* EightPointEight: [=GameSpot=] gave the game a 7.5. Cue the angry mob.
* AnticlimaxBoss:
** [[Disney/LiloAndStitch Captain Gantu]] may be physically imposing and armed with a ray gun, but in battle, his moves are pathetically easy to avoid and leave him wide open to attacks. There's even a Reaction Command that stuns him for a few seconds, letting Aqua whale on him with impunity, but she won't need it.
** For all the buildup of Master Xehanort as a powerful and despicable villain, Terra's final fight against him is remarkably straightforward. It's even possible to beat him just by tapping the attack button and watching him make little effort to avoid getting comboed to death. [[spoiler: Of course, this is all according to plan, and the fight's second phase [[ThatOneBoss completely turns the tables on Terra]].]]
--> '''Master Xehanort:''' [[spoiler:[[WhamLine Only now have I truly won.]]]]
* AuthorsSavingThrow: The ''2.5 Remix'' re-release adds in a small scene at the end of Terra's story where [[spoiler:the Lingering Will sprouts a cape from its armor after defeating Xehanort]], allowing continuity between this game and ''Kingdom Hearts II'' to be retained.
* BestBossEver: Ventus gets to make Captain Hook's day a living hell. Several other boss fights stand out - Terra has Braig and is [[spoiler: the only one to actually ''fight'' Master Xehanort]], Aqua has Maleficent Dragon, Captain Gantu, and [[spoiler: Braig]].
** Ventus also gets his final boss fights with Vanitas. Between [[BossRemix an amazing battle theme]], BeamSpam and just how little [[ThatOneBoss room for breathing]] he gives you Vanitas makes for a very memorable boss.
* BestLevelEver: While the ''358/2 Days'' version of Neverland had a better theme, the Birth by Sleep version of Neverland is often considered to be the best one - in part because you actually get to go ''to'' Neverland instead of the outskirts.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The fight against the Spirit of the Mirror is this, from Aqua's perspective. She enters the castle looking for the Queen, enters the room with the mirror, immediately gets sucked into it, fights the Spirit, and when she wins, the mirror just says "Queen's gone, nice job beating me, peace out".
* BrokenBase: There's also slight debate on the continuity of the novelization of the game concerning [[spoiler: Vanitas's backstory that paints him in a much more WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds light]]. Some people think that it doesn't make sense when compared to the actual character in the game and enter it under FanDiscontinuity (not hard to do, as the novels are a separate continuity to game canon), others accept it and think it fleshes the character out more. [[spoiler:Then there's fangirls who take it as an excuse for DracoInLeatherPants towards Vanitas]].
* CatharsisFactor: The pre-boss cutscene for the Cursed Coach involves the Tremaines getting a bomb dropped onto them in the midst of their MoralEventHorizon. ''Many'' fans of even [[Disney/{{Cinderella}} the film]] see this as a long-awaited karma for abusing Cinderella, and [[AdaptationalVillainy it doesn't help that]] they outright try to ''kill'' her in this continuity, making fans cheer when the trio are burned and go directly to Hell or become Heartless. [[spoiler:It would've been more awesome if Aqua was able to directly fight them, which she almost did]].
* CharacterTiers: The characters are typically ranked in reverse order of what the story encourages you to play. Early-game the tiers are Terra > Ventus > Aqua, with Terra having the best HP and Attack stats of the three to take advantage of the powerful physical commands in most D-Links, while Aqua takes an enormous number of hits just to kill a basic Flood. Worse still, because Aqua can't D-Link with herself, she's the only one to start with no form of immediate access to Cure without use of the Command Board. Late in the game, and especially in postgame, this relationship inverts: the {{Bonus Boss}}es all do such outrageous amounts of damage that relying on HP is a pointless endeavor, with the most viable strategy being to instead abuse invincibility frames to avoid damage altogether. Ventus and Aqua can both have perfect i-frame coverage by spamming their basic Dodge Roll and Cartwheel abilities, while Terra's Slide leaves him vulnerable at the start and end of it, turning Mysterious Figure in particular into an outright LuckBasedMission. [[JackOfAllStats Ventus, in both early and endgame, stays squarely in the middle.]]
* ComplacentGamingSyndrome: The Command Deck system used in this game, Re:Coded and Dream Drop Distance is highly vulnerable to this in general, but Birth by Sleep is the worst about it due to the ease with which powerful commands can be synthesized early in the game. Most decks will only contain one of four commands: [[GameBreaker Thunder Surge]], [[GrenadeSpam Mine Square]], [[SmartBomb Mega Flare]], and [[HealingFactor Curaga]]. The game has approximately fifty different commands that can be equipped, but all of the others are inferior versions of these four.
