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YMMV: Kingdom Hearts II

  • Americans Love Xigbar: Who became popular enough to gain a major role throughout the series, particularly in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, back when he was known as Braig.
    • Space Paranoids is very popular in Japan, despite the frustrating Light Cycle challenge. It's a major reason why Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] include its spiritual successor world: The Grid.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • When you get to Olympus in KHII, Hercules denies the fact that he's exhausted by fighting all the monsters that Hades is sending topside from the Underworld. He breaks this act when he sees the destroyed Coliseum.
    • Sora, though the further you go through the game, the more it's apparent he's putting on a brave face.
  • Ass Pull: Ansem's machine changing Riku's appearance from that of Xehanort's Heartless to normal. It's practically lampshaded by the line that immediately precedes the event: "Get back — anything could happen!"
  • Awesome Bosses:
    • The final Roxas vs. Axel is made between walls of fire, a burning floor and Roxas dual-wields Keyblades out of nowhere. Some players would have like to play more as dual-wielder Roxas.
    • The 1000 Heartless fight pits Sora against 1000 enemies. Enjoy!
    • Although Sephiroth has become more casual, his boss fight is still a challenge as he becomes available earlier in the game in comparison to the first Kingdom Hearts.
    • In Final Mix, the Sora vs. Roxas fight takes place on a platform made from stained glass in the shape of a young, sleeping Sora. A sad theme plays as, unlike Sora, the player knows who Roxas is. Aside from the emotional setup, the fight lets Sora steal Roxas's Keyblades and wield three Keyblades at the same time.
    • All the new Organization XIII fights from the Final Mix add a lot of variety. For example, Marluxia cannot remove Sora's health but will curse Sora with a number that will go down after every single hit.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Many say Riku (until the end, at least) and Axel.
    • Pete's former self had, even if he was weaker back then, a lot more guts than his new self. Though he does seem to regain some of his former toughness when confronted by Mickey "the boat-boy king" at the end of the game.
      Pete: "What, you mean like abandon ship? I don't think so! BRING 'EM ON!"
    • Sephiroth is a far easier boss compared to the first game. He attacks slower and telegraphs them more, making it easier to dodge them, Heartless Angel charges slower, and the larger arena makes it easier to avoid his attacks. Add in Reflect spam and you can beat him pretty simply. Oddly enough, his attack patterns are arguably more aggressive (at least in the beginning) than they were back in the first game.
    • In the manga, Leon becomes a Plucky Comic Relief character who barely does anything. The only time he is seen in action is when he gets beaten up by the Nobodies while in the rest of his scenes he is pretty much a Butt Monkey who can't handle any situation.
  • Base Breaker:
    • While Demyx's an Ensemble Darkhorse, some fans hate him for being That One Boss. He's the odd one out in the Organization, being a fairly nice guy who'd rather just be slacking off, but the second fight against him involves an instant Game Over mechanic that is very annoying.
    • Roxas. Tragic hero or biggest time-sink ever? Depends how much you enjoyed the Prologue.
  • Breather Boss: After the water-based hell that was Demyx, the fight against 1000 Heartless (most of them among the weakest in the game) is a welcome change, even if it is rather long.
  • Colbert Bump: Due to Space Paranoids being a playable world, and beloved by many fans (especially in Japan), the game serves as this for TRON. Some fans credit KHII for helping the film with getting its long-awaited sequel nearly five years later. The release of the game also proved to many fans of The Simpsons that Homer didn't make up the film when he got trapped in the 3rd Dimension in a Halloween special.
  • Critical Dissonance: KHII is the best-reviewed game in the series, though by a small margin, but isn't as unanimously loved by fans as it is by professional critics, similar to, for instance, Batman Returns compared to Batman. The Final Mix version has been better-received by fans, though, as it fixes many of the game's problems.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The Hot Rod Heartless. Besides having a lot of health, they enter a berserk mode when their health goes down, which makes them charge you at 88 miles per hour 3 times For Massive Damage. During this time, they're completely invincible, and they can enter this berserk mode over and over again if they want to. And you know the worst part? They come in pairs and along other Heartless. FUCKING CARS.
