- Accidental Innuendo:
Roxas: "It's sweet, but also kinda salty."
Axel: "That's exactly what you said the last time."Roxas: You did great. In fact, you need a little something extra.
Xion: Something extra?
Roxas: Yeah, the icing on the cake.
- There was also a conversation between Axel and Roxas about how Axel spends too much time in bed...
- Then there's Axel giving Roxas advice when Xion is upset.
Axel: All I know about girls is that you should never press the wrong buttons.
- Roxas is very enthusiastic about having ice cream with Axel and Xion after missions, almost to the point of obsession. If you replace "ice cream" with a certain word, Roxas' diary reads like a pornographic novel.
Roxas: I've been having ice cream by myself lately, but it's just not the same. All I taste is the salt and my hands get sticky.Roxas: Me and Axel went to Agrabah. He seems different now that he's back from C.O. Ice cream was just the two of us today. I wonder when me and Axel and Xion will all get to have ice cream together.Roxas: The other members have been teaching me more about how to fight and stuff. It's going, I guess. Every day after work, I've been meeting Axel at the clock tower to have ice cream. It really is salty! But still sweet, too. How come it tastes so familiar?
- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- The fandom generally agrees Saïx's a less than pleasant individual, but expect debates about whether his motives were sympathetic or not. The redone HD cutscenes also show subtle changes of expression in his cold disposition, hinting that he really isn't as stoic as he'd like to believe he is.
- Demyx in spades. Is he a total slacker, or just an underachiever? Coward or reluctant badass? A Token Good Teammate or just the member who happens to like violent methods the least? The fact that he turned out to be That One Boss in Kingdom Hearts II probably contributes to this.
- Anti-Climax Boss: Riku is the last boss of the game, but he's way easier than Xion due to being significantly less aggressive with his attack patterns and lacking multiple forms.
- Author's Saving Throw:
- Axel and Roxas' interactions are also written to be less Ho Yay heavy, Accidental Innuendo aside. Axel sincerely comes off as a big brother figure to Roxas rather than the "psycho ex-boyfriend" of Kingdom Hearts II, and he even flat-out says that the love he and Roxas share as friends is different than romantic love like Belle and the Beast share.
- Riku, in the cutscenes from KHII, seemed not only cold towards Roxas, but downright sadistic, even going so far as to toy with his memories and emotions before he put him in Diz's artificial world and afterwords. Here, it makes clear he not only takes no pleasure in any of this, but seems to genuinely wish there were another way.
- Base-Breaking Character: Xion. There are fans who feel very sympathetic to her, and there are fans who feel she was a boring character and ultimately pointless because she ends up dying and everybody in-universe forgets she ever existed.
- Broken Base: The game in part for Organization XIII fans. They were initially promised a game focused on the Organization as a whole, but instead the final product turned its focus onto the friendship between Roxas, Axel, and Xion with most of the fan-faves were left in supporting roles. Your feelings for this game depend on whether you like Roxas and Xion as characters or not.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: After the game had been out for about five minutes, the community came to the consensus that "Musique pour la tristesse de Xion" is the series' best leitmotif so far.
- "The Other Promise", which puts an ungodly beautiful and heartwrenching spin on Roxas's already depressing theme.
- Franchise Original Sin: Along with Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, it began the series slide into Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy. As prequels, their Downer Endings 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, that it wasn't for nothing. Then Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance pulled a Diabolus ex Machina revealing the Big Bad was running a Xanatos Gambit that invalidated everything 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.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Talk to Luxord on Day 352:
- Game Breaker: Saïx and Lexaeus in Mission Mode. Saïx's high Crit rate and Crit bonus means he'll average a Critical Hit every three attacks, with each hitting dealing a large amount of damage (especially combo finishers). Combined with his lack of real weaknesses besides below-average Magic (which he doesn't really need), he makes soloing Mission Mode a breeze. Lexaeus meanwhile has the highest HP, Attack, and Defense, so he'll deal high damage consistently and can easily take hits.
- Goddamn Bats: Sapphire Elegies (found in Wonderland) are not at all threatening, but are a pain to kill. They negate any attacks from the front by teleporting a short distance away, artificially lengthening fights.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Hook and Smee are looking for treasure every single time you encounter them in Neverland. Like they would in 2011.
- Ho Yay: There's a bit of Axel/Saïx bait, if you can believe a Tsundere and a Sugar and Ice Personality, neither with any dere.
- Intended Audience Reaction: If the player grows to dislike most of the members of Organization XIII after playing through this game, then Nomura did his job successfully. Of course, given many fan treatments of the characters, it's hard to say if this succeeded.
- Moral Event Horizon:
- Xemnas's manipulation of Xion and his utter lack of compassion for the rest of the group. This is kind of a Player Punch for those who played through KHII; Sora nearly played right into Xemnas's hands, with Xemnas only losing because Sora wiped him out too!
- Saïx attempting to trick Roxas and Xion into a fight to the death.