* CompleteMonster: Master Xehanort started out with [[WellIntentionedExtremist good intentions]], but then [[ManipulativeBastard uses]] Ventus to [[spoiler: combine him with [[DragonWithAnAgenda Van]][[MagnificentBastard itas]] in order to allow himself access to [[EldritchLocation Kingdom Hearts]], thereby gaining control of all worlds and plunging the multiverse into a second Keyblade War, which was ''[[ApocalypseHow what broke the worlds apart in the first place]]''. The reason? [[ForScience He just wants to see what will happen as a result]]]]. Terra, meanwhile, [[spoiler: is manipulated into succumbing to darkness, so he can provide a suitable new vessel for Xehanort to [[GrandTheftMe steal]]]]. He shows no remorse for his actions, even though his manipulations are responsible for pretty much ''everything'' that is wrong in the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' universe.
-->'''Eraqus''': You would risk an apocalypse out of sheer ''curiosity''!?
* ContestedSequel: Many regard this game as one of the better in the series, if not the best, mostly due to its battle system (which is regarded as the most polished, refined, and just plain fun one yet), the interesting story and refreshing three-POV narrative. However, The game received overall lower review scores among critics due to combat-related issues (including the lack of enemy knockback and the lack of combos) and story-related issues that weren't present until this entry in the franchise.
* CounterpartComparison: The connection between Ventus and [[spoiler: Vanitas]] get comparisons to [[spoiler: [[VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi Rika Furude]] and [[VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi Bernkastel]]]].
** A warrior in training who is denied the rank of master that he clamored for so long, was duped by an manipulative bastard into turning himself over to the darkness. Said warrior kills his master, and ultimately ends up confined in a suit of armor. Thus, the tragedy of [[Franchise/StarWars Anakin Skywalker—]] er, Terra! Bonus points for said master being voiced by [[Creator/MarkHamill Anakin's future son.]] The parallels run deeper in hindsight [[WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels six years later]]: [[spoiler:The warrior confronts his former friend, who tries to reach out to him, and he fights her while she tries to beg him to come back to her. Said friend declares (in some form or another) that she will never leave him, and the battle ends with their friends stranded in a dark world]].
** Terra's parallels to the Skywalkers don't end there. He also serves as a parallel to [[spoiler: [[Film/TheForceAwakens Kylo Ren]], aka Ben Solo, Luke's nephew and fallen apprentice, whose fall to the dark side ends up destroying everything their master built. While Kylo hasn't killed Luke yet, unlike Terra's own fall, his was deliberate, as was his destruction of Luke's legacy]]
* DisappointingLastLevel: The final world is exactly three screens long. Enter it, pick up the treasure chests in the first screen, go to the second area and fight your way past some Unversed to get to the third area with a save point, shop, and no enemies. That's all there is to it, and if you're quick you don't need to fight the Unversed in the second area.
* EarWorm:
** Disney Town has a more energetic remix of the old Mickey Mouse Club song playing in the background. It also has a rather energetic remix of "It's a Small World After All", which ''would'' be this trope had it not been [[ThatOneLevel tagged on to a rhythm game that you NEED to prefect in order to continue Ventus' story]].
** The overworld theme to Cinderella's world, Castle of Dreams, is based off of "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo". It's purely instrumental, but the song can still get stuck in your head.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: [[DracoInLeatherPants Vanitas]] or [[AffectionateNickname Vani]] as many fans say is wildly popular, showing up often in fanart and getting shipped with even Sora or Riku.
%%Do NOT ADD TERRA, AQUA OR VEN, as they are main characters, thus failing for "darkhorse" status.%%
* EvilIsCool: Vanitas.
* EvilIsSexy: Vanitas. [[spoiler:You don't realize this until the end of Ven's story, when he unmasks himself and reveals that he looks ''just like Sora''... except with a more muscular build, black hair, and gold eyes.]]
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: [[spoiler:Eraqus's {{Forgiveness}} toward Xehanort backfires badly, Terra's {{Power of Hate}} saves the day after his {{Power of Friendship}} fails, and Ansem the Wise letting go of his hatred costs him most of his memory in the Dark Realm.]]
* FanPreferredCouple: Many fans ship [[AntiHero Terra]]/[[ActionGirl Aqua]]. Yep, for once a frequently-shipped pairing in this fandom that ISN'T a slash pairing (though [[ScrewYourself Vanitas/Ven]] counterbalances this).
* FoeYay:
** Master Xehanort ''really'' wants Terra's body.
** And [[EnemyWithout Vanitas]] ''[[MemeticMolester really]]'' wants to [[DoubleEntendre become one]] with [[TheIngenue Ven]] (he doesn't mind combining with Aqua if Ven is too weak for [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything that]], though).
