Final Fantasy X-2 HDFinal Fantasy X-2 is just another mediocre game that was made when Square fused with Enix. You'd be thinking that there would be games that fused Square's "King's Knight" with Enix's "Actraiser", but the only stellar projects that came out of the fusion was Dragon Quest 8 for the PS2 and Infinite Undiscovery for the Xbox 360. Don't worry, you're reading it right; Final Fantasy X-2 wasn't that good. Although, I have to say, it's decent enough, so...whatever, let's continue.
The story is that Yuna, Rikku and Paine are sphere hunters (oh yeah, they introduced a new character, whoopee) and they have to collect spheres. Well, it's nice to have a hobby when there is nothing to do, considering that summoners are no longer needed as Sin is defeated and the world they in known as Spira is no longer under threat. Later on, Yuna starts to miss the whiny star of the last game known as Tidus and thinks that some guy she saw on a sphere was Tidus.
Making a long story short, eventually, some big machine decides to emerge out of the Farplane (where dead people go in the magical world of Spira) and try to destroy Spira. It's up to our threesome to stop this.
Not exactly the most inventive story, and to be honest, the little sidestories aren't all that flash either. For one, you would have to have some ample knowledge of Final Fantasy X, and secondly, you need to have the patience of a saint, as most of these cutscenes are BORING! Actually, the main story is too, but seriously.. Aren't sidequests usually interesting?
I'll talk more about sidequests later, but first, let's talk about how the game plays. Basically, it brings back the ATB system that was absent in Final Fantasy X, which is cool considering I love that way of fighting. Turn-based is cool by me too, but I just like the ATB system more, especially when its done right, and it was in this game. If you're wondering what I mean, basically, there's a guage by your health and magic power guages, and when this one fills, you can issue a command to one of your three fighters. After issuing a command, you then either wait so you can cast a spell or use a special attack, or just attack straight away.
Now here's something I've missed for the better part of 10+ years: Changing jobs on the fly! Most RPGs from 1997-2005 forgot what Final Fantasy 3 (NES) did. I mean, yeah, it was only released in Japan, so this would sort of be everybody's first experience of this feature (unless they live in Japan or imported this game back when it was "cool"). During battle, you would open up a sort of jobs bar, and you can choose to change a job adjacent to your current one.
Jobs are what sort of fighter you are. There's the one where you shoot people with guns, one involves stealing, one..or about 4 or so have you slicing enemies with a sword, and one has you working with items. There are more I can describe, but I think you should experience it for yourself...if you want to anyway. The problem here, is that there's too many jobs. I know there's meant to be heaps to do in RPGs, but jeez...
As for the grids themselves, there are different grids at different sizes with different perks, although I never quite experienced these perks all that much, and unless you have the patience to scroll through all the jobs equipped to that grid, you won't either. In Final Fantasy 3, it was forgivable because it wasn't in active time and it sure as hell didn't take 3 centuries to change (not because of controls, but animations).
And then there's this thing called an "ultimate job". While it sounds awesome, it's not! It requires you to scroll through all the jobs on the grid equipped and then open up that menu again and change to that job. Not only is this animation long, but it's also practically useless! They only last for one battle, and the game has some of the easiest bosses I've ever encountered. If you have to resort to this in any battle, I feel sorry for you, because if you're even remotely adept at this game, you won't need to use the ultimate job.
A somewhat new feature is the ability to level up your specific jobs...by using their specific attacks. I feel that it's a welcome change of pace, and thankfully the traditional leveling up system is still there (get enough EXP points by killing enemies to level up and get stronger). It really requires you to keep using that's job's new attacks over and over just to learn new attacks for it. My only complaint is that there's just too many jobs to do this for.
Now, I need to seriously question what they were thinking. Why does the main story only take up a little amount of the game? Typical for RPGs to place a fair bit of importance to sidequests, but why does it feel...flipped? Like the main quest only has a fair bit of importance when sidequests dominate the game. The message here, is this: Final Fantasy X-2 is one huge sidequest. If you want that 100% completion, you better do them all! And they're mostly rhetarded! Hooray!
