on 15 November 2005
Well I might as well get the first bit over with: in my opinion FFX-2 isn't as good as FFX. BUT it's still a great game in its own right. First of all, if you've played the previous game and are looking for a new experience then this isn't for you, as most of the game takes place in locations which featured in FFX. If you're happy to return to the world of Spira, then read on. I'd definitely recommend playing FFX first otherwise this game might not make much sense.
The graphics are pretty much the same in FFX-2 as they were in FFX. Not surprising seeing as FFX's jaw-droppingly amazing graphics are difficult to improve on. Like before, the cinematics in the game are phenomenal and even the regular graphics are highly detailed, I very much doubt any game has better or even equally good graphics as FFX and X-2, at least until FFXII comes out.
The sound is the game is very good, and although the soundtrack doesn't come close to the standard of FFX's amazing score, there are still some very nice tunes. It's a relief to hear all the same voice actors as before, and the general quality of the voice acting is of a high standard. Most of the characters in FFX make an appearance in X-2, you'll meet nearly everyone you encountered previously at some point in the game (unless they died in FFX of course), although it does depend on which optional sidequests you do.
In FFX-2 your party consists of Yuna, Rikku and new girl Paine. Yuna and Rikku's personalities are pretty much the same as before (although Rikku does seem a bit kinkier ;) ) with Yuna being kind and helpful like before (but the new "tough chick" image she sometimes tries to pull off in X-2 doesn't quite work) and Rikku is still bubbly and cheerful. I'm not particularly fond of Paine, while she does have her interesting moments, in general I thought she was quite rigid and boring, I would've much rather Lulu had her role in the game (my favourite FFX character).
FFX-2 is much less linear than previous FFs, with other half the game consisting of optional sidequests (known as missions), so the game's length really depends on how many optional quests you undertake. Even if you only play the bits you have to though, this game still represents outstanding value for money. Doing the optional parts will help you to obtain a much wider knowledge of the storyline though, and most of them are very enjoyable too. In FFX-2, the amount of the game that you have played is represented by a percentage score, the more missions you take part in, the higher this will be. If you manage to get 100%, you'll be treated to a bonus scene at the end of the game, although if you're aiming for 100% I'd strongly recommend you buy the Prima strategy guide, as it's so easy to miss something you're required to do. It'd be very frustrating if you messed up your chances of getting 100% after say, 40 hours of gameplay by forgetting to do one little requirement and having to start over. Going for 100% does require you to complete some very difficult tasks though and constantly having to check that you've fulfilled all the requirements can make the game feel like quite a chore. There's no obligation to go for the top completion score though, other than the events which progress the storyline forward, which missions you participate in are totally up to you. However a few of them can greatly influence the ending of the game, so it's worth looking into them.
As in previous FFs, love 'em or hate 'em, battles occur randomly (other than set fights). Whereas in FFX you could take as long as you wanted to make your move, in X-2 the battles are more realistic and are much faster paced. This can lead to them being quite chaotic and although some gamers might like the battles having more of a speedy element, I preferred FFX's tactical system where you could plan your move with as much time as you needed. Sadly Yuna no longer has the ability to summon aeons in X-2, but there is now the very cool dressphere system, which is similar the "jobs" system in FFV. Each character has their own very stylish outfit for each dressphere, which include the classics such as Black Mage, White Mage, Warrior, and Thief, and some new, very interesting ones such as Lady Luck and Mascot, the latter has Yuna dressed as a moogle, Rikku as Cait Sith and Paine as a tonberry, very amusing ^^
Fans of the blitzball game in FFX will unfortunately be very disappointed as in X-2 you only get to play it near the end of the game, but the worst part is that you can't control your players during the game, and I don't really understand what made Square-Enix come to that decision. There is however a new game called "Sphere Break", which you can play from an early stage in the game, and although it does seem confusing at first, once you get into it, it becomes quite enjoyable.
