YMMV / Kingdom Hearts II

  • 8.8: IGN's review and score of 7.6 was met with a lot of criticism from many fans. Specifically, fans have spoken out against claims including that the game was too easy, that the game boiled down to merely mashing X, and that magic and items were essentially useless.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • When you get to Olympus Coliseum, 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.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Saïx. His presence in the story is menacing enough, as Xemnas' right-hand man and the last boss fight before him. However, fighting him is fairly straightforward, unlike with all the other members, and his unique gimmick seems to only make him weak when he's not using it, rather than strong when he is. In his normal form, he can be disarmed easily with a well-timed attack, guard, or reflect, and even in Berserk form, he only has a few attacks which are predictable and simple to avoid until he calms down, especially if you've been levelling up Final Form and can glide out of his way fast enough. And that's if you don't abuse the reaction command on the claymores that Saïx keeps throwing around, which does massive damage on his normal form and drops him out of Berserk immediately.
  • Asspull: When Ansem's Kingdom Hearts encoder machine explodes, it changes Riku back to normal. There's no real reason given as to why outside of some Five-Second Foreshadowing where Ansem says "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 Battle of 1000 Heartless pits Sora against 1000 enemies that he has to defeat on his own. Not only does he do it, it's pretty much a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • Although Sephiroth has become more casual, his boss fight is still a challenge, featuring rapid sword combos, Shadow Flares, Meteor swarms, and as the fight goes on he becomes even more erratic and dangerous.
    • In Final Mix, the Sora vs. Roxas fight in the Dive to the Heart, with Roxas dual-wielding Oathkeeper and Oblivion against you. The entire reason the fight happens is because Sora's bond with Axel has awakened Roxas within him, and Roxas is once again attempting to assert his individuality by overpowering Sora. Aside from the story set-up, the fight is against a Lightning Bruiser Keyblade warrior just as skilled as you, and a Reaction Command lets you steal Roxas' keyblades and wield them against him.
    • Nobody can forget the amazing boss battle against Xemnas, which is often considered not only the best final boss of the Kingdom Hearts series thus far, but also one of the greatest boss battles of all time.
    • All the new Organization XIII fights from the Final Mix add a lot of variety to create some memorable and fun challenges.
    • Lingering Will. Clearly one of the most exciting battles in the series, especially after playing Birth by Sleep.
  • 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-Breaking Character:
  • Breather Boss
    • Barbossa shares the magic weakness that the Cursed Pirate Mooks have, so he can be completely shut down by occasionally hitting him with Blizzard to freeze him and pushing him into a corner to ensure he's always in the moonlight. It's easily possible to go through his entire fight without the Illuminator spawning again or letting Barbossa attack at all by doing this.
    • The Blizzard/Volcanic Lord fight at the end of the first trip to Agrabah. They constantly put themselves into a position to allow the use of their Reaction Commands to stun them, plus their attacks are not hard to dodge.
    • The Hostile Program is predictable in its attack patterns and has a Reaction Command that can be used to completely freeze it for a few seconds. Using Tron's Setup will give the clusters needed to trigger the Reaction Command very quickly due to dealing damage via multiple hits.
    • The first Grim Reaper fight is very simple. The boss has few attacks, is easily stunned (with or without abusing magic), and even on Critical difficulty doesn't do a lot of damage.
  • Breather Level: The story-mandated Gummi Missions. The inclusion of a dodge mechanic, removal of obstacles to dodge, and the game no longer scaling damage based off of difficulty like in Kingdom Hearts I make them a breeze to complete. There are a couple levels (like Floating Island) where the player can literally do nothing for most of the mission and still win.
  • 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 at Sora 3 times. During this time they're completely invincible, and they can enter this berserk mode over and over again if they want to. In addition, they come in pairs on top of being accompanied by other Heartless. Their presence is the reason why Timeless River, particularly the "Scene of the Fire" battle, is considered That One Level by fans.
    • Dancer Nobodies have a move where they turn invincible, slide across the floor towards Sora at high speed, grab him, swing him around, and throw him away. It is completely unblockable, very difficult to dodge or interrupt (the best option in response is to spam Magnet and pray they get caught in it), and deals a ton of damage (or kill in Critical Mode). The Titan Cup and especially the Titan Paradox Cup are made into nightmares because of the battle where there are three Dancers.
