After the huge success that was Final Fantasy X, Square-Enix thought that they would continue the story as opposed to leaving it open like it was. This time, as opposed to focusing mainly on Tidus, Yuna is the star along with Rikku and new-comer Paine. This marked the first time in the series that the entire cast of playable characters were female.
The story continues off 2 years after the events of FFX. Yuna is no longer the naive, innocent little girl that she was; she has become a badass gunslinger…and apparently a Pop Star at some point. She has also joined a Sphere Hunting group called the Gullwings that fly around Spira finding old spheres to see what is recorded on them. The game even opens with Yuna, or well an impostor of her, performing a song in Luca stadium. Rikku and Paine swoop in to stop the impostor and get back an important item she stole from Yuna, her Garment Grid. After a bit longer into the game’s story, Yuna finds a sphere that has who appears to be Tidus recorded on it saying something about trying to save the summoner. This launches Yuna and the others into a story with many twists and turns to find out what in the world is going on.
The story’s set-up, while very very strange isn’t that bad. What’s bad is how it actually plays out. The game is able to give closure to those who sit through it but it just ends up being very average for an RPG, nothing spectacular but nothing horrid. The story is still better than some other games out there, though.
Two of my favorite aspects of this game are the Garment Grid and battle system and how they work together. The Garment Grid is what is used for the Job system. You obtain different grids throughout the game and you can set up different jobs on each grid. They all have there own unique designs and different perks, some better for fighters, some better for magic users, etc. Then, once you have your grids set up, you can switch jobs instantaneously during battle to switch up your tactics. The battle system itself is almost like a combination of Final Fantasy X’s and Final Fantasy VII’s. What I mean by that is the battle system is an Active Time Battle system but depending on what attacks, skills, etc. that you use, your wait time changes.
The Job system in FFX-2 works very similarly to the one in Final Fantasy V. Instead of learning skills by leveling up, you gain them separately from your levels. To gain different skills, you choose which skill to work on during battle and them you gain points that will develop your skills and when a skill gains all needed points, the character then learns that ability. Also, for the die-hard Final Fantasy fans, Square-Enix brought back the traditional leveling system. The sphere grid is no more as your characters just level up from EXP gains in battle.
One of the best parts of Final Fantasy X-2 is not the main storyline at all but the side quests. The game is filled with sidequests that can have different outcomes depending on how far you are in the game and by what you do in other parts. Some sidequests are only available during certain chapters as well. This leads to much more playtime and much more storytelling.
The layout of the game really allows you to almost make your own adventure. Sure, you can rush through the main story but you can also more than double your time by taking on the many, many sidequests available. On top of that, there are also a lot of minigames to play. Blitzball makes a return, although now its more of just coaching the team than actually playing (which is fine by me) and you can even get the Star Player of the Zanarkand Abes on your team…somehow. There is also Chocobo Raising and you can also dig for Machina in Bikanel Desert. Lastly, there is an all new game called “Sphere Break” that you can play which is actually very fun.
While Yuna and Rikku are returning characters, Paine, the new girl, is almost like this game’s Auron and is an all around badass. Her background is unknown for the most part unless you decided to do one of the most tedious sidequests in the game. This gives a huge backstory to many characters and ties together some of the other character’s stories in a great way.
One great addition to the game is the New Game+ feature. This allows you to play through the game again once you finish it while keeping your levels, Job abilities, etc. so that you can more easily go for the 100% completion. Now, that 100% may not sound too important but there are actually 4 different ending to the game, although 1 of them is just from losing the final battle. The other 3 ending, however, depend on your completion percentage and run together into one big ending.
Musically, this game is fantastic. Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi did a great job of giving the game’s music an identity of its own instead of just rehashing tracks from FFX. Along with that, the major pieces of music in the game are great at portraying the emotions and how they change throughout the title. The game open very happy-go-lucky with Real Emotion blasting through your speakers. Later on, 1000 Words shows how emotional the game becomes and really shows the emotions of the characters.
Final Fantasy X-2 is far from perfect. The main story could have been much better but at least it gives closure, I’m looking at you XIII-2. Between the sidequests, great battle system and wonderful character development, there are reasons to play this game, though.
- Great gameplay
- The music is wonderful
- Job system
- The main story is very average
- Graphics haven’t been improved much
By the way, this review is 1000 Words.