* FranchiseOriginalSin: Along with ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'', it began the series slide into DarknessInducedAudienceApathy. [[ForegoneConclusion As prequels]], their {{Downer Ending}}s and the darker stories leading up to them were accepted as inevitable, and the heroes were successful enough in thwarting the villains, even enabling their decisive defeats in the main games, [[RayOfHopeEnding that it wasn't for nothing]]. Then ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'' pulled a DiabolusExMachina revealing the BigBad was running a XanatosGambit that [[HappyEndingOverride invalidated]] ''[[HappyEndingOverride everything]]'' [[HappyEndingOverride the heroes had done to stop him throughout the franchise]], serving as a tipping point. Later prequels are criticized for adding more darkness such that it's becoming harder to believe the series will have an ending worth it all.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: Pretty much everything Zack says, from proclaiming he's going to be a hero someday to asking Aqua out after he becomes a hero. We do not ''know'' what happens to him later, but we have not seen him in games taking place later, and we know what happened to him in [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII his series]]. The final end credits sequence shows [[spoiler:he looks startled and then disappears leaving nothing but a single black feather. Three guesses who took him, and the first two don't count.]]
** One of the things Goofy calls Ven when he's messing up the kiddo's name is Veggie. [[spoiler: Take into account [[ConvenientComa Ven's fate]] and that comatose people can be referred to as vegetables, and suddenly something so innocent gets cringe-worthy.]]
* GameBreaker:
** The Command Board is pretty much a game-breaking mechanics. You can start playing Command Board at your first Save Points, and winning a game often levels up your commands several times if not maxing them out, so if you know what to fuse and have the patience to keep playing the board you can get a lot of high-level commands very early in the game.
*** This becomes even more of a game breaker if you go to the Mirage Arena to play, which you can do as soon as you finish your first world. Playing at the Command Board at the Mirage Arena not only nets you all the above advantages, but you'll win hundreds of medals to trade for prizes, including synthesis materials to make fusing commands even better. One such synthesis material is the Abounding Crystal, which attaches abilities like Lucky Lucky and Exp Walker to your commands. The Mirage Arena was nerfed for Final Mix by making the shop items tied to arena level and progress through the game, but that just means Abounding Crystals need to wait until you can go to Radiant Garden, which won't take that long.
*** The Command Board in turn is broken by the Stun command. It only needs one Attack Card to use, and stuns an opponent of your choice for one turn, preventing them from doing anything. The problem is there's nothing to stop you from continuously stunning one player over and over. Stack your deck with Attack Cards and you can immobilize opponents for turns upon turns in a row while you continue to move about the board freely. Also factor in that playing in the Mirage Arena allows you to set the number of opponents to one, and actual playing of the board becomes a formality -- even if you can't keep your opponent stunned forever, they'll fall so far behind they can't hope to catch up.
*** On the Neverland command board, the special tile allows you to move one of your opponents wherever you want them to go. You can dump them in the middle of a damage panel zone, on your own high-level tile, or play eternal keepaway to move them to the other end of the map. It helps that the Neverland map is one of the largest and is mostly just one huge continuous loop with a shortcut through the middle, so moving them around like this can set them back several turns.
*** Then there's the Special command board, where its special tile lets you move your character anywhere on the board instantly. The path to the goal is a loop with two large colored zones on either side, so you can exploit the special tile's powers to easily rack up a zone sweep in this area, an area your opponent will have no choice but to try and pass if they want to get to the goal and out. Further, the board's central crossroads has two loops around it and three special tiles among them, so you can go around the loops to manipulate your movements and land on the special tiles more often.
*** Game Breaker combined with DiscOneNuke, level up several Fire commands and fuse them together to get a Firaga, then fuse several Aero commands into Aerora. Fuse Aerora and Firaga to get Fission Firaga. Repeat the process with the Fires to get a second Firaga (or if you have the cash, just buy one from a Moogle), and fuse that with Slow to get Crawling Fire. Now fuse Crawling Fire with Fission Firaga. Congratulations, you just got Mega Flare, one of the best abilities in the game, before you even got to Radiant Garden.
** Rhythm Mixer is absurdly powerful and easily the best command style in the game. Its normal combos do massive damage, its finisher can single-handedly knock several HP bars off of bosses, and it's activated by using Thunder and Mine commands, which tend to be some of the best commands in the game both for groups and enemies and bosses.
** Firewheel. With it equipped to Aqua, you can quite literally [[BoringButPractical cartwheel your enemies to death]] while taking little damage yourself. Some of the more difficult Mirage Arena challenges can be beaten this way. And you can get it before ever leaving your first world [[note]]All you need to do is meld 2 fully leveled Fires together to get Fira, max out its level and meld it with another fully leveled Fire to get Firaga and max out its level. Buy a Cartwheel and level it up then meld the two together.[[/note]]! On the other hand, Firewheel lacks the invincibility frames granted by Cartwheel, making it a very bad ability against some bosses (such as Vanitas Remnant).
** Magnega makes groups of enemies pushovers. It conveniently gathers all enemies in a circle overhead and does continuous damage, and few enemies are immune. The grouping of enemies makes it possible to obliterate the entire flock with a group attack like Thundaga, Fission Firaga, finishers, etc, and when the next wave spawns guess what, the Magnega field is still there to pull them in and set up for another blast.