    • Sorcerer Nobodies are immune to all magic except Reflect, have no Reaction Command to cheese them with, have a large attack range thanks to their cubes, and can attack even if they're being hit. A lone Sorcerer is easily capable of taking out the entire party if you're not careful.
    • Berserker Nobodies. Like the Hot Rod Heartless, they can turn invincible to normal attacks for a short time at low HP, and when they do, they go into an attack sequence that can stunlock for a good chunk of HP. Compounding this is the fact that their hammers deflect normal attacks from the front at all times, which makes damaging them a pain.
  • 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. The writers agreed with the fans, as Days and KH3D can prove.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Jack Sparrow seems to be this when it comes to the Disney allies. Can't imagine why. In fact, in a 2006 popularity poll held among GameFAQs users, Jack was the only Disney character who made it to the final round. Ahead of Sora, Riku, Kairi, and even other Darkhorses like Xigbar and Demyx.
    • Axel clicked so well with both the fans and the staff that they extended his part (he was meant to die in the prologue). Allowing him a Heel–Face Turn and a Heroic Sacrifice to boot. To say nothing of future games...
    • Regarding the new worlds introduced, due to Rule of Cool, Space Paranoids seems to get more attention from the fanbase (especially in Japan) than most of the other Disney worlds, especially because of Sora's computer armor. And with Rule of Cute, the Pride Lands also has gained some love.
    • Pete, who became known as the Team Rocket of Kingdom Hearts after this game.
    • Iago has gotten some popularity from fans grateful for the series adapting his Heel–Face Turn from Return of Jafar.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Many have been inclined to believe that this Auron is not an Alternate Universe version, but THE Auron from Final Fantasy 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 FFX. After dispersing into pyreflies at the end of KHII, he goes on to Dream Zanarkand, effectively setting FFX 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 KHII came from his girlfriend Rinoa Heartilly, due to the butterfly that fluttered out of it.
    • While it was probably just for gameplay's sake, Scar's Heartless retains its appearance as Scar as well as some sapience including the ability to speak — the only other Heartless to retain its original form and sapience is Ansem. Further, even when killed Scar's darkness continued to haunt the Pride Lands and eventually formed into the Groundshaker, one of the most massive Heartless seen in the entire franchise. This has led to speculation on just how strong Scar's blackened heart was that he could do all this.
  • Ending Fatigue: The final world, The World That Never Was. It's a long, large dungeon full of powerful enemies, there's no less than three bosses along the way (as well as a fourth in Final Mix), and there's also a lot of long, story-critical cutscenes to watch. Then you finally get to Xemnas and beat him, and as expected from Square Enix he goes One-Winged Angel for a Sequential Boss Fight. However, as the heroes begin to walk away, it turns out Xemnas is Not Quite Dead, leading to a second Sequential Boss Fight, and finally, at long last, his final form. By the time Xemnas pulls you back to the third round, you're probably screaming "will you just end already?"
  • Even Better Sequel: Kingdom Hearts I is generally well-liked and considered a strong game, though the gameplay is seen as bit rough around the edges. II is widely considered a major improvement in pretty much every aspect when it comes to the gameplay due to streamlining the combat and trimming other bits of fat, with the Final Mix version often being cited as the single best game in the entire series.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Reflect negates any and all damage from attacks that hit the barrier, and it also deals a lot of damage to the nearby area as it disappears if it's been hit. While it is a little short, it doesn't cost much MP and can be cast multiple times before being unable to cast it for a moment and deals a lot of damage if used against a strong enemy, including even being able to kill multiple opponents in one string of uses in the 49th round of the Hades Paradox Cup!
    • Limit Form in Final Mix+. It doesn't require any party members and every successful hit done by a Limit restores a bit of health. Combine with MP Rage and the Hades Paradox Cup becomes even easier.
    • Building a Gummi ship that's entirely hollow in the middle. Enemy ships will always try to target the middle of the ship, which means all enemy fire except bombs and kamikaze attacks will go right through, rendering it practically invincible.
    • Combining two Negative Combo skills, two Finishing Plus skills, and a Combo Master skill can allow you to utilize a devastating Infinite Combo. Just make sure not to use the last combo hit until it's time for the killshot, and don't drop the combo, and Bonus Bosses can go down like dominoes.