- In the manga adaptation, the Cheshire Cat crosses this by throwing a hedgehog at the Queen of Hearts, and framing Roxas, who wanted to get out of the cage, for the crime, which nearly resulted in his beheading by guillotine.
- Xion's scream after having failed to defeat Riku is this for some.
- The final fight with Xion is meant to be a tragic confrontation between two friends. It's a little bit hard to feel moved while Xion is constantly yelling generic taunts.
- Near the end of the game, Xion is dying in Roxas' arms in a very touching scene. Towards the end Roxas says the following, completely killing the mood and making the entire ordeal silly.
Roxas: No! Xion... Who else will I have ice cream with?
- Both of the above are less narmy when you realize that Xion's generic taunts were trying to get Roxas to kill her, but given that she was born from the memories of arguably the single kindest character in the series, she doesn't have much to go on. Roxas' exclamation holds more ground when you realize that in his brief existence, the times he spent eating ice cream with Axel and Xion are the happiest moments of his life, and that he literally doesn't know what else to associate friendship and love with due to being born without memories of his past life and any semblance of a social life outside of the Organization.
- One True Threesome: Axel/Roxas, Roxas/Xion, and Axel/Xion are all perfectly valid ships with plenty of subtext to draw evidence from. Inevitably, some fans simply go this route.
- Player Punch:
- If you got attached to Xion at all, you WILL need tissues by the end of this game since you're forced to kill her.
- Roxas. If you aren't familiar with the overarching story-line you're lead to believe that after being captured he was destroyed so his memories could be reunited with Sora, and that after fighting so hard to be his own person.
- Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: A lot of people hated Xion on principle before the game even came out, but her final scene changed their minds. Of course, not everyone; Xion is still a Base-Breaking Character.
- Ron the Death Eater: Some people think Roxas is a Jerkass because of the way he treated his former friend Axel toward the end of the game by leaving him despite the fact that Axel brought it upon himself due to his Poisonous Friend actions towards him and Xion and his refusal to tell Roxas anything despite his pleas.
- That One Boss:
- The Infernal Engine. Its attacks are supplemented by 3 archer Heartless constantly raining arrows down on Roxas, which make avoiding damage extremely difficult. Not helping matters are that several of its own attacks (such as the hammer and battering ram) are hard to dodge on their own due to the small battlefield.
- The Leechgrave punishes you for trying to attack it normally with powerful attacks of its own, with the game expecting that you kill all of its tentacles to stun it. This makes the fight extremely long if done correctly (especially since the stun doesn't last long) and extremely dangerous if you're trying to do it fast.
- The Ruler of the Sky is fought in a huge battlefield, so you may be forced to chase it, and it may go out-of-bounds to make it impossible to damage. The chasing combined with potential invincibility can extend the fight by a fair amount.
- Tear Jerker: Here.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: While the game was advertised as starring the Organization, many of the members are barely above extras when it comes to importance; the game is basically about the friendship between Roxas, Axel, and Xion and how it is nearly ruined by their inability to communicate. Only Saïx and Xigbar get expanded on.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Riku and Mickey's adventures during the year between Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II are barely touched upon bar Riku showing up occasionally. Knowing how they spent that time could have given them some extra development.
- Tier-Induced Scrappy: Xigbar in Mission Mode. His damage output is pathetic, his range isn't that much of an asset because it doesn't extend very far, and the ammo system only gimps him further by forcing him to occasionally reload before he can attack again.
- Uncanny Valley:
- While it won't mean that much to someone new to the games, it is invoked when Xion removes her hood and reveals herself to have Sora's face and is speaking with her voice, it really feels unsettling.
- Many of the models for the Disney characters have off-kilter, staring eyes and mask-like faces that are a lot less refined than the Organization members, whose models are a lot less blocky. This is most noticeable with Genie, and given some of his dialogue somebody on the team was possibly aware.
Genie:(After startling Roxas for the third time) "C'mon, I'm not that scary! You're gonna give me a complex."
- The Woobie:
- The second half of the game can basically be summed up as "Roxas suffers". He just wants to hang out with Axel and Xion, but their refusal to explain to him what's going on about Xion's true nature as a Replica combined with Xemnas's own plans just leaves him confused and angry. By the end of the story, his friendship with Axel is almost destroyed and he's forced to kill Xion.
- Axel is the only one to care about Roxas and Xion, knows it, and is literally surrounded on all sides by people who want to harm them. He does his best to keep them both safe, but the choices he makes are so utterly wrong that he winds up making a terrible situation worse by straining his relationships with them.
- Xion is constantly abused verbally and emotionally by Saïx, is in constant fear of erasure during the period the Keyblade stops working for her, and starts have serious self-doubts about herself after she loses a fight to Riku and he calls her Keyblade a sham. Once she finds out that she's a Replica designed to eventually suck Roxas of his power and life, she has to come to the hard decision that the best thing to do is be erased from existence.
- Woolseyism: Near the end of the game, when Roxas looks at Xion and sees Sora's face, Xion uses Japanese Pronouns to indicate that she still thinks of herself as female. The line was restructured into the third person ("This puppet will have to play her part") to get the same point across in translation.