** Shotlocks. At max level they charge quickly, deal heavy damage, and you're invincible for the duration. A lot of bosses can be killed by spamming shotlocks, and such a strategy will work on most anything outside the bonus bosses. This is made even easier once you learn Damage Syphon, which recharges the Focus gauge when you take damage, and get Focus Block/Barrier, recharging the gauge when you block attacks.
** Sonic Blade works just about the same as most Shotlock commands, but doesn't take as long to recharge. It's entirely possible to go back and forth between spamming Shotlock commands, then using Sonic Blade if you're waiting for the Focus gauge, plus a high-healing command for when your health gets low.
** Zack's D-Link, for 2 reasons, both of which go hand-in-hand. Berserk, one of the D-Link's passive abilities, which increases the strength of Critical Hits, and the finisher, Hero's Pride, which is hands down, the best finisher in the entire game. Not only is it very powerful, easily taking multiple bars of health off pretty much any boss other than Unknown, but ''extremely'' difficult for enemies to avoid. Also, using Reprisals when D-Linked with Zack fills the Command Gauge much faster than normal, making it rather easy to spam.
** Sliding Dash, not because of it having insane attack power or anything (it's actually one of the weakest commands in the game), but because of how it allows for SequenceBreaking. A lot of areas in the early worlds are meant to be inaccessible until you get some advanced movement ability like Glide or Doubleflight, but with a couple Sliding Dash commands you can circumvent that need, letting you access a lot of end game commands much earlier than the game expects you to.
** Ventus' D-Link for Aqua and especially Terra, particularly in the early game. Find the level 1 upgrade and you get haste, which lets you attack with lightning speed. Makes bosses utterly trivial.
** Aqua's D-Link is a literal lifesaver if you're doing an [[LowLevelRun EXP Zero Run]], thanks to her Auto-Life ability and her good selection of early spells, including Cure, which [[EarlyGameHell you probably won't have for yourself for a while.]]
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: Braig's much more popular in the US than in Japan. Maybe his Californian accent in the English dub has something to do with it.
* GoddamnedBats:
** The Mandrake Unversed, small plant-like enemies that shoot projectiles at you from a great distance and tend to spawn in trios, ensuring a constant rain of fire. They'll interrupt your attacks, stun you for other enemies to land hits, and will definitely annoy the hell out of you. They also attack ''outside'' of combat! And then when you approach them to kill them, they spray a mist that variably inflicts Confusion or Poison on you.
** Tank Topplers are large red enemies that are very easy to damage, but when you hit them enough they turn red, become invincible, then roll around to distract you and eventually explode to damage you. The only way to prevent this is to hit them from behind, or to kill them so quickly they don't have time to [[TurnsRed turn red]].
** Archravens steal dropped Munny you haven't picked up yet and are difficult to hit due to flying high up in the air. They're not the slightest bit threatening, but they will definitely waste your time in the Mirage Arena or other forced fights unless you have Magnet (or variants) to bring them to you.
* GoddamnedBoss:
** Considering who his Nobody was, Braig proves to be just as annoying a boss as his Nobody was in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', with some even claiming he somehow manages to be ''[[UpToEleven even more annoying]]'' in this game than his Nobody was!
** Ventus's final boss, [[spoiler: Vanitas, specifically phase 3]]. A PuzzleBoss in a game where they're few and far between. [[spoiler: The boss can't be damaged by normal means; Ventus has to build up his Finish gauge in order to deliver a single final blow. Problem is, unlike every other battle where the gauge builds up with every successful attack, the only way to build up the gauge here is waiting for Vanitas to attack, copying the same attack, and doing an action command. Use the wrong attack, or attack at the wrong time, and you're a sitting duck. And if you let up attacking for too long, the gauge will start to deplete. Finally, to add insult to injury, the finishing attack can ''miss''.]] Verges on ThatOneBoss territory because, due to the mechanics of the fight, your FragileSpeedster hero ''can't heal''. Oh, and if you lose, you have to fight the boss's previous phase again, too.
* GoodBadBugs: When Aqua's story is completed, you're allowed to save new data for the Final Episode. In the Final Episode, due to a boss waiting there, the battle level for Radiant Garden is higher. However, a glitch randomly causes the battle level for Radiant Garden to increase in any of the normal three stories you have saved, too. Battle level is basically how strong enemies are in a world, and the normal battle level for Radiant Garden is 6, but the glitch raises it to 9 or 10. This means LevelGrinding is much faster due to the higher-level enemies, and Radiant Garden happens to have one of the best grinding spots in the game before the fact anyway. All in all, players were ''hoping'' this glitch happened to them, to save them time grinding levels for the post-end game {{Bonus Boss}}es.
* HarsherInHindsight: [[spoiler:Master Eraqus is voiced by Mark Hamill in English, and is eventually betrayed by his student, Terra. [[Film/TheForceAwakens Five years later]], Luke Skywalker, also played by Hamill, is betrayed by his student and nephew, Kylo Ren]].