    • Goofy's Limit Break, Teamwork, is the strongest attack in the game. It can shred through practically any boss' health in the matter of seconds, even on higher difficulties. You even get the limit before you even reach the half-way point of the game. However, it was Nerfed in the Final Mix version.
    • Magnet (mostly its upgrades Magnera and Magnega) trivializes most mob fights thanks to stunning and pulling in most mobs in a large area, especially when it's combined with Finishing Plus and an AoE combo finisher like Explosion.note  While theoretically balanced by being the second most expensive spell to cast, this can be negated by Stitch and his ability to instantly refill your MP for free.
  • Genius Bonus
    • Hades calling Auron the "mother of all bad guys" isn't technically wrong if you understand historical context. If you were charged with protecting someone and you failed to do so, with you surviving when they didn't, you are considered scum, a lowlife. It would be less dishonorable if you killed them yourself, because at least then the worst you're seen as is a traitorous dick and not a failure.
    • Sora's form in Timeless River (dubbed Retro Form by the fandom) makes him look like a character created by Osamu Tezuka, the grandfather of anime that was also trained by Disney.
    • The ability rings with gems set in them (Sardonyx, Tourmaline, etc) all have Dragonscript etched into them that states the name of the gem set in the ring.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: 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 includes its spiritual successor world: The Grid.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Undead pirates can only be damaged by your attacks when they're standing in clear moonlight, and 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.
    • Crimson Jazzes are just 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. 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.
    • The Emerald Blues 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.
    • The Graveyards in Halloween Town are capable of taking out a lot of Sora's health, and can even block his attacks. In the Curly Hill during the second visit, three will appear during the second wave, and if you're not careful, Sora can die in just two hits at a low level.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • During Gummi Ship missions, enemies will aim for the center of your hitbox with unerring accuracy. Therefore, creating a "donut" Gummi-ship with only material on the square edge will result in nearly all the shots going harmlessly through the hole.
    • Battle music may get distorted if you skip a cutscene just before a boss fight.
    • It's possible to clip through the map in the Cavern of Remembrance and reach the Garden of Assemblage without having to do any of the scripted fights. Entering the room this way also gives you the Proof of Nonexistence without having to do the Data-Organization fights, though you can't do any of them because the proper event flags don't get set.
    • The PS3 port of Final Mix has a lot of long load times, especially when entering Drive Forms, where the game can hang for as many as five seconds. However, the game does not pause during the transformation, and even in the middle of combat keeps going. Sometimes this can be brutal (trying to do a Drive Form during a Timed Mission for instance), but on the other hand, Sora is invincible during the transformation loading, so you can utilize the Drive Form transformations as a way to become immune to attacks for a short time. Against many bosses with powerful single attacks, especially the members of Organization XIII, this little oversight can save your life. The brutal instances can be easily fixed by simply pausing the game for a few seconds, during which the game will still load the form.
    • Changing Genie's Drive Form during a combo finisher cancels it, allowing you to immediately start another combo. The only downside other than its difficulty is that since there's a gap between the canceled finisher and the next hit, a couple bosses are capable of hitting you with a quick enough attack.
  • 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 KHII ("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 KHIII, 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.
    • 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.
    • Among his many other Kick the Dog moments, Saïx is more than willing to kill Axel for deserting the Organization and derides him as "foolish and weak" in Final Mix. Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep later establish that he and Axel used to be best friends.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Tron suddenly getting emotions after the MCP battle becomes one after playing KH3D, which not only reveals that programs are like Nobodies, in that they don't have hearts, but that anything with a mind can grow a heart in no time. As Tron started out as The Stoic, his friendship with Sora allowed a heart to grow within him.
  • He Really Can Act: Jesse Mc Cartney got a lot of praise for his HEARTBREAKING delivery when Roxas sacrifices himself to wake Sora from his slumber. And consensus is that he's only gotten better in subsequent games.
  • 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!
      • Demyx's infamous quote, Dance Water Dance, is a take of "Dance Magic Dance" from Labyrinth, another Lucasfilm franchise that Disney acquired when they obtained Star Wars.