    • FREAKING DANCERS. They have a move where they turn invincible, slide across the floor towards you at high speed, grab you, swing you around, and throw you away. This move is completely unblockable and very difficult to dodge. The Titan Cup and especially the Titan Paradox Cup is made a nightmare because of the battle where you have to face three Dancers. Fittingly, they are controlled by Demyx.
    • In the Paradox Cups, pretty much any Heartless or Nobody with an annoying gimmick or that just takes a while to kill becomes one of these, especially in the Cerberus Cups.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Every single member of the Organization. Between the Freudian Excuse and their overall prettiness, fans are quick to excuse their crimes.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The manga adaptation is suppose to be a comedy, but the scene of Tron being rammed into by an out-of-control Magnum Loader is a very bad taste these days, considering that he is Rinzler. It doesn't help that the volume with the controversial scene was released after KH3D.
  • Dull Surprise: Every line out of Aerith's mouth. This was Mena Suvari's last appearance in that role.
    • Steve Burton, for that matter, comes across this way most of the time, though it's uncertain how much of it was his performance versus Cloud's characterization in that game.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Many have been inclined to believe that this Auron is not an Alternate Universe version, but THE Auron from X thanks to the fact that the words heard when Sora obtains the Auron statue are his quotes from his pilgrimage with Braska and Jecht and Auron leaving behind pyreflies when seen at the Olympus Coliseum during the credits. A joint theory goes on to say that Auron wound up in the KH universe after his death at the hands of Yunalesca in X. After dispersing into pyreflies at the end of KHII, he goes on to Dream Zanarkand, effectively setting Final Fantasy X into motion. Said theory is used to explain why Auron has his youthful appearance as seen in flashbacks.
    • Fans believe the letter Squall was reading in the credits reel of II came from his girlfriend Rinoa Heartilly, due to the butterfly that fluttered out of it.
    • While it was probably just for gameplay's sake, the fact that Scar's Heartless retained its normal shape (much like Ansem above) has some fans wondering how strong Scar's blackened heart really was.
  • Even Better Sequel: Largely considered this gameplay-wise. Story-wise, it's a matter of debate. In fact, when GameFAQs board members were polled on which games in the series handled various aspects the best, KHII won in most categories except story- and script-related ones.
  • Fridge Horror: Scar, after having Sora, Donald, and Goofy surrounded, tells the other lions to start hunting for prey. They remind him that the herds have moved on and that there's nothing left to hunt. Scar then gestures at Sora. Horrid enough on its own, but because since Sora has transformed into a lion, Scar is basically telling the other lions to resort to cannibalism.
  • Goddamned Bats: God damned undead pirates. They can only be damaged by your attacks when they're standing in clear moonlight. If they're fighting you in an area with a lot of shady spots, expect a tedious battle to ensue. To make up for it, it's really easy and very satisfying to hit them with magic spells to screw around with them.
    • The pirates are even worse in the original Japanese version and Final Mix, since if they're set on fire in that, they run around the battle on fire (and generally run right out of the moonlight). This was removed from the US version for censorship reasons, but unlike the silly gun-to-crossbow change, no one really minded this one.
    • Goddamned Crimson Jazzes. They're like the other Color/Music Heartless, except bigger and very persistent. It's impossible to get clean attacks on them because they're always summoning chains of fireballs around you that explode almost immediately to send you flying. And if you try to run away, even with such abilities as Level 4 Quick Run/Glide? They'll just fly over to you so fast you'll swear they teleported, and smack you with their ass before summoning more fireballs to spawn on top of you for 10 seconds. The worst part is it's impossible to even flinch them, so you can't just interrupt their fireball attack or smack them and then run away. It says something when it's actually easier to deal with a Crimson Jazz when it Turns Red because its new attack is far less annoying.
