The only thing I have to point out is the part where you pointed out the Sora-Roxas-Xion backup plans thing. One thing you have to keep in mind is that Xemnas sent Marluxia and Co. to Castle Oblivion to find the Chamber where Ventus was. Not to get Sora. In fact, earlier on Xemnas had fought Sora simply to get data from him in KH1, which I guess is the data used to make Xion in the first place.
Xemnas didn't order the Sora memory wipe to happen. That was all Marluxia's plan to topple Xemnas. Rose-hair came up with that one.
It seems that, Xemnas knew about Sora"s Keyblade abilities and fought him, gathering data to use for the Replica Program. Meanwhile, he had Vexen work on said Replicas (Riku replica and Xion) at Castle Oblivion. While there, he also had Zexion look for the Chamber. He also sent Lexeaus as backup for Zexy, because he knew Marluxia and Larxene were planning something.
Sora showing up was part of Marluxia's plan, and led to his downfall. Axel killed both Vexen and Zexion, who seemed to be higher in Xemnas' favor so that Saix could be there instead. Riku slew Lexeaus and Sora got rid of Marluxia and Larxene, opening Xemnas up to a new opportunity once he fell asleep. He restarted the Replica program, not knowing about Repliku's developed sense of self. Roxas was already in the Organization before they all went to Castle Oblivion after all. Meaning Sora wasn't Xemnas' plan at all. He was a minor obstacle that turned into an opportunity, while Roxas and Xion were the plan and backup plan respectively.
Even in DDD, Xehanort's master plan tackled Riku as the XIIIth Vessel first, then Roxas, apparently Xion (she wasn't listed because forgotten), and then Sora. Roxas was the plan in both cases before Sora.
So, it isn't two backup plans really. Just thought I should put in my two cents ^^
Uhm no, to use Sora as a pawn and mess up his memories WAS planned by Xemnas and the Organisation's upper echelons because they originally really wanted to use both Roxas and Sora for Heart collection. Not to mention that without
Naminé messing up Sora's memories (and thus untangling them) Xion absorbing the loose memories and copying the power of the Keyblade would not have even been possible
to begin with.
Zexion does imply that luring Sora to the Castle was intended as well.
Xemnas did NOT sent Marluxia and co. to the Castle in order to find the chamber of waking, he sent them there because he suspected them being traitors and wanted them eliminated. It was Axel
who was tasked with finding the chamber and no one else.
Vexen was sent to the Castle in order to do further work on the Replica program with Lexaeus being there to assist him. Zexion on the other hand was actually reassigned to the Castle by Saix, officially to oversee Vexen's and Lexaeus' work but in reality because Saix wanted him eliminated as well, which Axel eventually did towards the end of CoM.
Marluxia just hijacked Xemnas' original plan and tried to turn Sora into his own puppet rather than one of the Organisation by controlling Naminé.
This is made clear within Days' dialogue and the secret reports:
Secret Report said:
They pushed up the Castle Oblivion plan. Our little hero with the key must've made a move.
Days 23 said:
Axel. I have a message from Lord Xemnas. We have reason to believe that
one or more of the members assigned to Castle Oblivion intend to betray us.
Find them, and dispose of them.
Secret Report said:
Marluxia has succeeded in leading the Keyblade master to the castle. I sense
multiple threads at work, but details on each of the projects are scarce.
I suspect some alleged Organization projects are secretly private
machinations. Marluxia seems especially suspect.
Day 27 said:
(Roxas lay on his bed, watched over by Xemnas and Saïx)
Saïx: Naminé must have begun her work...
Xemnas: Will he wake from this?
Saïx: I am told he will--provided she strips the hero of all his memories.
Xemnas: Then much hinges on Castle Oblivion.
Saïx: We needn't stop collecting hearts. Number XIV has gained power over
the Keyblade, just as we intended. Xion can fill Roxas's shoes for the
Xemnas: And the chamber? Have you found it?
