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Let me face, let me face, let me face my fears!note 

"They can take your world. They can take your heart. Cut you loose from all you know. But if it's your fate... then every step forward will always be a step closer to home."
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Kingdom Hearts III is an Action RPG for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, developed and published by Square Enix. The game is the second Numbered Sequel in Square's long-running Kingdom Hearts franchise, and the eleventh game in total. Reportedly, this game will be the end of the "Dark Seeker" storyline, but not of the Kingdom Hearts series as a whole.

Believing himself to be protecting an even balance between light and darkness, Master Xehanort sets out to instigate a war between his forces of darkness and the "tyranny of light" that will wreak apocalyptic destruction upon the universe. To undermine Xehanort's schemes, two groups set out into the worlds: Riku and King Mickey will investigate the whereabouts of potential allies, while Sora, Donald, and Goofy will seek to revive Sora's power of waking, sabotaged by Xehanort at the end of the previous game, to rescue those allies. Will the light be strong enough to face the darkness when the time for the fated clash arrives?

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Kingdom Hearts III returns to the core gameplay of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II: actions selected through a Command Menu with MP-based magic spells, the ability to summon allies, and Donald and Goofy at Sora's side. However, it also integrates elements from the more experimental handheld games. The crowd-controlling Shotlock from Birth by Sleep returns, while Sora's new formchanges, alternative weapons locked within his Keyblades, are similar to that game's Command Styles. A reworked flowmotion from Dream Drop Distance allows for freedom of movement. The highly contextual Reaction Commands of II are replaced by less specialized Situation Commands (introduced in 0.2), which can trigger the aforementioned formchanges, powerful Grand Magic, and Attraction Flow, another new feature that summons spectral amusement park rides. The Gummi Ship mode also returns in an expanded form, featuring exploration on an RPG-esque "overworld" and Preexisting Encounters.

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The game features new worlds based on Tangled, Big Hero 6, Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and Frozen. Returning worlds include Twilight Town and expansions of the worlds based on Hercules, Pirates of the Caribbean and Winnie-the-Pooh.

After many years of anticipation, the game was released on January 25, 2019 in Japan, and on January 29 elsewhere.

In April 29th 2019, a manga adaptation by Shiro Amano was released, despite previous reports of his retirement from the series. Critical Mode was released in April 2019 as a free update. A DLC, titled Re Mind, was released in January 23, 2020 on the PS4 and Feburary 25, 2020 on the Xbox One, and explains some of the game's story and brings in more bosses and scenarios.


Kingdom Hearts III provides examples of:

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    Tropes A-D 
  • Ability Required to Proceed: Your Gummi Ship must have a sufficient Speed Stat in order to challenge the Bonus Boss battles in the first two areas. Attempting to access them with a slower Ship causes the Gummi Ship to turn around.
  • Aborted Arc: A few them serve as potential Sequel Hooks.
    • 2.8 implied Sora would be going to Olympus to train with Hercules to regain his strength training with someone who went through a similar ordeal. This is discussed and resolved in the first conversation Sora has when he meets Hercules, with Herc admitting he has no advice to give and can't be of help. Once Hades is defeated, Sora goes back to Yen Sid with no further ideas on what to do.
    • Tia Dalma guides Sora to the Leviathan so he'll agree to release her from her human form with the Keyblade. It doesn't go anywhere since Barbossa's crew end up doing it themselves like in the film.
    • Previous games set up hooks for Final Fantasy characters. II's Cloud and Sephiroth subplot ended on an ambiguous note, with Birth by Sleep implying Zack would be roped into it. II's end credits also implied that Rinoa would make a future appearance. However, no human Final Fantasy characters appear in this game until the Re Mind DLC, and the position of Sora's consultant in Radiant Garden is taken over by Ienzo.
    • 3D implied the Princesses of Heart would become targets of Xehanort's Seekers, and this game addresses that seven new Princesses will rise since the originals fulfilled their purpose. Only half of the Princesses appear in this game, and while the Seekers do investigate them, they're only a backup plan for the seven Guardians; the Organization simply monitors the princesses to keep them safe and viable.
    • Likewise, the topic of the girl Ansem the Wise experimented on in Radiant Garden years before is an important plot point in the first half of the game, only to get awkwardly dropped during the final confrontation. It is last mentioned in the aftermath of Saïx's boss battle, after which it is never brought up again.
    • Early on, the Seekers still plan on making Sora their last vessel, as evidenced by Xigbar’s taunt about a reward for Sora, and Xemnas and Ansem’s comments at the end of the Twilight Town episode. However, after Young Xehanort’s research in Toy Box, they conclude that they don’t have to try to wait for Sora to fall to darkness again, and wholly turn their attention to the Replica Program which eventually produces Xion as their last vessel, which means that the game completely sidesteps the issues of no one remembering her and her heart being trapped inside of Sora.
    • In Birth by Sleep, Master Xehanort went after Terra specifically because he wanted to abandon his old, weakened body and take a younger, stronger one to carry out his plans with. Here, after being revived, he gives up Terra's body to be used as a vessel by one of his past incarnations and seemingly has no problem with being an old man again. He likely learned from experience that Terra's body is unstable and makes him vulnerable to being overtaken, which is what happens both when he fights Aqua in Birth by Sleep and when he fights Sora and changed his plans because he would be the one to wield the χ-Blade this time, not Vanitas. In any case, once he does attain the χ-Blade, he has more than enough strength and power to be an even more ferocious opponent than Terra-Xehanort ever was.
    • Dream Drop Distance seemed to strongly imply that every Seeker of Darkness would’ve gradually transformed into a much closer approximation of Xehanort the longer they spent with a piece of Xehanort’s heart in theirs, as evidenced by Xigbar’s change in appearance and his infamous declaration that he was “already half-Xehanort”. Perhaps it’s because they don’t have enough time to properly transform, but none of the Seekers of Darkness change their physical appearance during the game besides the trademark golden eyes and slightly lighter hair.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap:
    • Like in previous titles, the maximum level Sora and his party can reach is 99. By the time you get to the end of the game, you'll likely be around level 45, and most of the Bonus Bosses can be beaten without too much trouble at around level 55.
    • The maximum level for the Leviathan in the Caribbean is 9. You can beat the world when the ship is at level 4, and doing everything there is to do in the stage will bump it up to around level 6. It doesn't help that the only way to level up the ship is by getting white crabs, which are earned through ship battles or island exploration.
    • Gaining Gummi ship levels increases the amount of parts you're allowed to have, allowing access to better parts with custom builds. The maximum level is 99, and leveling up past 40 is largely unnecessary unless you feel like taking out the Bonus Bosses scattered across the worlds, which have stat requirements your ship must have before you're allowed to challenge them. Even then, you can ignore your level entirely if you're using a blueprint, which don't require you to have the points or parts to use them. Most of the plans sold by Huey, Dewey and Louie are serviceable enough, and photographing the Endymion constellation will give you a ship intended for fighting the bonus bosses, with all the necessary stats to do it.
  • Action Girl: This game has the most number of action girls in the series.
    • Rapunzel is one of your party members in the Kingdom of Corona, attacking Heartless and swinging around with her hair.
    • After suffering from Chickification in her appearance in II due to her world having less significance, Ariel returns as one of your summons.
    • Elizabeth Swann has taken the levels in badass she took in the films since II. Sadly, she is not a party member, but at least you get to see her kick ass in the cutscenes.
    • Aqua is still one, though at first you fight her as a boss. You briefly control her for the Vanitas boss battle in the Land of Departure and she is a party member in the fight against Vanitas and Terra-Xehanort in the Keyblade Graveyard.
    • Kairi has been put through Keyblade training by Yen Sid since the events of Dream Drop Distance. In the confrontation at Keyblade Graveyard, she is your party member in the first boss battle against Saïx and Xion.
    • To cap it off, your party member in the second boss battle against Saïx is Xion, who has come Back from the Dead and pulled a Heel–Face Turn thanks to actions undertaken in the first battle against him.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Played With; as The Caribbean excises most of the plot of At World's End, largely focusing on Sora's adventures at sea until the climax, much of the deception and betrayal instigated by the main cast of the film is left out, particularly in Will's case. However, an establishing shot of Elizabeth when Tia Dalma retells how Jack was killed by the Kraken, as well as dialogue from the parley scene, indicates that these events indeed still happened off-screen. Tia Dalma herself treats Sora much more kindly than she did to anyone in the films, but that's probably because she thinks the Keyblade might be able to unlock her godly power.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The Caribbean's plot jumps from The Curse of the Black Pearl straight to At World's End. According to Word of God, Dead Man's Chest's plot is too focused on setting up its sequel to be adapted on its own. That said, the game does feature some elements from Dead Man's Chest such as the Kraken.
  • Adaptation Expansion: A good portion of the Disney worlds feature new story content and areas not seen before in the original films, acting as sequels to the original films as opposed to just retelling an abridged version of the movie plots. Big Hero 6 takes place after the film, where the Baymax left behind in the portal gets turned into a Heartless. Toy Story takes place in between 2 and 3 and features a new toy store called "Galaxy Toys". Monsters, Inc. takes place after the movie and allows the player to explore more areas of the factory up close, something that was barely touched upon in the original movies.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • The Tangled world cuts out Mother Gothel giving Rapunzel the tiara, leaving it unknown how she got the tiara back during the lantern scene. It also cuts out the Stabbington brothers, giving Flynn no reason to take the tiara to the shore and making it look like he really was abandoning her for the tiara.
      • Additionally, the crown and satchel taken from Flynn is somewhat lost. All that is left is Flynn asking Rapunzel where his satchel is, Gothel finding it with the crown inside, and Rapunzel giving it to Flynn later on the boat. The game doesn't explain that Flynn stole it, he's a wanted man, why the crown is important, or why Maximus is chasing Flynn.
      • Further, Flynn's real name of Eugene is mentioned, but never explained as the scene that explained it was also cut. The final scene of Corona tells us he did reveal his name, but the situation that pushed him to reveal it to Rapunzel couldn't happen anymore leaving it up in the air as to when it happened. All of the characters take it without question that Flynn's real name is Eugene.
    • The game leaves out a major chunk of Frozen's plot, which includes almost anything related to Hans. He just appears near the end without explanation to provide an excuse for a boss fight.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • Three important scenes are entirely removed from Tangled, creating some continuity issues:
      • The Canyon Chase into the Overnight Camp is cut, resulting in two plot holes. One, Rapunzel's Magic Healing Hair is never mentioned in the plot until Sora reaches the climax. This also means Flynn doesn't know about it until the plot needs him to. Two, Mother Gothel never shows up to sing her Reprise and give Rapunzel the crown. Instead, Rapunzel inexplicably has it for the climax despite an earlier scene showing Gothel finding it like in the film.
      • The Snuggly Duckling is excised (except a small easter egg in the Marsh Area). This is important because the Snuggly Duckling Crew is how Flynn escapes his imprisonment before the climax. Instead, Marluxia inexplicably puts Sora to sleep and he doesn't wake up until Flynn is riding out of Corona for the climax, while Marluxia interferes no further. It's never explained how Flynn broke out of prison.
      • The Stabbington Brothers are completely Adapted Out, meaning Flynn has no reason to leave the boat as soon as Rapunzel hands him the crown. Marluxia takes over their duties in confronting Rapunzel, but the original hole still stands.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Inverted in regards to Joshamee Gibbs. After being conspicuously missing from the cast of Port Royal in II, he makes his debut here. Same goes for Tia Dalma, especially considering Dead Man's Chest, where she was introduced, was cut from adaptation. However, Bootstrap Bill and the rest of Davy Jones's crew are missing. Sao Feng is also absent, given he was an Advertised Extra in the film, and the Brethren Court are only mentioned in passing and make background appearances as generic ships in the pirates' fleet.
    • The musical sequences in the Tangled world are removed entirely with the exception of the final "Healing Incantation". The Stabbington brothers' roles are largely filled by Marluxia and his Nobodies. It ends up not explaining some parts of the story, like why Flynn left the boat that he and Rapunzel were in.
    • In the Frozen world, the smash hit "Let It Go" is the only musical sequence left intact. After all, it was too iconic not to include. For "Do You Want to Build a Snowman", only the childhood sequence was shown in a flashback and Anna sings the last part of the song to Sora. No other song appears in the game. In addition, the plot point regarding Arendelle's closed gates goes completely unmentioned, which downplays the significance of Elsa's coronation in this game as well as glossing over the reason why Anna is so excited during her explanation.
  • Adorable Abomination: This game introduces a family of Heartless called the Flantastic Seven. They are friendly flan-shaped Heartless with yellow custard bodies, brown caramel hair, and a crown adorned with one of seven fruits. Summoning them with the "Boinnng!" Command allows you to take on their minigame challenges for a chance to earn exclusive Ingredients; find them all and get an Orichalcum+.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite being on the box cover, Naminé only appears during a completely optional scene in the Final World and an unspoken part during the epilogue.
  • Afterlife Antechamber: The Final World. Normally, people who die are gone forever, but if they end up in this place, that means something or someone is clinging to them, refusing to let them go. Sora enters this world after the disastrous first attempt at clashing with the Organization in the Keyblade Graveyard because Kairi tethers him to the living world.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Sora and co. spend some time running through the air vents in a toy store. While the vents don't look nearly big enough for a human, there's plenty of room for five living action figures.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Most members of the Seekers of Darkness get a surprisingly candid moment with Sora and his friends once defeated. Even Ansem and Xemnas, the Big Bads of the previous numbered entries, are portrayed in a sympathetic light. The only unrepentant villains are the second Riku Replica, Xigbar, Vanitas, Terra-Xehanort, and Young Xehanort.
    • At the game's ending, Master Xehanort gets this too. He's revealed to still remember to some degree his original Well-Intentioned Extremist plans hinted at in Birth by Sleep, before the darkness in his heart caused Motive Decay to the point of him becoming basically a Card-Carrying Villain. Despite all the atrocities he and his selves made many characters go through, defeating him alters the perspective on him somewhat. He's portrayed in the end as someone who meant well but lost sight of how the ends don't always justify the means, and goes out relatively happily and peacefully with his best friend as a Graceful Loser.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The "Secret Report" text items give explanations for various character motivations not fully touched on in the game. Like how Roxas got a replica body, the backstory of the girl everyone from Radiant Garden keeps talking about known as Subject X, and what Xigbar was actually after this whole time.
    • The game proper never reveals the name of Lea's Keyblade. The Ultimania dubs it Flame Liberator.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: Occurs somewhat early on in the endgame, where Sora must fall through darkness-covered portals, each leading to an area of the different worlds, in order to chase down the Lich and get his friends' hearts back.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • The Nano Gear Keyblade transformation uses microbots to simulate the transformations of all previous Keyblades, making it a combination sword/claws/hammer/flag/yo-yo/etc.
    • As with Final Form before it, Ultimate Form combines the best attributes of most other forms Sora has available: radial guarding, enhanced reprisals, and all survival passives from Guardian Form; gliding from Blitz Form; full-ranged spells and MP Hastera from Element Form; Combo Master from Strike Form; and teleportation and rapid multi-hit combos from Rage Form.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • The game doesn't elaborate much on the mechanics of Braig/Xigbar being a vessel of Luxu, besides some vague Body Surfing or Born-Again Immortality shenanigans. This could mean that Braig/Xigbar is either just an identity Luxu came up with, or that there was an actual person called Braig that Luxu started possessing at some point.
    • Whatever happens to Sora after the final boss is defeated, he uses the power of waking to restore Kairi, and he apparently vanishes after reappearing on Destiny Islands is never explained, though the Secret Ending implies there's an explanation forthcoming in later installments.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The toys in Galaxy Toys are stated to be self-aware just like any other toy, but they have no control over their actions.
    • Implied to be the case for Terra, who is stuck in the form of Terranort's Heartless Guardian and requires to take off the bindings on his face in order to speak.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • Riku is playable three times. Two of them, he's in the Realm of Darkness while fighting the Demon Tower. The second of these battles also has the Demon Tower assisted by Anti-Aqua.
    • Aqua is playable in one boss fight in Land of Departure. Aqua battles against Vanitas in order to protect a sleeping Ventus. She even uses her magic to block Sora, Donald, and Goofy from interfering.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The epilogue shows that the story is far from over. It turns out that Braig, the human counterpart of Xigbar, is actually Luxu, the lost apprentice of the Master of Masters, and the entire story so far may or may not be part of his diabolical plan. Whatever the case, he's got Xehanort's Keyblade (which was his to begin with) and he's called the Lost Masters into the present day. Plus, after all that, it's still not explained what's in the Black Box from the Master of Masters. Sora, meanwhile, awakens from the aftermath of his sacrifice in Shibuya, home of the Reaper's Game, while Riku awakens in Shinjuku, where Verum Rex turns out to be not so fictional after all.
  • Animation Bump:
    • Any time a cutscene is cloned from the original film, the characters also move with the original, movie-quality animation.
    • The "Let It Go" scene in Arendelle and the scene where Aqua transforms Castle Oblivion back into the Land of Departure are notably full-motion video files instead of in-engine renders, something reserved for openings and endings in previous games.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In the Caribbean, Sora can use Flowchain to go back to the helm of the Leviathan quickly, so you don't waste time climbing the ship to reach it. This Flowchain also has a much longer range than other similar commands do.
    • The final Gummi Ship area is a huge metallic labyrinth with multiple twists and turns. Throughout the labyrinth, there are several Prize bundles that form arrows to let you know which way to go. The game also arbitrarily adds checkpoints throughout the level, which is not done for any other Gummi Ship stage.
    • After taking a picture of a Lucky Emblem, you don't have to keep the image saved to the Gummiphone for it to count. The game saves the images taken of them in a separate tab.
    • In addition to the previous options to retry the battle you died in or reload from a save point, you can now reload to the last autosave (usually shortly before the battle), or retry the battle after an opportunity to open the pause menu to change your equipment.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted. Unlike Kingdom Hearts I and II, there is no restriction on how many party members you are allowed to have active. The Kingdom of Corona, the Toy Box, and Monstropolis all have two Guest Star Party Members each, bringing the total party count to five.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Despite witnessing several instances of obviously supernatural events, Buzz refuses to believe that the Toy Box has been split into two worlds. Woody even points out that the concept is no more absurd than evil emperors and protecting the galaxy, which Buzz concedes.
    • Donald, a magical talking duck who's seen all sorts of wondrous people and creatures during the series, refuses to believe Sora's claim of witnessing a talking snowman at face value, even though he himself was a talking snowman in II.
  • Arc Villain: Each world is menaced by a different incarnation of Xehanort on the way to the final battle. Xigbar appears in Olympus, Ansem and Xemnas appear in Twilight Town, Young Xehanort appears in the Toy Box, Marluxia appears in the Kingdom of Corona, Vanitas appears in Monstropolis, Larxene appears in Arendelle, Luxord appears in the Caribbean, and a version of Riku appears in San Fransokyo. Terranort also shows up in the Keyblade Graveyard in order to murder everybody before the final confrontation can even begin, making him a sort of 11th-Hour Ranger version of this.
  • Arc Words:
    • "With all my/our heart". Sora keeps saying it when talking about fighting for his loved ones, and it ends up costing him in the end.
    • "May your heart be your guiding key," following its introduction in X.
    • "There is one sky, one destiny," said by Xehanort as he summons Kingdom Hearts in the sky above Scala ad Caelum, instead of the sky above the Keyblade Graveyard.
    • "It is etched." Maleficent and the Norts use some variety of the phrase when talking about preordained events.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: In the Realm of Darkness, Aqua gives one to Mickey on seeing him again.
    The Dark Prisoner: You left me in this shadow prison for more than a decade, knowing what it would do to me…
  • Art Evolution: A given, since this game is taking advantage of a new generation of consoles. The art style is noticeably different and much more detailed than the older PlayStation 2 in-engine graphics, but is still much more stylized than that era's photorealistic pre-rendered cutscenes.
  • Art Shift: The game features a "Kingdom Shader" system which applies unique shaders to each world to give them their own feel. The most obvious examples appear in the Caribbean, where the party gains a more realistic grit (Donald and Goofy even have visible feathers/fur), and the 100 Acre Wood, where everyone has pastel colors and visible outlines to match the world's storybook aesthetic.
  • Artificial Human: The Replica Program, previously introduced in Chain of Memories, is brought into the spotlight as a major plot device for the entirety of the story. It involves creating an empty, human-like vessel that is completely featureless and is for all intents and purposes a living mannequin. However, if a heart is given to it, the Replica then takes the living form of the heart it was given, essentially making it identical to an actual person. The heroes are keen on using Replicas to bring Naminé and Roxas back into corporeal form, while the villains intend to use the Replicas for themselves as vessels for Xehanort, but Vexen is the only one who can successfully create Replicas as the project's inventor.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In Arendelle, Donald will complain that he's even colder than Sora since he's shorter and doesn't wear pants. Considering that he's covered in feathers, he should be losing much less body heat than Sora.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • The Disney worlds and characters play much more important roles within the plot than in previous games, which usually have them as an excuse to kick Heartless butt. For example, Sora trains with Hercules to regain his powers after the damage to his heart in the last game made him lose most of them. In the Toy Box, Young Xehanort invades because he is trying to find a way to create the Seekers' thirteenth Soul Jar by researching the unique bonds between the hearts of toys and their owners.
    • Ienzo, Zexion's human self, has a big role in the cutscenes. Along with Chip and Dale, he updates Sora with information about his research in Radiant Garden's laboratory and oversees the restoration of Roxas and Naminé through replica bodies.
  • Ascended Meme: Kingdom Hearts 2.9 was a meme created after KH2.8's release, lampshading the number of releases between KH2 and KH3, and then lo, and behold, series creator Tetsuya Nomura put the meme in as a joke title right before you blast off to the tutorial world, Olympus. After clearing the tutorial, the proper title Kingdom Hearts III drops.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Pirate ships in the Caribbean have one or more giant orbs hanging off their sides. Destroying all of the orbs on a ship instantly sinks it, often much more quickly than by depleting their health, encouraging the player to maneuver and try to outflank the enemy ship rather than sit still.
  • Auto-Revive: Moogle Coins will automatically revive Sora whenever he would die. You can only have one in your inventory at any given time, and it's consumed upon use. The Bonus Boss in Re Mind can steal a coin and then use it when they're down to revive back at half of their health.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: On at least three fronts. We have Sora, Donald, and Goofy fighting together for the first time since Kingdom Hearts II, with Sora attempting to gain the power of Waking somehow, Riku teaming up with King Mickey to search for Aqua, and Kairi and Lea training to become proper Keyblade wielders. After Aqua is found, the first group team up with her to find Ventus, after which all nine of them regroup in Mysterious Tower to prepare for the final confrontation against the Seekers of Darkness.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical
    • Ultima-G. It was nerfed from its II incarnation, increasing the Cost to 400 (up from 328), and now only locks onto one target at a time. It will also explicitly target the enemy with the highest HP onscreen and fire six homing shots, which is situationally useful at best in boss fights and outright unhelpful in standard mob fights.
    • The Special+ blueprint gummiships. All three of them look positively awesome, and have costs well in excess of what the player will normally be able to match, but their Power stats are universally deep into the negatives, meaning they do virtually no damage to enemies no matter how many guns they have and may not even be able to break open crystals.
    • The Starlight Keyblade's 'Ancient Light' is easily the most broken Finisher Command in the game short of the Ultima Weapon itself. However, it seldom sees use due to the requirement of filling the Situation Marks two times with Second Form S, which can take time depending on the fight. Starlight itself is also a relatively lackluster Keyblade at the time you get it (without the unlock code from Kingdom Hearts χ), as there are potentially easier and more favorable options directly available at that point.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: When the Big Hero 6 witness Sora, Donald, and Goofy effortlessly plow through Heartless where they themselves have failed, they run them through a VR program in the hopes of studying their moves and incorporating them into their skillset. GoGo learns to fight three-dimensionally and run up walls, Wasabi turns his lasers into projectiles, Honey Lemon incorporates variety in her mode of attack, Fred adds ice to his fire breath, and Baymax adds their fighting techniques to his data.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Hector Barbossa, who was shot dead in Kingdom Hearts II as he was in his original film, has been resurrected just as he was by the third film, which this game adapts.
    • During the final showdown in the Keyblade Graveyard, Sora finds himself in the Final World, essentially the limbo of the Kingdom Hearts universe. He travels through the world to find his body and return to life.
    • Presumably, before the final battle starts, Kairi goes through Sora's ordeal when Master Xehanort shatters her, but is saved by Sora. The character is seen on Destiny Islands during the ending, implying whatever happened to them has been undone.
  • Bad Future: The first visit to Keyblade Graveyard has the heroes being utterly curbstomped by Terra-Xehanort and the army of Heartless/Nobodies. It ends with all seven Guardians of Light torn apart, heart from body, with Sora reaching the skin of death itself as he enters the Final World. After Sora restores everyone's hearts, time is rewound and they go through the same course of events, except this time, they have a fighting chance, thanks to the arrival of the Lingering Will and the ancient Keyblade wielders.
  • Bag of Spilling: Downplayed. Sora lost most of his abilities due to being plunged into darkness in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. To learn how to recover from that, he heads off to Olympus Coliseum to train with Hercules. That said, Sora eventually gets them all back, including some from the non-numbered entries and a lot more, giving him one of the most varied movesets he's ever had. He also starts with the Second Form Formchange, which grants him abilities from Kingdom Hearts II, and Donald and Goofy also start the game with a full arsenal of spells and attacks.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Maleficent asks Hades if he knows of a Black Box left by the Master of Masters that was foretold in the Book of Prophecies. The closest thing he could think of that fits this description is a box Zeus had buried. When they go looking for it, it turns out to actually be Pandora's Box. Amusingly, Maleficent does not think it is important and tells Pete to leave it.
    • At E3, Square Enix revealed a trailer that featured new content but mostly hyped up a new trailer at a D23 panel. When that panel happened, the same trailer was shown with the D23 label still attached, tricking some fans into thinking that they weren't finished with it. Then, a few minutes into the panel, they revealed not one, but two different trailers showcasing worlds based on Hercules and Toy Story.
  • Battle in the Rain: It's raining for part of the Rock Titan fight. The maelstrom battle, adapted from At World's End, is also still set during a raging storm.
  • Beam-O-War: Upon being "defeated" by Xehanort, the power of Sora's bonds with Donald and Goofy are summoned with the "Trinity" Reaction Command, whereupon Sora is brought back from the brink of death. Donald and Goofy team up with Sora to counter Xehanort's attack with their own beam fueled by The Power of Friendship. The two beams clash briefly before Xehanort proves no match.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: The boss battle with the Anti-Aqua ends with Sora managing to free her from the darkness that's corrupted her by knocking her around with his Keyblade.
  • Beef Gate: The Caribbean's storyline is relatively short, but the powerful Heartless fleet patrolling the entrance to the world's final boss is meant to motivate players to explore the various optional islands to level up the Leviathan enough to stand a fighting chance.
  • Belated Happy Ending: The San Fransokyo story undoes Big Hero 6's Bittersweet Ending. After defeating Dark Riku, who retrieved the original Baymax from the void and brainwashed it, Hiro successfully heals his old friend and ends up with two Baymaxes!
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Xigbar seemingly does this after Sora and Riku defeat him in the Keyblade Graveyard, as he teleports to the top of a wall and falls off of it backwards while his weapons disappear shortly after. Turns out in the epilogue that he was faking it.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Master Xehanort is the main antagonist of the game, but Maleficent is also making another, more dangerous bid for power in her search for the Book of Prophecies, which would allow her to become an Invincible Villain.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • When Hayner, Pence, and Olette save Ansem the Wise from Ansem the Seeker of Darkness, several Dusks show up to save Hayner just as he was tossed at a wall and bide them time to escape. Vexen was the one who sent them to save his master and atone for his past misdeeds, with Dusks loyal to him aiding in the betrayal.
    • Before Terra-Xehanort goes for the kill against the Guardians of Light once more, the Lingering Will of Terra arrives to fight him, having been summoned by Naminé from the Final World.
    • The spirit of Ephemer appears to give Sora aid against the massive Demon Tide that forms after Terranort's appearance, sending the fallen Dandelions and the Foreteller Keyblades to strike against the massive tower as Sora steers them into battle and defeats it.
    • When things turn dire at the Keyblade Graveyard, with the seven Guardians of Light being overwhelmed by swarms of Heartless summoned by Riku's second replica, Yen Sid drops from the sky to deal with them, letting Sora and the rest go ahead to fight the Seekers.
    • Another one who gets to drop from the sky at the very last moment is Roxas, before Xemnas attempts to kill Xion.
    • In the boss gauntlet at the Keyblade Graveyard, Terra-Xehanort chains up Aqua, Ventus, and Sora and is about to kill the first two. At the very last moment, the Heartless Guardian catches them, breaks the chains, and reveals himself as Terra, before taking back his body with the help of Sora.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The name of the final world visited, Scala ad Caelum, translates to "Stairway to Heaven".
    • The menu at Le Grand Bistrot has a quote from Ratatouille written on it in French: "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." Also visible are "Don't let anyone put limits on you based on your origins" and "Your only limit is your soul."
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending is very positive, but takes a dip in happiness during the last few scenes. Many of the main trios have very upbeat reunions after several games of being torn apart: Roxas, Lea, and Xion return to Twilight Town's clock tower with Isa, Hayner, Pence, and Olette joining them. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy return to Disney Castle to reunite with Minnie, Daisy and Yen Sid. Terra, Aqua, and Ven finally get to properly pay their respects to Eraqus, with the latter reuniting with his Chirithy. Ansem the Wise and his assistants restore Naminé to a proper body as she joins Riku for a trip to Destiny Islands with the other members of the main cast. Kairi does manage to come back after Xehanort sacrifices her, but it comes at a cost; Sora is either seemingly lost or dies in his attempt to bring her back, and the game ends with the two of them sharing one last sunset together — hand-in-hand — before he fades away while Kairi sheds a tear.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Neither Flynn nor Will Turner are shown bleeding when they are fatally wounded. This also goes for Jack Sparrow stabbing Davy Jones' heart, but the actual deed is censored by a Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • The Glacial Fortress is an entirely optional boss, as it can be completely skipped on the way to Arendelle if not actively sought out. It's also a very tough, multi-stage boss with a ton of health.
    • Dark Inferno, a powerful, dual-wielding Heartless with a Badass Scarf. It can be found in the Keyblade Graveyard after Battlegates are unlocked, and Sora must challenge it alone.
    • Just to the west of Sandbar Island in the Caribbean are a group of Heartless Pirate Ships that can teleport in mist. Naturally they are much, much harder then any other enemy ship in the Caribbean.
    • If your Gummi Ship has at least 200 Speed, you can fly into the blue part of the vortex in the center of Misty Stream, which will pit you against the ultimate Gummi Heartless, the Schwartzgeist from Einhänder. It is far more difficult than any other Gummi Heartless in the game, being a Mighty Glacier Damage-Sponge Boss who can chew through even the toughest Gummi Ships in seconds and can stall out the fight with Deflector Shields in addition to its already-beefy defense. Defeating it awards the ultimate Gummi Blueprint, the Golden Highwind.
    • The Omega Machina, another Gummi ship bonus boss. Found by defeating five other weaker Bonus Bosses in the Eclipse Galaxy, the Omega Machina is a beefed-up version of the Colossus Pyramid boss fought earlier in the area. Omega has five different forms, three of which Colossus didn't have, and its attacks get progressively stronger and harder to dodge the more times it changes. Defeating Omega earns, among other rewards, one of the seven Orichalcum+ materials needed for the Infinity +1 Sword.
  • Book-Ends:
    • At the end of Olympus Coliseum, Xigbar is seen watching Maleficent and Pete, who are trying to find the black box, from a distance. In the epilogue, Maleficent and Pete are watching Xigbar, who has the black box in his possession and is speaking with the Foretellers, from a distance.
    • Darkside was a tutorial boss in the first Kingdom Hearts at the start of the Xehanort saga, and now he is the tutorial boss for the end of the Xehanort saga.
    • Scala ad Caelum, the world seen in the opening cutscene where a young Xehanort and Eraqus play their game of chess, is the site of the final battle against Master Xehanort.
    • The last song that plays before the credits is "Simple and Clean" — in particular, the orchestral version. The Xehanort Saga began with this music, and now the song has the honor of ending it.
    • The end of the beginning, and the beginning of the end, for this game both take place in the same place; the Final World, the franchise's Afterlife Antechamber.
    • The concept of the Paoupu fruit was introduced in the original Kingdom Hearts with it popping up here and there. Just before the endgame, Sora and Kairi share one, not only recreating their cave drawing, but with the heavy implication of a Relationship Upgrade. Similarly, both the orginal game and III end with Kairi shedding tears. The differance is in I Kairi's tears were more Tears of Joy, here… not so much.
    • The first secret ending in I was set in a dark city with a mysterious hooded figure watching from a tall building. The final secret ending for III ends with a city at night with a mysterious hooded figure on top of a tall building.
    • Master Xehanort names a Keyblade wielder, Terra, a Keyblade Master as a way to manipulate him in the game he debuts in and implicitly names a Keyblade wielder, Sora, a Keyblade Master as a way to congratulate him in the last game he appears in.
    • The first Nobody Sora fought in the Xehanort saga was Xemnas in I Final Mix, and the final Nobody Sora fights in the Xehanort saga is Xemnas.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Second Form. It is the only Formchange that doesn't change the Keyblade into a different weapon, and Sora's costume is simply recolored to match his Kingdom Hearts II outfit. It does, however, grant him most of his moveset from II, including the old ground and aerial combo finishers, and Sora can use his old Limits as Finish commands based on how many times he maxes out the Situation Marks.
    • If you're in need of Synthesis materials, one option to farm for them is to simply fly into space in your Gummi Ship and start blowing up rocks. Random asteroids have a decent material drop rate alongside your standard Gummi Blocks and HP Prizes, and you can get quite a few Keyblade upgrade materials this way, including Flourite, Damascus, and Adamantite.
    • Airstepping is a mechanic tied to the Shotlocks that, instead of the cooler-looking Shotlock, is merely a Flash Step that zips you to the target (whether it be an object or enemy). That said, it has nearly limitless range (can airstep from end to end in San Fransokyo, one of the largest worlds in the game), is great at closing the gap for combos, can be used an unlimited number of times (since it doesn't deplete the Focus gauge), and is generally considered leagues more useful than Shotlocks by skilled players.
    • This game lets you keep Tier 1 Magic even after getting its upgrades. Tier 1 Magic is cheap to cast, does fair damage on its own, and is as good as any of its upgraded versions for inducing certain effects in enemies.
    • Once you get Second Chance and Withstand Combo, Life Drain Shotlocks become this in fights where it matters. They aren't terribly powerful or flashy, but they heal Sora while taking Focus as a resource instead of MP, and with Second Chance and Withstand Combo, the only hit point that matters is the last one.
  • Boss Bonanza: The Keyblade Graveyard consists of a series of fights against multiple Organization members at once. It's not quite a Boss-Only Level since there's a few battles with hordes of Heartless and Nobodies, but it comes pretty close. It culminates in the final duel with Master Xehanort, who is a Sequential Boss.
  • Boss-Only Level: The last world, Scala ad Caelum, the world inside Kingdom Hearts itself. It features multiple boss battles all in a row culminating in the final boss, with the only place not spent fighting being a small dock featuring a save point as the Point of No Return.
