After FFX, the world was pleasantly surprised that Square Enix was developing a sequel to the game. You might have heard a lot of praise towards FFX-2, but some consider it one of the worst games in the series and one of the biggest disappointments.
For the record — I was one of those people. I hated that my favorite game of all time — with its dark, serious tones — could turn into this bubble-gum pop Charlie’s Angels thing.
But you know what? I played the game anyway. And like many people, I had a love-hate relationship with the game. I begrudgingly admitted that the gameplay was good. I kept it a secret that I listened to A Thousand Words on repeat.
But revisiting the game now in my stream, I see the game isn’t worth the hate that I and everyone like me have given it.
FFX-2 is a 2003 role-playing video game that continues the story of Final Fantasy X. This whimsical game provides a very relaxing yet entertaining experience to a first time player.
FFX-2 was the first game in the series to feature just three player characters and an all-female main cast. FFX-2 allows players to visit almost any location at any time. While not as dark and dour as the first game, we get to see the world of Spira in a state of peace.
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Developer: Square
- Publishers: Square, Square Enix, Electronic Arts
What is everyone’s problem with FFX-2?
First, let’s get the bad facts out of the way. FFX-2 has a bad rap, and I contributed to it.
Development Constraints for FFX-2
But I have come to realize the truth: FFX is a masterpiece. FFX-2 is not. Part of that has to do with the development constraints that Square-Enix faced.
- FFX was a big-budget title with about 100 staff and 2 years of development time. FFX-2 had half the staff and was developed in half the time, reusing old assets all over the place.
- FFX was never intended to have a sequel, and because of that, the story, unfortunately, introduces more inconsistencies.
Because FFX was never meant to have a sequel, FFX-2’s story ultimately had to lack.
FFX-2, by the nature of its constraints, turned out about as good as I could expect. It took me 20 years to realize that.
Let’s go over some of the most common complaints:
- Yuna’s transformation: Many people dislike FFX-2 mostly because of the huge change in character they gave to Yuna. She went from a serious progressive, strong-willed, feminist protagonist shouldering a huge responsibility, to a carefree airhead pop star.
- Too much girl power: Every single part of the game is tied to the fact that the main character is a girl. The dressphere system, the quests, the storyline, and even some of the items and accessories you receive simply could not have been included in a game with male characters.
- Average story: The original FFX had a mystical and very fantasy-like feel to it. The core story of FFX-2 really didn’t get enough focus so unfortunately, it fell a little flat. The game fails in the story. The first chapter of FFX-2 gets a bad rap. You have to get used to a much lighter tone. It’s light, dumb, and starts off with some silly J-pop.
- Less interesting fictional world: Spira also became less interested in FFX-2 by not being desolate and gloomy.
What’s good about FFX-2?
FFX-2 takes the series in a new direction, with an altered structure, a lighter tone, and an expanded battle system. The game is really engaging and will keep you on your toes.
Here are a few reasons why FFX-2 is worth playing:
The battle system adds timing and strategy
The FFX-2 battle system is flexible, fun and robust. It is one of the favorites in the series for most people. There are two elements in particular that are worth talking about.
- Garment Grid system
With the Garment Grid system, rather than changing party members to fulfill different roles, you instead equip characters with dresspheres, which imbue them with new abilities and clothes. In effect, it means you’re able to switch characters’ jobs at any time, and learning how to best combine these different roles can be the difference between success and defeat in a scrap.
- Return to an active time battle system
The other thing to highlight is the return to an active time battle system. While still turn-based, enemies won’t wait for you to make decisions, and when you attack is almost as important as how. With good timing and a well-thought out strategy, it’s possible to plan your moves to disrupt enemy turns, combine skills to devastating effect and discover.
That said, if you do prefer a little more thinking time, you can switch back to Wait mode; enemies won’t attack while you’re taking your turn. Essentially, the game lets you play how you want.
There’s so much to see and do beyond the story
FFX-2 is packed with minigames and side activities. These side activities range from the entertaining shooter Gunner’s Gauntlet, revamped version of Blitzball, the Creature Creator, and much more.
Just set up a pod in a monster-infested area and you will be able to trap creatures and add them to your bestiary. From there, you can develop them, level them up, battle them and uncover each ones ‘fiend tale’.
It’s a fun diversion, and with nearly 200 fiends to collect and level up. Completionists will be kept busy for a long, long time.
Localization and voice acting
The localization and voice acting in FFX-2 are good compared to its counterparts of the time. On the whole, the dialogue is very well written, and it’s delivered convincingly. The returning characters’ voice actors reprise their roles, and the new actors are of the same high caliber.
