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.