  • Boss Rush: While the above-referenced climactic battle against the Seekers gives the player a chance to save and heal between batches of fights, the final set of boss battles in Scala ad Caelum does not. After the final save point, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are made to face off against Xehanort's replicas at once, immediately followed by Armored Xehanort, and finally Master Xehanort wielding the χ-blade.
  • Bowdlerization: As in II, the Pirates of the Caribbean level is subject to a lot of this. For example, the pirate hanging nook outside Port Royal remains, but with the corpses removed, and the sign saying "pirates, ye be warned" left blank. It's a bit inconsistent, as there is mention of death, but Jack specifically says that the others had tried to "annihilate" him in the past, rather than kill him, seemingly just to make them not look quite as bad. The classic pirate's song also went from "drink up, me hearties, yo ho!" to "look out, me hearties, yo ho!" This was somewhat appropriate, as the lyrics changed to a retelling of the story of Dead Man's Chest and a warning about the evils involved in it.
  • Bowled Over: Sora can grab Mike and roll him like a bowling ball at a group of Heartless, complete with a strike sound effect. In the Monsters Inc. reveal trailer, this is towards a group of Heartless lined up in ten-pin formation and in the actual game, this happens as a result of Mike's and Sulley's Situation Command setting up the enemies into pin formation with the initial roar, although this is only really obvious in plot-based battles where you need to use it to end the battle and the enemies spawn infinitely.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The blueprint for the Golden Highwind, the best Gummi ship in the game, is only obtained after defeating the hardest Gummi ship fight in the game as a Bonus Boss. While there's a few other things to do with Gummi ships in the post-game besides that, all of them are trivial compared to defeating that boss.
  • Breather Episode: Much like in past entries in the series, the 100 Hundred Acres Woods is this. Perhaps even more so since the world is actually considerably smaller than past installments, taking place entirely at Rabbits house and only involves three short mini games. The detour served as a reminder for Sora that even though past bonds may weaken overtime, they can still be recreated.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the game, Goofy claims Yen Sid bids everyone a farewell with "May your hearts be your guiding key" before sending them on a mission, though Sora and Donald never noticed. When they return to the Mysterious Tower, they discover he does indeed. Under his breath.
  • Broad Strokes: The Hercules world. Previous games heavily implied that the events of the Disney film had already happened, as Hercules had learned what it meant to be a true hero and could summon his godly abilities, and the Rock Titan and the Ice Titan were bosses in the first game. Here, however, the climax of the film serves as the events of the world, with Hades releasing the Titans from their prison to attack Mount Olympus. The narrator even notes that Sora had fought some of them before, but doesn't explain how he was able to do so if the Titans were sealed away all this time.
  • Bullet Time: Certain worlds (namely San Fransokyo and Arendelle) have environmental objects that Sora can slide behind with a Reaction Command to take cover. When behind cover, Sora can then use the Cover Fire Command to slide out in slow motion and fire magic bullets at enemies.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The true Ice Titan returns after appearing as a bonus boss in the first game, and after Hades employed a weaker copy of it in Birth by Sleep.
    • Marluxia, Larxene, Vexen, Demyx, and Luxord have all returned. Also counts as Back from the Dead since the first three died in Chain of Memories and the latter two died in II.
    • Hayner, Pence, and Olette return together with Twilight Town, having last been seen in 358/2 Days.
    • Ariel and Simba return as summonable "Link" characters after making their last appearances in Kingdom Hearts II. The cast of Port Royal also return, namely Jack, Will, Elizabeth, and Barbossa.
    • The extended cast of Hundred Acre Wood returns for the first time since II. Gopher's return is particularly noteworthy, since not only is this is first appearance in Kingdom Hearts since the second game; this is his first real appearance at all in any Pooh media since II, as he has largely been excised from the main Winnie-the-Pooh franchise since the start of the 21st century.
  • Call-Back:
    • Sora mishears Donald saying order as "border."
    • Young Xehanort somehow splits Toy Box into two distinct parallel worlds, each containing half of the original world's inhabitants, much like he previously did to Traverse Town. Unlike before, you only get to explore one of these halves and thus characters like Andy, Andy's Mom, Slinky, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, etc. never appear in the game, though the ending implies the world is restored to normal after Xehanort has been defeated. Similarly, Young Xehanort summons a giant monster from nowhere to deal with the heroes at the end of the world; previously a Nightmare (due to being in the Sleeping Worlds), here a Heartless.
    • At the Keyblade Graveyard, Xehanort is shown walking towards the heroes in the exact same fashion as he did in the secret ending to Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (right down to mirroring his very first appearance in the former by starting off blurry). Later on, he rises up on a stone pillar, which he also did in those. In the endgame, he also is seen relishing the appearance of Kingdom Hearts by clenching his fist and grinning.
    • Just like Mickey did in the climax of DDD, Xehanort uses stopza to freeze all of his enemies but one in place.
    • In 0.2, Terra-Xehanort grabs Terra's face and lifts him up (before Terra ultimately subdues him with chains of light). Here, Terra returns the favour, using the hand of Xehanort's own Guardian.
    • During the one scene in the Land of Departure, when Vanitas is about to kill Aqua, again, the scene is almost exactly like the one in the Keyblade Graveyard, even with Ventus saving her after waking up.
    • The face Sora made when he first met Donald and Goofy is used to make Boo laugh.
    • Once again, Sora promises to thank Naminé and, once again, he fails to keep his word because of something happening to him.
    • As in the Birth by Sleep secret ending, Xehanort says "You sly fox…" when he realizes Eraqus's heart is inside Terra.
    • One of the shots of the ending montage has Riku reaching his hand out to take Naminé's hand the same way he reached out to Sora in the first game.
  • Call-Forward: Buzz is concerned that some of the toys at Galaxy Toys were accidentally switched into battle mode, hence why they are attacking the party, and Xehanort actually does forcibly take control of him for his own methods. This is what befalls him again years later in Toy Story 3, when Lotso switches him to demo mode to convert him into a loyal enforcer to attack Andy's toys.
  • The Cameo:
    • Ultros from Final Fantasy VI and the Endymion from Einhänder appear as Gummi Ship blueprints, while Schwarzgeist, also from Einhander, is a Gummi Ship Bonus Boss.
    • In the Toy Box, Sora is tasked with finding blocks to build a path up to a Dark Corridor hidden in a vent. When the block structure is completed, the blocks light up and turn green, revealing the shape of a Cactuar. The Cactuar block statue tilts over to form its signature pose while the Final Fantasy victory jingle plays, completing the path to the vent.
    • Several iconic Final Fantasy enemies, such as Bombs and Cactuars, appear as constellations.
    • Queen Minnie, Daisy, and Pluto appear during the ending montage welcoming back Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy.
    • Donald's Ditzy Genius uncle Ludwig Von Drake doesn't make a physical appearance, but he is credited on the movie poster that Olette shows Sora as the inventor of sound cartoons.
    • While Naminé is heard speaking to Sora in the Final World, we only see the character in the flesh in the ending.
    • In the ending, Isa also appears for the first time since Coded, and is detailed in some of the secret reports.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Rage Form has access to a special Command called Riskcharge, which halves Sora's HP to power up one tier. Once Riskcharge has been used three times, the Finish Command becomes available immediately.
  • Central Theme:
    • Heartbreak, both figuratively and literally (befitting this series). Many of the Disney worlds have something to do with loss and those in the Organization take great joy in musing about how they can take advantage of broken hearts. This comes to a head multiple times in the finale, with Sora's attachments to his friends putting him at a simultaneous advantage and disadvantage; connections lend him great power, but make him emotionally vulnerable, and this is almost his undoing.
    • Sacrifice. Most of the Disney world plots boil down to someone being saved at tremendous cost: Olympus calls back to II, where Hercules risked his life in a pit of souls to save Meg; in Arendelle, Anna protects Elsa from Hans by jumping in front of his sword; in the Caribbean, Will only holds onto life by linking with the Flying Dutchman, meaning he can only make shore once every ten years. Near the finale, Sora is able to avert the deaths of all the heroes by abusing his power of waking, sentencing him to death in their stead.
  • Challenge Run: PRO Code Mode allows you to make things even harder on yourself by making rules, earning points for defeating certain bosses in the process.
    • Your entire party's stats stay as they are, regardless of level.
    • Your entire party's defense is set to 0, but Defense boosts are still allowed.
    • Your entire party's HP and MP automatically decreases over time.
    • You can't use Shotlock, Cures, Battle Items, or Kupo Coins.
    • You can't use Formchange, Team Attacks, Attractions, or Links.
    • You have a limit of 30 abilities you can place on Sora.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The mysterious city where Young Xehanort and Eraqus play chess is Scala ad Caelum, the site of the final battle.
    • In the Secret Ending, Sora ends up in Shibuya, where the story of The World Ends with You takes place, while Riku ends up in Shinjuku, the apparent setting of the game-within-the-game of Verum Rex.
    • A series-wide one: Replicas were part of the story of Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days, but appeared absolutely nowhere else in the series. Here, they're brought up early on by Riku, and then from that point onward their importance only grows as the story progresses.
    • An example that's obviously a Chekhov's Gun, but never gets fired in the game proper is the card that Luxord hands over to Sora, making it more of a Sequel Hook.
    • One set up in Birth by Sleep that gets its payoff here, nine years later: Eraqus's heart going inside Terra upon his death.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Yozora, the protagonist of the Game Within a Game in the Toy Box, Verum Rex: Beat of Lead, an Affectionate Parody of Final Fantasy XV. He is seen watching over Riku in the Secret Ending.
  • Chess Motifs:
    • Most of the cast in the game are associated with a piece on the younger Xehanort and Eraqus's chess board: the stylized goat on the guard of No Name for Master Xehanort, the Guardian for Ansem SoD, a pair of crossed swords for Xemnas, the split gear from Void Gear's keychain for Vanitas, the hourglass from his keychain for Young Xehanort, the crown from his necklace for Sora, the Heartless symbol without an X from Way to the Dawn's keychain for Riku, the classic Mickey symbol for Mickey Mouse, and so on.
    • In the epilogue, Young Xehanort and Young Eraqus start a new chess game — and use figures based on the Foretellers: a unicorn head for Ira, a bear head for Aced, a leopard head for Gula, a snake head for Invi, a fox head for Ava, the goat on the No Name for Luxu, and the Book of Prophecies insignia for the Master of Masters.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • The Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee (Leon and his friends) don't appear throughout the game, and they aren't mentioned despite numerous cutscenes taking place in Radiant Garden.
    • Eeyore is noticeably absent from the Hundred Acre Wood, possibly due to the passing of his Japanese voice actor, Taro Ishida, in 2013. Owl and Kanga are also missing, though the latter is mentioned in Roo’s journal entry.
  • Climax Boss:
    • The fight between Sora and Anti-Aqua in the Realm of Darkness is a major moment in the game, and is part of the culmination of a larger narrative section beginning in Birth by Sleep.
    • Aqua vs. Vanitas in Castle Oblivion/Land of Departure. This is the event that results in Ventus' awakening.
    • The battle against Terra-Xehanort and Vanitas in the Keyblade Graveyard is this for the Birth by Sleep plotline as a whole. It culminates in The Reveal of who Terra was all along and allows the Ventus-Terra-Aqua trio to finally reunite after years.
    • Vs. Saïx and Xion is this for the 358/2 Days plotline, as it ends with Roxas and Xion returning to the fray and finally reuniting with Lea. It also explores some of Saïx's motives for his actions in that game.
  • Collection Sidequest: After getting the Gummiphone, you are introduced to Lucky Emblems (i.e. Hidden Mickeys) — icons of Mickey's head that are hidden throughout the worlds. You are encouraged to search for and take pictures of them since they grant bonus items, plus finding a certain amount unlocks the secret ending.
  • Co-Dragons: Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort serve as this to Master Xehanort during the game. Young Xehanort performs critical research needed to engineer the Seekers’ search for their last vessel, and is still responsible for the group’s time-traveling antics. Xemnas still manages the day-to-day operations of the vessels like when he led Organization XIII. Ansem is tasked with finding Ansem the Wise and a trail to the mysterious Subject X. In the Keyblade War, Ansem and Xemnas both serve as Master Xehanort’s chief generals in the field, overseeing the lesser members’ fights. Fittingly, the three are the last Seekers of Darkness faced by the Guardians of Light before the final showdown.
  • Colossus Climb: Part of the Rock Titan fight involves scaling the giant elemental so you can smack its face.
  • Combination Attack:
    • Implemented as "Team Attacks", where Sora teams up with his party members to deal flashy attacks. Unlike Limits from II, they cost no MP, instead being Situation Commands generated while in combat.
    • In addition to their Team Attacks, Sora also has a series of "Unison" combo finishers that trigger if Donald or Goofy are nearby when his combo ends that has him teaming up with them for an attack.
    • During the segments where you can play as Riku, you can use a unique Situation Command called "Double Duel" where Riku and Mickey team up to attack with a devastating combo.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The prologue of the Olympus world mentions how Hades was trying to manipulate Terra, Cloud, and Auron.
    • When Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrived at Olympus world, they were supposed to be at the coliseum, but arrived somewhere else. Since Sora was the one who led them, he said he was a little off, again — referring to what happened in Kingdom Hearts II when they arrived at the underworld.
    • Hades isn't pleased to see Maleficent and Pete again. This is due to Maleficent's plan in the original game falling apart spectacularly, and he grew deeply annoyed by the incompetence of Pete, who works on her behalf, in II.
    • Maleficent is on the hunt for the Master of Masters' mysterious black box as part of her deal with Darkness.
    • When Marluxia encounters Sora, Donald, and Goofy in the Kingdom of Corona, none of them remember him since Naminé had wiped their memories of the events in Chain of Memories. Similarly, they don't remember Larxene upon meeting her in Arendelle.
    • When Donald mentions protecting world order, Sora thinks he said "border", just like Goofy did in the original game.
    • When Buzz is dismissing everything Sora is saying as nonsense, Woody reminds Buzz of when he believed he was an actual space ranger. He also references when he was strapped to a rocket when they have to climb the floors of the store.
    • The sign for the yard sale that Andy's mom had and the toolbox where she locked away Woody in Toy Story 2 can be seen in the back of the house.
    • Luxord once again uses "parlay" in order to prevent Sora and his friends from attacking him during negotiations in the Caribbean.
    • While riding the Gummi Ship near the Caribbean, you can find the wreckage of the Pirate Ship Heartless that was a boss fight in the Gummi Ship mission to reach Olympus Coliseum in II.
    • Sora brings up Data Sora's gratitude to Naminé during his meeting with her in the Final World. He says that it doesn't count, so he he will thank her properly.
    • When Naminé was talking to Sora, she mentioned that when she shifted through Sora’s memories she talked to Terra — referencing their conversation from the first breath concert, that led Terra to Aqua in the realm of darkness in 0.2.
  • Cool Gun: One of Sora's Keyblade transformations, Dual Arrowguns, is a pair of these. They can further transform into Magic Launcher.
  • The Corrupter:
    • Continuing his role from Dream Drop Distance, Xemnas urges Sora to give in to the darkness in order to bring Roxas back into existence.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: The entire game is portrayed in the Framing Device as a game of magical Variant Chess between a young Eraqus and Xehanort.
  • Cosmic Deadline: The first 75% of the game is mostly spent on Filler Disney world plots; there are several intermittent cutscenes addressing overarching plot concerns (e.g. Sora's quest for the Power of Waking, Riku and Mickey's search for Aqua, Kairi and Lea training), but these only make up a fragment of the running time. Ironically, the Original Generation worlds, where the plot occurs, are abridged, impossible to visit in gameplay, or cut entirely; additionally, the few interactions Sora has with the Seekers before the endgame are mostly a handful of lines full of Arc Words and little else. Complete all nine main Disney worldsnote  (well over 15 hours into the game) and suddenly you're in the Realm of Darkness fighting Anti-Aqua, Ventus is recovered, Sora and Kairi sort of hook up, the Seekers of Darkness are defeated, the Sea Salt and Wayfinder Trios are reunited, Master Xehanort shatters Kairi and is defeated, and Sora sacrifices himself to save her, all in a 5-hour period where the plot suddenly moves at breakneck speed.
  • Counter Attack: In addition to the usual Reprisal Abilities, the Counter Shield and Frying Pan Formchanges have the ability to stock power if they block an attack, up to two times. Using the Attack Command while you have stocked power unleashes a powerful counter move.
  • Covers Always Lie: The game does not feature Darkling Heartless, despite what the cover shows. Also, unlike I showing Traverse Town and II emulating the Organization's throne room, the cover's specific city scenario is nowhere to be found either.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Radiant Garden in the past from Saïx's Secret Report sounds like this:
    That castle was a wonderland to us children. Within its walls, Ansem the Wise conducted his research, and the fruits it bore allowed everyone outside to live in peace and happiness. That alone was enough to stoke our interest, though not all of the rumors that escaped its walls were so benevolent. There was a talk of dangerous human experimentation. Lea and I couldn't help but hatch a plot to steal inside and sate our curiosity.
  • Creepy Child: As per usual with Xehanort, his younger self behaves like this in his flashbacks with Young Eraqus playing chess. This is actually ultimately subverted; later flashback scenes with the two ultimately portray him as Adorkable and a far cry from the sociopathic time-traveling version of Young Xehanort (not to mention all of his future selves) we actually encounter throughout the series in-game. He is genuine friends with Eraqus, and this is long before he becomes a Fallen Hero.
  • Creepy Doll: Angelic Amber, a large doll in Elegant Gothic Lolita fashion, is a boss in the Toy Box. She has a creepy, unblinking expression and doesn't speak in stark contrast to the friendly toys, and moves with Marionette Motion.
  • Crutch Character: Attractions are the game mechanic version of this in much the same way using Flowmotion as an offensive tool was in 3D. Between early and midgame, Attractions are basically a route to free damage and decimating everything in the area, as they are completely unmatched in strength and coverage when compared to what you're capable of at that point. Once you break through midgame, Attractions suffer Power Creep and become relatively slow and clunky for the damage they give compared to conventional combat.
  • Cry into Chest: Xion and Roxas break down crying into Axel's chest after a taxing boss battle; they weren't expecting to ever see each other, and Axel had even had his memories of Xion entirely erased. Hard to blame them after all that they went through.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: The Seekers of Darkness gets hit with this surprisingly often:
    • Vanitas, a being of pure darkness who is powered up by negative emotions like fear, gets scared by Sulley and drops his weapon, who proceeds to overwhelm and throw him into one of the door portals, then throwing said portal into another portal and so on until he and Mike decide to grind the last one down. Vanitas could've easily gotten back through the Corridors of Darkness, but he decided not to return.
    • Luxord's plans are foiled by Jack's bad breath, causing him to fall overboard from the stench.
    • Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, can't get arsed to kick Pence's ass with dark magic or his Guardian, so he just stands there stuttering and telling the boy to get lost, allowing Olette to sneak up on him and take Ansem the Wise away from his clutches. At the very least, he manages to stop Hayner's drop kick.
    • The heroes suffer through this a lot as well. Aqua thinks that she can take Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, in the Realm of Darkness without magic or her Keyblade, for rather unclear reasons. Then there's the part in the Land of Departure where she tries to protect Ven from Vanitas' attack by Taking the Bullet, instead of using Reflect or some other form of defensive magic, like the barrier she conjures herself to fight Vanitas within.
    • The whole cutscene at the Keyblade Graveyard against Terra-Xehanort is a massive case of this. All the Guardians of Light are hit hard by The Worf Effect, as an enemy that Aqua alone was able to keep up with makes short work of them. Lea and Ventus are thrown around like ragdolls and knocked out in one hit, Aqua spends a full five seconds processing what happened to Ventus and doesn't even attempt to attack Terra-Xehanort when he's showing his back to her, Kairi watches helplessly as a Keyblade descends upon her, and Sora decides to hug her into an attempt to take the bullet instead of pulling both himself and her out of danger, all while Mickey and Riku just uselessly stand around watching. It really says something that Donald and Goofy are the most proactive characters in this sequence, both managing to subvert this into Cutscene Power to the Max.
    • Kairi keeps suffering from this later. Xemnas is able to easily incapacitate and capture her by just holding onto her Standard Female Grab Area, which is rather ridiculous considering Kairi is now a Keyblade wielder and was able to struggle more when she got herself captured in the same manner by Axel in II.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Sora and Riku use their Nightmare's End/Mirage Split Reality Shift Combination Attack from Dream Drop Distance to destroy a Demon Tower. This is the only instance of Reality Shifts being used at any point in the game.
    • Donald and Goofy at the Keyblade Graveyard. Goofy is successfully able to block one of Terra-Xehanort's Keyblade swings, something Lea was unable to do since he was just completely overpowered by Terra's alter-ego when he attempted to block him. And then we have Donald pulling a never-before-seen ultimate magic spell (specifically, Zettaflare) that just flat out annihilates Terra-Xehanort in one go, even if at the expense of his stamina.
    • While in Arendelle, Larxene displays the ability to build a dungeon out of ice with her lightning as well as control wind, and at one point even briefly stops time so she can monologue to Sora, abilities she's never shown having in previous games or in her boss fight later on.
    • Marluxia pulls a convenient power from his ass while in the Kingdom of Corona too, not unlike Larxene. He is able to easily put Sora and his friends into sleep with a wave of his hand. This is never used again outside this particular cutscene.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Certain keyblade transformations change how your magic works. Transformations like the Quick Claws have Sora cast all magic as an Ao E around him similar to how Fire worked in Kingdom Hearts 2. Unless you remember what transformations have this effect on magic, it's very possible that you can end up trying to cast a Fire spell to hit a distant enemy and instead just hitting the area right around you with fire.
    • Second Form, the Kingdom Key’s formchange, grants players access to two series-staple moves, Sonic Blade and Ars Arcanum, as finishers. As they have before, these moves require timed button inputs to use fully. But, while in older games the input was triangle, here it’s X, meaning series veterans may find themselves accidentally cancelling those moves as soon as they begin.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • While the Power of Waking in and of itself is not implicitly dangerous, Young Xehanort repeatedly warns Sora that overuse of the power can have potentially disastrous consequences for him. This is exactly what happens to Sora in the ending, where Sora uses the Power of Waking to bring back Kairi, but seemingly disappears as a result.
    • Donald obliterates Terra-Xehanort with Zettaflare in the Keyblade Graveyard. The effort knocks him out cold, which is a bad thing considering the circumstances. Goofy did try to stop him...
  • Darker and Edgier: The game is overall more solemn in tone than its predecessors due to the main focus being saving lost hearts and preventing an apocalypse at Xehanort's hands. This also extends to the Disney worlds, as many of them adapt the darker moments from their source material, with Sora, Donald, and Goofy having to bear witness to the Disney Deaths of Eugene, Anna, and Will Turner, and learn of the fate of Tadashi.
  • Darkest Hour: The first visit to Keyblade Graveyard. Everyone is defeated by Terra-Xehanort, who then summons an army of Heartless and Nobodies to obliterate and send the group to the world of dreams. Sora himself is on the brink of death; he only survives because Kairi is barely holding him back. Notably, Sora, the eternal optimist, is reduced to a broken, sobbing mess.
  • Daylight Horror:
    • The death scenes of various XIII Seeker members seem to imply the showdown at the Keyblade Graveyard is taking place in broad daylight, despite most other scenes showing a cloudy, twilight sky as it was in Birth By Sleep (prior to nightfall during the final confrontation).
    • Scala Ad Caelum is a beautiful, bright and sunny world, and this weather persists during the first phase of the final boss gauntlet, against a bunch of creepy Humanoid Abominations. The later phases turn the battlefield into Scenery Gorn, though.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: After constantly having The Power of Friendship as a big theme, this game tears Sora's reliance on it apart during the climax. Xigbar remarks that Sora attributes too much of his strength to his friends, and during the first visit to the Keyblade Graveyard, he's proven right; when all of his friends are seemingly killed by a Heartless swarm, Sora breaks down hard, sobbing that since all of his strength came from his friends, he's worthless on his own. That being said, the story immediately and quite effectively manages to bring things full-circle back by having Sora, through the connections he's forged for so long and deeply, quickly bounce back from his breakdown in order to rescue his friends from what seemed to be certain death, before returning back in time with everyone in order to make things right. This Reconstruction shines the most in the Final Battle, where even though Master Xehanort succeeds in obtaining the χ-Blade, the key to Kingdom Hearts itself, he still gets overpowered by the strength of the bonds of Sora, Donald, and Goofy.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Using Classic Tone's Shotlock or its Finish Command after Formchange places a monochrome visual filter over the screen not unlike Timeless River in II.
  • Degraded Boss: Inverted. Some of the Nobodies, such as the Sorcerer, from II that were Elite Mooks but Mooks nonetheless are upgraded to boss status in several of the postgame Battlegates.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • The Marionette Heartless can possess nearby toys to attack the heroes; when a toy is being possessed, the Heartless insignia appears somewhere on its body. The toys themselves are not classified as Heartless, however. One Marionette sneaks up on Buzz and manages to possess him by exploiting the doubt and fear festering in his heart.
    • Baymax's original body that was lost in the other dimension has been taken over by the Heartless, along with all the microbots, which replace his missing arm. Eventually, it is excised and the city gets two Baymax to defend it.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Ansem and Xemnas, the main antagonists of I and II respectively, have been serving as Co-Dragons to Master Xehanort since Dream Drop Distance, and continue in this role alongside Young Xehanort.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed that characters from Final Fantasy and other Square Enix franchise won't play as large a role in the plot as they did in other games. This is because the concept of a video game crossover is no longer as novel as it was in 2002 and because the original characters and story of the series have become popular and developed enough to stand on their own without needing Final Fantasy to support it. He has later mentioned that if support by fans for it is strong enough, he will make sure to include it in future games.
    • This becomes the fate of Naminé, who only has a few speaking lines and doesn't return as herself until the very end of the game.
    • Anna and Elsa, the main characters in Frozen, only appear to interact with Sora exactly once before they are relegated as background characters as the plot goes on like the movie without Sora's further input.
    • Hans, the villain of Frozen, only makes a few minor appearances in Arendelle with no speaking lines.
    • Neither Dilan nor Aeleus (the human forms of Xaldin and Lexaeus) have any spoken dialogue in the game, and appear in only a handful of cutscenes between them — a sharp contrast to the other previous members of the former Organization XIII, who all play a major role in the story of this game.
    • Twilight Town in all of its previous appearances was given significant background and serves as a major setting due to how interwoven the location is with Roxas' story. In this game, the explorable region of the world has been scaled back to just the downtown region, a new Absurdly Spacious Sewer, and the region outside the Old Mansion. You are only required to visit the locale for 30 minutes, after which you never have to go back ever again.
    • The entirety of 100 Acre Wood as well, compared to the previous main, numbered Kingdom Hearts titles. Once unlocked, the entirety of its story consists of helping Rabbit harvest plants in a few varieties of the same minigame, and talking about how Sora was starting to fade from Pooh's heart due to his absence. The entire world can be completed in around a half hour or so, counting the cutscenes.
  • Ability-wise, Strike Raid is this, compared to all of Sora's other prominent moves from previous games that can be pulled off. Barring Formchange moves that are Raid-like in execution, the only Strike Raid-type attack Sora can do his base or Second Forms is the Payback Raid-like move during one of his Risk Dodges.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Kairi vs. Xion in the Keyblade Graveyard. Their movesets are somewhat similar too, but the enemy is capable of mimicking Saïx's weapon and moves as well.
  • Desperation Attack: Rage Form functions this way. It only appears when Sora takes massive damage in a short amount of time, and while it completely heals him when activated, it requires Sora cutting his health in half to power it up.
  • Deus ex Machina: After being overpowered multiple times by legions of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed in the Keyblade Graveyard, Master Yen Sid appears and creates an opening for the nine to escape.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Compared to previous games, some of the exclusive Disney party members are allowed a few hits in with the game's Big-Bad Ensemble.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The Keyblade Graveyard, which is indeed the site of the clash between the Guardians of Light and the Seekers of Darkness to forge the χ-blade, but the final battle against Xehanort takes place elsewhere.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Pre-Order bonus Keyblades, each of which grant a 25% damage bonus in a specific Spell Element and that Spell's "-ga" tier Spell as a Grand Magic Situation Command. Because you can start the game with these Keyblades, you can trivialize early-game fights by having access to a Magic tier far greater than you are meant to have access to at that point in the game.
    • In similar fashion, you can pick up the Water Cufflink from Olympus, the first world of the game, within less than an hour or two of starting the game. The Water Cufflink upgrades your Water spell's Grand Magic to Waterza even if you don't have access to it by normal means, a gigantic AoE spell that will easily one-shot most enemies early on. Other versions of this accessory are available remarkably early as well, such as the Aero Cufflink from the Kingdom of Corona.
    • Special Gummi Blueprints (not the ones that you can buy from Huey) are generally much better than anything you can build yourself until endgame, since they are usable even if they are over Cost limit and don't even require you to have the correct blocks to build them. Custom Blueprints can only begin to compete with endgame Special Blueprints at around close to max level, when your Cost reaches a high enough point to give you lots of wiggle room for customization.
  • Disney Death:
    • Downplayed when Master Xehanort shatters Kairi to complete the χ-Blade. Sora resurrects her not long after Xehanort is killed, albeit with a Heroic Sacrifice on his part.
    • While not elaborated on during the Final World, Xion comes back to make a brief stint as a Seeker of Darkness before joining the heroes, despite her heart being inside of Sora at the time.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted when Xigbar jumps off a wall in the labyrinth after he is defeated for the last time. The epilogue reveals that he survived the fall, no worse for wear, though he most likely teleported away, since he can manipulate space.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect:
    • As opposed to Birth By Sleep, where not getting Max Lock on a Shotlock simply produces a weaker Shotlock, Sora's Shotlocks transform into new Shotlocks if he achieves Max Lock. Some of the non-Max Shotlocks are useful in their own right (like allowing Sora to Life Drain enemies), so it's not necessarily the superior option to get Max Lock.
    • Due to how Gummi Ship scoring works, it's actually more reliable to draw out the fight against Schwarzgeist to get an A Rank as opposed to killing it as fast as possible. While your Score Multiplier decreases as more time passes, any Bonuses you get give flat score increases that aren't affected by the multiplier. Since this boss spawns an indefinite amount of Deflector Shields periodically until it dies, the "easiest" route for an A Rank is to simply wait out the boss and shoot its shield units until you hit the requisite 1,000,000 points for the A Rank.
  • Double Meaning: Xigbar's last words after Sora and Riku defeat him in the Keyblade Graveyard, in light of what is revealed in the Secret Reports and the Epilogue.
    Xigbar: Figures. If I had a Keyblade, it'd be different...
    Sora: Like you're actually worthy to use one.
    Xigbar: Oh, I am worthy.
    Sora: Whaddaya mean?
    Xigbar: The old coot promised to bequeath me his. Why else do you think I would ever put up with all this nonsense?
    Riku: It'd be wasted on you.
    Xigbar: As if.
  • Downloadable Content:
    • Playing enough Classic Kingdom in Kingdom Hearts χ grants a code to acquire Starlight (the default Keyblade in χ) at the start of the game. Starlight is normally not obtained until towards the end of the game. It gave Second Form S and MP Haste.
    • The epilogue and the secret movies are not on the initial electronic downloads or the Blu-ray disc physical releases, and are intentionally only provided as downloadable patches to prevent spoilers from leaking out in case someone stole some discs (which actually happened).
    • A free update added the Critical Mode difficulty and a New Game+ option that carries over your Keyblades, selfie poses, and certain items.
    • Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind is a full expansion along the lines of Final Mix, with new story content unlocked after completing the base game, followed by a Limitcut Episode and Secret Episode with that feature a combined total of 14 Bonus Bosses. A free simultaneous update also allows players to acquire the Oathkeeper and Oblivion Keyblades.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Xigbar, who turns out to be Luxu, the sixth apprentice of The Master of Masters, and the entire story of all the games thus far has been him pulling the strings and completing his assigned role. And he hasn't even opened the box yet.
  • Drop the Hammer: Both the Favorite Deputy and Classic Tone Keyblades grant a hammer transformation after the first Formchange.
  • Dual Boss: The battles against the Organization in the Keyblade Graveyard consist of two or three members facing Sora and one or two other Guardians of Light, all at once. There are actually two sets where you are allowed to choose one of two different Boss Battles to tackle first, leaving the other to deal with right after.
    • The first round consists of either Luxord, Marluxia, and Larxene or Xigbar and Dark Riku.
    • Round two pits you against either Saïx and Xion or Terra-Xehanort and Vanitas.
    • Finally, the final fight before Master Xehanort himself has you face off against the most prominent incarnations of the Big Bad — Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • Several Keyblade transformations split the weapon in two, giving Sora more coverage and longer combo strings.
    • If Sora is in Light Form (with Oathkeeper) or Dark Form (with Oblivion), he can upgrade to a second Formchange called Double Form (Double Form OKB/Double Form OBV depending on the weapon), which allows him to dual wield Oathkeeper and Oblivion simultaneously a la Roxas.
  • Due to the Dead: Terra, Aqua, and Ventus pay their respects at Eraqus's grave in the ending.
  • Dub Induced Plothole: Japanese dialogue clarifies that Master Xehanort's goal was not to create a world of only light as implied by the English dialogue, but rather an empty, blank slate world where he would rule with an iron fist so that no one would be free to use darkness and thus be corrupted by it. It doesn't quite avert Motive Decay (as he seemingly still hates darkness despite hypocritically using its corruptive powers everywhere), but it's slightly more in-line with Xehanort's villainy, since it paints him as a misguided tyrant instead of just misguided.
  • Dummied Out: Through the use of save-editing, it is possible to activate an unreleased Critical Mode difficulty whose data is mostly implemented.
    • Averted as of patch 1.04, which adds a fully implemented Critical Mode.