* HilariousInHindsight: Creator/JasonDohring voiced Terra and sadly does so as a case of DullSurprise. Then [[spoiler:Master Xehanort commits GrandTheftMe, resulting in a Xehanort voiced by Creator/RichardEpcar, and Terra goes straight up to LargeHam.]]
** Lea holding [[spoiler: Ven's wooden keyblade, considering that years later [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsDreamDropDistance he would get his own.]]]]
* IdiotPlot: The game's plot basically boils down to "Terra enters a world and blindly trusts the first person he sees, Ven enters a world and hangs out with the characters with no real concern for what's going on, both of them fall victim to NiceJobBreakingItHero (if they do anything of importance at all), and then Aqua visits the world and tries to clean up the mess the two made while acting like a busy-body to them in person. Meanwhile Eraqus keeps plot-critical information secret from them." The heroes make no effort to work together, or even communicate what's going on, and it ends up destroying all they care about.
** Terra in particular gets it a bit worse. Terra begins by blindly listening to the villains of each world and in particular Xehanort. One could reasonably not blame Terra because Eraqus never gives him a reason not to trust in Xehanort...''but he should have!'' Because as we find out later, Eraqus knows that [[spoiler: Xehanort tried to commit apocalypse for shits and giggles]] and does nothing to warn his pupils about it all because of a letter Xehanort wrote as a false apology. As a result of that mishap, Terra continues to muck worlds up and Aqua is always a step behind trying to clean up messes. And because of Xehanort's manipulations, Terra never gets the idea to talk to Aqua or Ventus about what's going on and thus fueling the plot.
*** Aqua also gets a bit - in Radiant Garden, the way she words her sentences makes it seem like Eraqus sent her to spy on him, which turns him against her and Eraqus, allowing Xehanort's manipulations to work better.
* IronWoobie: Regardless of the main trio's flaws, hardships or no, ''they all keep trucking''. [[spoiler:And while the end result is largely a disaster, they ''do'' [[SpannerInTheWorks manage to collectively derail most of Master Xehanort's plans]], with the remaining pieces failing into place for Sora & co. to clean up a decade later.]]
* JerkassWoobie: Eraqus. Yes, he's an anti-Darkness KnightTemplar, but it's hard to blame him when [[spoiler:Xehanort uses Darkness to ultimately ruin his and his pupils' lives.]]
* MagnificentBastard: Master Xehanort. He makes Terra run off and fight the Unversed, making his darkness stronger so Xehanort can take his body. He keeps Ven fighting Unversed and Vanitas, gets Terra to help him kill Master Eraqus, and then brings all of his plans together in one place. ''And they all almost worked''!
** Maleficent, who skillfully manipulates Terra and plays Ven and Aqua's emotions like a fiddle. It's telling that neither Terra, Ven ''or'' Aqua are able to actually defeat her, and she ends each of their visits to Enchanted Dominion feeling very self-assured while the heroes are left plagued with angst and doubt over what has transpired.
* MemeticBadass:
** The Lingering Will, always accompanied by [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome "Rage Awakened"]].
** Aqua. There's a ''reason'' she's given the title "Master" at the beginning. Due to the timeline, Mickey hasn't quite reached this point, but he's getting there. Heck, Aqua's final battle [[spoiler:aside from her REAL final one with Terranort]] has Mickey fighting alongside her. Memetic Badasses [[BackToBackBadasses fight together]]!
** Vanitas has been propelled to this title, alongside being crowned as a MemeticMolester.
* MemeticMolester: Even. And as mentioned above, Vanitas.
** Many fans raised an eyebrow in the ending when Ansem the Wise is walking in a dark corridor holding the end of a young Ienzo.
* MemeticMutation:
** Thanks to the secret ending and perceived {{Narm}}iness, [[spoiler:it's become a meme to look up at the sky and say "Sora" as Dearly Beloved plays in the background.]]
** About 80-90% of the fanart for Terra, Aqua, and Ven together has them sleeping.
** A minor example: Because the Queen throws a green potion on the mirror, some fans joked that she threw Mountain Dew on the mirror and that it causes people to go crazy.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfKoU6TCRVE&hd=1 BOORAY!]]
** Various jokes about the square button [[ButtonMash being abused]] in some [[ThatOneBoss particularly difficult boss battles]].
* MisBlamed: Yep, a few scenes were changed. Braig's telescopic scope was modified to look less realistic (and he's not shown attaching his guns into a sniper rifle) in the international release. But would you believe that some people are actually thinking that a scene in Dwarf Woodlands was censored? In the Japanese version, the Queen gets mad and grunts at the mirror, while her anger possesses it. In the international releases? She throws a potion (off-screen) at the mirror. The thing is, though, this was less of a censorship and more of a removal of a {{Narm}} moment (see below).
* MoralEventHorizon: It's hard to tell ''when'' exactly Master Xehanort first crosses it, but one contender might be, chronologically speaking, [[spoiler: forcing Ventus to fight Neoshadows in an attempt to awaken his inner darkness, and then after [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown the Neoshadows win]], ripping apart his heart to create Vanitas, nearly killing him in the process]]. [[CompleteMonster He only gets worse from there.]]
