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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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