Okay, wow. I have SO many thoughts on all of this. Warning: This is gonna be a long post:
1) They lied to us. The devs said multiple times that the final update would be cutscene only, yet there was plenty of gameplay. Glad I decided to play through the update just for the hell of it, cause I always prefer playing a game to the end rather than watching it on youtube if I have a choice. So I'm glad for that, but damn, I don't know why they had to be so blatantly dishonest about the nature of the update.
2) I really like the way they incorporated a lot of the Disney worlds in this game. I wasn't expecting Dark Road of all titles to have the most narrative impact per Disney world of any KH entry, but bravo. The characters actually USED elements of each world, like the mirror and the rose and the lamp to achieve their ultimate goals, and apparently Maleficent was a mass murderer before the main line of games even happens! Also, really like how dark they went with all the body count and stuff.
3) I'm kind of annoyed that Bragi did in fact turn out to be Luxu. This was a fan theory for a while, but it felt so stupid that someone with a name almost identical to Braig would turn out to be another vessel for Luxu. It was way too on-the-nose, so I was sure it was just a coincidence or a red herring. Kind of disappointed it was real. I am starting to believe that Nomura actually does peruse the message boards of sites like this to get ideas for twists, because the running tab of fan theories becoming true is starting to get a little too heavy for comfort. Not to mention, what was the point of it? We learned nothing interesting from Bragi being Luxu at the end. It didn't change anything about the story. It felt just thrown in there because they had to mention Luxu or something.
4) The whole thing with the different time flows in each world is a MASSIVE problem in the narrative. I know it was just used as an excuse for the characters to be able to come across the same Disney characters that Sora does later on, but I'm sorry, this is probably the most nonsensical and problematic plot device that's EVER been introduced in the KH series, and that's saying something! So, you're telling me that the timelines are so different from world to world, that Xehanort as a child can run into Jafar and Maleficent apparently right in the middle of the same plans they're involved in during the main games, and literally 70 years can pass for Xehanort and Eraqus but all these other characters aren't a day older?!?!?!
I'm sorry, but the implications of this are insane!! If the timelines really are that disproportionate, than that means that while days are passing for someone in Agrabah, DECADES are passing for people in Scala or the Destiny Islands or wherever else. That means, while Sora was out galavanting in the Disney worlds in KH1, then Kairi and Riku and other characters should have aged into old people by the time he left! Every trip to a Disney world is basically like the plot of Interstellar at that point! And yes, I know it's a retcon and that I shouldn't take it too seriously, but come on, you KNOW Nomura is going to use this mechanic at some point in the future, so of course it's relevant (they even mention a version of this mechanic in DDD with the different Sleeping Worlds running on different times).
I'm just blown away at this. This isn't just a plothole, this is a gaping plot chasm, and it involves the entire franchise! And we all know there's no way they're going to stick to it, because that would create chronological chaos trying to keep all the different world timelines on the same track. Very bad move on the writers' part, I think. This is going to bite them in the ass. Or else, it'll just make this one game's story uniquely nonsensical.
5) I REALLY don't feel right about that secret ending. It felt like a massive bait and switch. Granted, I wasn't crazy about the idea of Player being reincarnated as Xehanort. I thought that was a cheesy, contrived way of further connecting Xehanort, a character who already has WAY too much centrality in this series, to even more characters and making him artificially even more important. So I didn't like that twist in the first place. But now, to find out that not only was that not true, but that the old man himself was somehow a reincarnation of the Player (and presumably the Player character in Missing-Link), and that all of Xehanort's deeply ingrained childhood dreams and visions were just a result of his proximity to the old man, just makes it feel so much more cheap and meaningless. Like, it's so obvious that the old man's speech at the end is referring to Sora as the child of destiny. Am I supposed to gather from this that Xehanort's entire destiny was supposed to be someone else's? That everything Xehanort did and became was simply the result of a stupid screw-up? That the main thing that propelled him on his journey, the dreams of the friends of some mysterious other life, was just him picking up signals from someone else's heart like some weird emotional TV antenna? I honestly don't know which I dislike worse—Xehanort being the reincarnated Player, or Xehanort just being some kid who's entire existence was the result of a serious of silly accidents and misunderstandings. I would honestly have preferred if they'd just left Xehanort as just a kid who yearned to see the outside world, and whose curiosity led him down a dark path, and leave it at that. This whole attempt to relate him back to some ancient purpose and bloodline and prophecy is just too much.
6) Also, really bummed that Vor didn't turn out to be Kairi's grandmother. I was actually really certain of that. She looks exactly like how a young Kairi's grandmother would look. Kinda surprised they went with the stupid twist (Bragi) and not the one that actually had real merit to it.