    • Another frustrating Music Heartless is the Emerald Blues. They tend to use Aero-related attacks, including one that happens to draw the party in and another to send them sky high. Sometimes, they can even be paired up with the difficult-to-fight Devastator, making the fight a real challenge.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Track #13 on the soundtrack is Roxas' Theme. Track #14 is Sora's. Now consider what happened to Xion, the fourteenth "member", in Days...
    • "Oh, we do too have hearts! Don't be mad..."
    • The tagline for II ("The story is not over") is either this or Hilarious in Hindsight depending on how one takes to the amount of time it's taken the series to get to an actual KHIII note , the various twists each subsequent game brings to the table, and the fact that III, according to Word of God, is merely the end of the Xehanort Saga, not the series as a whole.
    • Visiting Space Paranoids can be this for people who have seen the sequel, knowing what happens to Tron. It only gets worse with Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, when Sora has to fight Tron's brainwashed form, Rinzler.
      • Not to mention Sora's Master Form with YELLOW circuitry, which brings a bitter aftertaste to those who've seen the sequel or played 3D, because yellow is Clu's circuitry color, and Clu is the KH series' (or Disney's, even) equivalent of Lysandre. Doubles as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, because you get this form during the first trip to Space Paranoidsnote .
      • And then there's the manga, where Sark tortures Tron... twice! Of course, this falls into Too Soon, considering that the volume with this scene was released after the sequel and 3D.
    • During Goofy's "death" scene, Donald apologizes about ice cream. When the game came out, it seemed like a random Noodle Incident. However, play through 358/2 Days and it hurts a lot more due to ice cream is what Roxas asked about when Xion was actually dying because he didn't know any other way to express what he was feeling.
  • Hate Sink: Barbossa was a Love to Hate character in the Pirates of the Caribbean films; in the game, however, he loses his likable nature by tying up everyone but Will and leaving them to die on the gunpowder-rigged Interceptor.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The final Gummi mission, Assault of the Dreadnought, is a direct shout out to Star Wars. As of October 2012, Disney now owns Star Wars!
  • Heartwarming Moment: The ending.
  • Ho Yay: The Limit of Jack Skellington. That is all.
    • Also, just TRY to compare when Sora finally meets Kairi and when he finds Riku.
    • Also, Sora does show some worry towards Tron during the second (technically third) trip to Space Paranoids when the latter is fighting for his life in the game grid. And then, the heartwarming hug scene after defeating the MCP...
      • The cover page for Chapter 40 in the manga clearly shows a hint of Ho Yay towards Sora's friendship with Tron. Guess Shiro Amano must have caught on and did it to throw the fans a bone, while at the same time make a shout out to the films.
  • It Gets Better: The gameplay picks up significantly after the Prolonged Prologue.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Present Pete, once you see what Maleficent puts him through during the Timeless River scenario.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Killing Goofy? Unlikely.
  • Love to Hate: Hades, Oogie Boogie and the Master Control Program, all of whom are already popular with their respective fandoms. Organization XIII would count as well, especially Xigbar.
    • Subverted with Captain Barbossa; while he is a popular character within the PotC fanbase, he is unlikable within the KH series.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Xemnas.
    • Maleficent. For most of the game, she has fewer resources, and Xemnas is the better player... but then she pulls an Enemy Mine with Sora, and by the end, she's the one who wins something out of the whole ordeal and Xemnas... does not.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Maleficent manages to become this in a rather literal sense. She comes back from the dead simply by the fairies remembering she existed.
    • King Mickey is Disney's version of Yoda.
    • Auron. Carries over from the source material, but it's easy to see why. When Hades said that he was going to summon "the mother of all bad guys," many a fan intentionally misheard it as "the mother of all Badasses."
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Xemnas wants to gain power to unmake and remake the universe the way he sees fit, and he doesn't care who he manipulates or hurts to accomplish this.
    • DiZ narrowly sidesteps this with his ordered execution of NaminÚ. Had he attempted to do the deed himself, he'd have crossed right over the line, but instead he orders Riku to do it for him. Predictably, Riku doesn't comply.