    • In the Final Mix version of Christmas Town, Sora, Donald and Goofy change their appearances from their Halloween Town counterparts. Now tell me Donald's appearance doesn't remind you of a certain other snowman...
    • During the battle with Hades, in order to make him vulnerable to attacks, you need to whack an "Aura Sphere" that Hercules would create towards him. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, which introduces a Fighting-type move with the same name, was released a year later.
    • Later in the game, the Master Control Progam hijacks the Heartless creator under Hollow Bastion to start sending his troops into the analog world. This is more or less what CLU would attempt in TRON: Legacy, though it may also count as Harsher in Hindsight.
    • Rikku being a fairy makes a lot more sense once you learn that her Japanese voice actress, Marika Matsumoto, would later voice Diancie. Moreso when you realize that one of the pursuers, Ninja Riot, shares the same voice actor as Donald Duck.
    • Luxord first appears (independently) in Port Royal, a pirate-themed world. His English voice actor would later voice Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean Online, in addition to Space Pirate Captain Romulus Slag in the Ratchet & Clank Future Trilogy.
    • In Beast's Castle, after meeting the servants and learning about the curse placed on them, Donald suggests that they go after the Enchantress, with the servants telling him they don't need to. She physically appears in the live-action remake nearly 12 years after the game's release and outright lifts the curse herself.
    • When Barbossa captures (Captain) Jack Sparrow, the latter is tied up instead of locked in the brig in the game's version of the story, mainly because Barbossa has none of his likable traits in this adaptation. In the film continuity, it isn't until Dead Men Tell No Tales where Barbossa actually ties Jack up, if only to prevent him from revealing to Carina Smyth that she is Barbossa's daughter.
  • 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...
  • Jerkass Woobie: Pete's constant failures often incur Maleficent's wrath, and he is later shown to long for the simpler times when he was just the boat captain of Steamboat Willie.
  • 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.
  • Magnificent Bastard: 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. Before they legally acquired Yoda, at least.
    • 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:
    • 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. And a teenager to boot!
    • DiZ arguably crosses over the line with his ordered execution of Naminé. Trying to kill her for no other reason than "tying up loose ends" is bad enough as it is, but the coward didn't even have the pair to bloody his own hands. While he apologizes to Roxas for his mistreatment of him, we have yet to hear him do the same for Naminé.
    • Barbossa never crossed the line in his origin franchise, but he does here by tying up everyone and leaving them to die on the Interceptor when it got rigged with gunpowder, which also doubles as Team Rocket Wins for Pete. All of his likable traits are removed in this adaptation, a trait also shared with Lady Tremaine and Clu in later games.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • GET UP ON THE HYDRA'S BACK! GET UP ON THE HYDRA'S BACK!note 
    • DANCE WATER DANCE!!!note 
    • Please, Master! PLEASE! COMPOSE YOURSELF!note 
    • CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS CUUUUUURSED FOOOOOOOLS
    • Feel the heat? That all you got? Feel the heat? That all you got? That's it! Feel the heat? Feel the heat? Feel the heat? That all you got? That all you got? Feel the heat? Feel the heat? That's it!note 
    • YOU WON'T STOP A TRUE HERO! note 
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Sora, you gotta wake up!
  • 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 use Simba's non-cinematic model, which only has "mouth open" and "mouth closed" animations, and unfortunately makes him look like he's smiling.
    • 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. He even somewhat lampshades this upon his return. Since you don't really buy that they'd off him anyways the whole thing falls completely flat.
    Goofy: "Gwarsh Your Majesty, I get bonked on the head all the time."
    • Like in the film, Sally uses a disembodied leg to distract Oogie Boogie. However, instead of having it peek through a doorway and suggest something's attached to it, she just randomly throws it into the middle of Santa's factory floor.
  • 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.
    • Goofy's Disney Death was most likely meant to come across as this, but many players knew better.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The PS3 port of the Final Mix version was long-awaited, but was a minor version of its trope. The main issue was the artificially long load times (especially between the English PS3 port and Japan), but the version also had other glitches. The most famous one was the Final Xemnas fight, where a rare glitch involving a reaction to his throw move not showing up suddenly became a common occurrence. There were also numerous crashes that were not there in Japan, specifically using the building reaction command after going into Limit Form in the first fight.
