Welcome back to my retrospective series, where I am covering the Final Fantasy Games in their entirety. This time we’re taking a look at the very odd, extremely 2000s-inspired Final Fantasy X-2.
At the end of the last game, Yuna found herself still alive after ending the threat of Sin, and losing Tidus as well in the process. Not knowing what to do, she decides to become an adventurer with her cousin Rikku, letting the winds take them where they may. A few years later, we see that Yuna has become a sphere hunter, a tracker of these magical orbs that contain various powers and memories. Joined by Rikku, and the edgy-loner Paine (yes, that is her name.) they track down these orbs with the help of the a few Al-Bhed, namely Brother, who flies their ship. After discovering a sphere containing a memory of someone resembling Tidus, Yuna is more determined than ever to find these spheres to see what really happened to him after their encounter with Sin.
Okay, so first off, I have to mention this before I delve into gameplay. This game oozes mid-2000s pop culture. The Gullwings (Yuna and her friends’ team name) or the YRP, give off a very Cheetah Girls vibe with their clothing, independent attitude, and even the music choice in the game. While the original FFX had a very techno-feeling soundtrack, with sweeping orchestral sounds to add needed drama to scenes and make them feel grand, this game is filled with pop, and upbeat techno-tropical funk that makes everything really feel like a fun adventure. Most fights are not seen as serious, and it really highlights the change in Yuna’s character from a more reserved girl to one that wouldn’t take crap from anyone. The victory fanfare in this game in particular shows this distinct contrast between tones in this game versus the others. The game even opens up with a dance number performed by Yuna, complete with strobe lights, backup dancers and a full crowd. Overall, this game just feels fun to experience.
Now the gameplay is very different from what was present in the original game. Instead of a timeline of turns that are seen the entire time, allowing planning to prevail, this game plays more like a demo version of the Final Fantasy XIII combat system. The characters walk around, dash into and out of attack radius, and converse more while you select actions that are then loaded up to be used the bar for the respective move is filled. Some moves are instant cast, and overall, it makes for a much faster game pace than the previous title.
Now the best part of the combat that makes it for me is the Dressphere system. This system allows the party members to become every type of class, along with a switch of clothes. These play out in very nice looking transition scenes, like something straight out of Sailor Moon. It is a very fun system, and combined with the fast paced combat, it feels like a rush to play in intense fights. That is… if there were intense fights. For me personally, I never ran into a fight that made me really have to think on my feet, as the class switching really allows you to overpower an opponent as long you know its weakness. Somewhat of a disappointment, but maybe that was just my personal experience.
This game is also just a treat if you love the original game, as it’s filled with many homages to the original with many weapons just being copied, and many classes having similar animations (which is kind of lazy, but I thought it was charming.) I also thought seeing all of the characters a bit older and having their lives play out was interesting to watch since overall I thought the cast for the first game was stellar. It felt rewarding to see. I think the main three in this game are impressive, too, in how likable they all are.
Rikku is easily my favorite, and while Paine may at first seem like an edge-lord, rest assured she is, just that she still has depth to her. While the story may not be as strong narratively, the characters that are involved carry it the entire time, but I think overall, it’s still a game that deserves to be played if you like FFX. However, since it is a direct sequel to the original, if you did not play the original or did not care for it, this game is not for you. I personally very much enjoyed it, and considering how short it is, I can’t see why anyone that enjoyed the first game wouldn’t play this one.
Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed, and stay tuned for next time when I go over my new favorite game in the series, Final Fantasy XII.
Also, here’s the really tropical-sounding victory theme: https://youtu.be/r9Hn1jB-kMg