In life you can't be afraid to ask the tough questions like, “Why are we here?” “What's the meaning of life?” and, “Is Final Fantasy X-2 really as bad as everybody says it is?”
Yes, it's different. Yes, it's girly. And yes, Rikku forgot what a shirt is but are those things enough to constitute a bad game or is there more to it? Well today we find out as we dive right in to Final Fantasy X-2 by Square Enix, but first some backstory on Final Fantasy because believe it or not there are people who know nothing about it.
The original Final Fantasy was made for the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1987 but North America wouldn't get their hands on the title until a couple of years later. Back then the company was simply known as Square and on the verge of bankruptcy. Final Fantasy was intended to be the last title Square was going to put out, hence the name, “Final” Fantasy. But the game performed so well that the company managed to stay afloat and thus Final Fantasy became the staple of the company. It should be noted that Final Fantasy is a brand name as each individual Final Fantasy game takes place in a different setting with a new cast of characters having nothing to do with the previous game with of course the exception of direct sequels like the one we're looking at today. However, the game does have plenty of trademarks that find themselves in each game.
When Final Fantasy came to America we were unable to get the games in order at the beginning so when we got our hands on Final Fantasy IV we naturally renamed it II. And when we got our hands on VI we renamed it III. But by the time Final Fantasy VII came out for the PlayStation we decided to just forgo the number changes altogether and call it VII. And it's probably a good thing too because otherwise VII would have been IV and X would have been VII. I shudder at the arguments that would have ensued at that arrangement. Western and Eastern gamers have enough to fight about already without Americans thinking VII is the game with the annoying blitz ball player.
After Final Fantasy X came out Square merged Enix forming Square Enix and that was the day where many fans would tell you was the beginning of the end for Square. Thus bringing us to the first Final Fantasy title to have the new Square Enix logo on it. Final Fantasy X-2.
The game takes place two years after the events of Final Fantasy X and this time stars Yuna, the summoner from the first game who is now the member of a sphere hunting group called the Gullwings. Traveling the world with fellow Gullwings member Rikku and Paine. After finding a sphere that showed what is presumed by the group to be Tidus, Yuna joins the Gullwings in an effort to find him.
What can I do for you?
You can not suck!
We start things off with a concert that showcases Yuna singing and dancing and being the next Britney Spears. Only to find out that by the end of it it's not even really Yuna but someone who stole her dresssphere and pretended to be her. That's all well and good except when Rikku and Paine uses the dresssphere they don't literally turn into Yuna so... What the hell?
But let talks about the dressspheres. At any time during the fight you can change your characters attire and attributes through the sphere grid by pressing the R1 button during a fight. Or set them each individually before hand in the display window. This was one of the main changes going in to Final Fantasy X-2 and there's six main dressspheres altogether: Gunner, Thief, Warrior, Songstress, White Mage and Black Mage. The first three dressspheres are the default spheres for Yuna, Rikku and Paine respectively.
She thinks she's Lara Croft.
It provides a new level of strategy as you're able to change your characters attributes at will and it's also a good way to pay tribute to the games that came before, the biggest example being the Black and White Mages.
The battle system itself is more fast pace than previous games. The enemy won't wait for you to make your move before they start attacking meaning you need to be able to think quick on your feet and it can be exciting seeing all the characters running from their original spot and staying in position from the last place they attacked, depending on whether they're fighting at close range or not.
While the last title was a tad more linear than some would have liked it to be, X-2 provides a more open world and even gives you some matter of choice where the story will go. Every city that was revealed in the last Final Fantasy game is available to travel to at the very beginning and when the story advances you can choose which place to go first among other choices that present itself in the game as you continue to play through it. And the more you play the higher your over completeness level will become which will ultimately decide which ending you will get when you complete the game. Yes, there are alternate endings.
I'm also glad to be able to say that Yuna English VA in this game does a much better job than in the first one. You know how she was always trailing off at the most awkward of places? Yeah, there's none of that in this game. She speaks at a much more regular pace this time around.
So all in all, is Final Fantasy X-2 really as bad as people had made it out to be? I'm gonna have to say...
No. It's really not. It's different. The shift is going to a more female audience, at least I'm assuming because from what little I know of Japan this is nothing new. Does it some time shift into realm of being stereotypical of what girls like? Yes. Are there parts which are just blatant fan service and serve no other purpose? Definitely. Does it work as a sequel? Eh, you could argue that Final Fantasy X didn't really need a sequel but here's the thing: Final Fantasy X-2 is only trying to be a fun and enjoyable game with a more uplifting atmosphere than the previous title. It's Yuna all grown up and spreading her wings to fly. And when you look at it that way the game is just fine. So if you're into games where you play as a female who can transform and use different powers which is at the same time cheesy then you are going to love this. If you can't stand any of that then I recommend giving this game a pass.
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