Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Final Fantasy X-2 is the first true sequal to a Final Fantasy game. for the first time, we continue a story that was already established, and, for both good and bad, the story is a solid, if not different, entry into the series.
What makes it different is this time your controlling Yuna, Rikku and a new character, Paine, as they do various missions in a non-linear fashion to seek answers in a distress call. While the game as a whole works, a lot of problems with it prevent it from making it a true classic, or a must have.
Graphics-Graphically, it is the same as FFX. The animations have gotten slightly more fluid and there are a few more textures, but really nothing to write home about. Considering this came out 2 years after FFX, I would of expected a bit more, considering we have seen this in FFX. The only part where the grahpics really grab you are during the always awesome CGI cinematics, and the costume system, which I will discuss later. Other than that, same old same old.
Final Score- B
Gameplay- FFX-2 returns with the ATB system, that works well, and it works great here. It is also amplimented by the costume system. Each character has a variation of I think over 16 costumes, and the costumes are the jobs. A black bikini might mean black mage, while a bandana and leather shorts means a theif, for example. The costume system works real well, giving more variety with the three heroines. You can switch around, giving certain characters jobs and such whenever the situation arises, and it adds a bit of strategy into the game.
But it also shows one of it's flaws. The game goes away from the norm a lot, making it a more "bubble gum teen" game. It really, really doesn't feel like final fantasy. The characters are hooked up on caffine, the story is very light, and the pace is a lot different from a typical final fantasy. The story suffers as more of a light-hearted chapter in a very somber series, so, depending on your stance, you either hate it or love it.
One more thing that sets it apart is the missions. This time around the story is not-linear, which works well. On the flip side, the missions are kind of dull. It is a favorable change though, because the linear story of FFX is quickly becomeing and old hat in RPGs.
Overall, it depends on your tastes. I didnt mind the changes, but I wish the story was more stronger than what I got.
Final Score- B-
Sound- The music is ok, and the voice acting is good. I also like how Yuna and Rikku are changed a bit from FFX. Instead of the somberness of Yuna, she is more relaxed and carefree, and Rikku has definitly taken her ridilin a bit. Paine reminds me of Lulu to much, but thats me. Overall its good, but again, nothing special.
Final Score- B-
Overall- Final Fantasy X-2 is a nice diversion until FFXII comes out, but it once again depends on the gamers tastes. I personally can't say to buy it, but defenitly give it a shot as a rental.