Final Fantasy X-2 review (PS3)

darkpower | 299d ago | User review
Reviewing: Final Fantasy X-2
Gullwings Take The Goal...Again!
By all accounts, the new Final Fantasy X Remasters have let us re-experience a classic in Final Fantasy X, originally for the PS2. It had what I considered to be a great story that delved into social commentary about prejudiced on the basis of religious beliefs, all the while having someone in the middle trying to make sense of it all. It had everything, including the love story, the inner conflict, the action scenes, and everything in between. It played smoothly, and you wanted to get better to see what happened next. No one should ever discount the classic status that was FFX.

However, while many have already praised it in reviewing the Remastered Edition on the PS3 and Vita, not many have been realizing that there's the second game in the duology. The one that started a new trend in Square making direct sequels to their FF franchises. Yes, I'm talking about Final Fantasy X-2, the one that came due to fan request after they saw the short film "Eternal Calm" (also on the Remastered disc, by the way). And, when it comes to gameplay mechanics, the better of the two games is clearly FFX-2.

The story takes place two years after the events of FFX. Yuna, the high summoner that brought the Eternal Calm (bringing Sin to a permanent end) has joined a group of Sphere Hunters called the Gullwings. She did so upon seeing a sphere that showed someone that looked a lot like Tidus from the first game, but there's something not completely right about what the image shows. To find out more, she looks to locate spheres in an attempt to find out anything else. Alongside her is her Al Bhed cousin, Rikku, and a new character in the saga, Paine. While hunting the spheres, they also find out a lot about what the locals of Spira became after they didn't have to battle Sin anymore. Little does anyone know that, because of a power struggle between factions that have popped up that are in a conflict of ideas, a new evil is beginning to emerge that, if not dealt with, could spell disaster for Spira.

Right when you start up the game, you find that the mood that the game sets is far less depressing than the first. Right from the first FMV (Yuna singing to a packed Luca crowd), you see that the music sets the tone that this is a far more light hearted adventure. The music isn't composed by Noboro Uematsu this time, and though some may miss his compositions, the new music sure does fit for both the locations and the moods. I always liked the new victory fanfare for this game (not the familiar FF one, but it's just as good), and before you know it, you'll be humming these ones just as much as the ones from the first FFX. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the other change you'll be seeing right when you start the game.

However, it is the gameplay that I said got me hooked. The ATB system is back, and this time, it got an upgrade. Actions can still have a charge time and a recovery time, resulting in longer wait times for your character to act again, which brings an added amount of strategy into what you need to do for each battle. These times can be brought down by leveling up your characters (traditionally this time), and by gaining abilities onto your Dressspheres.

Yes, the Dresspheres, the main mechanic of the battle system. Acting like a job system, you are given a Garment Grid, and throughout the game, you can get additional grids, each having different properties that can make your battles easier by allowing you to access spells that you wouldn't normally be able to access with certain Dresspheres. Once you add Dresspheres to the grids, you can then have one of the characters equip a Grid and have them have access to the Spheres put in them, and during battles, you have the option to change class on the fly. When you do this, you are treated to a Sailor Moon-esque transformation scene where that girl changes into the class you chose. Grids also have gates that, when you change into a sphere, and your path to that sphere in the Grid passes through that Gate, you can get stat buffs or access to stronger spells for the remainder of the battle (and, if you get to change to all classes in the Grid during a battle, you have access to a super Dressphere, provided you acquired it, that will have that character act solo with two other "parts" to their super form to make up for the handicap). The jobs are your basic FF style jobs like White and Black Mages, Warrior, Songstress (think Bards), and Thief, paired with new jobs like Gunner and Lady Luck.

Though many maligned this mechanic, this actually adds flexibility to strategies, so you're not completely out of luck if you bring in an all physical set of classes to something you need magic for. If you need Power or Mental Break, just change one of the three that has learned that ability (that is done through gaining AP in battles while that class is equipped) and you're set. You can choose which skill a girl learns on a particular DS next, or let the game decide. The amount of flexibility that the game gives you makes this system all the better.

Oh, and did I mention about the other aspect to the ATB system? The reason for the different recovery times in some attacks? It's because you can now chain attacks. Each time a character attacks, you are given a time window for the next character to act to start a chain, which will result in that second attack being stronger than if you didn't chain it. Furthermore, another character can add to the chain, and this can keep going for as long as you can make it happen (or as long as the enemy or you stay alive). There are some attacks (such as the Gunner's Trigger Happy) that are made for the purpose of keeping such a chain going, and yes, you can actually use this to interrupt a mob's turn (be careful, though, since what's good for the goose is good for the gander: enemies can do the same to you).

The Dressphere system was maligned because of the other thing you will notice when you fire up the game: Yuna and Rikku look...DIFFERENT! Rikku you could expect to have the free spirit to wear the outfit she dons, but the big surprise is Yuna, whose default Gunner outfit is a far cry from the conservative nature that her FFX outfit was. Though you might think this is demeaning at first, it actually fits the mood the story is trying to tell, and the two girls don't seem to be forced into having to dress that way. In other words, it's the "bad ass girls get to wear whatever the hell they feel like" mentality.