    Tropes E-H 
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Meta-level. The Demon Tide appeared in the target render reveal trailer before being officially introduced in 0.2.
    • Another meta-level example: In Galaxy Toys, you can come across the Battlesaurs toyline, meaning Woody, Buzz, and Rex encounter them years before they would officially meet them in the original canon timeline in Toy Story That Time Forgot.
  • Easily Forgiven: After his lengthy history of causing Fates Worse than Death and invoking Kick the Dog (even reacting to it with But for Me, It Was Tuesday in Dream Drop Distance), Master Xehanort's final fate is being Easily Forgiven and getting to Go into the Light with Eraqus — just for turning out to subvert Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist after all.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Downplayed. Unlike previous series entries, you can see the secret ending if playing on Beginner Mode. However, the requirements are still the steepest on Beginner Mode since you have to find all 90 Lucky Emblems. Patch 1.0.9 adds a stronger example, as beating the game on Critical Mode is required to earn the Oblivion Keyblade, but it can be carried over to any other difficulty on New Game+.
  • Easter Egg:
    • The Pizza Planet delivery van can be seen in the Galaxy Toys parking lot if you return to the entrance of the area. The van is not normally visible upon entering the area otherwise.
    • If you challenge Schwarzgeist while using the Endymion Gummi Ship Blueprint, the original version of "Thermosphere" from Einhänder plays instead of the new arranged version of the theme.
  • Edible Ammunition: Hunny Spout's Keyblade transformations — Hunny Blasters and Hunny Launcher — fire globs of honey as ammunition.
  • Effortless Achievement: The achievement "A New Journey" is obtained just by booting up the game and letting the first cutscene play.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Angelic Amber, a Heartless-possessed doll that Sora and co. fight in the Toy Box level.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The Links for Ariel, Simba, and Stitch take the form of elemental avatars. Ariel has an aquatic avatar, while Simba has a fire avatar and Stitch a lightning one.
  • Elemental Powers: A series staple. Unlike previous main entries, most elemental spells take similar base forms to one another, but adapt their form dependent on the Keyblade transformation being used; for instance, casting spells during a dual pistol or yo-yo transformation will cause Sora to volley multiple elemental bullets at once, casting during a launcher or spear transformation will fire one large explosive missile, while casting during a hammer or claw transformation will cause the spells to become point-blank orbital attacks (similar to KH2's Fire).
    • As in KH1, Fire lobs a projectile that homes on the target and detonates on contact with an enemy, burning nearby foes as well. Fire spells also have the lowest MP cost of each spell rank and the fastest cast-times in Sora's arsenal, making them effective for chain-casting to reach their Grand Magic equivalents, but have some of the smallest area-effect as a result, making them a better choice against single (or tightly-grouped) enemies. These spells tend to be stronger against plant, ice, and water elemental enemies, like Reapers, Winterhorns, and Water Cores. When cast underwater, Sea-Fire will shoot a projectile of flames and steam that will punch through enemies while retaining homing on the locked target.
    • A first for the series, Water briefly surrounds Sora with a liquid barrier, akin to previous games' Aero or Reflect magic, which gives Sora brief damage immunity and stuns nearby enemies before condensing into a projectile that splashes down on the target. By contrast to Fire, which is obtained at the same time, Water's two-stage effect gives it the longest cast time of Sora's spells, but it is still a functional Disc-One Nuke in close-quarters combat. These spells tend to be stronger against fire elemental enemies, such as Vermilion Sambas. Unlike other elements, Water magic cannot be selected while underwater and has no Sea equivalent.
    • Blizzard fires a projectile that freezes the target in place, impales nearby enemies, and if cast near the ground, freezes the ground it passes over so Sora can rail-grind towards its destination using Flowmotion. These spells tend to be stronger against fire and wind elemental enemies, like Fire Cores and Malachite Boleros. Cast underwater, Sea-Blizzard will instead form massive icicles in a point-blank cone akin to its KH1 iteration.
    • Thunder calls down a lightning storm over the target, shocking all enemies near it and giving all affected an electrical charge that can zap other enemies they pass. Thunder has the largest area-effect in Sora's arsenal and some of the lowest travel-time, making it exceptional for crowd-clearing. These spells tend to be stronger against water elemental enemies like Marine Rumbas. Cast underwater, Sea-Thunder will fire a bubble of contained plasma that explodes in a massive radius on contact with a surface.
    • Aero instantly summons a cyclone around the target, vacuuming nearby enemies in and sending them skyward to set up for an aerial combo, akin to KH2's Magnet series albeit at a much shorter duration. If done close to the ground, it will also create a jump pad that sets Sora up for Flowmotion. These spells tend to be stronger against plants and electrical enemies, like Chief Puffs and Gold Beats. Sea-Aero will instead create a persisting vortex when cast underwater that repeatedly slashes at enemies in its radius.
    • Cure is a Nerfed version of its iteration from II, once again consuming all MP to heal allies near you, growing in radius with rank, but this time the amount of healing is dependent on the amount of MP consumed. Its effects go unchanged underwater and regardless of what form Sora casts it in. Since Cure spells consume all MP, it can't naturally be chained to unleash Grand Magic; however, the Curaza situation command can be randomly rewarded as a Full Course Meal bonus made entirely of 3-star dishes, which fully heals nearby party members at zero MP cost.
  • Elemental Weapon: The Keyblade obtained in Arendelle is made of ice.
  • Empathic Environment:
    • As with the movie, when Eugene is catching up to Rapunzel, who has been bound and gagged by Mother Gothel, the sky suddenly turns cloudy. It goes back to sunny after Rapunzel resurrects Eugene.
    • The day moves fast as Sora progresses through the Keyblade Graveyard assisting the other Guardians fight the Seekers. During the fight against Dark Riku, Xigbar, Luxord, Larxene, and Marluxia, it's still midday. When Sora is about to enter the section with Terra-Xehanort, Vanitas, and Saïx, it's suddenly twilight. Finally, once Sora defeats all of them and opens the way to Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort, nighttime begins. Sora even lampshades this:
      Sora: It's night already?
  • Endgame+: As per the norm of more recent titles, saving the game after defeating the final boss puts you right outside the final boss fight. This time, reaching this stage unlocks 14 Battlegates across each of the nine worlds, which are instanced Multi-Mook Melee battles where you fight significantly powered-up enemies, including enemy varieties that aren't encountered normally such as certain types of Nobodies that were present in II. The last of these Battlegates is reserved for the Bonus Boss as well.
  • Enemy Scan: Unlike some of the previous games, Sora comes with this ability by default instead of needing to unlock it. However, Gummi Ships still need to equip a specific Gummi in order to enable this for Boss Gummi Heartless.
  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: In true Pirates of the Caribbean style, Sora can control his own ship, duking it out with other ships and invading them by grinding on harpoon ropes.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Rémy is only ever referred to as "Little Chef". This is likely because no one can understand his speech aside from other rats, much like Rataouille itself.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: One Attraction Flow attack is based on the Mad Tea Party teacup ride.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Along with the telltale changes to her physical appearance, Aqua's costume changes to match her corruption by the darkness: most of the material and even much of her skin is black or deep purple. Her skirt is also tattered and her hands have turned dark red, drawing parallels to Dark Riku and Vanitas's costumes.
  • Evil Is Cool: invoked In-universe, the Gigases, Humongous Mecha enemies that serve as the villain faction of Verum Rex. They have their own toyline and their own spin-off title, Verum Rex: Beat of Lead.
  • Exact Words: When revealing what is inside the box that is kept on the Flying Dutchman, Jack Sparrow lets slip that the object inside is Davy Jones' heart. The ambiguity of the statement comes from the realization that the exact definition of "heart" being used refers to the literal body part and not the metaphysical form of a heart that is commonly referred to and seen in the Kingdom Hearts series, a fact that Vexen is visibly displeased about after Jack opens the box.
  • Excuse Plot:
    • Unlike in previous games, where Sora and his friends go to different worlds to find their friends and fight Heartless and Nobodies, here Sora has no reason to travel to other worlds. Sora's visits to new locations have no bearing on his quest to regain the Power of Waking or his search for a way to revive Roxas and Ventus. While Heartless are causing trouble, Sora doe not visit worlds with the intention of fighting and his confrontations with enemies feel coincidental at best. Possibly lampshaded during their visit to to the Kingdom of Corona, where Sora, Donald, and Goofy openly wonder why they're there and choose to brush off the question as unimportant. The Seekers zigzag this, as they have several worlds where they are performing experiments to perfect the replicas and Vanitas reviving himself. On the other hand, their missions involving princesses and the box are inconsequential.
    • Corona, Arendelle, and the Caribbean are all just rehashes of the the films the worlds are based on and Sora's presence is made almost completely irrelevant. He regularly misses out on large chunks of each world's story and their individual plots continue on without any need for him being there.
  • Exponential Plot Delay: Lampshaded. Just as Sora and company head off to Olympus, a title card reading "Kingdom Hearts II.9" pops up, as if this was yet another Interquel.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: This is used to reveal Aqua's transformation by a darkness powered attack, giving her yellow eyes and bleaching the tips of her hair from the process.
  • Fallen Hero: Baymax and Aqua have been corrupted by darkness. Thankfully, both of them manage to return to light.
  • Final Battle: This game depicts the final battle with Xehanort.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The Keyblade Graveyard is the setting for most of the climax, but the actual final battle takes place in Scala ad Caelum.
  • Final Boss Preview: Of a sort; very early in the game, Sora encounters the Demon Tide (the Final Boss of 0.2) harassing Hayner, Pence, and Olette in Twilight Town, and is forced to meet it in combat. While the thing has a ridiculous amount of health bars for something encountered so early, it is repelled after roughly three health bars are depleted. The Demon Tide is later fought for real towards the end of the game.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Simba, Ariel and Stitch's Link Summon avatars, in this respective order (Ariel represents ice with water).
  • Fisher Kingdom: As per usual for the series, Donald's magic changes the appearances of the main trio so they can better blend in in certain worlds. In the Toy Box they become Living Toys, turn into monsters in Monstropolis, and don pirate outfits in the Caribbean. Downplayed in San Fransokyo, where they remain the same, but Sora obtains a visor to wear.
  • Fission Mailed: Twice in the endgame:
    • The first raid on the Keyblade Graveyard goes very badly. The entire party dies within less than ten minutes of their arrival, fulfilling the prophecy that darkness would prevail and light expire. The entire next segment of the game is about Sora dragging everyone back out of the afterlife.
    • During the final boss battle, the reaction command to use the true power of the Keyblade to finish off Master Xehanort fails and Sora is struck down. You are taken to what appears to be a game over screen, but pressing buttons causes a pulse to be heard and Donald and Goofy to call out Sora's name. A new reaction command appears to allow you to use The Power of Friendship to end the fight.
  • Food Porn: The dishes you can create at Little Chef's (i.e., Rémy's) bistro in this game are nothing short of gorgeous.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are some hints to Xigbar actually being Luxu.
      • In Olympus Coliseum, Maleficent and Pete are looking for the Master of Masters' black box while Xigbar is the Seeker of Darkness assigned there. After completing that world, Xigbar watches Maleficent and Pete leave after failing to find the box. As Xigbar watches, he says "May your hear—" before the scene cuts off what he was saying.
      • When Luxord says his mission was to find the black box, Larxene mentions that Xigbar brought it up.
      • Xigbar confidently says to Sora and Riku that he is worthy of the Keyblade, though the player, Sora, and Riku believe that he's not.
      • An incredibly subtle example occurs in the opening CGI cutscene that plays prior to the title screen, with Young Eraqus and Young Xehanort's Cosmic Chess Game. In the final overhead shot of the chess board note , where we see the pieces from afar, the piece corresponding to Xigbar's is far off in the corner, in a trough near the raised tiles of the chess board. This foreshadows both the fact that his true allegiance isn't to any of the other characters and that he's watching from afar with the Master of Master's Gazing Eye, as well as the fact that the last time Sora sees him in-game, he's faking his death by falling off the opposite side of a raised wall in the Keyblade Graveyard.
    • In Arendelle, Anna confides to Sora that she has to bring Elsa home to make things right. At the end of the game, Sora leaves to find Kairi and bring her home. He succeeds, but at a cost.
    • Hiro's microbots return as a Heartless enemy loose in San Fransokyo, which means that they somehow escaped from the portal dimension. Which means that the first Baymax is also compromised…
    • In the Verum Rex trailer, the character Yozora is trying to either rescue or reunite with a woman (possibly a Lunafreya or Stella expy), but the two are pulled out of reach before he can make it to her. The game ends with Sora and Kairi being separated again, and Sora noticing that this tends to be the pattern between them.
    • Sora notices that he has disappeared from the cover of the Winnie the Pooh book, which makes him worry that he is growing farther from Pooh's heart. This foreshadows that Sora will eventually disappear from this world by sacrificing himself to save Kairi.
    • Similarly, Hercules explains that life on Olympus would be empty without the person he loves most (Meg), and Will observes that the price for his survival (one day ashore with Elizabeth, ten years at sea as the Dutchman's captain) is very steep. The game ends with Sora and Kairi separated yet again.
    • In Olympus, Xigbar talks about how saving someone on your own just means someone else has to save you, and in the Keyblade Graveyard, Young Xehanort keeps warning Sora about how traversing worlds using the power of waking to reach his friends' hearts is dangerous. Sora ultimately disappears after he overuses this power to save Kairi.
    • The Seekers' actions in Toy Box (experimenting on how the toys obtained hearts) and San Fransokyo (figuring out how to reconstruct a heart from data) ultimately lead to them recreating Xion as one of their vessels.
    • Sora and the other protagonists are led to believe that one of the Organisation's member is a time-travelling Riku, from when he was possessed by Ansem in the original game. The audience will notice, however, that this Riku doesn't speak with the Voice of the Legion — an early indication that he's really another replica.
    • The fact that it's Saïx who "introduces" Vexen to the Organization foreshadows that they're actually working together to subvert Xehanort.
    • Maleficent's uncertain reply to Pete on the member's identity after bumping into them hints to the member not being what they seem.
    • The Keyblade Graveyard is filled with keyblades of the deceased, leaving them lifeless due to the hearts they were connected to being destroyed. The swarm of Keyblades called by Ephemer to attack the Demon Tide reveals that not only are there still many living Keyblade Wielders somewhere, but the Foretellers' keyblades help in the attack, hinting at the Lost Masters' survival.
    • It initially makes sense to see Marluxia as the Seeker of Darkness associated with the Kingdom of Corona, given the lush greenery of the world. By that logic, why then is Larxene the member encountered in Arendelle rather than Vexen? This is because Vexen doesn't ultimately become part of the final roster of the Organization?
    • What incarnation of Xehanort will be encountered in San Fransokyo? Early on in the world, the heroes encounter enemies that are not too dissimilar to Bug Blox. What was the only version of Xehanort encountered in that game? Dark Riku, or at least a version of him.
    • Ansem SoD behaves almost comically apathetically towards Hayner's group at Twilight Town. He admits after his defeat that he's emotionally exhausted after so many defeats at Sora and Riku's hands, and his heart wasn't in this attempt at all.
    • When Ansem SoD and Xemnas are finally defeated for good, these monstrous villains that have tormented the heroes and the worlds for a number of games now are each given sympathetic death scenes. This ultimately foreshadows the fact that Master Xehanort will also be given a somewhat "redemptive", sympathetic death scene.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Sulley throws Vanitas into door after door. Each door, except the last one which gets shredded, leads to a world that Sora, Donald, and Goofy visit in the game. The first one is Arendelle, then Kingdom of Corona, and finally San Fransokyo.
    • In several shots of Ansem's Computer in Radiant Garden, Tron's name can be found on the upper right corner of the screen.
    • During the All the Worlds Are a Stage part of the endgame, just before fighting the Lich in Monstropolis, Donald's lifeless body is in his cyclops form.
    • In an unintentional example, the "Let It Go" sequence includes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment where the watermark from the 3D rendering software tool "Arnold" can be seen, but it's so brief that it's extremely unlikely anyone would notice with the naked eye.
  • Frying Pan of Doom:
    • In the Tangled world, Flynn uses a frying pan as his weapon of choice.
    • This is the Formchange of the unlockable Grand Chef Keyblade.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Monstropolis and San Fransokyo take place after the events of Monsters Inc., and Big Hero 6, respectfully, and are designed as loose sequels to them. Likewise, Toy Box is designed as a loose Interquel to the Toy Story films, taking place sometime before or after 2, and definitely before 3.
  • Gainax Ending: Especially when the secret ending is taken into account. Master Xehanort ascends into Kingdom Hearts and Sora, Donald, and Goofy follow him and awaken in Scala ad Caelum ("Stairway to Heaven"), which is implied to be the ruins of Daybreak Town from Kingdom Hearts χnote . Thirteen cloaked figures wielding the weapons of Xehanort's Seekers of Darkness ambush the trio (in a boss battle that, unique for the series, has all of them sharing one HP bar) with no explanation for who or what they are. After defeating them and then facing Master Xehanort, the others make their way to the battlefield and the heart of Eraqus within Terra talks Xehanort down, and they transform into their youthful forms and fade away. Sora declares he will use the power of waking to rescue Kairi somewhere out there, and at the end of the ending, he succeeds, but fades away, apparently a consequence of misusing the power like this. The secret ending then shows him waking up in what seems to be Shibuya from The World Ends with You.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • True to Kingdom Hearts tradition, the fact that Sora's back to level one and not packing any of those upgrades from II or Dream Drop Distance is explained — the events of Dream Drop Distance made him lose his strength. Thus, he sets off on his quest to regain his strength.
    • Riku, during the brief moments when he is playable, is leagues ahead of Sora.
    • Much like in Tangled, Rapunzel's hair is cut off in the events of the Kingdom of Corona. Since she uses it as her Weapon of Choice, Rapunzel is removed from the party (making her the only true Guest-Star Party Member since Birth by Sleep).
    • The fight against Luxord in the Keyblade Graveyard is absurdly easy, considering the context. Almost as though he threw the fight as an excuse to hand over that wild card.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Much like in Tangled, Flynn is at one point stabbed by Gothel and is bleeding out. At this point, Sora and Donald have access to Cure, not to mention all the potions the player could have in their inventory.
    • Donald and Goofy suffer from Bag of Spilling, just like Sora — this is pointed out, but not explained in one of the loading screens.
    • This is not particularly unusual for the world icons in the franchise, but it's one of the more egregious cases: Elsa's ice palace is prominently visible on the world icon even before you've reached the point in the story where she creates it. It's especially blatant when viewing it from the Gummi Ship, where it's actually a representation of the world itself rather than just being an image in a menu.
  • Gameplay Roulette:
    • Whenever Sora hijacks one of the toy mechs, the game shifts from an Action RPG into a First-Person Shooter.
    • In the Caribbean, the gameplay changes quite often. Sora and company can go underwater or sail on a ship, both of which have their own battle mechanics. Also, one boss battle requires Sora to ride on the back of a flying Heartless to take out a boss.
  • Game Within a Game: Sora can play a handheld Retraux-style series of games which look like old Game & Watch games, starring a cel version of himself.
  • Gangplank Galleon: The Caribbean. No more referred as simply Port Royal thanks to the increase in scope of the world.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss:
    • The Lich has an annoying tendency to create exploding copies of itself that you will stay locked on to, while it flies a good distance away from you to attack with magic from afar.
    • Once Dark Inferno enters its second phase, it will periodically jump away after performing certain attacks, making it difficult to hit it. When it enters its final phase, it will do this after every attack. This can be countered by Flowchain, however.
  • Getting the Boot: Sulley subjects Vanitas to this by tossing him out of Monstropolis through a closet door. Then he throws that door through another door, and then that door through another, repeating several times until the last one is shredded.
  • The Ghost: A mysterious girl that's been experimented by Ansem and his apprentices and was friends with Lea and Isa is referred to in the Secret Reports. She is used as motivation for certain characters, despite not making an actual appearance.
  • Ghost Memory: When Sora sees Vanitas, he immediately calls out his name but doesn't know why, yet touches his heart as if on reflex. Vanitas knows very well Ventus is inside Sora's heart, which is the reason for this.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: If you haven't watched the film or know its plot, Prince Hans' appearance is completely random. He comes out of nowhere with no explanation, kidnaps Elsa and then tries to kill her, triggering the iconic scene of Anna´s Heroic Sacrifice, and then he goes One-Winged Angel to fight Sora and company. What makes this especially bad is the fact that Hans, who was the villain in the source film, has no speaking lines and he is not even given a name or acknowledged by the other characters. Because of that, he seems like something shoehorned into the game to provide Sora with a Boss Fight.
  • God Was My Copilot: Midway through The Caribbean, Sora's party and Jack are separated from the rest of the cast until they can repair a wrecked ship, Leviathan. Jack has actually been following the world's main plot all along; the Jack travelling with Sora, and the ship itself, are both illusions sent to help Sora by Calypso.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Davy Jones' actual heart isn't actually shown in any scene, most notably including the part where it's threatened to be stabbed.
  • Grand Finale: This is the ultimate conclusion of the Dark Seeker Saga of the franchise.
  • Gratuitous French: The menu of Little Chef's Bistro is entirely in French, and many of the dishes have French names. This alludes, of course, to the movie Ratatouille, which Rémy is from and takes place in France.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: A surprisingly large number of team attacks involve this, with Sora being on both the giving and receiving end.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Disney characters can once again team up with Sora and co. — and this time, you can have two at once!
  • Hard Mode Perks:
    • If you play on Proud Mode, then you only have to find 30 Lucky Emblems to unlock the secret ending. Standard Mode increases it to 60, and Beginner Mode makes you collect all 90.
    • On Critical Mode, you start the game with several helpful abilities, including Aerial Recovery, Rising Spiral, Groundbreaker, and Combo Master. A few abilities exclusive to this difficulty are also available, such as Critical Converter, which disables Attraction Flow and Grand Magic in favor of formchanges, and Critical Counter, which adds extra damage to reprisals from exceptionally timed blocks.
  • Have a Nice Death: Starting with Anti-Aqua and ending with the final boss, the bosses begin to mock Sora if he is defeated, even having a different quote for a rematch.
    Xigbar: Alright. The hero thinks he's ready now.
  • The Heavy: Master Xehanort is the primary antagonist, and his presence is keenly felt from beginning to end. His Seekers of Darkness (who each carry a piece of his heart) are the driving force of the plot in each of the different worlds.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Just as he is depicted in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Hector Barbossa (one of the Disney villains fought in Kingdom Hearts II) is now on Jack's side, and Sora's by extension.
    • Several previous Seekers of Darkness undergo this. Not all of them, though; a few outright reject salvation.
      • Vexen, the amoral scientist of the original Organization XIII, seeks to atone for their actions and infiltrates the Seekers so they can once more serve Xehanort under the guise of a Face–Heel Turn. It's actually to access the Replica Program he started. He wants to create new vessels for Roxas and Naminé's hearts.
      • After the above face turn, Demyx also goes through this, if only to assist the above person. More specifically, he goes through it once he learns that Saïx was part of the ruse too.
      • A subtler manner of turn goes through with Luxord. He gives Sora an allegedly game-changing card for winning against him near the end. While this never goes anywhere (yet), the true intent to help Sora out is still there. This is also foreshadowed by Vexen.
  • Helium Speech: An optional conversation in the Toy Box can be triggered by striking the valve of a helium tank or popping balloons, which causes everyone's voice to become high pitched. They all have some fun talking in their new helium-induced voices... Except Donald, who isn't affected at all.
  • Helpful Mook: The Flantastic Seven, which take the place of White Mushrooms and the Mushroom XIII in this game. They are equally as friendly and equally as adorable.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • The original vessel of Riku Replica, whose heart was inhabiting Riku's, manages to defeat the replica that holds his heart from the past by ripping its heart out of its artificial vessel. However, instead of taking the vessel, they leave it behind for Riku so that Naminé may use it to be brought back to life. It's unknown what happens to them afterwards, but it's implied that they're gone for good.
    • At the game's conclusion, Sora uses the power of waking to bring Kairi back to life. However, he's "hanging on by a thread" according to Chirithy, and if he's not dead, he certainly can't go back to Destiny Islands with everyone.
  • Honor Before Reason: As before, Jack Sparrow forgoes attacking Luxord as soon as he sees him and instead follows the "Pirate Code", agreeing to parlay with him, much to Sora's aggravation. And then subverted when Luxord tries it a third time. Jack just incapacitates him and goes on his merry way.
  • Hope Crusher: The XIII Seekers seem to be this:
    Vanitas: Only when your hopes have been broken by battle upon battle can the key to Kingdom Hearts be claimed!
    Young Xehanort: And break you is what we shall do. It has been etched.
    • Not long after this cutscene, they manage to do just that to Sora.
  • Hulking Out: Rage Form is Sora's inner darkness that can be unleashed if Sora takes loads of damage in a short amount of time and manages to survive all of the damage. Rage Form bears many similarities to Anti-Form, including its Heartless-like appearance, Magic and Items being sealed, and its feral style of attack, but unlike Anti-Form, Rage Form prominently uses the Keyblade, it has to be triggered manually to activate, it doesn't block healing (and is the only Formchange that fully heals Sora on use), and it can also be manually cancelled by using any other Situation Command. During the final battle, Xehanort uses the χ-blade to rob Sora of his light, forcing him to transform into Rage Form until Sora attacks Xehanort enough to steal back his light.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Toy Box has giant robot enemies, or at least giant relative to Sora's small size. Sora can hijack the robots to pilot them himself.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Unlike all other partner characters, who can take damage and be knocked unconscious in battle, one of the late-game party members is incredibly powerful. Roxas is both completely invincible, and can rival or possibly even outclass Sora's damage output. It's entirely feasible to simply stand back during the boss fight and watch him cut Saïx to pieces.

