The finality continues!
An oft-repeated cry among RPG fans is that after more than 10 official Final Fantasy games, the series is anything but "final."" But in all that time, there has never been an official sequel that continued the same universe of characters and struggles."Game after game introduces a new cast of characters and a new mythology, which in part has turned off players hoping for more continuity. Just think how interesting it would be to control wheelchair Cloud or denture Garland!
Traditions are made to be broken, and the Final Fantasy series has at last strayed from its rigid past with the release of Final Fantasy X-2, the first official sequel to a Final Fantasy game. X-2 continues the exploits of Final Fantasy X's ex-summoner Yuna and her caffeinated pal, Rikku, plus introduces goth-gal newcomer, Paine.
The team of Yuna, Rikku, and Paine form a fashionable medieval fantasy version of Charlie's Angels." Known as the Gullwings, they are sphere hunters, searching for the remnants of recorded memory locked within spheres strewn throughout the world of Spira.
With its cast of leading ladies, FF X-2 is centered around "girl power.' The characters favor words like "poopie" and "awesome!" - sort of like the Power Puff Girls hanging out in the Valley. Hence, the game winds up leaning quite heavily on the sugary, bubblegum pop side, but this actually works as a less serious alternative to the scads of role-playing games that focus squarely on some bleak, apocalyptic future.
More important than the far-reaching plot is Yuna herself, who is a much more engaging character than in FF X."She's less grim now; I guess saving the world from disaster was just the chill pill she needed to make her a fun lead character. Better than any whiny male lead, at least.
Final Fantasy X put you on a straight, linear road up until close to the end, where you were finally given a few path choices." FF X-2 gives you much more freedom from the get go, allowing you to pick and choose a diverse range of missions from an overhead area list. Only the hot-spot areas are necessary to push the story along, but there's plenty of fodder in the form of non-essential side missions.
The side missions frequently involve mini-game style exploits while the main story missions center on traditional RPG-style adventuring, complete with random battles."Considering the many other changes this game offers from other FF games, I don't understand why it still goes back to random battles. It's just not very fun anymore. And while the side-quests are plentiful, some of them are downright boring.
But things shift back into drive during the normal combat, which hearkens back to the original Active Time Battle system of previous FF games instead of the Conditional Battle system of Final Fantasy X."Final Fantasy X-2's version of the Active Time Battle system feels as if it's been given a jolt of speed, moving at a much quicker pace than in any other Final Fantasy."The combatants all have their own independent timers; moves can be made when the time meters are filled, leading to a flowing, fun system.
In dark, seedy gamer alleyways, FF X-2 has been re-dubbed "Final Fantasy Dress-Up" due to the costumes, which is X-2's version of the Job system. The girls can change into various outfits throughout their battles as delineated by their Garment Grid. Dressing up is actually clever and fun; by using different costumes, characters can improve their abilities and switch roles to keep the battles feeling fresh." Of course, it still has a certain Barbie stigma attached to it and might turn off more macho gamers.
The look is almost exactly like Final Fantasy X due to visibly reused resources, particularly the textures and environmental modeling."There are still some little jaggies in the more finely detailed areas, such as the grass, but by and large the game looks very solid and the environments feel very organic.
While the character modeling suffers a bit due to the mix-and-match costume options, Yuna, Rikku and Paine simply look fab."Good facial animations help convey emotions well.
For a game that starts off with a big musical number, contains a "Singer' job class and puts a strong emphasis on pop style, the music is mostly uninspired, watered-down techno beats."The soundtrack quality just isn't as sharp as previous releases.
Final Fantasy X-2 boasts one final detail: more thongs than any previous Final Fantasy!" Well, unless those 8-bit characters were all wearing thongs and we just didn't notice." Frankly, I don't want to be the one to strain my eyes to check.""
But if thongs and girl power RPG antics are wrong, then I don't want to be right. Final Fantasy X-2 is a solid sequel that revives most of what made FF X a good game while offering some interesting (if a bit cheesy) dress-up features. Too much sugar might be bad for you, but fans of the series should feel free to sink their teeth into this one.