    • The PS4 version was a mess before it was patched. While it cut down on load times, every major glitch from the PS3 version stayed in the game unpatched, and the port added a slew of new issues. Originally, they did not adjust enemies to the new 60 FPS frame rate, so certain bosses (like Vexen) could charge their attacks more quickly, Sora's Reaction Commands (like during the Grim Reaper fight) and abilities like Quick Run were shortened, and some things (like the Reaction Command for the cannon tower in Liliput) flat-out didn't work. The worst glitch of all was that the game could crash whenever you saved, which could potentially corrupt your files. The PS4 port of II Final Mix was so bad that it actually made the news, and after a series of patches, it finally seems to have gotten to a manageable level. A few new issues, like Luxord's command, have arose, but the game is much more playable.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble
    • Kairi is supposed to be Sora's Love Interest, while Riku is supposed to be his platonic best friend. What does Sora do when he reunites with Kairi? He looks surprised before hugging her back, 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? Sora grabs Riku's hand, falls to his knees, and bursts into tears.note 
    • 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, and at one point he outright compares Kairi missing Sora to him missing Roxas.
    • After the events of the first game, Ariel and Sora remain very good friends, and during the musicals in Atlantica they often dance and sing together. Couple that with most of her relationship with Prince Eric taking place off-screen due to the condensed story, and someone unfamiliar with the film would think this is a Love Triangle going on.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Mena Suvari replacing Mandy Moore as Aerith. While she was a Base-Breaking Character for Advent Children, the fandom especially despised her take on the character due to her Dull Surprise. She was replaced with Andrea Bowen for any subsequent Aerith voice overs.
    • Inverted with George Newbern, who was replacing Lance Bass as Sephiroth (though he had already done the voice in Advent Children). Newbern's work on the character was considered an improvement.
    • Atlantica's musical mini game was one to how the world was in the original game (where it was still very divisive). Fans would rather fight battles than hear Sora sing.
    • Roxas initially on first playthroughs of the game. Most fans were wondering when Sora would show up. But see below.
  • 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 Prolonged Prologue and warmed up to both Roxas and Naminé 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. Justifiable in some respects due to Ansem taking his hatred to the point of despising innocent Nobodies(Roxas and Namine) and Sora's speech at the end seeming more than a little racist with his choice of words. 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 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), 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 psychopathic monsters who gleefully slaughter countless innocents for their goal. The truth is, they don't seem to have a whole lot of choice in the matter, with the exceptions of Xemnas and Xigbar.
  • 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 horrifically cruel treatmentt towards Roxas and Naminé and being the instigator of the Prolonged Prologue and most of its Mind Screw. As Ansem the Wise, on the other hand, he is Rescued from the Scrappy Heap through his atonement.
    • Chicken Little, for being one of the most lackluster Summons and for coming from one of Disney's worst movies AND for being shoehorned into the game only to promote the movie. Many people nowadays forget that he was even in the game.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • To some, the Gummi Ship levels. For many, however, it was a well-received improvement from the first game's original model.
    • 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.
    • The real problem with the Underdrome is the ever changing rules. The Pain and Panic/Goddess of Fate cups are the most fair and fun with them. The Cerberus Cup places you under a strict time limit (and Cerberus itself knows to beat you out by keeping you out of his weak spots), and the Titan Cup puts you under a point system and relies on you to use Summons; which means spamming Stitch to get the most points from it. It's harder in the Final Mix version, as Stitch's Ohana! is brutally nerfed in terms of time allotted (that limit gauge drops even with combination and summon boost); but some have found using Peter Pan's Never Land to help with this.
    • Atlantica. Again. note 
    • Not as severe as the other examples above, but obtaining Mythril materials becomes a pain later in the game. At first, you're practically tripping over the things, so it was no issue. However, when you need even more of them to make synthesis items, you're not going to be able to find any of them because no enemies drop them. Instead, you'll have to synthesize them up by using Twilight and Dense items, which aren't easily found until the second half of the game (if you can spawn the nobodies) or until the endgame when you can easily farm those materials.