From playing some game called Sphere Break involving math and spheres, to helping some creature cross some path without destroying its wagon, and even playing an incredibly broken version of Football Manager, it's all here! If you're interested in crap, go right ahead!
Oh, and here's a real test of patience; to get 100%, you need to watch every microsecond of every cutscene. As I said, they're boring, they're dull, whatever, but having to actually watch these...100% TO GET 100%!? GET OUT! EITHER HAVE SOME GODDAMN INTERESTING CUTSCENES OR DON'T BOTHER! You have to talk to many people too. Yeah, a real test of patience. If you have patience enough to deal with this, you're either a saint or you're doing what I do; ignore it all.
One last thing to discuss is the difficulty, or lack thereof. Like I said, if you're even an adept gamer, you'll breeze through this. There is one part that is hard, but...seriously, it's one part, and it kind of gets unfair, though if you're used to the game simply letting you win, no wonder. It basically lets you win. Disappointing.
Now, in terms of the game's controls, they work. The buttons respond immediately and there are no unnecessary additions, with the exception of the "platforming", which is ridiculous! It basically does it for you! Hold down O and... Wow, that's it? Pointless feature.
The game's graphics are at least something to marvel at. Even though they're recycled from Final Fantasy X, it's still quite amazing. Final Fantasy X was one of the best looking PS2 titles of the time, with cutting edge realistic graphics and photorealistic FMV scenes (and in 2001, nonetheless). You can pretty much copy and paste that for this game.
There is, unfortunately, one thing worth discussing; the outfits. Why do the chicks wear skimpy clothes? Did Square-Enix want to try the RPG equivelent of Dead or Alive or something? They're not all bra and panties and their boobs don't jiggle, but I think that's just silly of Square-Enix to attempt to sell out like that. Jesus Christ guys, do you get off at this or something?
Haha maybe that's an exaggeration, but seriously, what was the point? To attract horny males to your series? No, just leave them to their Halos. Final Fantasy hasn't much room for trash.
The soundtrack for the game, I have to honest with you, is only mediocre. Aside from the boss tunes, I can't quite find any reason to want to hum to any of the tunes. The soundtrack kind of sounds a little too...teenybopper-ish for my liking. Granted, Final Fantasy X-2 has that kind of atmosphere to it at times... seriously?
The more serious tunes (like the Farplane tunes) are more what the rest of the soundtrack should be like. If you're unaware, it has a serious and somewhat epic vibe to it, and actually gives your ears the gift of good music. Hell, the ambient tunes are better than most of the soundtrack, and that's just sad. Why couldn't the rest of the soundtrack be like this?
What really gets at me, though, is the voice acting. Did they even try? Here's what the voice acting is, in a nutshell: forced, robotic and NO EMOTION! I actually felt like turning the volume down to mute during cutscenes...its not like they're entertaining anyway. Do these guys need to go back to voice acting 101 or something? Sounds like it from what I'm hearing, and it never improves, so just hit mute. Not like you're missing out on anything.
So basically, I would somewhat recommend Final Fantasy X-2, but only if you're interested in any stupid stories or what happened after Final Fantasy X and a game whose fighting engines are good enough while having the difficulty level of too goddamn easy. If you don't care for it, move on, you're not missing anything but a mediocre game.
Story: 2/5. Definitely not the best story they could come up with for a continuation of a decent game that met critical acclaim.
Gameplay: 2.5/5. With the return of the ATB system from Final Fantasy 4-9 and that job replacing on the fly thing that was in Final Fantasy 3, you'd think it'd be awesome, right? Well, that's awesome, but then they added shit that nobody cares about.
Controls: 4/5. Responsive and necessary with the exception of "platforming".
Graphics: 3.5/5. Outfits and a sort of Dead or Alive tribute aside, the graphics are quite good.
Sound: 1.5/5. A mostly bad soundtrack coupled off with some of the worst voice acting.
Overall: 2.5/5. Potential gone to waste, but don't take my word for it. If you're into Final Fantasy and want to check this out, maybe try it out? If you don't care for much of what I said, just move right on. You're not missing out on anything.