    • Barbossa never crossed the line in his origin franchise, but he does by tying up everyone and leaving them to die on the Interceptor when it got rigged with gunpowder.
      • Pete crosses this at the same time as his loyalty to Maleficent confirmed to be enough to willingly murder his former musketeer cadets and a teenager. This means it would be almost impossible for him to pull a Heel-Face Turn in a future title.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • DANCE WATER DANCE!!!note 
    • Please, Master! PLEASE! COMPOSE YOURSELF!
    • Feel the HEAT!
      • You can't stop a true hero! (Now loop that and the above together infinitely.)
    • I GOT IT!!!
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Sora, you gotta wake up!
    • Any time Queen Minnie says the word "Light!"
  • Narm:
    • When you enter the Pridelands, Simba has a flashback to himself as a cub, screaming as his father falls to his death. The emotional impact is lessened by the fact that they used his non-cinematic model, which only has "mouth open" and "mouth closed" animations, and unfortunately makes him look like he's smiling.
    • There is a lot of it in the Port Royal, due to the awkward pauses in dialog that are from the movies, the fact that Johnny Depp is replaced by a not-too-convincing sound-alike, the Bowdlerization of a lot of elements, and also, the sheer weirdness of seeing the quite realistic looking models for Barbossa, Jack, Elizabeth, and Will alongside the Animesque Sora, the extremely cartoony Disney characters, and the Heartless.
    • When Goofy gets hit by the rock. It would be a lot more touching if it wasn't a character who has taken far more brutal beatings as comedy over the course of his film career.
    • Hercules goes into a long Heroic BSOD for "leaving everyone in the Coliseum unprotected" against the Hydra. This is kind of nullified by the fact that we never saw anyone in the coliseum that could have gotten hurt, making Hercules's angst come across as Wangst.
    • In Atlantica, the animation on the "dancing" and their facial expressions provides a near lethal level of secondhand mortification.
  • Player Punch: The player is bound to feel awesome about taking down 1000 Heartless in Hollow Bastion — at least until Organization XIII's plan is revealed. They need hearts to access Kingdom Hearts, and the player fell right into their hands by releasing the hearts of all of the Heartless.
    • Earlier on, Goofy's Disney Death was most likely meant to come across as this, but many Genre Savvy players knew better.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: What does Sora do when he reunites with Kairi? He hugs her, looking slightly dumbfounded all the while, and doesn't really do much to indicate that he spent almost the entire first game and a good chunk of this one looking for her. What does he do when he sees Riku? He grabs Riku's hand, falls to his knees, and bursts into tears.
    • Note that this one scene is portrayed as an odd decision by Square: There were plenty Sora/Kairi scenes in other points of the story. For example, at the end of Halloween Town, Sora day-dreams about dancing with Kairi... with her 14 year-old appearance while he keeps his 15-year-old one. The resulting image was kinda weird. Or most importantly, when Sa´x tells Sora that Kairi is missing, Sora begs him on his knees to tell him where she is. Riku's moment was more due to a unfortunate misuse of climax. Another reason is because of the circumstances: at the end of Kingdom Hearts, Kairi was safe at the islands, while Riku was stuck in the realm of darkness. Add to this the fact that King Mickey dodged around the subject of Riku a lot, and Sora probably thought Riku was dead.
    • There exists a very vocal portion of the fanbase that firmly believes that Axel thinks of Roxas as a lover as opposed to his friend. His death scene has quite notable I Want My Beloved to Be Happy vibes.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Kairi once she broke away from her Damsel in Distress role in the final world and fought alongside Riku. Except for the people who liked her better in KHI. Yeah, the fandom never can agree on anything.
    • Some people became a little more forgiving in regards to the Longest Prologue Ever and warmed up to both Roxas and NaminÚ towards the end of the game, as more is revealed about their characters.