** Regarding the Disney Villains, [[Disney/{{Cinderella}} the evil stepmother and stepsisters]] cross the line when they [[spoiler:attempt to murder Cinderella with an Unversed summoned from their [[ThePowerOfHate hatred]] towards her]].
* MostAnnoyingSound:
-->'''Louie:''' "LATER ALLIGATOR!" "LATER ALLIGATOR!"
** Spend any time at all at the Command Board and pretty much ''every'' character's quotes becomes this, since any time they do ''anything'', they speak, and it's always the same one or two phrases.
** If you decide to fully clear Fruitball, you'll get this:
--->'''Dale:''' HERE YA GO! CHIPPER! HERE YA GO! CHIPPER!
** During the battle against Vanitas:
--->'''Vanitas:''' {{TOO SLOW}}! TOO SLOW! PATHETIC! TOO SLOW! PATHETIC! TOO SLOW! TOO SLOW! PATHETIC! TOO SLOW! TOO SLOW! PATHETIC!...
* {{Narm}}:
** The scene in the Japanese version where the mirror sucks Terra in. The Queen gets mad, grunts, and her anger possesses the mirror. This was changed in the international version where she instead throws a potion on it.
** After defeating Braig in Radiant Garden, he flees, but instead of running he hops away.
** Terra's and Aqua's visits to the [[spoiler:Destiny Islands]] are abrupt, to put it lightly--they basically [[spoiler:are forced to land in Destiny Islands by a mysterious force, meet two random kindergarten-age children (Sora and Riku), and after extremely short interactions (which basically boil down to both boys saying they care about their friends), Terra gives Riku the literally world-changing ability to wield a Keyblade while Aqua tells Sora not to let Riku fall to the darkness (to reiterate, ''they're four and five years old''), and then they leave]].
* NarmCharm: The scene added to Terra's Story in the ''HD Remix'' version, [[spoiler: where the Lingering Will sprouts a [[BadassCape cape]] for no in-universe reason after defeating Terra-Xehanort. ([[WatsonianVersusDoylist Out-of-universe]], it's there to explain why the Lingering Will has a cape in [=KH2=])]]. It's as ridiculous as it is awesome.
* NeverLiveItDown:
** Terra helped Maleficent by accident one time [[note]](and then we find out he didn't even do ''that''; Xehanort made it ''look'' like he helped Maleficent by accident to mess with his head)[[/note]], and now he's considered to have helped every single Disney villain in the game as a gullible loon, but really the only other occasion was Captain Hook, which is still an understandable mistake since [[HeroAntagonist Peter Pan]] really ''was'' trying to steal from him. He was suspicious of the [[Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs Evil Queen]], was considering not even going with Hades's advice, and didn't know enough about Stitch to know that Jumba was (technically) a villain. He's not ''that'' trusting of villains on sight.
** The game's portrayal of [[Disney/{{Cinderella}} Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia]] would result in the fanbases for both ''Kingdom Hearts'' and Disney seeing them as not just {{Gold Digger}}s and [[TheSociopath sociopaths]], but also {{Black Widow}}s, as the [[spoiler:attempted murder of Cinderella]] can prove.
* PortingDisaster:
** All versions not on the PSP have had their multiplayer functionality stripped out. In addition, they each have their own platform-unique issues.
** PS3: unlike the PSP version, there's no Data Install feature, so you have to deal with [[LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading about ten seconds of loading]] each time you enter a Command Style or D-Link as the data is slowly streamed from the Blu-Ray disc. Unlike ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'''s Drive Forms, Command Styles aren't controlled at will, so there's not much you can do to avoid having your timing thrown off by accident.
** PS4: the load times have been fixed by the PS4's automatic full installation of every game, but a handful of new crashes have been introduced. In addition, some new physics issues are caused by the poorly-tested switch to 60fps.
* ScrappyMechanic: Entering the menu out of combat cancels any Command Style you have active, even if you don't actually ''do'' anything in the menu. You're effectively being penalized for pausing when not in the middle of a fight.
* ShipTease:
** There's a surprising amount of Terra x Cinderella.
** Add to that Zack/Aqua, with the former asking out the latter on a date. It doesn't help that Aqua becomes flustered and needs to compose herself afterwards, with Herc commenting that her face is red. Let's hope the name "Zaqua" catches on.
** Also, there seemed to be quite a bit of Ventus/Snow White. As well as some minor Ventus/[[Disney/SleepingBeauty Aurora]].
** And then there's plenty of Terra/Aqua to go around. ''Plenty''. The biggest one has to be how [[spoiler:she [[HeroicSacrifice sends herself to the Realm of Darkness to save him]]]].
** Ventus/Aqua gets some noticeable teasing, especially during Aqua and Ventus's endings and [[spoiler:the final chapter.]]