FFX-2 doesn’t reuse any tracks from FFX. The game’s musical style differs from its predecessor’s, including many lighthearted and upbeat tracks. These light-hearted fluff pieces that fit with the game’s lively style. The game’s director, Motomu Toriyama, stated:
“As symbolized in Yuna’s live performance in the opening, we wanted to incorporate a pop feeling even with the music this time, which is very different from the typical Final Fantasy world. In fact, the drastic change in the music is one of the big differences that gave new direction for FFX-2.”
FFX-2 also has multiple endings and the only way to view all three is to earn 100% story completion.
The ending you get depends upon certain actions you make throughout the game. Accomplishing this means meeting specific requirements in each chapter that add to the overall completion percentage.
- Bad ending: To get this entry, simply lose to Shuyin/Vegnagun.
- Sad ending: If you don’t have enough story completion or if you didn’t activate several key events in the game, you’ll get this ending.
- Normal ending: Beat Vegnagun/Shuyin. To get this ending press ‘X’ in the field of flowers, right after you get the Chapter 5 Complete message.
- Good ending: If you have a high story completion and activated several key events in the game, you’ll get this ending.
- Perfect ending: Do everything for the Happy Ending and have 100% story completion.
FFX-2 Last Mission
FFX-2 Last Mission is a playable epilogue that reunites the characters for a final adventure. In fact, it’s a fully featured game in its own right. Set after the main game, heroes Yuna, Rikku and Paine must climb a tower while battling traps and monsters along the way.
FFX-2 Last Mission features very unique mechanics. There are roguelike elements like each floor of the tower will be randomly generated. So, your experience might be very different to a friend’s. It’s a great way to test your skills and a fitting farewell to the main characters.
There is something missing in FFX when it comes to distractions from the main story. Fortunately, FFX-2 isn’t afraid to give the player distractions. Blitzball returns, this time with even more complexity and depth. The pseudo-card game Sphere Break also helps to provide a side activity. There’s also treasure hunting, a shooting gauntlet, dog races, and an even more horrendous minigame in the Thunder Plains. It’s a mixed bag, but the majority are great distractions.
Expanding on the earlier note of a more open world, FF10-2 also offers a wider variety of side quests to pursue. The original had a few, sparsely placed side quests throughout the main story, which became prominent after the player got access to the airship. On the other hand, side quests and side stories in FFX-2 are part of the meat and potatoes.
A dynamic world made new again
The world of Spira has a lot of complexity in the original game. It’s clear that the world lacks the agency to save itself and is trapped in a spiral of death and destruction. The Eternal Calm of FFX-2 may end the conflict against ancient deities, but creates a different kind of down-to-Earth conflict. The player doesn’t have much freedom to influence who gains power, but the illusion of choice is rock-solid.
FFX-2 features the three protagonists Yuna, Rikku, and Paine, who would do anything to stop a war from ensuing in their world. Crazy, right? And so powerful.
What was the point of FFX-2?
FFX-2 actually marks the first non-traditional Final Fantasy game. The first sequel in the franchise’s history? Made up of girls? With some newfangled mission-based gameplay? Right?
The fun and lighthearted sexiness is also added to the FFX-2 experience. It helped the game stand out against the more dour and serious tones of most Final Fantasy titles.
FFX-2 is also one that has the series’ typical complexity around job roles. there are a lot of jobs to choose between so you’ll find yourself constantly tweaking your party as you play. Luckily, the FFX-2 outright encourages you to be highly flexible with the character roles. So, you’ll find yourself constantly switching them around, which makes for some dynamic gameplay indeed.
How many chapters does FFX-2 have?
The main game consists of five chapters, each with a variety of locations to visit and actions to undertake before being completed. Each location features one scenario, interesting task, or story piece per chapter. Don’t misjudge this as a lack of depth, though, as FFX-2 has a surprising amount of meat on its bones.
FFX-2 may seem crazy, chaotic, and fast at first, but the game’s not too hard, and you’ll quickly get the swing of things. It has an average story, a great battle system and the mission structure allows the game to be non-linear as opposed to FFX.
In FFX-2, the overall vibe of the game goes from sadness, suffering, loss, and sacrifice to happiness, excitement, energy, fun, growth, advancement, and progress. If you enjoyed FFX, go for it. Get to see how Spira develops after the ending of FFX.
FFX-2 is every bit as endearing and engrossing as its forebears. The game is a very entertaining RPG that any fan of the genre should play. I recommend you all to give it a shot.