Saïx: No, sir. I would say progress is slow...if we had actually made any.
Note how Xemnas and Saix speak about "Naminé's work" and treat the chamber only as a secondary matter, the plan of luring Sora to the Castle and mess up his memories originates with them
, not Marluxia.
Marly is only using the plan to follow his own goals.
Day 72 said:
Saïx: Why didn't you report in?
Axel: Oh, good to see you, too. You're welcome, thanks for the kind words.
Saïx: I'm told Naminé has gone missing.
Axel: There one minute, gone the next. I don't know how she got out.
Saïx: You searched every room, I expect?
Axel: You're kidding, right? That's like counting grains of dust in a building
full of sneezing people.
Saïx: What about the chamber? Did you find it?
Axel: Come on, I would have told you that much. I gotta hand it to you... You
were right. About Marluxia, the traitors... You knew exactly what was up.
Saïx: All I did was find a place to send everyone who was getting in the way.
Axel: Well, it's nice to know where I stand! Sheesh...
Saïx: Did you come back in one piece or didn't you?
(Saïx starts to leave)
Axel: I disposed of Zexion.
Axel: That's how you wanted it, right? I'll play it your way...for now.
The goal was to duplicate the Keyblade wielder's memories, and
through them, his powers--thus making them our own. Vexen oversaw the project
at Castle Oblivion.
Thus, the untangling of Sora's memories was in one way always also Xemnas' goal, hence why if you want to be really specific, the reason (and guilt) for as to why both Xion and Roxas had to eventually disappear to "fix" Sora lies ultimatively with Xemnas and thus Xehanort as well despite Naminé having been the one to actually do the deed.
You are absolutely right. I completely forgot that Marluxia was the one who led Sora and co. to Castle Oblivion, and then wanted to use him to overthrow Xemnas. Of course. Well, I guess that makes Days a little bit cooler, then, given that Xion's use by the Organization isn't just a rehash of another idea.
Except that luring Sora to the castle was part of Xemnas' agenda which Marluxia ultimatively hijacked.
If Xemnas' plans had worked out 100% like he wanted, he would have had three "puppets" (vessels?) to use and collect hearts: Roxas, Xion with the copied powers and memoryless Sora.
I agree that it seems like Re:coded's importance is going to become more apparent during the coming events, and it foreshadowed and led up into DDD. But, since the majority of what was discussed in Coded has yet to unfold, or even be entirely revealed (like Ansem's data inside Sora) Coded's true importance and relevance has yet to shine, unfortunately. DDD definitely made Coded look retrospectively important, so here's to hoping that when KH3 drops, when we go back and look at the events of Coded we will see exactl how it all ties together and Coded will be looked at with higher regard.
I do also agree that the gameplay of Coded is waaaaaay better than Days. But, it's always story>gameplay for me with videogames, and I personally got more out of the story from Days, therefore I enjoyed it more than Coded.
That's the main thing of Coded though, it doesn't add unneccessary baggage and huge twists to the story but instead expands on existing concepts and deepens
the already established things while still throwing in some light foreshadowing.
It's ironic that people complain about this
when that is actually how a true "side game" should work.
Your experience with the already established whole story and mythos gets enriched
when you play it, but it strictly isn't needed
to understand the core story because later titles (in this case DDD) expand on what Coded hinted about.
In terms of writing quality, Re: Coded beats almost all side games except CoM by a wide margin and characters like Data-Riku, Data-Sora and their interactions with Mickey, Donald and Goofy get fleshed out much better
than both the overdone mega-drama Xion show and the "supposed" RAX trio in Days and the great-potential-remaining unaddressed mess that are TAV in BBS.
It makes me sad to say it, especially as someone who likes TAV very much for what they could
be, but Sora's and Riku's Data-"clones" are much better fleshed out actual characters
that can be distinguished from the other Sora and Riku than both TAV and RAX have to them up to now, showing that a single game can
be enough to shape interesting characters if you just handle them right.