reviews\ Dec 4, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Final Fantasy X-2 - PS2 - Review

For a long time I thought that Role-Playing Games (RPG’s) were confined to the world of Dungeons and Dragons and other various games similar to this. A while after my best friend got a PlayStation he told me that I had to see this RPG that his dad bought him, that game was final Fantasy VII. I was awestruck when I saw it, that night we played that game, getting wrapped up in its emotional storyline. Soon after that I rushed out and picked up Final Fantasy VII for myself, and have been hooked, especially on the Final Fantasy series, since.

Two years ago Square released its first Final Fantasy game on the PlayStation 2, and to this day it remains one of the most beautiful games on the system. The plot was deep, the combat was intense, and the CGI cut screens were nothing short of breathtaking. After it was all over I was happy and disappointed at the same time. Then one day Square (now Square Enix) decided to do something that shocked the entire gaming world: they announced that they were creating a sequel to Final Fantasy X. This was something that everyone dreamed of, but many were hesitant because it broke the tradition of never revisiting a world that they created, and they thought that a sequel would never be as good as the original. I can now say without a doubt that everyone can put their fears to rest because this is one of the best RPG’s that has come out since the release of Final Fantasy X!

The story of Final Fantasy X-2 starts two years after the first one concludes, and many things have changed since then. Since Sin's destruction, Yuna has been living on her childhood island of Besaid. One day Rikku stops by and shows her a movie sphere containing a recording of “him.” (Those who played Final Fantasy X will immediately know who it is by the outline, but I don’t want to spoil it.) Yuna than decides to take off with Rikku to look for more clues to see it is really is “him.” From there it is up to the gamers to find out the truth.

Players are in a sphere-hunters group called The Gullwings, and their goal is to find movie spheres hidden all throughout Spira. Yuna is joined by Rikku and Paine. Rikku is one of Yuna’s former guardians and she has spent the last two years looking around Spira collecting various sphere movies. With the airship in her possession, Rikku and Brother found the Gullwings. The other controllable member of the team is Pain who is an expert in sword techniques. There is not much known about Paine, but many people think that she joined the team due to something traumatic that happened in her past.

Just like many of the previous Final Fantasies, this game offers gamers a multitude of side quests and mini-games to enjoy. The mini games range from defeating enemies in a certain area within a time limit to a game called Sphere Break. This is the major mini-game that is thrown in Final Fantasy X-2. Players will find themselves lost for hours playing these mini-games instead of focusing on the main quest. It is always a good thing when the developer takes the time to include mini-games that are fun to play and as enjoyable as the main game.

Final Fantasy X-2 is rated T for Teen for suggestive themes and violence. It requires 186kb on your memory card for game saves.

Gameplay: 9.7
Unlike previous Final Fantasies, Final Fantasy X-2 doesn’t have a “linear” storyline. Once players get thought the introduction of the game, they get aboard the airship and they have free reign to go wherever they want in the world. If they want to go to a “hotspot” (missions that advance the game’s story) or roam around the world leveling up they are free to do this. While some people may gawk that this is a total break in the tradition of the series, they have to remember that this game “breaks” a lot of the previous traditions. This free mission style allows gamers to explore the game at their leisure and gives players the choice of how soon they want to beat the game, or if they want to take in all of the sights and sounds that this game offers.

Final Fantasy X-2 uses Active Time Battle system like previous installments. So players will have to always prepare their strategies on the go, if they take to long to make a decision an enemy can attack you first. There are a couple of very interesting things about this battle system. Players can chain their attacks together for a more powerful blow. For instance players can have Yuna shoot an enemy, Paine slash it with her sword, and than have Rikku finish the combo with another attack. If that wasn’t good enough if players time their attacks perfectly they will actually be able to prevent an enemy from attacking you. As you can tell, timing plays a very crucial role in this game.

Graphics: 9.6
Final Fantasy X is still one of the games that can win the award for the best graphics on the PlayStation 2, and Final Fantasy X-2 follows in its footsteps. This is one of the best-looking games that I have seen all year on Sony’s black box. This game contains the majority of the places that were in the original game, but since two years has passed, the surroundings have changed slightly. People will be delighted to see some of the places from the first game, such as the Snowy Mountains of Mt. Gagazet or the dreary ruins of Zanarkand. The world is literally brimming with detail.

New to this game is the Dressphere system, which drastically changes the character designs. There are several different job classes that players can choose from during a battle; a few of them are: gunner, warrior, thief, white mage, black mage, and many more. Each time player’s change to a different class, there will be a “change sequence” (this can be shorted or disabled in the options menu), and then Yuna, Paine, or Rikku will take on characteristics of that class. For example when someone is a warrior they will be holding a sword and have some armor on, if they change into a black mage, they will now have a typical “witches” hat, and a staff. To put it all in perspective each character can use each class so since there is around 12 different classes, there is a at least of thirty-six different character designs in this game. Then you expound upon that further because each design is highly detailed, which means that a lot of though went into creating this and it is well worth it once players see it for themselves.

Last but certainly not least is the amazing CGI cut screens that are scattered all throughout this game. It is still a shock to see, but they get better with each game. The CGI in Final Fantasy X was amazing, but Square Enix really out did themselves in this game, the sequences are breathtaking. Once players get to a certain point they will be able to see all of the moves in a “movie theater” set-up like in the Final Fantasy X.

Sound: 9.3
Once players load this game into their PlayStation 2 they will immediately notice a change in the sound. The game no longer has the dark and ominous musical themes as its predecessor. The music is light-hearted and has a definite “pop” sound to it. This in no way means that the sound is bad, it is just unexpected out of a Final Fantasy game. The whole soundtrack brings something new to this series. Just like this is the first true Final Fantasy sequel the music steps out as well with something different.

The voice actors are the same ones that performed in Final Fantasy X, and they did an ever better job. There are hundreds of thousands of lines of spoken dialog in this game, and they do it perfectly. The emotion that the actors put into the game is shown throughout everything they say; they really become one with the characters they are lending their voices to. They did an excellent job and deserved to be phrased for it.

Final Fantasy X-2 supports Dolby Digital Surround Ex and Pro Logic II, during the movie segments. The additional of this really makes the movies even better to watch, because the sound is clear and wonderful to behold. It is a nice addition to this game.

Difficulty: Medium
Just like many RPG games, players must take their time and level up. Players can progress throughout this game without taking the time to level up, but the game will be way more challenging for them. If players take the time to level up and learn new skill the game will be easier to play, but it makes it more fun, since there will be a wider variety of skills players will be able to use.

Concept: 9.3
This is the first time Square Enix has made a true sequel to a Final Fantasy game and it is worth picking up. The game expands upon the previous games strengths which makes Final Fantasy X-2 a true gem. The Dressphere system in this game is remarkable in how it allows plays to change to many different job classes, and it makes the battles fun and challenging.

Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 9.6
Final Fantasy X-2 is one of the best RPG’s I have played since the release of Final Fantasy X! If you enjoy A+ games or love RPG’s then I highly suggest that you pick up this game as soon as you can. Even though this game features things that are not seen in other Final Fantasy games, don’t let that scare you because this game is fun and you will not want to stop playing until you have completely beaten it!


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