The storyline in FFX-2 certainly isn't as strong as FFX's, but it's still very absorbing, and although the early stages of the game might not seem to be very significant, as you progress the plot does become gripping. Mysteries from FFX are revealed and there are plenty of new occurrences to make your second visit to Spira just as action-packed as the first.
I think that FFX-2 suffers in reviews because people compare it to FFX too much. It may not be as good, but it's still an excellent game in its own right. It's non-linear, fun, dramatic, action-packed, pretty much everything you need in a game. I don't regret buying it and it's got a permanent place in my collection.
on 25 February 2004
I've had the joy of playing most of the Final Fantasy titles. And in all that time, this is the most radical of them all. In some respects, it's hardly anything like your stereotypical RPG. But in others, it really, really is.
Now, it goes without saying, that the graphics are splendid. The world of Spira is as beautiful as it was in the previous installment, so no real suprises there then.
And the characters largely make a return, but in different respects. As the story now focuses on Yuna, and what she's up to, two years after the events of the previous game.
The sound however, is altogether different. The music is something straight out of Japan, as though it was written by Fame Academy / Pop Idol, but in Japan. Typical, ultra cheese. Though that's entirely down to taste, it does fit the game rather well, considering what happened in the world of FF X.
The real difference between this, and the last game, comes in the way the game is actually played. This time around, there are no summons for you to raise, but in their place, are what's known as dresspheres. These are how the game is won and lost, and depending on what you wear (No bikinis unfortunately!), you can choose to be a magician, or a warrior, among others. It's an interesting, and fairly complex system, that can work well.
Another key difference, is the game's non-linearity. It now has multiple endings (Replayability, whoo!), and a new mission structure, that allows you to choose where you go and what to deal with. The game is verily much less centered around a drawn out epic story, as doing the story missions alone (Known as "hotspots") can lead you to finish the game in under 20 hours. That's not to say the game is small. Far from it infact, as the sheer volume of side-quests, can last a single play through, in the region of atleast 50 hours.
Overall, FF X - 2 is not a typical Final Fantasy game. But the traits are definately there. It is a good game, and fans of the series will most probably enjoy it.
on 7 March 2004
Final Fantasy X-2 is a confused game, this much is clear from the two opening sequences to the game. The usual, sombre opening credits are intact, and from this beginning you could be forgiven for thinking you were about to embark on the usual Final Fantasy adventure, with accompanying heavy plots and emotional scenes aplenty.
This is shattered once you start the game, however. Our heroes are introduced in colourful cut-away freeze frame, in moments which very correctly remind many people of 'Charlie's Angels.' Yuna sings J-Pop, Rikku tries to subdue a guard using her cuteness, and Paine jumps straight into action. A few moments later, the girls all join up for a group freeze-frame, and the unsuspecting gamer is left not knowing what to think.
It establishes itself quickly as light-hearted, yet also throws you quickly into the thick of battle, and the unitiated may be taken aback by the speedy nature of the turn-based battles. This is a tremendous change for the series, though: the clunky, pause-ridden battles which have typified FF games thusfar is emphatically thrown out of the window, and replaced with something much more condusive to real action.
Side-quests are a large feature of this game, and it is pleasing to discover that if you should ever bore of the main story, you can take day-trips to other areas and indulge yourself in a mini game or two. I once visited Luca, intending only to level up a few times before I continued, but was drawn into a beuatifully detailed reconstruction of some of Yuna's backstory: a most pleasing diversion.
Production values in this game are consistently high, and the amount of speech, especially in battles, is hugely impressive. The characters are thus fleshed out fantastically, and the player is drawn into the experience with great intensity.
The one drawback is that this is still Final Fantasy: seemingly a curious criticism. You still go from A to B and battle a boss before you get the item you want. You still have to level up and get money to beat these bosses, and you still have to use trial and error on too many occassions.
The saving grace of FFX-2 is the inventive nature of the in-game experience, and the diverse society which makes up Spira.