    • Due to its inherent randomness, Anti-Sora. Anti-Sora becomes more likely to happen the more you use Drives, and it's not until you get Final Form that you can reduce the probability of Anti-Sora emerging when you Drive. Now, Anti-Sora is cool and all, but the various weaknesses that come with it can and likely will screw you over at a critical moment when you needed a certain Drive to keep your momentum.note  Also, certain fights have a much higher inherent chance of getting Anti-Sora; Organization XIII fights typically have a near-to-certain 100% chance of him popping up, essentially meaning you die. A big part of the reason that doing the Cerberus Cup early is painful is that Anti-Sora's appearance is not adjusted at all for this cup, meaning that if you turn into him at bad point, you may have to restart the entire tournament to make up for your bad luck.
  • Ship Sinking:
  • 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 (and a trophy in the II.5 version). 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.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The game slogs during the prologue due to extremely limited options (Roxas is stuck with basic combos that he tends to drop and a couple of abilities) and lack of enemy variety, compounded by its sheer length of approximately 3 hours. It picks up significantly once control switches to Sora, as he starts to stockpile new abilities and encounter more enemy types.
    • Story-wise, the Disney worlds you visit during the first act are just carbon copies of the films, Organization XIII and Maleficent are lurking in the background not really doing anything, and in general, it can be a bit boring. Once you get to Disney Castle/Timeless River the gameplay and story start to pick up, and once the return trip to Hollow Bastion (and the first visit to Space Paranoids) beckons, they really take off.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Atlantica's musicals have their ups-and-downs, with "Swim This Way" being outright loathed, and Ariel taking levels in dumbass, but general reaction is mixed (unless you're American), since at least "Under the Sea" and "Ursula's Revenge" are tolerable.
  • 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 unless you have Glide, but it is Reflectable (assuming you try to use Reflect, which is unlikely during your first time through).
    • Xigbar's ultimate move comes in two phases. During the first phase, you have to be really quick. One mistake, and you get hit with an onslaught of attacks, including the second phase. The second phase is practically unavoidable unless you run around in a circle, and it can kill you easily once hit. Also, during both phases of the attack, Xigbar becomes invincible.
    • 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.
    • Marluxia will turn invincible, teleport to the center of the arena, and create three massive pools of energy that deal heavy damage, enough to completely kill Sora in a couple hits (more likely one hit on Proud and Critical). These portals then remain in place for a time while he charges towards you and begins attacking again; even if you block or Reflect his attacks, he's likely going to knock you back into the pools for damage. Then almost as soon as the attack ends, he does it again, and again.
  • That One Boss:
    • Demyx is extremely aggressive with few openings, his attacks cover large areas, and he can screw you over by forcing you to kill water clones in a timed minigame that gives you a Non Standard Game Over if you fail. You also can't save immediately after fighting Demyx, you have to fight a mob of Heartless. On a critical playthrough even regular heartless can kill you in one or two hits. If you die fighting the mob, you have to beat Demyx AGAIN!
    • Xaldin has a gimmick were he takes reduced damage as long as his air guard is up and has many powerful attacks, one of which grants him invincibility for a good amount of time and covers most of the battlefield.
    • Roxas in the Final Mix version. You're forced to fight him without the assistance of Donald or Goofy (so no Drive Forms outside of Limit Form and no Summons), he attacks quickly and unpredictably, and several of his attacks can be difficult to dodge.
    • 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!
    • The World That Never Was has tough boss after tough boss. First, there is Xigbar, who is difficult to hit because of his constant teleportation and manipulating the space of the room. He also has an attack that makes him invincible, and the attack itself is incredibly hard to dodge unless you run around in circles. Luxord's time minigames as well as his ability to turn you into a card and die make him quite annoying. The timer pushes him from merely annoying to incredibly hard. Saix, is often impenetrable in his berserk state, does incredible amounts of damage, and it can be really difficult to take him out of his berserk state when he gets faster. Finally, Xemnas, in most of his forms, is really fast with his attacks and packs a punch. Not only that but if Riku dies in the final few sequences, then it's an instant game over.
  • That One Level:
    • The mandatory battle at the "Scene of the Fire" in Timeless River. The end has two Hot Rods, extremely dangerous Heartless (especially for how early in the game they show up) due to their ability to temporarily become invincible and charge at Sora with an attack that can be difficult to dodge. The mission also has a damage meter for the building that the player is expected to protect, so neglecting it while trying to deal with the Heartless can lead to a Non Standard Game Over.