** For some reason, there's quite a bit of [[LesYay Aqua/Cinderella]].
** And [[HoYay Zack/Terra]] -- at one point, the camera takes Zack's perspective and stares at Terra's chest for a good few seconds. It's like Terra and Aqua were given the same romance options or something.
* SidetrackedByTheGoldSaucer: The Command Board is actually quite fun, as it's basically ''VideoGame/FortuneStreet'' with the serial numbers filed off. Besides being a fun diversion, your commands level up and you can win new abilities, even if you don't win, so it's never a total waste of time. In fact, it's usually better for grinding abilities, and some powerful Commands like Ragnarok can only be attained there, while with luck ones like Firaga can be got there before you enter the first world.
* StrawmanHasAPoint: Given the countless examples of DarkIsEvil in the series, Eraqus didn't exactly pull his dislike of Darkness from out of nowhere. That being said, it still doesn't excuse his PoorCommunicationKills.
* ThatOneAchievement: The "Maestro" trophy requires that the player obtains a Fantastic score on all Master modes for Ice Cream Beat. Said mini-game is also one of the ''hardest'' of the franchise, especially for players with vision and/or hearing impairment. Thankfully, you only need to unlock it with one character, and isn't required for the three Adventurer trophies.
* ThatOneAttack:
** When he's possessed by Hades, Zack flips out and gets what is essentially Omnislash. It deals massive damage and stuns Terra for the entire duration once he's hit, requiring constant dodging. The biggest problem with this attack is that it can't be guarded against and Terra's dodge provides very few invincibility frames, meaning you have to get extremely lucky with your timing to avoid it. That said, fully leveling Zack's D-Link means ''you'' get to use this attack yourself, and it's just as devastating in your hands.
** Whilst the Unknown's entire moveset is basically this, one in particular stands out: Collision Magnet, [[FanNickname often called the Rape Rope.]] Simple idea: he jumps high into the air, lashes his sword toward you to pull you up towards him, and then he smacks you back down. The catch is that the lag time from the hit is so long, he's pretty much guaranteed to land and attack before you recover, granting you no chance to dodge his next blow. He can even use the move twice in a row, which is sure to put even a Level 99 character down to 1 HP. And since his next move will be a separate one, it won't trigger Second Chance or Once More. The move's ability to instantly kill you and the difficulty in dodging it is a big factor in what makes the boss so difficult, and ''Final Mix'' noticeably nerfed its stun duration to make it easier to escape from.
** Collision Magnet has jack and shit next to the Doom spell. Doom is when the Unknown throws out a few lines that if they ensnare your hero, you have to mash the X button (Circle in Japan) to break free. Thing is, Doom's countdown isn't consistent. Sometimes, it'll be 5 seconds to death, but on other occasions, it's 2 with a swift timedown cause. Unless you can smash buttons with the best of them, getting snared by that move is a death sentence with no way out of it. Compounding the real issue with Doom is that the move can come out VERY quickly, like after you just hit him with a surge art or when he's recovering and performing another move. Sometimes you just straight up lose if Doom hits you and you physically cannot mash the X button fast enough to break free.
* ThatOneBoss:
** Quite a few. Among them is the ''first boss'' of Ventus's story. He not only has a knee-jerk spin attack that makes getting close to it a dangerous proposition most of the time but is it even has an attack where it throws off a bunch of fruit that look like fire crackers. There are many more than you would expect. This is not helped by the fact that it's very unlikely that you'll have a Cure spell at this point. You do, however, have D-links, which act as a free heal on activation, and - if you're Terra or Ven - Aqua's D-link specifically, which has Cura right outta the box.
** Zack, particularly the second time Terra fights him.
** Vanitas can be quite hard the first few times you fight him.
** Trinity Armor is quite tricky if you're unprepared, being made up of three parts, each of which has enough HP to be a boss on its own, and it has several attacks that can be a pain to dodge.
** [[spoiler:Master Eraqus]] hits ''ridiculously'' hard.
** [[spoiler:Terranort, any battle]]. He's extremely fast, almost never stops attacking, and hits very hard. Long-range attacks are recommended (as he has some really hard-hitting short-range attacks), but good luck finding an opening to execute them!
* ThatOneLevel:
** The Mirage Arena's "Treasure Trove" mission takes place on a two-tiered battle field where the upper level is quite a ways directly above the lower area. The only way up there is to bounce off one of three bumpers and then steer your character on top (probably wrestling with the camera), and since it has no walls, it's easy to find yourself going off the edge as you bash enemies, necessitating another frustrating trip back up if they aren't nice enough to chase off after you. Did we mention that the enemy waves switch their spawning back and forth between the two levels several times throughout the mission?
** Ventus' visit to Disney Town, thanks to the fact that you ''need'' to prefect the rhythm game there the first time through in order to continue his story. If you're normally terrible at rhythm games, good luck! And if you aren't, good luck getting the rather precise timing down, even by rhythm game standards!