Rikku, Yuna and Paine do succeed in making this a successful sequel to FFX, and hopefully Square-Enix can learn from what they've done here to make FFXII a fantastic experience.
on 7 September 2004
I got my hopes up when I read the back of the box- pick your own storyline for multiple endings - however they where quickly dashed when I learnt that there were actually only 5 choices you could really pick to "make your own storyline" (the rest were just over-hyped side quests) and only 3 multiple endings.
Unlike the other games in the Final Fantasy series, this game uses just three main player characters- Yuna, Rikku and Paine- whcih cut out the annoying complication of, no matter how hard you try, always having one character ridicously strong and another 3 ridicously weak. However, the game also introduces the use of "dress spheres", which, when applied to a character, allowed the character to learn, and as a result use, certain abilities. It's a nice idea but, because you have to change dress sphere in order to switich from one set of abilities to another, it can be slow and annoying when you need to change in battle.
This game uses the ATB system (where the bar fills up over time until you can take your go...like an egg timer) used in Final Fantasy 8 and, for me, this was a welcome return. I have always foudn this method of battle slightly more challenging than the others and I'm always up for a challenge.
Which ending you get depends on which quests you have fulfilled during the game. If you're just happy to get the "OK" basic ending, the game is very easy to play and takes roughly 40 hours- a nice, light-and-fluffy little refresher. However, if you want to then go on and get the other "higher" endings (the game has a replayerable function so you may start again but keep all the dress spheres and weapons you have found already) the game actually becomes near impossible and more than a challenge than welcomed.
on 6 September 2008
I bought this game after completing Final fantasy X, which is easily one of their best games to date, along with VIII, and, well, I thought things just weren't right...
Things started okay I suppose. I thought things would stop being all bubbly and camp after the first few minutes of the game. But throughout, things just started to slip. Dressing up in mid-battle? Chasing after a tidus look-alike? Singing? It was just like playing a little girl's game, not the usual teenage fighting, role-playing action titles that we've seen previously. And once you've battled through the entire game, you come to realise that there are 3 or 4 different endings, which I suppose is good, but after I worked my arse off to reach the end, I was given the worst ending! I suppose the feminine game-play must have put me off...
It would have been nice to know that the new producer of Square-enix was into making this kind of game, then I wouldn't have bothered.
HOWEVER, If you really are desperate to know what happens to Yuna after X, then this game is a must have. I must admit that though I got the worst ending, the best ending is well worth the wait. Graphics have been enhanced quite a lot since X, and the Turn-based system has vanished. I'm more of a turn-based person myself, but it was a nice change. Millions of variables mean that this game can go in any direction. I recommend a Walk-through.
A good game for hard-core FFX gamers, but not for those who like Final fantasy as a whole.
on 24 February 2004
Considering I've been playing FFX-2 for a couple of days ONLY, it should be a tad presumptuous to write a review. It should, but rules are made to be broken, right?
So from the outset, the game seems light & fluffy, as opposed to the rather sombre opening to FFX (come on, it starts with Yuna - pop star!), and you will think there's something dodgy about a game that is, in essence, playing dress-up with some CGI dolls.
OK, that's what you get from looking at pictures on the 'net. Now, play the game for a while, and this isn't an issue. It's similar to switching Lulu for Auron on FFX, but with better graphics. Yes, it's a tad annoying when you get the animation for the 700th time, just as you're getting massacrered by a boss and need a White Mage ASAP, admittedly, but it's still miles away from the dogy junctioning system of FFVIII.
Naturally, the world looks as stunning (if not more so) than before, although I did miss some of the music they used, such as Besaid and Gagazet, as it has all been overhauled. However, there is a pleasant familiarity to proceedings as you run through Luca or Guadosalam, while you have new areas like Bevelle and the updated Kilika to get used to, so contempt is kept at bay. Meanwhile, the ability to jump and climb in areas also adds an edge to proceedings, as you search for chests and so forth.
