ariel. Her primary weapon in the underwater world is her tail. You would think that she could help a little more since Atlantica already sucks due to the crappy swimming mechanics.
Since she isn’t much of a physical fighter, she often relies on her magical abilities to attack the underwater monsters plaguing her kingdom, as well as using her abilities to help Sora, Goofy, and Donald. So essentially the underwater red-headed royalty is just an even less helpful version of Donald.
1 Strong: Sora
I find it very hard to argue the point that the strongest character in the Kingdom Hearts universe can be anyone other than Sora. He is the destined Keyblade wielder and the one on this list who has been able to defeat all of his enemies in his path and defeat both Ansem and his Nobody Xemnas.
No other character has had to battle against the opposition that Sora has. He has saved numerous worlds, and the inhabitants of those worlds, and faced down villains as well as giant Heartless and Nobodies. Simply, he is the ultimate champion of the people.