** For the Command Board, 100 Acre Wood and Never Land are insane to beat because of Tigger and Peter Pan using their commands to roll extra dice. 100 Acre Wood, especially, because not only is it quite small, Pooh is TooDumbToLive and will take wrong turns and purchase panels belonging to Tigger, boosting his coins. He and the player also tend to get rolls of one or two, while Tigger can get an easy six. And that's without mentioning the bees and Pete.
* ThatOneSidequest: Some people found it easier to unlock the secret movie from ''Kingdom Hearts II'' by playing the game on Proud mode. ''Birth By Sleep'' is much, much worse.
* TearJerker: Any of the endings.
* TrueArtIsAngsty: This is without a doubt the darkest ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' game yet, with ''Days'' coming in a close second. The response upon finding out the endings in the Japanese version? That Creator/SquareEnix and Creator/{{Disney}} have finally grown up. Never mind that Square-Enix had made ''darker'' games in the past; even before they merged into Square-Enix, and that Disney has been plenty dark on many occasions.
* UncannyValley: Unmasked Vanitas. Now, the [[spoiler:"evil Sora"]] face can mesh with a bodysuit, but '''not''' with a Riku-esque battle stance. It just feels so... unnatural.
* UnintentionallySympathetic:
** Zack. He loses out on being trained as a hero by Phil simply because he hesitates a bit longer than Hercules to go help Ven. Beyond that, the fact he's an EnsembleDarkhorse in his own series, his awesome combat skills and D-Link in this game, and being able to fight ''[[WorldsStrongestMan Hercules]]'' in a fair fight and give him a challenge, results in kinda wishing he had won.
** Eraqus to some, particularly in comparison to Master Xehanort (see UnintentionallyUnsympathetic below). While Xehanort is ultimately correct about Eraqus's BlackAndWhiteMorality, not to mention the latter's PoorCommunicationKills on top of it, at least Eraqus still genuinely cares about the well-being of both his students and TheMultiverse in general at the end of the day -- in contrast to Xehanort being a LackOfEmpathy-having EvilMentor who wants to force proven-dangerous changes upon everyone just ForScience. [[spoiler:Additionally, the narrative itself even retroactively, albeit unintentionally, demonstrates that Eraqus's ShootTheDog-attempt would've actually done Ven a favor compared to his actual fate -- and even then, Eraqus still ultimately grows remorseful enough to invoke HeroicSacrifice by using his own Heart to protect Terra's for the future.]]
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: Sure, Master Xehanort is the polar opposite of a saint, but the narrative still tries to convey that he's a tragic FallenHero. However, while his Reports definitely succeed at that, his [[ObviouslyEvil actual screentime]] makes it seem like they might as well have been written by a completely different character. And even his one (seeming) PetTheDog moment -- being willing to at least let [[spoiler:Ven die in peace on Destiny Islands]] -- is ultimately subverted because: (1) Xehanort was the one who [[spoiler:tortured Ven to that point in the first place]], and (2) Xehanort simply continues to [[spoiler:abuse and exploit Ven even further after his eventual survival]]. More than a few fans just see it as InformedKindness attributed to a CreatorsPet instead.
* TheWoobie:
** There has been much fan-gushery about Ansem's youngest apprentice, Ienzo, who evidently lost his parents and is now being raised as another scientist in a house of thirty-somethings. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he will grow up into one of the series' biggest fangirl magnets, either... But considering that he is the one who convinced Ansem to pursue their studies on darkness in people's hearts, [[spoiler:helped banish ''his own adoptive father'' to the Realm of Nothingness]], and then became a member of Organization XIII, Ienzo/Zexion is even more of a JerkassWoobie than Terra, in that you want to slap him for ''willful'' malice rather than from stupid naivete.
*** The button to open the secret room is just low enough for a child to reach, and the room we see in CoM has a child-sized bed. Riku and Ienzo/Zexion do have things in common. Once we see more of what exactly went down from the apprentices' perspective, then we can judge.
** The novels tint [[spoiler:Vanitas]] to be a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds instead of the unrepentant monster he appears to be in the game. In the novels, any anger he feels results in an Unversed being born from him, and no matter how many times he tries to destroy them, every time he does, he feels an unbearable pain as a result. The cycle continues, and it is hinted that his reason why he wanted to reunite with Ventus was more or less salvation for him. Again, this is only in the novel adaptations; in the game, there is never even a remote hint that [[spoiler:Vanitas]] feels any sort of pain when spawning or re-absorbing Unversed (if anything, he seems to enjoy it when he's seen doing it! Then again, [[CombatSadomasochist maybe he LIKES being hurt.]] Either that or he's done it so many times [[FeelNoPain he no longer reacts to it.]])
* {{Woolseyism}}: Aqua's famous MyNameIsInigoMontoya moment. In the Japanese version she only says "Return my friend's heart!", but leaving it at that would have created a LipLock moment. Instead, the English localization team extended it to match Aqua's lip movement, creating in the process arguably the biggest BadassBoast in the entire franchise.
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