And now there's the big change: the structure of the story. Rather than an elongated story from start to finish, it is broken up into Missions. Not only this, but there are more than the ones pinpointed at the mission screen. You have to explore every place to get bonus missions to receive new Garment Grids, Dress Spheres, and other goodies that help your progress. And since the story is broken into "chapters", you can't leave them and come back - so you may need a guide of some description in order to achieve the elusive 100% completion (yes, that's on offer).
Also, along with the costumes, combat has been changed. You can learn abilities during fights, rather than waiting for their conclusion when you needed 1 AP, and the combat is much faster than before, to the extent you can get combos when all three characters attack one enemy at the same time. However, there costumes have reverted back to the times of FFV - Mages can't use physical attacks, for example - Warriors, Gunners and Thieves can. So remember this if you're playing, and setting up a grid.
So, with a more complex structure and more satisfying combat than ever, why isn't this a fiv star game? Honestly, I can't say - but it doesn't feel like a Five Star Final Fantasy that parts VII and X were, yet at the same times isn't as half-baked as VIII was. Perhaps I'm going for a review too early, considering all that's on offer here, or maybe it's just spite that I can't use Wakka, Auron or Lulu again. And, yes, many characters from part X do appear, alongside new characters. In many ways, FFX-2 is like an old friend with a new look - you may recognise them, but won't be too sure at first glance.
on 31 January 2004
I have played the U.S copy of the game, so this review is based on that and doesn't take into account any possible changes for the E.U version.
FFX-2 continues the story began in FFX - however, if you never got the chance to play it, it's perfectly playable without knowledge of the plot.
Yuna, the summoner who defeated Sin once and for all, is the main character in this game. She is joined by Rikku, and a new character called Paine. The game at first takes a non-serious approach, but beneath this fun quest is a serious mission. Yuna is searching for traces of her lost love Tidus, and journeys all over Spira looking for "Spheres" - small globes that contain records of events. It is in one of these she finds a trace of hope that starts her quest.
The game starts out with a pop concert, but before you groan and go to play something else, stick with it. Beneath this front is a game that is not only easily accessible, but fun to play. Yes, there is an element of a Charlie's Angels all girl adventure, but this fades somewhat as you get deeper into the plot and things get more serious.
You journey to the areas in Spira that were in FF-X, but it's completely non-linear - YOU can choose where to go and what to do. With tons of side quests that are not essential to completion of the game, you'll always have something to do if you want a breather from the main game. The "dresssphere" system allows you to learn different abilities and change in battle to use them. If you don't want to see the same changing animations again and again you can turn them off, but they are pretty neat. Combat is very fast, and you'll need to be on your toes, but I found this to be a plus - instead of spending hours in battle, you spend most of the time adventuring.
I had only a few minor problems with this game. One is the "jumping" system. Basically, you have to press the Circle button at the right time to jump over gaps in the scenary, or you stumble, which can be very annoying if you can't seem to time pressing the button right. The other is that the main game is actually very short, so if you don't care much for sidequests, you're going to be through this pretty quickly. However, this is remedied with a New Game + option and multiple endings depending on how much of the game and sidequests you completed.
I throughly recommend this game and will be buying it on the day of release. You'll laugh and you'll cry to the end.
on 22 April 2007
"Discover the truth behind Yuna's story..." is what the back of the case says. Though I wouldn't agree completely. Instead, it followed the story of two completely different people - the only link being that they looked remotley like Tidus and Yuna which was a little annoying.
So you can imagine my disappointment, when really, there was no truth revealed behind Yuna's story - we didn't learn anything more about her nor about Tidus. I felt like nothing was truely resolved in this, unless you knew how (secret endings etc etc).
Contrary to this, it was fun and entertaining. The dressphere system is a good idea, and there are plenty of mini-games and missions to keep you going. Brought back, are the characters of Rikku (who's great!), Wakka, Lulu, Kimahri and other familiars for FFX.
Again, I wasn't let down by FF, the characters were all different and had personalities which is good in a RPG of course.