    Tropes I-M 
  • An Ice Person: Elsa, true to form, has her usual ice powers. Sora can also turn his Keyblade from her world into ice swords and skates.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: The Frozen Keyblade has a transformation that incorporates ice skating into its attacks.
  • Immediate Sequel: The story starts with where A Fragmentary Passage ended and picks up right from there, with Sora, Donald, and Goofy heading for Olympus Coliseum to meet with Hercules.
  • Implausible Boarding Skills:
    • Dodging with the Mirage Staff involves Sora riding the weapon.
    • When Sora gets help from Ephemer to defeat the Heartless twister, Sora jumps on a Starlight Keyblade to ride a wave of Keyblades.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Flynn's Weapon of Choice is a frying pan, a reference to a Running Gag in Tangled.
  • Inconsistent Dub:
    • Once again, fourth tier spells have the suffix changed in the English dub, going back to "-za" from Dream Drop Distance instead of "-ja" from 0.2 Birth by Sleep.
    • "Once More" has been renamed to the far more mundane "Withstand Combo" for no good reason, even though it does exactly the same thing. Strangely, "Second Chance" keeps its name in spite of this.
  • Incoming Ham: What happens when you put Paul St. Peter and Richard Epcar in a game together and, more importantly, in the same boss fight? You get a contest of just who can be the hammiest of all.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Nano Gear Keyblade is acquired by beating San Fransokyo. It's explicitly noted to have well-balanced stats, while its Nano Arms transformation combines the best attacks from all of the other Keyblade transformations and gives Sora the ability to guard in all directions at once.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Ultima Weapon has the highest stats of any weapon in the game and its own unique Ultimate Form transformation. It can only be obtained by doing various sidequests to get the proper synthesis materials.
  • In Medias Res:
    • The plot of the Frozen world begins right as Elsa flees into exile once her powers have been discovered.
    • Sora, Donald, and Goofy appear to arrive in The Caribbean at the same time that the crew of the Black Pearl are about to fall off the World's End to enter Davy Jones's Locker towards the start of At World's End.
  • Interface Spoiler: The ending credits explicitly lists the voice talents of the Foretellers, who never appeared at all in the game...until the next scene begins rolling.
    • In the Kingdom of Corona, it returns Rapunzel's items to your inventory with a message. This spoils that she leaves the party permanently, as this happens for nobody else.
    • In Toy Box, the opening cutscene introduces the plot point of Woody and Buzz trying to find their missing friends and Andy. The second you get access to the menu and check the Gummiphone, the character section for Toy Box has a Mickey symbol next to it, which signifies that the section is complete, spoiling that no other new Toy Story character will appear and that their friends won't be rescued during the game.
  • Internal Reveal: Plenty, given the way this game brings together numerous characters and plotlines from across the series:
    • King Mickey and Riku visit the spot in Radiant Garden where Aqua fought Xehanort before falling into the realm of darkness in an effort to save him. Here, they finally figure out together that the "Xehanort" Riku is familiar with in the form of Ansem and Xemnas is actually Xehanort having possessed Terra's body, who lost his memories and became one of Ansem the Wise's apprentices.
    • Ienzo discovers from studying Ansem the Wise's data that Sora has three other hearts inside his own — one belonging to Roxas, the others to Ventus and Xion (although none of them are aware of the latter two's existence just yet). Subverted in that this comes as a surprise to everyone except Sora, who was already aware on some level that there were hearts dwelling inside him that weren't his own.
    • Ventus learns that Sora looks like Vanitas after his awakening, something the audience already learned in Birth by Sleep. Sora himself only learns of his resemblance to Vanitas when the latter's mask breaks just before he dies during the climactic Keyblade War.
    • Various characters are surprised to find out that Ventus and Roxas are completely identical, most notably Lea and Ventus himself.
    • As it turns out, Mickey never realized that the little girl he and Aqua rescued in Radiant Garden grew up to be Kairi.
    • Sora, Donald, and Goofy learn that Hercules is a demigod. Apparently, they never questioned his godlike strength before.
  • Ironic Echo: "One sky, one destiny", the ending line from Kairi's letter to Sora in Kingdom Hearts II. The line is repeated by Xehanort during the final battle, describing Kingdom Hearts' influence over the universe.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Done by Luxord. He hands over one of his cards to Sora once he's defeated, claiming it could turn the tables in the future. Regardless of what it does, the card is not used after that moment, making this a sort of Sequel Hook Chekhov's Gun.
  • It Was There the Whole Time: It turns out that the Guardian used by Terra-Xehanort and "Ansem" was actually the vessel that housed Terra's heart.
  • It Was with You All Along: The bulk of Sora's quest in this installment consists of attempting to achieve the Power of Waking, which he had lost after he was plunged into darkness at the end of 3D. When Ventus tells Sora to use the Power of Waking so he can return to his body to save Aqua, he simultaneously reveals that Sora had never actually lost the Power of Waking, he simply lost access to it.
  • It's All My Fault: Mickey says this regarding Aqua corrupted by the darkness in the Dark World.
  • Kick the Dog: Xemnas literally kicks Xion away when she finds herself unable to kill Lea.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: As if Xehanort hadn't already brought enough misery to Aqua's life, his Heartless throws her into the sea at the end of the Dark Margin, where she becomes infected with darkness and makes it much harder for Riku and Mickey to finally rescue her.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • While most members of the Seekers are implied to come back after being restored in the past or have ambiguous fates, both Ansem SoD and Xemnas seem to be gone for good after Master Xehanort happily departs from the living as well and are unlikely to return.
    • It is stated that true death is possible in the Kingdom Hearts universe if both heart and body are destroyed simultaneously. This typically doesn't happen across the series because usually one or the other are destroyed/released at a time, but the Guardians of Light very nearly meet a Final Death at the hands of the Heartless.
  • Killer Yo Yo: The Happy Gear Keyblade can transform into a pair of yo-yo's. Very large, deadly yo-yo's with blades attached.
  • Lag Cancel: Unlike previous games, Sora can block at any time, even in the air. When done correctly, this can lead to a variety of new combo options, especially in the air, where alongside blocking, Sora can now cancel combos out of anything in the air, including Air Dashes, Flowmoiton, and Keyblade switching on the fly, which adds a new never before seen combo potential for the series. This video explains this in depth.
  • Large Ham: Take one of the hammiest villains in video game history, and pack all of his incarnations into the same game. Is it any surprise that this would result? Richard Epcar brings in a grandiose performance as both Terra-Xehanort and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. Paul St. Peter is at his best as Xemnas, a Cold Ham of excellent proportions. Never to be left out, the original Master Xehanort commands every scene he partakes in during his final hurrah; a perfect sendoff for the illustrious career of Rutger Hauer.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Sora still has no memories of Castle Oblivion, which is why he has no idea who Marluxia or Larxene are when they meet.
  • Last Ditch Move: During the first attempt at the Heartless twister, Donald protects Sora and Kairi from Terra-Xehanort by using runic magic to cast a spell called Zettaflarenote , which fires a Wave Motion Gun powerful enough to repel Terra-Xehanort. However, the effort needed to pull it off causes Donald to collapse from exhaustion.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • Getting the Infinity +1 Sword, the Ultima Weapon, requires seven pieces of Orichalcum+. Even if you're know what you're doing, just getting all seven is going to take a while. One of them is only obtained through a Luck-Based Mission, and one requires beating every Flan mini-game with a high score, both of which can be major time sinks.
    • There are ninety Lucky Emblems scattered throughout every world (excluding the last one). It's necessary to find at least thirty of them if a player wants to see the Secret Ending on Proud Mode, sixty are required to see it in Standard Mode, finding eighty of them is required to get one of the Orichalcum+ pieces for the Infinity +1 Sword, and finding all ninety is needed to get the Secret Ending on Beginner Mode. Good luck finding them without a guide.
    • The shield sled race has ten treasure spheres to collect to get another piece of Orichalcum+. The ten spheres are all in out-of-the-way routes, and one requires you to double-jump to reach a rail in order to get it, which the game doesn't tell you that you can do. It's also impossible to get all of the Treasure Spheres in one run, as most are on mutually exclusive parts of the track: at most, you might manage to find three on one run, and only finding a single Treasure Sphere or none at all is more likely.
    • After the segment is completed once, the player can return to The Final World and collect more dancing Soras, with no indication that doing so will earn two hidden HP upgrades.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: As usual, it's expected that you've already watched the movies that the game's worlds are based on due to their popularity and/or because they've been out long enough to be common knowledge.
    • As a result, the Tangled world suffers from Adaptation Explanation Extrication since Mother Gothel doesn't give the tiara to Rapunzel, which makes Eugene and the Stabbington Brothers' actions after the lantern scene strange if you haven't seen the movie to know what happened.
    • The San Fransokyo storyline takes place after the events of Big Hero 6. Xehanort finds the Baymax that sacrificed himself in the void and turns him into a Heartless, and throughout the story, it's brought up that Tadashi died and that the microbots were also left in the void.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Partly due to the need to wrap up the "Dark Seeker" plot, the game lacks many staples of the series. Those missing notably include Final Fantasy characters (outside of Moogle), some mainstay keychains like Oblivion and Oathkeeper (Roxas wields them when he is supporting you in the Saïx boss battle, but you cannot equip them for yourself), and the world Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden (reduced to a cutscene-only world, like Destiny Islands and Mysterious Tower). The journal also gets replaced by the gummiphone.
  • Layman's Terms:
    • Ienzo explaining to Sora about decrypting the Code in Ansem the Wise's computer:
      Ienzo: For the virtual world to be completely realized, Ansem the Wise would've included Roxas' full data in the construction. Meaning, somewhere on your machine, there's a log of that data that... uhh. Basically, we can decipher Ansem's Code more quickly, and we can analyze the virtual Twilight Town while we're at it.
    • Sora gets hit with this again during his conversation with Naminé. She attempts to explain her plan to contact the Lingering Will, but Sora does not get it at all.
      Naminé: Um... Let's just say I've got your back?
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Sora is mistaken for a video game character in the Toy Story world, alluding to the fact that he really is a video game character out-of-universe, from an RPG, no less. Buzz is initially confused when Sora tells him that his world has been split, but then he remembers, "Oh yeah, you're from a video game."
    • Wreck-It Ralph gets summoned from his own world to help Sora, but there’s also the possibility that he "game-jumped" from his game to this one.
    • When Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive in Hercules’ world, they wonder why no fanfare has played yet, possibly referring to the world theme that normally plays in the Olympus Coliseum.
    • In Twilight Town, Sora keeps saying that it's been ages since he visited the town. While Donald and Goofy believe he's influenced by Roxas' feeling for the town, it's also a reference to how the last time Sora visited Twilight Town was in Kingdom Hearts II, which was released fourteen years ago.
    • In Twilight Town, some NPCs note how Seifer hasn't been seen lately, a nod to the fact that neither he nor other Final Fantasy characters appear here.
    • When Xemnas is about to kill off Lea, he says that no one would miss him. Lea retorts by saying that he’s got loads of people rooting for him, a reference to his popularity within the fanbase as an Ensemble Dark Horse.invoked
    • Another jab at character popularity is when Naminé bluntly tells Sora during their meeting in the Final World that she doesn't mind being saved later, since Roxas is the one they all miss. While this can be taken in-game as a sign of her low self-confidence, out-of-universe, while Naminé is not exactly unpopular, she is far overshadowed by Roxas, who is probably the most popular character in the series. Even if the two are suffering the same fate, it is Roxas whom the fans have been clamoring to return since years before this game was released. Of course, Sora promptly shoots this down and tells her that she is just as missed as Roxas is, apparently a Take That! at fans who gush about Roxas so much that they forget about everyone else who are also suffering.
    • After meeting up with Sora, Lea apologizes for taking so long because they "had a couple plot points that needed ironing out."
  • Left Hanging: A couple of plot points are brought up throughout the game, but are never resolved. It's more than likely that these are meant to be setups for the next installments.
    • Three (or technically four) of the seven new Princesses of Heart are introduced: Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, and Kairi, but this ultimately doesn't go anywhere outside of the Seekers knowing where they could find a back-up Guardian of Light if they needed to.
    • A previously unmentioned girl is name-dropped by both Ansems and the Secret Report, and was apparently friends with Lea and Isa. She's implied to be one of the ancient Keyblade wielders, possibly Ava or Skuld as the Secret Reports imply, going by her mantra of "May your heart be your guiding key".
    • Luxord gives Sora a card containing unknown powers as he dies, but nothing comes from it.
    • Luxord, Demyx, Marluxia, and Larxene are revealed to have been chosen for the Seekers of Darkness due to the four actually being ancient Keyblade wielders. But the revelation isn't really explored much by the characters themselves. With this one, it's difficult to say if this will mean anything for the next installment or χ.
    • Demyx is still alive and well after dropping off the replica that is to hold Roxas' heart.
    • The contents of the black box left behind by the Master of Masters are still unknown to the audience, despite Maleficent and Pete searching for it for the whole game.
    • The identity of the "Nameless Star" Sora meets in the Final World and the person she's waiting for.
  • Life Drain: The lesser Shotlock for Ever After will heal Sora as it deals damage.
  • Light 'em Up:
    • Mickey attempts to attack Master Xehanort with the Ultima spell. He counters with Stopza.
    • Roxas, in addition to getting to use his Limit Break from 358/2 Days, also has access to light-based projectiles that can juggle Saïx.
  • Lip Lock: The English version flip-flops between altering lip flaps to match the English dub and leaving the animations from the Japanese version.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Hercules does this to protect some civilians from falling rubble. Sora then has to defeat the Heartless keeping them there so they can be led to safety and Hercules can get out from under it.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Due to the high graphics quality and extremely large areas, loading times are rather long. Thankfully, limited area transitions mean you won't have to sit through loading screens as often.
  • Loophole Abuse: The purpose of Replicas in a nutshell, and a huge plot point. While ostensibly created by Vexen to give bodies to wayward hearts, the real reason Xehanort wanted them created was to give his alternate selves vessels to exist in the same timespace as him, a feat that is otherwise impossible without very heavy Temporal Paradox shenanigans (which was in fact one of his earlier schemes). Fortunately, Vexen is in a kinder mood this time around, and makes sure some Replicas find their way to Sora and co., finally giving them a way to save Roxas, Xion, and Naminé, who were previously beyond salvation.
  • Lost in Translation: Possibly. The English translation of Xehanort's Restart the World Motive Rant after the Final Boss makes it sound like he intended to create a new world devoid of darkness ("pure and bright" being the words he specifically uses), which is odd as he's heretofore been a (very twisted) advocate for a Balance Between Good and Evil and the view that Dark Is Not Evil. However, his language is more neutral in the Japanese version, instead declaring he wanted to create a blank world (as in "blank slate"), i.e. a fresh start, with regard to neither light nor darkness.
    • A more minor case, a Call-Back that the translators missed: In Japanese, Riku Replica's last words to Riku (after telling him to use the blank replica for Naminé) is the same thing Riku said to Sora at the end of the first game. In English, Riku's line to Sora was translated as "Take care of her", while the Riku Replica's line to Riku was translated as "Good luck."
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Sora's Olympus Keyblade transformation, Countershield, is this. Sora summons a shield that can block for long periods of time and powers up by blocking damage. The Grand Chef keyblade also falls under this, but with fire effects rather than the lightning ones given by Hero's Origin.
  • MacGuffin: Both Maleficent and Luxord are searching for the Black Box that once belonged to the Master of Masters. Nobody knows what's inside it, but it's still extremely important to both parties.
  • Macro Zone: Sora, Donald, and Goofy are transformed into action figures in the Toy Box, shrinking down to be the same size as the rest of the main Toy Story cast. Thus, even Andy's small bedroom is intimidating in size. Even Young Xehanort is shrunken down.
  • Made of Magic: Links. Ariel's body is made of water, Simba appears as a being of fire, and Ralph shimmers with a CRT-like screendoor effect.
  • Marathon Boss: Many of the bosses have ludicrous amounts of health, requiring a few minutes of solid whaling to get through.
  • Masquerade: Though the series established Alien Non-Interference Clause (the "world order") very early on, it was largely abandoned as soon as Sora, Donald, and Goofy started traveling together. In this game, however, Donald and Goofy suddenly become very invested in protecting the world order, constantly stopping Sora from letting anything related to other worlds slip.
  • Meanwhile Scene: Dream Drop Distance established this for the series and III follows suit. After every Disney world, there's a scene showing what characters from the supporting cast are doing while Sora, Donald, and Goofy are on their journey.
  • Meta Guy: The characters are much more self-aware this time around. Lea, Larxene, and Xigbar all love mocking the series' conventions and developments. Even Sora becomes a bit of this, too.
    Sora (to Vanitas in the Monsters, Inc. world): This is the part where you spout some mumbo jumbo and disappear, right?
  • Mind Screwdriver: The Secret Reports clarify a lot of things related to the time-traveling Xehanorts, the Replica Program, and the girl Lea and Isa befriended. Unfortunately, they are only available post-game and raise more even more questions in regards to events in Union χ.
  • Minecart Madness: Sora fights the Rock Titan using a train from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. And again at the Keyblade Graveyard.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Maleficent is keyed in on a mysterious black box. She knows that it is important, but she has no idea where to find it, nor does she know what is in it and exactly why it is important.
  • Mission Control:
    • Ienzo serves as this for Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Ienzo contacts them through the Gummiphone a few times to let them know how things are progressing in decoding research, finding the Seekers, and the progress of the Heartless.
    • Hiro fits into this role in San Fransokyo. Hiro gives Sora a heads-up display set of VR goggles so he and the rest of Big Hero 6 can talk to each other.
  • Mistaken Identity: Rex mistakes Sora, Donald, and Goofy for characters from a video game he's been playing.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: The gimmick of Nano Arms, the Formchange of the Nano Gear Keyblade, is that it combines elements of other Keyblade Formchanges into one weapon.
  • Mook Maker: A type of Heartless seen in Tangled's world is a dandelion that loses its fluff to create smaller Heartless.
  • Morph Weapon: A new system allows Sora to transform his Keyblade in a similar way to the Birth by Sleep trio (primarily Terra) could. While their transformations were all based on one or two keychains, every Keyblade in this game has its own unique transformation.
    • Aside from Sora, Lea turns his Keyblade into his two chakrams, Young Xehanort turns his into a whip, and the Lingering Will turns his into a whip and the Ultima Cannon.
  • Motive Decay: Discussed at the end of the game. Master Xehanort rants about how he had just wanted to use Kingdom Hearts to restore the balance of the world to one of pure light and darkness, and help lead the weak people born of the light away from the negative emotions that led to them creating darkness that disrupted the balance, not realizing just how consumed he had become by those same emotions and how he had done far worse things than any of them. It's only when Eraqus's spirit tells Xehanort that they both went far too far, and it's time to leave things to the next generation, that Xehanort finally realizes that his obsession has consumed him.
  • Moveset Clone: The Hunny Spout, Grand Chef, Classic Tone, and Starlight's transformations are moveset clones of the Shooting Star, Hero's Origin, Favorite Deputy, and Kingdom Key, just with different stats, abilities, and in the Grand Chef's case, elemental properties. The Starlight is the only one of these Keyblades whose acquisition isn't optional, and replaces the Kingdom Key's Ars Arcanum finisher with Ancient Light.
  • Multiple-Choice Chosen: It is established that Sora and his team are not all necessarily destined to be the Seven Lights in the climactic battle. Because of this, the Master Xehanort and his Darknesses have created contingencies that make sure the coming battle happens regardless. This is the reason why Marluxia and Larxene visit Corona and Arendelle, respectively, willing to drag Rapunzel, Elsa, and Anna into the conflict as candidates for the Seven Lights should Sora and his friends not prove up to snuff.
  • Mundane Utility: At one point, Sora uses the Keyblade's power to lock a simple door.
  • Musical Nod:
    • When Hades first sends the Rock and Ice Titans after Sora and co. in Olympus, an excerpt of "What Lies Beneath", the Underworld battle theme from Kingdom Hearts II, plays.
    • The piano piece that plays in the secret ending is a mix of Dearly Beloved and Somnus.
  • Mythology Gag: Now has its own page.