    • Gameplay-wise, the Gummi Ship segments, which are a whole lot cooler to look at if nothing else, and also your ship gets an automatic upgrade with each segment passed, so you don't have to spend the time tediously doing it for yourself.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Yen Sid, Ansem the Wise, and Sora, all for the same reasons... "prejudice" against the Nobodies. Though a future game would change the latter's views on them.
  • The Organization gets plenty of this, as well. Despite it being made clear with [[Kingdom Hearts 358/2Days recent]] games that they were lied to from the start about there being one way to get their hearts back(A Nobody can grow one back over time), and don't have the option to leave and will be killed for trying, will be turned into dusks if they're not doing a good enough job, and as this game shows, Xemnas doesn't let members know exactly what they'll be doing until they're already in, many still choose to see them as irredeemable monsters who just want their hearts back at the expense of countless lives. The truth is, they don't seem to have a whole lot of choice in the matter.
  • Saved by the Fans: Axel was supposed to die in the Prolonged Prologue, but fan outcry (including fans of his on the Kingdom Hearts staff) gave him a small part in the story and a fanbase-splitting death.
    Tetsuya Nomura (from Kingdom Hearts Character Report volume 2): "I didn't think he would come this far. To begin with, he was supposed to be gone after Roxas defeats him towards the start. However, the entire staff, including myself, ended up pushing it so that he would return."
  • The Scrappy: DiZ, for his Kick the Dog tendencies towards Roxas and NaminÚ. As Ansem the Wise, on the other hand, he is Rescued from the Scrappy Heap through his atonement.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: To some, the Gummi Ship levels. For many, however, it was a well-received improvement from the first game's original model.
    • You are supposed to absorb Xaldin's Jump attempts, then Jump him to interrupt his attacks. Unfortunately, it replaces your default attack, cutting into your offense spectacularly.
    • Spamming Learn may enable you to rack up multiple Jumps from one strike, and the max you can hold is 9; spamming them on Xaldin after that is very satisfying.
    • Olympus Coliseum, one of the biggest sources of experience in the first game, now doesn't give any experience during the fights. Double that since the hardest cup, while it used to give out the strongest weapons for Goofy and Donald, now only nets a useless trophy.
    • Atlantica. Again. note 
  • Ship Sinking: Yuna and Tidus is ruined in this continuity, as Tidus is a kid and Yuna is a fairy.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Quite literally in the case of the Gummi Ship levels. Going as far as to perfect and complete every mission doesn't even do anything game-wise except give you Bragging Rights Rewards and make it slightly easier to beat the later Gummi levels. But god damn if it isn't fun to blow up at least two ships that are about 100 times the size of your own, let alone everything else.
  • So Cool Its Awesome: While some people prefer KHII over the original anyway, most fans consider the Final Mix version to be this, at least in terms of gameplay and features.
  • That One Attack:
    • If you don't knock Xaldin out of it, he will ride his lances like a dragon and blow a massive windgust across the arena. It is undodgeable, but it is Reflectable (assuming you try to use Reflect, which is unlikely during your first time through).
    • Demyx summons water clones. If you don't defeat them in time, this triggers a Non-Standard Game Over as Demyx walks up to an exhausted Sora and the game does a Fade to Black. When low on health, he will summon 99 clones and gives you 30 seconds to live. There is an Action Command to pre-empt his performance, but you need to be close to him.
  • That One Boss: Reports differ widely, but Demyx or Xaldin are usually brought up, despite the former allegedly being "not a very good fighter" and the latter allowing Mickey to rescue you. And, of course, the thirteenth Organization member, Roxas, in Final Mix+.
    • Pretty much every boss is That One Boss with a Level 1 challenge in Final Mix, but ESPECIALLY Marluxia, because he casts doom on you with a countdown based on your current level, and every time he hits you it takes off a point from the counter. This means that you cannot get hit once the whole fight or you die.