I would definately recommend playing FFX first, if you haven't already. AND I would really only play this 'as something to do' rather than commit your self to it.
on 19 April 2006
Ok. If you are a serious ff fan, this WILL disappoint you. If you have never played ff before you MAY like this (although you should play ffx first to understand whats going on, but try not to compare it to x, because it is nowhere near as good)The thing is, it is completely different to every other final fantasy game in terms of gameplay it is mission-based. It does follow on from final fantasy x, the world is the same, the characters are the same, the fiends are the same. I didn't like how they've TRIED to modernise it, however, the music, the clothes, the missions, the singing and dancing... they were trying to make it appeal to a different audience, and in doing so, pushed away the regular audience. When they made it were they trying to promote girl power? They can't have because it is so far off the mark. Also i wish they hadn't changed the battle system back to bars filling up before you could attack. I liked having time to plan and knowing whose turn it was next. Despite all this, it is a good game, it has tons of stuff to do and the bosses are a lot easier than x's. I played through it solely to see the end, which does complete the story, but only if you get 100% or trigger the special ending. So. If you want a game to play, play this and ignore the faults. If you want to finish off final fantasy 10, play this, but be sure to get the special ending (a decent guide will tell you how to do this) or complete it 100%. If you want to play a game in keeping with the final fantasy series DO NOT play this game.
on 2 March 2004
Final Fantasy X was melancholic affair. A world gripped by a perpetual spiral of death where the inhabitants had very little in the way of hope or joy to look forward to. The entire game had a sense of depression about it as you travel round the ravaged world of Spira. Along come Square-Enix with their first ever sequel to a Final Fantasy epic, and its almost like they've got a button on their wonderful Japanese machinery that is labelled 'Remix Final Fantasy X in a Charlies Angels stylee'. The game is literally THAT different from its predecessor! Upbeat cheesy music! Girl power in effect! Clothes! Oh so many clothes! Flashy effects and liberal doses of humour! Its like the complete negative of the very serious original. Where FFX tackled the concepts of mortality and the falsness of the religion of Yevon, FFX-2 has wiped the slate clean to bring a more upbeat take on things to the casual buyer.
The fights are flashy and entertaining from moment one, there is plenty to do with the return of Active Time Battles. Once again you find yourself quickly making choices to get your attacks in first. You get a greater sense of involvement than you did in the previous game, having to continually select actions, swap costumes, fire of salvos of bullets by tapping R1, trying to chain together moves in time. Much more to keep you entertained in battle in contrast to the more laid back style battles of FFX.
Rather than having a large party of people to manage, you just have our 3 ladies; Yuna, Rikku and Paine. Yuna & Rikku have joined a band of 'sphere hunters' known as the Gullwings after Rikku brings Yuna a sphere which contains an image of Tidus, trapped somewhere dark and unfriendly. They travel the world of Spira searching for more clues that could lead where Tidus' may be. Certain favourites make cameos in the game and the entire world of Spira is familiar and instantly accessable by your huge flying aircraft. Again this is down to Square-Enix trying to make this game accessable to new heads to the Final Fantasy game. Instant action and instant gratification.
Of course the depth is there for the hardcore. The Sphere Grid powerup system has now been replaced by Garment Grids. Our main characters can change their abilities depending on what costume they wear. The standard Theif, Black Mage and White mage are present alongside new skill sets such as Songstress and Gunner. The amount of time a character spends in a costume determines how much of an expert they become with that skill. You have the freedom to decide how your characters will develope in this game. Add to that the replay value to get alternate endings and a branching storyline based on your actions, there are HOURS of play to get from this game.
If the hardcore can place their sceptisism aside about this new 'cheery' update and STOP pining for a FF7 update, they will discover more joys in the world of Spira. Those who are new to the game and have found it 'ploddy' in the past, will be mesmerised by the new 'instant action' approach that Square-Enix have taken, PLUS knowledge of the past game is not essential. Although I would say that the previous game is too good a bargain not to pick up since its on the Platinum range. Its nice to have something different from the franchise for once. Those wanting a fresh new saga in the more traditional style of Square will have to wait until FFXII surfaces later this year.