    • The first visit to Port Royal. Most fights are against the cursed undead pirates, who are invincible unless they're standing in the moonlight, and there's a long, difficult forced encounter against them where Sora and co. need to protect the cursed medallion while also being shot at by The Black Pearl's cannons.
    • The Light Cycle minigame in Space Paranoids can be very difficult to go through due to the Unexpected Gameplay Change to a vehicle section and the unpredictable swarms of Heartless that attack.
  • 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. 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. Thankfully, you get a checkpoint every tenth round so if you die, you get to continue from that point.
    • The Magic Carpet minigame in Agrabah falls into this. To get 100% completion, you need to defeat 65 Heartless before reaching the end. Easier said than done. 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.
    • The Mushroom XIII sidequests. S-ranking their various challenges often requires specific strategies that are otherwise impractical for normal gameplay, combined with split-second perfect timing, and very often, dumb luck.
    • To unlock one trophy, you need to score 5,000 points on at least one skateboard minigame. You'd be lucky to even get even 1,000 in Twilight Town or Hollow Bastion, or 3,000 under 30 seconds in Halloween Town.
    • If you thought getting the Ultima keyblade was grindy in II, in Final Mix it's even more so due to the need for a number of materials that are located deep within the bonus dungeon, and/or only dropped by powerful enemies, including at least one Bonus Boss.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: They took away the ability to customize your Level Grinding speed.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Demyx and Luxord get significantly less characterization and screentime than the other Organization members (both here and back in Chain of Memories). Which is especially sad — given how (A) their personalities are among the most sympathetic, and (B) their Boss Battles are among the most difficult and unique.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • They wasted a perfectly good world with Atlantica, making it a series of rhythmic minigames with all the actual story of the original film crammed into cutscenes, and the need for the musicals to progress things is an Excuse Plot. Would it have been so difficult to find a way to adapt the movie's plot to traditional gameplay?
    • Agrabah's story is based on The Return of Jafar, which makes perfect sense. So do we get a battle with Abis Mal and his men where Sora and Aladdin infiltrate their lair? Do we re-enact the chase sequence against Jafar's army of winged riders? Do we have to raid the palace under Jafar's control to free Aladdin's friends? We do none of that. We revisit the Cave of Wonders from the first game (which is significantly smaller, just three rooms, one of which is a puzzle room), before heading back to Agrabah, and then for the return visit we go to the Oasis to play some minigames before returning to Agrabah to fight Jafar.
  • 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 crowd in the cutscene after the battle with Shan Yu. In the original versions, they look more like stick figures, and don't move when they cheer on the party. The 2.5 version not only makes them more realistic, it also retcons their reaction to bowing at the party (which leans closer to the film).
  • 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, who were never part of the Heartless experiments They didn't ask to have their worlds destroyed and their hearts ripped out of them, and they weren't told what little say they had in the matter (a member of Org.XIII or mutated cannon fodder) until after they were turned and initiated. It just doesn't really work well when Xemnas is the one saying it, since he absolutely had a choice.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • The game was already really well-received, but ever since the improved Final Mix version was finally released outside of Japan in 2014, the game's reputation has risen dramatically among fans, not to mention the fact that the plots of the games released since have been even more confounding than this game's plot was criticized as being. Now there are far more people who say it's better than the original game than those who say it doesn't match up.
    • When the game first came out, a lot of players complained that the combat was too button-mashy and that you could just spam X (and occasionally Triangle) to win most fights. After years of analysis, however, it turns out the combat system is actually pretty complex under-the-hood, and high-level play has much more to do with moves and counter-moves against the enemy's AI. Again, Final Mix made this much more apparent with the additions of the Cavern of Remembrance (which lets you fight Organization XIII again) and Critical Mode (especially Lv1 Critical), which encourages smarter play and makes button-mashing a good way to get yourself killed.
    • The Roxas prologue was initially one of the most dreaded and lambasted parts of the game upon its release due to its having very little to do with the characters from the first game or the Disney worlds. As time went on fans started warming up to it, as Roxas himself has become a more popular and integral character within the franchise.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: When it was announced that Jesse Mc Cartney 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.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/KingdomHeartsII