    • The final enemy in the Gummi Ship levels. There is a True Final Boss that will fill the screen with hard-to-dodge attacks that will kill you in 4 hits. It takes an absurd amount of firepower to kill and will nuke your rank if you take too long. The worst part is that it's the final opponent, so you must restart the entire stage to get a rematch!
  • That One Level:
    • Atlantica, which is turned into a Rhythm Game. This wouldn't be so bad as Atlantica was already quite the scrappy level. However, the Rhythm Game is extremely easy, dull, and uncomfortable, and many find the songs to be gratingnote . Although it's a Side Quest this time around, completing Atlantica gives you the Mysterious Abyss Keyblade, which boosts damage done by the Blizzard spell, and the final Blizzard upgrade, and the Orichalcum+. Therefore, if you want Blizzaga and the Ultima Weapon later, you have to complete this.
      • Even worse, if you pause at any point during a song, your only options are to restart, view the mission requirements, and view the controls, meaning that if something happens and you need to stop the game, you have to start the song all over.
    • Port Royal also gets this treatment by some fans, as it is simply a Theme Park Version of the movie with Sora, Donald, and Goofy barely involved in the movie's story, plus frustrating combat against cursed undead pirates, and Barbossa being unlikable.
    • Space Paranoids is generally well-liked... except for the Light Cycle, which is hell to go through.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Some of the sidequests have insane requirements to clear with the best rating. This got so outrageous that some people find it easier to earn the Sequel Hook movies by beating the game on Proud mode (requiring just clearing all the worlds) rather than Standard mode (requiring 100% Completion).
    • Most gameplay ones are more or less passable. But, the Gummi Ship ones can very well be impossible. Example, Dreadnought Level 3.
    • The Paradox Cups. Sephiroth is NOTHING compared to them. Enemies are at a ridiculously high level compared to normal gameplay, and the last one, the Hades Paradox Cup, is a 50-round battle, with the rules changing every 10 rounds, with battles against Yuffie and Tifa, Blizzard Lord, Pete, Cloud and Tifa, Hades, Leon and Cloud, and Cerberus. If you make it to round 49, you have to face Leon, Yuffie, Tifa, and Cloud all at the same time as Sora ALONE, and then if you somehow manage to win that round, you have to face Hades AGAIN, though this time with Hercules helping you. You'd better get Ultima Weapon and max out Sora's level before you even think of taking this challenge on. Oh, and battles 31-40 are a Timed Mission (ten minutes — and remember, this includes a battle against Leon and Cloud and a "survive until time runs out" round), and in battles 41-50, you can't use Drives or Summons.
    • The levels have nothing to do with them, but the ever-changing rules make the Paradox Cups, and arguably the entire Underdrome tournament not a lot of fun to play through in the first place.
    • The Magic Carpet minigame in Agrabah falls into this. To get 100% completion, you need to defeat 65 Heartless before reaching the end, which is harder than it sounds. The best way to get the 65 kills is to equip the Negative Combo ability, the Fenrir keychain, and remove all the Combo Plus and Air Combo Plus abilities. However, getting the Fenrir requires that the player has defeated Sephiroth.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: They took away the ability to customize your Level Grinding speed.
  • Uncanny Valley: While the near-photorealistic characters in Port Royal don't fall into this on their own, their being alongside cartoony characters like Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy makes the whole affair just a wee bit creepy.
  • The Untwist: Come on. Roxas being Sora's Nobody is quite predictable for the player. The beginning heavily implied this.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Xemnas says how he and the rest were turned away from both the light and the dark, and never had a choice, he's just testing them, but there is a valid point to be had for some of the others, particularly the non-founding members. They didn't ask to have their worlds ripped apart and their hearts ripped from them, and they weren't told what little say they had in the matter (a member or cannon fodder) until after they were turned and initiated.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: When it was announced that Jesse McCartney would be voicing Roxas in the English version, quite a few people were quick to object with the decision. However, he was able to prove that he could play the part well.
  • The Woobie:
    • Roxas. He's not even a "real" person, and finds out that another person's life depends on him giving up his own.
    • Vivi. Yes, even here.

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