    Tropes N-R 
  • Nerf:
    • The core Flowmotion abilities introduced in 3D have been significantly toned down in this game. Flowmotion can only be activated by Air Sliding towards a solid wall, and Sora initially lacks the Superjump Ability and has abysmal Flowmotion glide range. Gliding never travels nearly as far as it did in 3D even when capped, and the ability to infinitely chain Glide and Superjump has been removed with only one Superjump allowed per Flowmotion. The power and range of Flowmotion attacks have also been neutered, forcing the player to rely more often on conventional combat than spamming Flowmotion as per the norm in early to midgame 3D.
    • The Cure series still drains all MP like in II, but is no longer a guaranteed full heal like it was in that game; the effect is now tied to how much MP is consumed. Curaga is also the very last spell to be obtained, as it is only unlocked during the final world.
    • Shotlocks zigzag this. Most of the Shotlocks aren't quite as abusable as the ones seen in Birth By Sleep due to their lackluster damage, oftentimes making Airstepping (which costs no Focus) a superior option for damage. However, there are some utility Shotlocks such as the Life Drain ones (which can serve as an alternative for healing in Critical), and some of the endgame Shotlocks are patently broken, such as Oblivion/Oathkeeper (absurdly high damage for a Shotlock) and Ultima Weapon (literally a Fantastic Nuke).
  • Nerf Arm: The Hunny Spout is a silly honey-themed reskin of Shooting Star, with its transformations shooting honey instead of magic bullets. It's just as useful as Shooting Star regardless, and even has access to unique abilities like Barrier.
  • Never Say "Die": Played with.
    • Captain Jack complains that of Will, Elizabeth, and Barbossa, three of them tried to "annihilate" him in the past, rather than "kill". This also means that he leaves out the fact that Elizabeth succeeded on that count. However, Barbossa still keeps his line about Jack shooting him on Isle de Muerta.
    • Averted in some of the other Disney worlds where characters specifically refer to terms such as "kill" and "die", one such example being in the Kingdom of Corona.
    • The Final World is explicitly stated to be an afterlife or limbo for souls still clinging to life. The word "death" is actually brought up when Chirithy explains how Sora crossed over into the Final World before. However, the act of dying is still referred to as "perish".
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The "gameplay" in the E3 2013 trailer was actually pre-rendered concept footage, as the shader technology wasn't polished enough to show off for actual gameplay.
  • New Game+: Update 1.05 allows one to create a New Game+ save file using a clear game. You can only carry over unlocked Keyblades and selfie poses, and all Keyblades are reset to Level 1. This includes the Ultima Weapon, which is normally synthesized at max level, but must be upgraded from scratch on New Game+.
  • New Skill as Reward:
    • Just like in Kingdom Hearts II, you are granted new abilities or given equipment slots by winning scripted encounters.
    • In a series first, you are also awarded with new Abilities from minigames. Most minigames have a ranking system, and if you score an A Rank, you are given a new Ability. The Flantastic Seven also give you a new Ability the first time you hit the "dance" target score.
  • Nintendo Hard: Critical Mode, added in the version 1.04 patch, is easily far harder than any other difficulty setting. Enemies as early as the first tutorial can kill Sora in two hits, and this isn't even getting into bosses using their desperation moves much earlier in the fight. Some have even gone as far as to say it's probably the hardest critical mode in the whole series, but fair instead of cheap.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: Unlike Kingdom Hearts II (and even then, some crucial story cutscenes didn't have this), this game doesn't render your forms in real time for the cutscenes for some reason. Only the Keyblade you have equipped at the time.
  • Noodle Incident: Aeleus doesn't want to talk to Sora due to an incident between Lexaeus and Roxas during their time in the original Organization XIII. Ienzo tries to tell him to let it go, but the question remains: what exactly did Roxas do to Lexaeus that was so bad?
  • No-Sell: When Xehanort is depleted to his last hit point, the "Last Ray" Reaction Command appears to finish off Xehanort with the Keyblade's true power. Upon activating Last Ray, Sora points his Keyblade at Xehanort and fires off a beam... which collides harmlessly with Xehanort, who smirks at the effort before attacking Sora with his own beam.
  • Nostalgia Level: Portions of The Caribbean were redesigned exactly as they were in II (though all of them are parts of larger sections of the world). Namely the Rampart, the Harbor (where you fought the Grim Reaper in II), and the Town.
  • The Nothing After Death: Sora nearly dies at the Keyblade Graveyard and is sent to the Final World, which resembles an infinite salt pan: a featureless void other than the sky and its reflection. Souls of the dead gather here, but lose form and simply repeat emotions and thoughts from their lives without noticing each other or their surroundings.
  • Notice This: Party members will occasionally comment if there's a hidden lucky emblem or food ingredients nearby.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: After the final boss fight, Eraqus reveals that he hid his heart away inside Terra after Xehanort struck him down and convinces Xehanort to surrender the χ-blade to Sora.
  • Official Couple: The series has never been subtle with Sora and Kairi having feelings for each other, and though the series has a long stance of No Hugging, No Kissing, this game heavily implies a Relationship Upgrade between the two when they not only share a paoupu fruit, but recreate their cave drawing. From this scene on, the camera tends to linger on them when they hold hands (a far bigger deal in Japan than it is in the west). And it seems like more than a coincidence that the game's ending theme is unambiguously about a woman before her wedding.
    • The Re Mind DLC adds more to it with the command One Heart, where Sora and Kairi join hands, grow a single angel wing each, and the attack ending with feathers fluttering down showing past scenes of their bond. Even the ending montage now includes Sora and Kairi overlooking each scene, which could easily be seen as a date.
  • Off-Model: While the series has always been fairly successful in handling the transition of 2D Disney characters into 3D models, Nomura has made it clear that the fact that more and more worlds are based on CG films has made modeling characters much easier and more consistent, since they have pre-existing resources to use directly from the movies.
  • One Degree of Separation: All the heroes reveal that they know each other in some fashion, which confuses and frustrates Lea.
  • One-Hit Kill: One of the EZ Codes you can activate allows Sora to defeat nearly every enemy in the game in a single hit.
  • One-Scene Wonder: In-Universe in regards to Rapunzel's Guest-Star Party Member status. Her time is limited as is before she loses her hair by the end of her world's story, making her unable to fight whenever the world is revisited.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Both Mother Gothel and Hans are turned into monstrous Heartless that need to be fought.
    • Master Xehanort averts this for the most part. First comes his 12 vessels, then him wearing a goat-themed armor (the closest thing he has to playing this straight), and it ends with Xehanort himself wielding the χ-blade. No big monster to face here.
  • One-Woman Wail: The fight against a darkness-corrupted Aqua has segments that involve a wordless "ah" vocalization from one woman, and segments that seem to be a duet between two of these.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Rémy can't talk to anyone in the cast, so nobody knows his real name. He's just referred to as "Little Chef".
  • Only Mostly Dead: This is the state Sora finds himself in after he and the rest of the Guardians of Light are killed by the Heartless twister. He's in the Final World, the Kingdom Hearts equivalent of the afterlife. Chirithy outright says that he's hanging by a thread thanks to Kairi.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Inverted. Everybody on the side of light gets a happy ending except for Sora, who sacrifices himself to save Kairi and ends up in another world.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: The reason why Marluxia and Larxene are in the Kingdom of Corona and Arendelle respectively is because they had chosen Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa as candidates for a new line of Princesses of Heart, as well as potential members of the Seven Lights should Sora and his friends prove less than ideal.
  • Our Liches Are Different: There is a Heartless miniboss called the Lich. Sora is forced to use the Power of Waking to chase after it as it attempts to steal the hearts of his friends.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Sora's form in Monstropolis is based on a Werecat.
  • Palette Swap: Gummi Heartless can come in "Scarlet" varieties, which are substantially stronger than their base variations. The Bonus Boss of The Eclipse, the Omega Machina, is a Scarlet variant of the previously-encountered Gigant Pyramid, but is more of an Underground Monkey in this regard.
  • Le Parkour: Athletic Flow is a less powerful version of 3D's Flowmotion and allows Sora to run up walls, among other things. A section of the endgame includes a large mazelike structure designed purely to test the player's parkour skills and let them experiment with their newly-acquired Glide.
  • The Pawns Go First: This is Justified as part of Master Xehanort's plan. The members of the True Organization XIII are meant to fight Sora and co. because a clash of light and darkness is needed to create the weapon that Xehanort needs to accomplish his goal. Xehanort does not care in the slightest about what happens to them after that.
  • Permanently Missable Content: In the Kingdom of Corona, you can trigger a handful of cutscenes that demonstrate to Rapunzel that The World Is Just Awesome. Once you pass that point in the story, however, those cutscenes can't be triggered. Seeing all of these scenes is required to unlock the game's only missable piece of equipment, the Forest Clasp (which, luckily, is not needed for 100% Completion). Rapunzel also leaves the party after the world's story ends, since her attacks all depend on her hair, which has been cut.
  • Person of Mass Construction: Ironically enough, Wreck-It Ralph is one as a summon, where he has the ability to create Mario-esque brick blocks with cannons coming out of them. Enemies in the cannon's sights are left stunned and frozen in place, leaving them open for Ralph to hit them with a Dash Attack. The summon ends with Ralph setting the cannons off with a Ground Pound.
  • Point of No Return: Polite version. The game warns you the point of no return is at The Stairway to the Sky, the promontory jutting out of Scala ad Caelum. Going to the city prompts you for the confrontation with Master Xehanort. You can go back and leave the world from here, but once you choose to go forward, you're stuck until the end of the game.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: Even after having his power drained, Sora immediately begins learning more complex new techniques and towards the end of the game, he is the strongest version of himself seen thus far.
  • Power-Up Food: In a similar fashion to Final Fantasy XV, you can cook Cuisine at Little Chef's Bistro that bestows stat buffs upon consumption. You have the option of consuming multiple Cuisine simultaneously, one for each type of Cuisine, and if you consume five different courses at once (referred to as a Full Course Meal), you'll also gain temporary access to an Ability for the duration of the boost.
  • Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye: Heavily implied to be what Sora was telling Kairi in the Bittersweet Ending, given her sudden tears, his tender hand on hers, and his reassuring smile before he ends with No Body Left Behind.
  • Prehensile Hair: Rapunzel uses her locks like a whip.
  • Product Placement: The video game store within Galaxy Toys within Toy Box contains an in-game advertisement for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.
  • Production Throwback: The inclusion of Einhänder cameos can be attributed to the staff of said game being brought on to work on the Gummi Ship segments.
  • Purposely Overpowered:
    • The brief time Riku is playable after Olympus, the player will notice quickly that he is much higher-leveled than Sora. He has third tiered spells and end-game HP and stats. Since he did not undergo Bag of Spilling, not to mention being a Keyblade Master, he is still in the same shape as he is in Dream Drop Distance.
    • Aqua when she is playable during the Vanitas battle in the Land of Departure is even more higher-leveled than Riku, mainly to compensate for the fact that Sora is now significantly leveled up. She also has the very effective Prism Rain Shotlock, more third-tiered spells, and the ridiculously overpowered Spellweaver (the only time a Command Style is encountered in the game). It is not impossible, but it is hard to lose the boss battle.
    • The boss fight with Saïx pairs you up with Roxas and Xion as Sora's allies. Roxas in particular is incredibly powerful and effectively invincible (level 99 when all your other allies in this sequence scale to Sora's level). You can simply stay back and watch as he whittles Saïx's HP to zero; the fight isn't outright impossible to lose, but even setting down the controller and walking away gives Saïx a 50/50 chance at best.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The Counter Shield's Wrathful Flurry Counter Attack fires a barrage of giant gold fists in Sora's direction that deals immense damage to any enemy in its path.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Aqua tries to attack Ansem SoD without her Keyblade, a backup weapon, or any form of protection; Aqua charges in, saying she doesn't need a Keyblade. Ansem defeats her effortlessly.
    • Sora arrives in Arendelle without a jacket or a coat. Naturally, he's freezing cold throughout the entire world's journey. Later on, Donald will complain that's it's worse for him since he's shorter than Sora, and not wearing pants (despite being covered in feathers to compensate for it).
    • Subverted in Corona. Maximus initially struggles to carry three different beings about the size of an adult male, plus Donald. But being Maximus, he manages to pull it off anyway.
    • Both Sora and Kairi don't remember meeting Aqua. Some more memory manipulation from the Organization or Castle Oblivion? Nope; they were just too young to remember. Aqua even lampshades it.
    • You're just going to have a hard time remembering someone you met once a long time ago. Lea, the guy who made "Got it memorized?" into his own Catchphrase, admits that he nearly forgot about Ventus and is surprised to see that Ven remembers him, and Ven only remembers him because he was sleeping and dreaming for most of the series. And Mickey never realized the little girl from Radiant Garden was Kairi until Aqua pointed it out.
    • It doesn't matter if you're a skilled warrior; if someone is bigger than you and catches you by surprise, odds are you're going to get defeated. Just ask Vanitas, who got incapacitated by Sulley when the latter sneaked up on the former while he was focused on Sora.
    • There's a difference between training in a presumably controlled environment and fighting a real life-or-death battle with people who use varying strategies. Kairi and Lea can't compare to Sora, Riku, and Mickey. And though Lea has notably fought those kinds of battles before, he's using a new weapon he's been training with recently as opposed to the chakrams he's been using for a least a decade. Furthermore, Kairi only just started training recently, and is up against Lea, who would likely go easy on her even if she asked him not to, meaning she is far less prepared than any of the others and would survive more on luck than skill.
    • In San Fransokyo, there's a rare acknowledgement of what happens when Heartless, creatures which attack people to get their hearts, get a chance to attack a city with a large population who have no idea what they are, before the only person who can drive them off gets there: During and after the story, it's mentioned that at least some people got their hearts taken by Heartless.
      • The events of this world take place only a short time after the movie, so the Big Hero 6 are still inexperienced and need help to develop the skills and abilities needed to deal with a new and very different threat. Additionally, the human members of the team don't yet have the endurance to keep up with the more conditioned Sora, Donald, and Goofy in longer fights.
    • When Sora points the Gummiphone camera at certain characters in different worlds, they will eagerly pose for the camera, but for characters in worlds like Arendelle, the Caribbean, and the Kingdom of Corona, they will ask what the device is. Given those characters live in time periods where technology that advanced didn't exist, it makes sense that they would be confused and not know what the Gummiphone is.
    • Sora's connection to the Hundred Acre Wood and Pooh has weakened over time, which Sora even admits to himself. While there will always be a place in Sora's heart for Pooh, the fact is that he has grown up and the pressures of being a Keyblade wielder have taken their toll on him. Even after beating the world, the bond will never be as strong as it once was.
    • How did the Organization regain Xion once she was retgone'd? Vexen kept meticulous notes on her as one of his Replicas. They may not remember her, but the data remained.
      • Similarly, one reason why Lea would begin to remember Xion is that even though she's been erased, he and Roxas still spent a lot of quality time with her, some of their most pivotal moments happening with her. Eventually, they'd be noticing gaps in their memories from those days.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: You can swap between Sora's Keyblades by using the D-pad. It's even possible to swap mid-combo, allowing you alternate between any active Keyblade transformations or store them for later.
  • Recursive Canon: In the Toy Story world, there's a Final Fantasy XV expy, as well as Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.
    • Classic Kingdom's framing device is that they are promoting a film festival of the actual animated shorts they're inspired by, though in this universe, Sora is Mickey's big co-star and the producers of these cartoons are Scrooge McDuck and Ludwig Von Drake, who is credited with the invention of sound cartoons.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Early trailers recycled music from Kingdom Hearts II, as Yoko Shimomura had not yet composed new tracks for III.
    • In the game proper, several character themes (Maleficent, Riku, Kairi, Merlin, etc.) are carried over exactly from the HD remakes, as is the orchestral "Hikari" from the original PS2 game.
  • Redemption Rejection:
    • Larxene angrily dismisses Sora's sympathy when fading away, although she at least is sorta grateful that she doesn't become a vessel in the end.
    • Vanitas gladly accepts his nature as just darkness having taken form and doesn't intend to change sides at all. Ventus is sorta okay with this decision; Sora isn't.
  • Red Herring:
    • The trailers, a scene, and some dialogues in the game (notably the one the gang have with Larxene in Arendelle) suggest that the last member of the Seekers of Darkness and Xehanort's final vessel is Aqua, hence the popular conjecture that "Aqua has been 'Norted". Aqua does succumb to darkness, but she is not 'Norted (it's hinted that she is becoming a Darkling) and she is saved just in time to become one of the seven Guardians of Light. The last member is Xion, something that is not revealed until midway through the final battle.
    • The audience is lead to believe that the Riku with the Seekers is the Ansem-possessed Riku from the first game. He's actually just the Riku Replica's time traveling heart from Chain of Memories.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The mysterious girl that was experimented on by Ansem's apprentices in Hollow Bastion. She is very important to Lea and Isa's motivations and even played a part in apprentice Xehanort's Start of Darkness, despite no prior clue that this girl existed in the series, though her saying "May my heart be my guiding key" suggest that she is a Dandelion/Keyblade wielder from the unions.
  • Retcon:
    • A statement made by Xemnas in Dream Drop Distance about the reasons for why the plan for Organization XIII failed was seemingly discarded even before the game came out. In Dream Drop Distance, Xemnas states that "most of the initial candidates [of the Organization] were inadequate" to become Xehanort's vessels, indicating that the renewed "true" Organization would be filled mostly by new characters. The game's trailers revealed that a majority of the Organization, even discounting Xigbar, Saïx and Xemnas themselves, are veterans of the previous one, namely Larxene, Marluxia, Luxord, and Xion. Demyx and Vexen are revealed to be benched and serve as spares only if they fail to get the remaining members required.
    • As the gang leaves for Olympus, Goofy claims that Yen Sid bids everyone farewell with "May your hearts be your guiding key," even though Sora and Donald never noticed. Visiting the Mysterious Tower after Olympus reveals that, yes, Yen Sid does…quietly under his breath. The phrase only started to pop up in the series around Back Cover and/or A Fragmentary Passage, basically the tail end of the Xehanort Saga.
    • The opening Dive into the Heart sequence is oddly set in a watery plain/sea, instead of the usual round station in darkness. This is the Final World, the place where people who are supposed to die are tethered by a living person, making them unable to pass on. Just before the climax of this game, Sora enters this realm again and Chirity states that everyone who goes to the Dive sometimes crosses over here, since dream and death have a very thin border, and claims that he has traveled here in all of his previous visits. This fact is never even hinted in the previous games, which have Sora entering the Dive without visiting this world.
  • Retraux: Over twenty Game & Watch-styled minigames starring Sora based on classic Disney shorts are in the game.
  • The Reveal: Several for the series:
    • How did Lea and Isa end up joining the Organization in the first place? They elected to become apprentices of Ansem so they could try to rescue the girl he had been experimenting on.
    • Why did Xehanort recruit the original IX-XII members of the Organization, four people who seemed to have come from nowhere? They're actually time-displaced keyblade wielders from the distant past when the Keyblade War was fought.
    • Terra-Xehanort's Guardian, which everyone has been seeing since the first Kingdom Hearts, is revealed to host Terra's heart.
  • Reverse Mole:
    • Vexen joined the new Organization for the sole purpose of taking Replica bodies to recreate lost heroes of light as a way for him to atone for the crimes he committed. He shows his true colors when he saves Ansem the Wise from Ansem, Seeker of Darkness and firmly stays on the side of good for the rest of the game.
    • Saïx also joined the Organization to secretly take the Replica bodies for the heroes of light. Unlike Vexen, he enforces the facade until his defeat.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Whenever you point the Gummiphone at Jack in The Carribean, there's a chance he'll ask if it's a spyglass. The Gummiphone could in theory be used to observe areas like a spyglass, for sure. It just has way more features and can't see anywhere near as far.
  • Rocket Punch: The Nano Arms' combo finisher, bluntly titled "Rocket Fist", fires a large fist made of Nanobots that seeks enemies and collides with them.
  • Rogue Protagonist: This is the fate that has befallen Aqua, who gets corrupted by darkness. This leads to her hair turning pale and her eyes turning gold. Sora fights her as a boss to save her.
  • Rule of Seven: The seven Princesses of Heart and the seven Guardians of Light who will protect them from Xehanort's thirteen Seekers of Darkness. There's also a new group that the latter is interested in called the "New Seven Hearts", which potentially includes Elsa.

