I have never played any of these games but I am wondering as a 39 year old if this is something that I would enjoy. I'm what they would call a lapsed gamer because I basically went from playing NES in the mid eighties to playing Wii starting a few years ago. I love the Mario games and have played and finished Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Also a big fan of the Layton series. The idea of playing in these Disney worlds is really appealling to me but I have never gotten into RPGs much. Does anyone have any thoughts about me jumping in with this one?
Kingdom Hearts is a great series, but this title may not be a good starting point if you never played any KH titles before. Re:Coded takes place after KH2, which technically is the 5th game in the series' story. If you have a PS2, try to find KH or KH2 first. If you only have a DS, look into KH: 358/2 Days. It is a sidestory staring a minor, yet important character for KH2. The gameplay for that title is close to the combat style of most other KH games, but with the addition of the Panel System (for managing your commands and equipment).
The Kingdom Hearts series is far from your traditional turn-based RPG. It's action-oriented... it ventures more into the gameplay lore of Zelda than the style of Final Fantasy. Expect many an hour of mindless button mashing. The storyline is also excruciatingly convoluted, and anticipate some your favorite Disney classics slightly transposed.
As mentioned, your first step would be the original Kingdom Hearts for the Playstation 2. Keep in mind, you have seventeen years on me, and I've blind allegiance to this franchise... but I still find it a bit of a repetitious childrens' title, and a little contrived. But... who knows? Maybe you'll find out why I swore my fealty to this series so long ago...
I would say start with the original Kingdom Hearts for PS2; if you can't stand that one, then playing the rest is a waste of your time. Personally, I love this series of games, but not everyone does. Some of the plot points in Birth by Sleep don't make much since without having played the original games.
Yeah, definitely start with the first Kingdom Hearts. If you want to play them in order, go for the first game, then Re:Chain of Memories (a PS2 remake of the GBA sequel), and thirdly Kingdom Hearts II. That's the main story, with 358/2 Days (it discloses more about the new hero character in Re:CoM and KHII), Birth by Sleep (reveals the events leading up to what happened in the main games), and Re:coded (leads in to KHIII) following.