And it shows, too, in the speech. Right from the beginning, you will notice that this is a changed Yuna, and I like the quality of the Yuna voice in this game than in the first FFX. There's a ton more conviction in her voice, it's much bolder, and you can tell she's not screwing around. Just hear her command to LeBlanc to give back her Garment Grid during the beginning moments in the game to see what I mean. And, before I forget, without spoiling anything, near the end of the game, Yuna delivers a line you'd never thought in a million years she'd say in the way she says it, and then delivers what's possibly the best speeches ever given in a Final Fantasy game.

Of course, all the Gullwings have their own moments to shine (a lot of people jumped on the Paine bandwagon when this game was first released), and you have the opportunity to see how they do because the game allows you to take a non-linear route through the story, The game employs a "Hotspot" mechanic that shows you where to go to continue with the main story. You can take the quick route, or take your time and hit every other spot in Spira to see what's going on. It's recommended you do so, as well, as not only you get to level your characters better this way, but you also get closer to 100% completion this way by seeing the developments that are going on elsewhere in the game. Yes, this game has multiple endings, and to get the perfect one, you need that 100% completion, which means visit everywhere at least once in every chapter, don't skip cutscenes, look for EVERYTHING at EVERY TIME, and be sure to do everything. Don't worry if you missed something before you finish: a new game plus unlocks for you once you complete the game the first time that retains your story completion status in case you missed something or couldn't complete a side quest.

None of the would be possible if the controls didn't work, but they do. You don't have the target issues the first FFX did, and changing Dresspheres are easy to do, and the system is easy to understand despite all they have added to the system. This is an ATB system that works, and you will not miss the Sphere Grid at all. Getting around Spira is simple, as well, even when you are looking through some of the areas that the places that will be familiar to you had hidden within them.

Added to the Remastered edition is the addition of a Tower (which I'm sorry to say I cannot remember the name of right now) that will test your skills, and the addition of a monster capture system that works sort of like FF 13-2's system. You deploy sphere cages to trap mobs, then train them to be able to assist you in battle. Added to the status screen is "size", which pertains to how many character slots a mob will take up (S is small, for one slot, M for Medium, two slots, and Large, all three). You can't control these mobs, but you can cheer them on, which will affect their morale (if their morale goes down too much, then run off, leaving you to fend for yourself). I personally have not tried this yet, but it's a worthwhile addition to see that this could've been the basis behind FF13-2's monster training system.

However, that's just another sticking point for this title. Of course, it's in HD thanks to the remaster (which shows Spira in all of its beauty), and it won't disappoint. From the flexible gameplay mechanics to the non-linear story format to the replayability, FFX-2 continues to be the superior title in the saga in terms of gameplay mechanics. In short, if you dismissed this title because of the misconception about the Dressphere system or anything like that, do yourself a favor and see what you missed. While you play FFX on this collection, don't forget for a second about the other game in the collection, and realize that you're going to get a lot of fun out of a game that's just as much of a classic as the first game in the saga was.
Score
10.0
Graphics If you loved FFX's graphics, these won't fail to disappoint, either. The HD Remaster gives more detail to outfits, and the Spherechange sequences can be turned off if you don't like them, though you might opt to leave them on once you see the animations for them.
9.0
Sound Some may not like the lack of Utematsu's compositions, but the new tunes are worth a listen. It's the voice acting that steps up here, though, and Yuna's voice becomes much better for the new found attitude she gives here.
10.0
Gameplay ATB system is back in a big way, Dressphere system allows for more flexibility in your game plan, and the ability to chain attacks for greater damage makes this the superior FFX game mechanical wise.
9.0
Fun factor The non-linear story and gameplay mechanics, along with its replayability and multiple endings, makes this one of the few FF games that employs a reason to replay through. A few might not like how strict the game can be to what constitutes into the 100% completion, though.
0.0
Online There's no online mode to speak of, though 10-2 does have its own Trophy List on the Remaster.
10.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
BinaryMind  +   298d ago
While I'll agree this game doesn't deserve the contempt it is usually given, I think you may be being a bit generous. I won't say the story is garbage, but it certainly doesn't come close the original game.

Also, roughly 50% of the game is a rehash of the first game, from character models to environments. I will grant that they did update some of the environments but reusing the same enemies was just lazy. It's still a really good game, but it's success lead to the trend of laziness we now see at Square.
darkpower  +   285d ago
The same enemy sets, though, are acting in new ways. Flans are not the physical damage sponge that they were in the first game, and you will see that you have to employ new game plans for those enemies than you had to in FFX due to the new mechanics they added to this sequel. The CTB system let you think out what you had to do next without the need to worry about the mob taking its next turn. Not so here: time isn't really on your side.
belac09  +   295d ago
i love x-2, the battle system is fast and fun, this remaster set is the best yet.
souga_houjou_jin  +   283d ago
one of the worst ff
any true fans knows this
garbage spice fantasy girls no thx

back to ff 7-8-9-10 while waiting for nomura masterpiece ff15

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Final Fantasy X-2

Average Score 9.0 Reviews(1)
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