    Tropes S-Y 
  • Savage Wolf: Sköll, the boss of Arendelle, is a wolf-like Heartless that traps people in a lightless void to kill them and eat their hearts, and also intends to devour all light in worlds. It is actually the Heartless form of Hans, having succumbed to the darkness in him after his attempt to become King of Arendelle through regicide failed and caused Elsa and Anna to become New Hearts.
  • Say My Name: A particularly notable instance during the climatic battle against Xehanort: during the Fission Mailed sequence where Sora "dies" after being overpowered by Xehanort, pressing buttons on the DualShock 4 causes a heartbeat to sound while Goofy and Donald call out to Sora through the controller's speaker.
  • Scenery Porn: The characters in-universe seem to point out how nice everything looks, mostly at certain points that overlook large landscapes, such as in the Kingdom of Corona.
  • Self-Deprecation: Kingdom Hearts III takes a number of pot shots at not only the series' infamous Kudzu Plot, but also the Sequel Gap between the numbered entries.
    • When Sora, Donald, and Goofy first embark to head to Olympus, the title drops to Kingdom Hearts II.9. The actual proper Kingdom Hearts III title drop doesn't actually happen until after the Olympus world has been completed.
    • When preparing to head to Twilight Town, Sora exclaims that it's been ages since he's been there last. Donald quickly denies this, stating that it actually hasn't been that long. Sora ends up repeating this again when he runs into Hayner, Pence, and Olette, but Hayner is also slightly confused since it, in-universe, actually hadn't been that long.
    • Verum Rex, a video game that Rex plays in the Toy Box world, gets a full video game trailer and is essentially a parody of tropes and character designs that Nomura is known for, and specifically of Final Fantasy XV.
    • In Toy Box, the Toys think that Sora, Donald, and Goofy are video game characters. When Sora starts explaining their reasoning for being there, with the Universe being in danger of being split, Buzz finds his explanation, and by extension the plot of Kingdom Hearts III, to be utterly ridiculous.
    • Upon noticing that most of the Seekers is made up of the same members as before, Larxene states, "What is this, Organization Rehash?"
    • Before the final battle, when the Guardians of Light are gathered at The Mysterious Tower. Lea had this to say, regarding the Kudzu Plot.
      Lea: This is all very touching, guys, but where do I fit in? Ven looks just like Roxas — or is it Roxas looks just like Ven? … And now I have to explain it all to himwhich is in itself a crazy long story — and, apparently everybody already knows everyone, and this is an insane amount to get memorized!
    • Jiminy's response to Lea's breakdown is to give everyone a copy of the Gummiphone and advise them all to read his journal entries if they want to get caught up to speed.
    • A more bitter example during the ending. In light of Kairi's heart being shattered, Sora notices the pattern to her Designated Victim tendencies.
      Sora: My whole journey began the day I lost her. And every time I find her… she slips away again.
    • In the epilogue, Luxu tells his friends, "I hope you guys like long stories."
  • Sequel Hook: Finale to the Dark Seeker saga though it may be, this game is loaded with setup for the stories to come. In rough order of occurrence:
    • Larxene talks about the new seven Princesses of Heart, but since they're only acting as collateral to force Sora's group to fight on Xehanort's terms, only four members of the group are confirmed: Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, and Kairi. The identities of the other three aren't given and are presumably to be answered in the future.
    • There's frequent mention of a nameless amnesiac girl who was in Ansem the Wise's custody before the fall of Radiant Garden and factored heavily into Lea and Isa's motivations. She's heavily implied to be a Dandelion, so she's likely to return in proper for the next saga. The Secret Reports imply she could even be Ava or Skuld.
    • In the Final World, Sora meets the unknown spirit of a young woman that he's not familiar with. This girl states to be waiting for a certain someone to rescue her. She even tells Sora the name of said person. While the audience does not get to hear it in the main game (although Sora's reaction implies he knows who who she's talking about), Re Mind reveals that the person in question is Yozora.
    • After their defeat in the Keyblade Graveyard, Marluxia, Larxene, Luxord, and Saïx anticipate returning to their human selves. Isa returns in the ending montage, but the whereabouts of Lauriam, Elrena, and Luxord's human form are unknown. Luxord also rewards Sora for his victory in battle with what he calls a wild card, which remains in Sora's possession at the end of the game, as does the χ-blade.
    • The epilogue has Xigbar revealed to be Luxu, the very first owner of Master Xehanort's Keyblade. He then summons four of his fellow Foretellers (Ira, Aced, Gula, and Invi), ancient Keyblade wielders associated with The Seven Deadly Sins whose actions brought about the first Keyblade War that literally ripped the worlds apart into what they are today. And, as Maleficent and Pete watch from afar, Luxu begins filling his cohorts in on what's been going on in the ages they've been away and what the plan is from here on. Finally, the game pulls out to the Framing Device, as a young Eraqus and Xehanort start a new chess game representing the future conflict of the seven ancient masters vs Sora.
    • The game ends with Sora dead and gone, having used the Power of Waking to resurrect Kairi at the cost of his life. Get enough Lucky Emblems for the Secret Ending, and he wakes up in a version of Shibuya, Tokyo from The World Ends with You (signified by its Fictional Counterpart of the real world 109 department store, the 104 Building). Riku, meanwhile, arrives in nearby Shinjuku, where Yozora from the Toy Story world's fictional video game Verum Rex watches him from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. And finally, another hooded figure in a black coat, with his hands behind his back like the Master of Masters, gazes at the moon while Finger Framing it with a heart symbol, bringing to mind the form of Kingdom Hearts.
    • The Secret Reports reveal information that had yet to occur in Kingdom Hearts χ at the time of III's release: Luxu will pass down his Keyblade to one of the new Union leaders.
    • Nomura hinted in a post-release interview that the wild card that Luxord gifted Sora is going to be an important key to bringing him back.
  • Sequential Boss: Several bosses in the last act are like this. Luxord, Saïx, the Lich, and Master Xehanort all have more than one form.
  • Serial Escalation: Sora goes from fighting just one Titan at a time to taking on three at once, and while the Rock Titan fights alone, it's now much closer to the size it was in the movie, requiring Sora to use his new Attraction Flow abilities to fight it.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon:
    • Heartless Baymax's Powered Armor is made up of microbots that will change into wings or giant claws or other varieties of equipment and weapons.
    • Most of the Keyblades Sora gets in this game count, as most of them have at least one alternate form. Taken Up to Eleven with the Nano Gear, which uses the same microbots mentioned above to repeatedly change form mid combo.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: In the ending, Xion finally gets to wear normal clothes, which visibly impresses Roxas. Lea and Isa also get to wear normal clothes again for the first time since they were kids, although this time they wear black, perhaps out of habit from their time in the Organization.
  • Shield Surf: The Trinity Sled Command, which is used in Olympus, The Caribbean, and Arendelle. It is required in Olympus and Arendelle to move through fire and escape an avalanche caused by Heartless, respectively. After clearing Arendelle, you also unlock a minigame which allows you to play a minigame version of the avalanche course, without the Heartless or the avalanche.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Played with. Donald and Goofy stay with Master Yen Sid during the fated battle between light and darkness, but return for the final battle against Master Xehanort in Scala ad Caelum.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Classic Kingdom minigames are based on the old 80s LCD Game & Watch games.
    • When you fight the Titans at the end of Olympus, the text on the information bar says to "Clash with the Titans".
    • Rex mentions that a video game he's been playing has a Bahamut boss, and mistakes Sora for the protagonist, Yozora, while Donald is Magia and Goofy is Aegis. For the latter two, these were the same naming conventions used for the protagonists of Final Fantasy XV, while Yozora means "night sky," the same as the name of the protagonist of XV, Noctis Lucis Caelum. Final Fantasy XV was produced at the same time as Kingdom Hearts III.
    • In the Galaxy Toys toy store, there's an aisle for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT action figures.
    • When showing Demyx and Vexen collaborating to go against the Seekers, as Demyx seems enthused on joining in, he excitedly says "Yes! Demyx Time!"
    • The Formchange of the Wheel of Time Keyblade is the Highwind, which turns the Keyblade into a spear and has its finishing blow being a rain of spears from high in the sky, referencing the Dragoon class from Final Fantasy.
    • The instructions for opening a Treasure Sphere list it in order of steps, with the last step given as Step 3: Profit.
    • A secluded beach in the Caribbean has a chest containing the Beach Party Classic Kingdom game and hundreds of crabs for upgrading your ship, a subtle reference to the Crab Rave meme.
  • Shown Their Work: If you thought Square Enix's attention to detail with Disney films was good in other games, it's shown with even greater effect here. World designs look even closer to their films than they did before, and they even involve the original staff of the films in the development process, just to make sure they nail down the atmosphere right.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • There's an in-universe video game entitled Verum Rex: Beat of Lead within the Toy Box, which Rex is a big fan of. He initially thinks that Sora, Donald, and Goofy are characters from said video game named "Yozora", "Magia", and "Aegis". These names respectively translate to "Night Sky" (Japanese), "Magic" (Latin), and "Shield" (Greek), all of which are very fitting for them.)
    • On the shelves of Galaxy Toys, one can see various titles, including "Blood Fight", "Space Cats", "Deep Dark Castle", Pit*Pet Party", "Wall Street Ninja", "Wall Street Ninja 2", and "Twinkle Puzzle".
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Woody manages to pull this off against Young Xehanort, of all people. Young Xehanort has Buzz Lightyear trapped in a dark void and is threatening to kill him, all while saying that darkness is the heart's true nature. Woody responds that, apparently, no one's ever loved Young Xehanort, and that he doesn't care about any of that; should his friends be hurt, Woody threatens to lay a beatdown on Young Xehanort.
  • Sidelined Protagonist Crossover: Unlike in other Disney worlds where Sora regularly interacts with the cast, Sora barely has any moment with the Frozen cast. Though Anna and Elsa appear, they do not become party members and Sora interacts with them exactly once each in the gamenote , while the plot of the movie goes on without his input at all. They aren't even there to say goodbye to Sora, unlike all other Disney casts in the same game. The Ascended Extra part? Marshmallow becomes a party member and Hans manifests Arendelle's Heartless Final Boss, Skoll.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Arendelle is the first full-fledged ice world in the series.note 
  • Smart People Play Chess: The trailer shows a young Xehanort and Eraqus playing a chess-like game; and if you take a close look at the pieces, they have symbols corresponding to different characters — ones whom they've yet to meet at that point in time.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Using the Meow-Wow Balloon Link causes the Dream Eater minigame music from 3D to play over any other background music. Said music is relatively cheerful and lighthearted and not at all suited for battle.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The Kraken was Killed Offscreen between Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, but in III, it has survived past the point in the original timeline when it was killed off, as it is present during the maelstrom battle from the climax of the third film.
  • Stars Are Souls: The souls residing in the Final World all take the form of stars.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: Sora does this with floating debris on Olympus.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Zig-zagged. Xemnas abducts Kairi and Master Xehanort kills her in front of Sora to make him fight and produce the final Keyblade he needs to form the χ-blade. Sora manages to resurrect her after Xehanort dies, but at the cost of risking being forced into his own trip to the fridge.
    Master Xehanort: You require motivation.
  • Stylistic Suck: The kaiju-themed enemies in the Toy Box have limited articulation, and move around by hopping, since their design doesn't have articulated legs.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Honey Lemon not only believes that Donald's powers are magic, but she asks if she could study it more closely. He is more than happy to oblige.
  • Summon Magic: Confirmed summons Sora has access to include Ariel, Simba, the Dream Eaters, and Wreck-It Ralph.
  • Super Cell Reception: The Gummiphone can call between worlds, and reliably enough that the one time it cuts out is cause for panic. The name suggests that this is a benefit of the same Gummi technology that allows Gummi Ships to travel between worlds.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Sora can swim and breath underwater quite easily while in the Caribbean. Jack Sparrow can't, though, and sits out any underwater adventuring.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The χ-blade. It is forged by Xehanort after the Seven Guardians of Light successfully clash with the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness and used to open and control Kingdom Hearts. It is later bequeathed to Sora by Xehanort himself after Eraqus convinces Xehanort to stand down.
  • Taking You with Me: Rather than just fade like most Heartless bosses once defeated, Sköll attempts to kill Sora and co. with a final explosion. Marshmallow is able to shield them from the brunt of the blast, though.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: The battle at the Keyblade Graveyard. Sora and his friends fight against 2-3 members of the Seekers at different locations, and after one of the members is defeated, a scene follows with the beaten member discussing with Sora before vanishing, and then the fight between the other members resumes.
  • A Taste of Power: After completing Olympus, the player controls Riku in the Realm of Darkness against a Demon Tower. Because Riku is now a full-fledged Keyblade Master, he has endgame-level magic, HP, and stats.
  • The Team: The heroes' main goal is to have enough people to field a team against Xehanort's 13 incarnations.
  • Tears of Joy:
    • Aqua sheds these after being freed from the Realm of Darkness for the first time in over ten years.
    • In the Keyblade Graveyard, Lea, Roxas, and Xion, as well as Aqua, Terra, and Ventus, when they are reunited.
  • That One Boss: In-Universe, there's a popular video game in the Toy Box that Rex is a big fan of. When he mistakes Sora and company for characters from said game, he mentions that he and Slinky were having a lot of difficulty defeating a specific boss named Bahamut.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Downplayed. This doesn’t apply to Xehanort, but rather to Xigbar/Braig/Luxu. Sure, Xehanort was stopped once and for all, but the true mastermind, Luxu, managed to get exactly what he wanted: Another keyblade war and the return of the foretellers. He even managed to get his keyblade back and both the heroes and the villains played right into his hands, because he’s been manipulating both sides since the beginning. He didn’t care who won and who lost the Keyblade war as long as he got what he wanted, and that’s exactly what happened.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The ringtone for the Gummiphone is Sora's own leitmotif.
  • This Is a Drill: The "Drill Punch" Command Style transforms the Keyblade into a large drill arm. Sora can use it for punching attacks or dig underground to strike enemies from below.
  • This Is Reality: Buzz rejects the notion of worlds being split apart, saying that this is reality, not a video game, in a universe where toys come to life and move around on their own.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Unlike in previous games, Maleficent and Pete have kept to avoiding the main conflict and are instead more focused on a long-term goal involving the Mysterious Black Box foretold in the Book of Prophecies. They have no idea what is in it, nor do they know where to look. So they instead simply venture from world to world hoping that they would stumble across it, their dynamic something that would make the typical Odd Couple smirk just a little.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: This is one of the only Kingdom Hearts games to avert this, as neither Strike Raid nor any of its variations appear in any capacity during the main game, although one of the Risk Dodge counters is a Payback Raid-esque attack. Very early pre-release footage originally depicted Sora using Raid Ride to attack the Rock Titan while riding Big Magic Mountain, but in the final game, Big Magic Mountain attacks by firing fireworks from its chimney stack. However, certain Keyblade transformations such as Counter Shield and Storm Flag have a raid attack when used at a certain distance, though it doesn't combo like Strike Raid. Saïx still fights by throwing his sword, but now throws multiple swords at once. In Re Mind, Kairi can open her combo with a Strike Raid attack if she is some distance from Armored Xehanort, then warps to her Keyblade to close the distance, and Data-Xion frequently uses this move.
  • Time Travel: As mentioned at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the Seekers of Darkness are traveling forward in time into vessels that Master Xehanort prepared.
    • In the Final World, Sora himself does this when going back to the Keyblade Graveyard, thus changing Terra-Xehanort being beaten back by Donald's Zettaflare to the Lingering Will instead.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: Sora's new ability to transform the Keyblade into different forms is the result of him doing this by becoming a master and thus able to use more of the true power than before.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: When attacked by the mysterious Heartless nanobots, Fred names them "Darkubes" on the fly, claiming that every good supervillain needs a cool name. GoGo objects to this, claiming that the name sucks, but everyone adopts it regardless. Their design suggests they're Bug Blocks from Coded somehow made real, but none of the characters make any sort of connection between the two.
  • Toy Time: The Toy Story world is naturally toy-centric. A major part of the level involves exploring a toy store.
  • Translation Convention: In the Japanese version, Sora reads the Monsters, Inc. slogan "We Scare Because We Care" in Japanese, despite the slogan being written in English.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The advertising happily spoiled the darkness-possessed Aqua being a boss fight, despite her even being in such a state being a massive spoiler in and of itself. As such, the search for her becomes a slog.
  • The Unfought:
    • Vexen and Demyx are not faced at all, despite being with the Seekers. This is justified due to Vexen being a Reverse Mole and Demyx going through a Heel–Face Turn to assist him.
    • Despite being present antagonists in their worlds, Hades and Randall are not battled at all.
    • Mother Gothel and Hans are battled, but only in the forms of Heartless who don't resemble them.
    • Similarly, Maleficent and Pete are never battled at any point in the game. When Sora challenges her in Olympus, Maleficent dismisses it and says that it is not worth her present concern, before going away.
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • The Black Box that was set up in Back Cover keeps getting brought up. Its contents and purpose are never revealed.
    • Throughout the game, it's revealed that an amnesiac girl who possibly traveled from the past was found in Radiant Garden and experimented on by the apprentice Xehanort. She also befriended Lea and Isa when they snuck into the castle. When Ansem learned what Xehanort was doing, he sent the girl away to a location that only he knows. Who the girl is, what happened to her, and why the Seekers considered her important is not elaborated on.
    • How did Xemnas knew that Ventus, Demyx, Luxord, Marluxia, and Larxene are keyblade wielders from the Age of Fairytales is unknown.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: For some reason, the fact that the Darkubes resemble the Bugs from the Datascape is never brought up by Goofy, Donald, or Jiminy.
  • Urban Fantasy: Similar to the game it's an Affectionate Parody of, Verum Rex takes place in a modern-day Japanese city infested with varying types of Humongous Mecha called Gigas, while its protagonists are stylish-looking young men armed with modern weaponry combined with magic. This also goes for the Secret Ending, where Sora wakes up in Shibuya's Scramble Crossing.
  • Variant Chess: The young Eraqus and Xehanort's chess game doesn't seem to be anything even close to regular chess, with a wide array of completely unique pieces, inconsistent movement rules at different points in the story, and even random magic that lets multiple pieces materialize out of nowhere.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Scala ad Caelum, the world inside Kingdom Hearts.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Or forgot to change their fighting styles. Many of the Seekers use the same or similar fighting style and tactics from previous games, but because they're more suited for the more ground-oriented combat in previous games, compared to the improved air-oriented combat in this game, and because many players who have played the previous games will be familiar with their fighting styles, their attacks are much easier to dodge and react to. Some attacks like Marluxia and Larxene's can be easily dodged just by staying in the air. Word of God is that this is Gameplay and Story Segregation to make the game winnable for regular players, and the Limitcut portion of the Re Mind DLC shows what the bosses are really supposed to be like in the story.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • After a divisive portrayal in Dream Drop Distance, Haley Joel Osment has been given props for finding a good middle ground between his Kingdom Hearts II Sora voice and the later one in Dream Drop Distance.
    • Vanitas has gotten more gravelly compared to Birth By Sleep when his voice was a bit deeper than Sora's; this serves a purpose, as Vanitas and Sora actually interact with each other in this game.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: On Critical, the Rock Troll in Olympus. Despite only being miniboss-class, it is the first enemy in the game that will truly punish you for blindly hacking and slashing. Most of its attacks can two-hit or even One-Hit Kill at your given HP level, and simply going ham will lead to an early grave. Learning how to block and execute Reprisals is necessary to take it down.
  • Wall Jump: Part of Sora's acrobatics.
  • Wall Run: Sora can run up walls marked by a glowing visual effect. The Rock Titan fight has Sora running straight up a cliff face to reach it.
  • The War Sequence: At the Keyblade Graveyard, Sora, Donald and Goofy are forced to mow down an absolutely enormous swarm of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed in a similar fashion to the Battle of 1000 Heartless from II. However, after a minute of fighting, Goofy points out that just beating up the Heartless one by one isn't really thinning their numbers, so they decide to bust out Big Magic Mountain and take out the entire crowd in one fell swoop.
  • Weapon Tombstone: In the ending, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua visit Eraqus's grave to pay their respects. Since Eraqus did not leave a body behind when he died, they placed the Master's Defender above a plot of land in the Land of Departure to form the memorial.
  • We Have Reserves: Vexen and Demyx are kept around as backups for the Seekers, just in case the others weren't up for the task. The resentment from being so casually disregarded by the other members is one of several reasons for their defecting.
    • Xemnas himself brutally lampshades this as a reversal to Sora as he abducts Kairi.
    "What difference does one little light make? You have others. Just as we have more darknesses to replenish our ranks."
  • Wham Line:
    • "Eraqus is a blueblood, descended from the very first masters of the age of fairy tales" –Xehanort
    • "He will return..." –Unknown (Luxu)
    • Xigbar has this to say at the end of Olympus world: "May your hear--" [Smash Cut to black]
    • Donald: "Zettaflare!"
    • "One day... I... will... set... this... right..." —Terra's final words from his story in Birth by Sleep, now uttered by the Guardian.
    • Xemnas to Demyx, Luxord, Marluxia, and Larxene, "You four are going to reveal your greatest secret: the ancient Keyblade legacy that slumbers within you."
    • "Changing sides again?" —Xemnas, to Xion as she stops the The Superior of the In-Between from killing Lea.
    • "There is one sky, one destiny!" —Master Xehanort, telling the heroes that it doesn't matter if he's not in the Keyblade Graveyard; since all the worlds are connected, he can still summon Kingdom Hearts.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The battle against Terra-Xehanort + Vanitas. The Guardian that protects Terra-Xehanort contained Terra's heart all along. He then manages to rebel against his own possessed body in order to save his friends.
    • Master Xehanort killing/shattering Kairi, prompting an enraged Sora to deliver the final clash between light and darkness that allows the χ-blade to be formed.
    • Diving under the water in Scala ad Caelum reveals that underneath is Daybreak Town.
    • Sora's supposed Heroic Sacrifice near the end, allowing Kairi to return back to Destiny Islands — possibly at the cost of his own life.
    • The epilogue reveals has Luxu, the mysterious apprentice of the even more mysterious Master of Masters from Kingdom Hearts χ, remove his hood to reveal himself as Xigbar.
    • The secret movie reveals that Sora's still alive, and is in Shibuya note . Riku may be close by, and is being observed by Yozora. The final shot is of a figure in a black coat who is the Master of Masters looking at the moon and making a heart shape with their hands.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • After agreeing to help Vexen and showing up at the Hollow Bastion's castle in order to bring back Ansem the Wise and a replica for Roxas to use, Demyx is absent for the rest of the game from that point on.
    • In regards to Xehanort's Guardian, while we do see him transforming back into Terra, we don't see what happened with Ansem's Guardian, who, by all accounts, should be a separate entity of his own (the same way Terra-Xehanort and Ansem are). Ansem summons him to deal with Aqua and Hayner, but in the fight against Ansem proper, the Guardian is conspicuously missing.
    • The final fate of the χ-Blade is unclear. Sora uses it to close Kingdom Hearts after the final battle, but the next time Sora summons a keyblade to go after Kairi it's just the standard Kingdom Key. It's unknown what the potential repercussions would be of allowing something so immensely powerful to remain intact in the realm of light.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • A pointed aversion. After his realizations in Dream Drop Distance, Sora is determined to bring Roxas back into existence. Vexen and Ansem the Wise likewise seek to restore Naminé as well to make up for their own mistakes.
    • Everyone has measure. Even the other Baymax that was sent into the void.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Anti-Aqua gives a rather scathing one to Mickey for not helping find a way back to the Realm of Light.
    Mickey: What happened?
    Anti-Aqua: You abandoned me, that's what. You left me in this shadow prison for more than a decade, knowing what it would do to me… […] I reached this shore after endless wandering. Waited forever for help to arrive. But no one ever came. I lost my Keyblade. Had no means of fighting my way back through the Heartless. You should have known I was stranded. Do you have any idea how lonely it is here? How frightening it is to have no one? All that's left in my heart is misery and despair… And now… you can share it!
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The credits show how the Disney worlds are doing after meeting Sora and friends. In Olympus Coliseum, Hercules is cleaning up the mess Hades made and Meg shows him a statue erected in his honor while the city applaudes him; in Twilight Town, Scrooge is surprised at the extent of Rémy's cooking in the kitchen of Le Grand Bistrot; in the Toy Box, Andy finally returns; in Port Royal, Elizabeth watches Will leave at sea while Jack’s Black Pearl is stolen again, and is left behind a boat and Joshamee at Port Royal; in San Fransokyo, Big Hero 6 continues to save the day, now with another Baymax at their side; in Monstropolis, Sulley and Mike put Boo to rest in her room after another day of play; in Arendelle, the group has gone sleighing with Marshmallow; in Corona, Rapunzel and Eugene dance together in the town square; and in the Hundred Acre Wood, the animals work together to plant vegetables in a garden.
  • A Wizard Did It: Xehanort's meddling in the Toy Box causes the toys' weapons to actually function like real weapons. This includes Buzz's wrist laser, which is otherwise just a laser pointer.
  • Wolfpack Boss: A ton of Minotaur-like Heartless are summoned by one of their kin blowing a war horn to stampede Sora on Mt. Olympus.
  • Wolverine Claws:
    • The Monsters, Inc. Keyblade, Happy Gear, can transform into Quick Claws, which can then become Quick Yo-Yo's.
    • Larxene wields her kunai like these, as usual.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Riku's Keyblade gets its tip broken off after an encounter with a Demon Tower, rendering it unusable… at least, to him. He leaves it on the beach in the Realm of Darkness for "the other me."
  • Wrong Context Magic: The Seekers are interested in Davy Jones and his heart in the Dead Man's Chest because they're curious as to how a being could extract his own heart without becoming a Heartless, fading away, or dying. However, what they don't know is that the "heart" of Davy Jones in the chest is the actual biological organ, not the metaphysical heart that the series usually refers to. When Vexen sees Jack open the chest and realizes this, he's disgusted and disappointed that he's been wasting his time chasing a useless lead.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Following the heroes rescuing Sora from becoming Xehanort's thirteenth vessel, the XIII Seekers of Darkness spend a good chunk of the game trying to find their thirteenth member. By the Keyblade Graveyard, they've got their thirteen. It's implied that Xion was the final addition.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Merlin trains Lea and Kairi in a place called the Secret Forest where time does not pass.
  • You Are Too Late: Mickey and Riku only find Aqua after she's succumbed to darkness. She gets better after Sora defeats her.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Young Xehanort believes that the future has "already been written," due to the prophecy about the Keyblade War and the experiences ingrained on him in Dream Drop Distance. Eraqus is more optimistic.
    Eraqus: Who's to say I can't change it? [...] You might be surprised.
    Xehanort: Oh, I hope so.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Xehanort successfully creates the χ-blade after the Keyblade War, upon which he summons Kingdom Hearts and starts to spread darkness across the universe, threatening to destroy everything to start anew.
  • You Have Failed Me: Xemnas decides to dispose of Xion after she refuses to kill Lea, since she becomes useless to the Seekers at that point. He doesn't get very far thanks to Roxas's intervention.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: At one point, Terra's Lingering Will transforms his Keyblade into a whip and latches it to Terra-Xehanort's Keyblade, then pulls in an effort to drag Terra-Xehanort to him. He succeeds at getting Terra-Xehanort into the air, but the latter lets go of his Keyblade and attempts to attack directly.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Saïx in the Keyblade Graveyard, who would normally be a challenge due to his high HP and attack power... except you have a completely invincible and extremely damaging Roxas on your side, who will annihilate him without any input from the player.

    Re Mind 
  • Advertised Extra: Leon, Aerith, Yuffie, and Cid were highlighted in the advertisements for the DLC, but they don't appear until the Limitcut Episode, right near the end.
  • All There in the Manual: While the DLC did reveal how Xion returned, it didn't exactly reveal the entire truth. According to the Ultimania, Xion is a time traveler whose heart came from when she first joined the Organization, hence why she had no memories or sense of self. It wasn't until Roxas finally reached out to her through Sora that the memories that formed her heart—which were inside Sora's heart—returned to her.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The DLC adds more playable characters in battles, in some cases replaying the battles in the original game from the perspective of a different character.
    • In the fight against Xigbar and Dark Riku, you can choose either Sora or Riku as a playable character; the other will serve as your party member.
    • Before Sora arrives, you control Aqua against Vanitas and Terra-Xehanort, with Ventus as your partner. Once Sora arrives, you can switch control to Sora or keep playing as Aqua.
    • For the Saïx boss battle, the playable character will switch to Roxas after the cutscene where he is introduced, with Lea and Xion serving as your partners. After Xemnas escapes, the battle will continue on to Saïx properly, but you can choose to switch the control to Sora or keep playing as Roxas.
    • In the battle against Replica Xehanorts, you collectively control the Guardians of Light (sans Sora and Kairi) with a shared health bar and control switched around once in a while. Lea, Riku, Roxas, Terra, and Ventus serve in the offensive, while Aqua, Mickey, and Xion serve in the defensive, using magic to conjure a barrier deflecting attacks. After the sequence is done, there is one more phase of the fight where you solely control Mickey against the Replicas.
    • For the final battle against Armored Xehanort, you can choose to play as either Sora or Kairi, with the one you don't choose serving as an assist character. Notably, this is the first time in the Kingdom Hearts series that Kairi is playable.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: You'll see the bad ending of the Secret Episode the first time you lose. Every loss after that just goes to the standard "game over" screen that gives you the option to retry without having to see the bad ending's cinematic again.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: The Guardians of Light (sans Sora and Kairi) against the Replica Xehanorts all face away from each other to fight off the horde of enemies.
  • Beneath Notice: Luxord reveals that he's been playing this part all along when he confronts Xigbar in the opening cutscene. However, he continues to play along. This is further teased in the "Sora wins" ending against the last boss, as Luxord is the driver of Yozora's limousine, as seen by a brief shot of his head from the rear-view mirror.
  • Bonus Boss: The data battles return for the real Organization XIII; beating all thirteen of them unlocks the Secret Episode, which consists of one last boss fight.
  • Boss Remix: All of the data battles have a new remix for each individual fight (with the exception of Vanitas, who uses his theme from the main game, and Dark Riku, whose theme is a pre-existing remix of "Forze Del Male" from one of the game's cutscenes).
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Defeating the True Final Boss in the Secret Episode nets you a Crystal Regalia+, which boosts Strength, Magic, and Maximum AP. Given that the player has just defeated the strongest boss in the game, it's just a formality at this point.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Limitcut contains the data battles against the thirteen Seekers of Darkness. It's basically the same concept as the Data Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, but with the difficulty more off the charts. Beating them all unlocks the True Final Boss, which is the toughest challenge in a game mode full of them. This one is so difficult that the game expects you to lose, and plays a bad ending the first time you do.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The Master of Masters shows up in a flashback 75 years before the game takes place, revealing that he helped set Master Xehanort up on his path.
    • Riku checks in on the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee—Leon, Yuffie, Aerith, and Cid—after a year of searching for Sora with no success.
    • The Fairy Godmother from Cinderella is back after her last appearance in Birth by Sleep.
  • Call-Back: All over the place, especially in regards to the Limitcut fights:
    • When playing as Roxas in Re Mind, Roxas can use the "Reversal" Reaction Command in much the same way he and Sora could in Kingdom Hearts II.
    • When Sora is in Scala ad Caelum, after he reassembles the pieces of Kairi's heart, the completed object is used exactly the same way as the method to open the paths between worlds in Kingdom Hearts II, complete with Sora performing the "keyhole unlocking" sequence from said game.
    • The attack sequence used by the Guardians of Light to defeat Armored Xehanort is one big reference to the opening movie of Dream Drop Distance.
    • All of the Data Organization XIII fights meld elements from each boss's previous appearances together.
      • Data Marluxia activates the Doom Counter from Re:Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II as a Desperation Attack. The cutscene is the same as the one in II, but uses a timed counter similar to the one seen in Re:CoM.
      • Data Luxord still has the Time Gauge as in his Kingdom Hearts II boss fight. Some of his games are also reused from II.
      • Data Saïx uses the Berserk Reaction Command that Sora could use in Kingdom Hearts II as his reprisal.
      • Data Xion has attacks from Roxas's previous fights, especially his Final Mix boss fights. She also incorporates a super-amped up version of her and Roxas' Magic Hour Limit Break from Days as part of her moveset.
      • Data Dark Riku features powered-up versions of many of his abilities from both the original Kingdom Hearts and Chain of Memories, as well as some Ansem-themed attacks. He also makes frequent use of the Dark Barrier ability that Riku could use in 3D.
      • Data Xemnas primarily takes cues from his final boss fight in II, but also incorporates some of his moves from his secret boss battle in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. His Desperation Attack is a more dangerous version of his infamous laser dome from II as well.
      • Data Xigbar again changes battle arena layout like he did in II, and he has back a variant of his infamous Bullet Hell Desperation Attack.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: During their mass Back-to-Back Badass moment, several of the Guardians of Light manage to squeeze in some heart-to-heart exchanges, compliments, and playful ribbing with each other. Humorously, Lea gets rebuked by Aqua for trying to engage in this with her.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Many of the bosses have unblockable attacks, which usually have unique coloration to tell the player, such as Data Vanitas's glowing Keyblades or the True Final Boss's blue lasers.
  • Convenient Coma: Kairi has Ansem the Wise, Ienzo, and Even put her into a deep sleep, in the hopes that they can find some sort of clue to locating Sora within her heart. One year in, they've still had no luck.
  • Developers' Foresight: Characters other than Sora still do a dive animation when falling from a sufficient height, although only Kairi can get enough altitude for it to trigger.
  • Dramatic Irony: Lea throws a bit of shade at an Organization member with Saïx before their boss fight, unaware that it's one of his best friends, Xion.
  • Due to the Dead: When Demyx comes to pick up Dark Riku's former vessel, Riku asks him to be careful with it, not just because it will help give Naminé a new life, but also because it holds important memories of both Naminé and Riku Replica.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Using EZ Codes prevents you from earning some Trophies/Achievements.
  • Excuse Plot: The justification for fighting the Data Organization XIII in Limitcut is that while searching for Sora, Cid recreated the battle data for the Real Organization XIII, and a virtual recreation of Sora is sent to fight them.
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: Due to Rutger Hauer's death, all of Master Xehanort's scenes revisited from the base game have been redubbed by Christopher Lloyd to retain consistency with new footage from the DLC.
  • Foreshadowing: The new scenes offer a few extra hints to Saïx's Heel–Face Turn. In one of the first scenes, Saïx announces he will go and retrieve Vexen for the Seekers of Darkness, setting up Vexen's own status as The Mole; during the Keyblade War, Saïx visibly notices Xion starting to recognize Axel, and deliberately helps push things along by repeatedly using Axel and Roxas's names.
  • God Mode: EZ Codes give you access to a plethora of what are essentially cheat codes that can help you barrel through the game. These include:
    • Making all of your party's attacks One Hit Kills.
    • Automatically block when not attacking.
    • Regenerating Health, MP, and Focus Gauge.
    • Auto-fill Formchange meter.
    • Easier access to Attractions, Team Attacks, and Rage Mode.
    • All abilities AP cost set to 0.
    • Significantly extended Link duration.
    • Triple Strength and Magic for both allies and enemies.
    • Always perfect results in the Cooking minigame.
    • All Moogle Shop items cost half the price.
    • Starting Gummiship at Level 99, 99 of every Gummi Block, and every Gummiship blueprint in the game.
  • Hourglass Plot: Re Mind has Sora attempting to find Kairi by any means, even if it costs him his life. Limitcut has Kairi attempting to find Sora by any means, even if she has to endure a coma.
  • I Will Find You: In Limitcut, the Guardians of Light split up to find Sora. Donald, Goofy, and Mickey visit every world they can think of; Terra, Ventus, and Aqua venture into the Realm of Darkness; Roxas, Lea, and Xion access the computers in the Twilight Town to see if they can find anything to work with; and Kairi allows herself to be induced into a coma so Ansem the Wise, Ienzo, and Even can analyze her heart, hoping to find a connection to Sora. After a year, however, there's been no progress. Riku eventually decides to visit the Restoration Committee in Radiant Garden, but all he finds are data files of Sora and the Seekers of Darkness.
  • Kick the Dog: Master Xehanort mocks Sora when it appears he's failed to save Kairi in time, and says he's simply doomed to repeat his failure.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: A new ability unique to two of the Data fights and the secret boss allows them to outright remove chunks from Sora's HP bar with certain attacks, restricting the amount of HP he can work with. It can be cured with Elixirs, however.
  • Meaningful Echo: No matter if Sora wins or loses the fight against the last boss of Limitcut, the closing lines of the DLC are very first words spoken in the franchise. Who speaks depends on if Sora won or lost.
    "I've been having these weird thoughts lately. Like, is any of this for real or not?"
  • Multiple Endings: The Secret Episode that's unlocked after completing Limitcut has two endings, depending on if Sora wins or loses the final boss fight. If Sora wins, Yozora says that his powers aren't needed yet, and he Disappears into Light. If Yozora wins, Sora turns to crystal and Yozora promises to save him, if not the "other" Sora he's looking for. The former is the true ending. The victor also determines who begins saying "I've been having these weird thoughts lately..." at the very end, and who says "None of this... makes sense to me."
  • The Name's The Same: Yozora asks Sora why he's using Sora's name, indicating that Yozora knows someone else who is also named Sora. Of course, Sora has no idea what he's talking about.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: As in Kingdom Hearts II, letting your Time Gauge run out against Data Luxord causes you to lose instantly. Losing to the secret boss also results in a bad ending on the first loss, or if you give up on repeat losses.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Re Mind features an updated version of the epilogue from the original game that clarifies what other characters were doing during the battle against Xehanort and the Seekers of Darkness. It's revealed that in every scene shown in the different locales (Disney Castle, Land of Departure, Twilight Town, and Radiant Garden), Sora and Kairi are present but offscreen.
  • Palette Swap: The first boss fought in Re Mind is Dark Inferno, albeit a much weaker and easier version of Dark Inferno with golden secondary colors.
  • Point of No Return: Once you start the Re Mind scenario on a file, you have to see it through to the end before you can return to the main game. The game strongly recommends saving Re Mind and Limitcut data in separate save slots as a result. Once you're in the Limitcut episode, you can return to the main game at any time by pressing Square/X instead of the main confirmation button in the load menu, but this in turn means you can no longer return to Re Mind to gather the treasures in Scala ad Caelum without doing the whole scenario again.
  • Promoted to Playable: For the first time in the series, you get to control Kairi. She's an option in the boss fight against Armored Xehanort, though the player can also choose to continue playing as Sora if they want.
  • Quick Draw: Data Xigbar has the unique "Showdown" Situation Command that triggers a sequence where Sora and Xigbar prepare to duel. Pressing the Attack button right when Xigbar shoots allows Sora to dodge to the side and fire a bolt of light, momentarily stunning Xigbar and leaving him wide open.
  • Race Against the Clock: The plot of Re Mind involves Sora using the power of waking to go back in time to save Kairi before he reaches the point where he left.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: While Re Mind isn't too difficult, Limitcut ramps up the difficulty for a game that is considered to be quite easy by Kingdom Hearts standards. Not only are the Bonus Boss battles obscenely tough, but the True Final Boss safely assumes that you'll lose to him on your first attempt, and plays the bad ending on the first loss.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • It's heavily implied that Luxord knows far more about what's going on than he lets on. He may even know who Xigbar really is, or at least rightfully suspects that Xigbar has his own agenda. He's even the driver of Yozora's limo. However, how much Luxord knows and how he's figured it out is left up in the air.
    • After the final boss of the DLC, depending on whether Sora wins or loses, either Yozora says he isn't needed yet and fades away into light, or Sora turns into crystal. Either way, a future encounter is teased between Sora and the boss.
  • Shout-Out: A scene from the Secret Ending replicates the opening scene from the 2011 trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII.
  • SNK Boss: The bonus bosses easily outstrip anything seen before in the series in difficulty and sheer complexity. Notably, while the concept of sequential boss phases isn't new to Re Mind, they define the battles presented in it, with each of the bosses introducing different gameplay mechanics and tricks at set health intervals. The last boss, available only after completing all other bonus boss battles, is the hardest of all.
  • Summon to Hand: Kairi gets a ranged opener that inverts the trope, by having her toss the Keyblade at her target and warp herself to it to follow up with melee swings.
  • Taken for Granite: In the bad ending of the Secret Episode, Yozora turns Sora into a crystal statue.
  • Tears of Joy: It happens to Chirithy in the final world, when Sora offers Chirithy to go back with him to reunite with Ventus.
  • Temporal Paradox: It's clarified here that Sora caused one during the original ending of the game, resulting in the heroes having both lost and won within the same timeline, and this is the reason that misusing the power of waking will have consequences. The plot of Re Mind involves him causing another one to rescue Kairi.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: While Sora still can't use Strike Raid, Kairi can during her playable section, using it as her combo opener before teleporting to the thrown Keyblade. Data Xion uses Strike Raid against you, while Data Saïx has stepped up to throwing six swords at you at once.
  • Trauma Button: Sora learns that Aqua froze up during the Demon Tide attack because it triggered flashbacks to her time in the Realm of Darkness.
  • Time Skip: The Limitcut episode has a one-year time skip from the end of Kingdom Hearts III.
  • Under City: The toy theater in Scala ad Caelum where you obtain Kairi's fragment confirms without a doubt that the city was built on top, if not outright subsuming, Daybreak Town, the hub of Kingdom Hearts χ.
  • The Un-Reveal: A flashback seventy-five years before the events of Kingdom Hearts III features Master Xehanort meeting the Master of Masters shortly before the former's Mark of Mastery. At the end of the scene, Xehanort asks the Master of Masters for his name. The Master of Masters reveals his name, but the player doesn't get to hear what it is, but judging from Xehanort's facial reaction the name holds a bit of significance to him.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • This game contains the first scenes in which Jesse McCartney has to play Roxas and Ventus at the same time. Roxas is given a noticeably deeper voice than Ventus.
    • Vanitas has dropped the raspiness in his voice from the main story and gone back to being a deeper, more arrogant take on Sora's voice.
  • Wham Line: The Limitcut's final boss: "I've been having these weird thoughts lately. Like, is any of this for real or not?"
  • Wham Shot: The Secret Episode ending, specifically the portion where Yozora wakes up in a limousine after his duel with Sora. Not only is the cinematography and environment lifted wholesale from years-old promotional material for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, it's also revealed that Luxord (or someone with a strikingly similar appearance and voice) is Yozora's driver.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Much like the base game, Demyx's whereabouts after delivering the replica body for Namine are unknown. Though he does have a gummiphone made by Ienzo on him, so it's likely not the last the players will hear of him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Before the Secret Episode battle, Sora expresses this to the boss. Specifically, why Yozora is trying to fight Sora if he's been told to save him.
  • You Can Barely Stand: The player briefly controls Mickey as he makes his way towards a keyhole portal, fending off enemies on his own. The whole time, Mickey is at critically low health, and barely able to drag himself forward.


 

Alternative Title(s): Kingdom Hearts 3

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Seekers of Darkness

The 13 Seekers of Darkness are all different incarnations of Xehanort and his cronies to represent the Darkness for the new Keyblade War.

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