Final Fantasy X-2 First
After a bit more than a year of watching screenshots and videos appear,
I finally have the first direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game in my hands.
I take the game home and spend about ten minutes trying to get the plastic
off of the case; damn that plastic. After I call my wife in to finish
opening the game for me, I put it in my Playstation and proceed to play
it for five hours straight.
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The first thing I noticed about this game was the entirely different tone
than Final Fantasy X; Yuna and the gang have defeated Sin, Yuna has become
a superstar, and Spira is at peace. With no enormous monster to fear,
the people of Spira have learned to enjoy their selves, and so has Yuna.
Yuna, Rikku, and newcomer Paine are now part of the Gullwings,
a group that flies around Spira searching for spheres.
Every place in Spira, although having the same general landscape, is now
almost an entirely different place than what we remember from FFX. Zanarkand
has become a tourist attraction, the Calmlands are now full of games,
Chocobos have been all but replaced by machina, and Guadosalam is entirely
empty now. Spira is also covered in political conflict. The Ronsos want
to destroy the Guados, and a group called New Yeven is trying to rise.
The gameplay is where this game really shines, and makes this game worth
playing. The fights are fast and exciting, and make the extremely enjoyable.
The active-time-battle gauge is back, but now the command starts executing
as soon as you press the confirm button, making the battles hectic, and
introducing new strategies, like combos and such.
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Squarenix have done away with the FFX sphere grid and introduced what
is called Dress Spheres. The Dress Spheres are really genius; they are
almost like the job system from the older Final Fantasy games. Some of
the spheres include Warrior, Theif, Black Mage, White mage, Samurai, Songstress,
and Dark Knight. When you kill enemies with a dress sphere equipped, you
gain AP for that dress sphere, then AP is used to learn new abilities
and spells. Also Squarenix has made the fighting more strategic by allowing
you to switch Dress Spheres during battle.
The visuals in this game are superb, as to be expected from Squarenix.
The graphics are more crisp, the facial expressions more believable, and
the backgrounds look very impressive.
This is where the complaints start. Some fans will not like what they
have done with some of the characters. It seems like all the girls in
the game must dress in as little amount of clothing as possible. I think
I can understand why this bothers some players. Some of the things in
the game are just not right, and one of them is Squarenix attempts to
raise the sex-appeal of the characters sky-high. This just doesnít belong
in a Final Fantasy game. One thing that comes to mind is during a fight,
Paine says the words Turned on? I hope that there is nothing else
like this later on in the game, but I wouldn't be too surprised.
A few other things that I do not like so far is that I just donít enjoy
playing as Yuna. I do not usually mind playing as a girl in video games,
but I do not like playing as Yuna, mainly because of the way she slings
her arms when she walks. This game is just soaked in estrogen. So far,
the girls have stood around talking about boys or just giggling, way too
many times for my taste.
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As for the sound, I really have mixed feelings about it. I like a few
of the tracks so far, but a lot seem to be reused a lot, and some are
just seem lacking. The music is very different from previous Final Fantasy
games, and mostly I do not mean that in a good way. Some of the music
sounds more like something you would hear on a low-budget porn flick than
the newest Final Fantasy game. The voice acting is a big jump up from
the last game. It doesnít sound nearly as forced and doesnít have all
the strange pauses that we found in FFX.
Overall, so far I am really enjoying the game, if only because I get too
see some of my favorite characters again. The story is much more personal
this time, and much less linear. It may not be a big epic, but it still
is interesting, and most of all fun. A lot of games seem to be lacking
in that area lately. Most people donít play a game just for a story, as
they can read a book, or watch a movie to get a, usually better, story
faster. People play games because they are fun, and this game definitely
is. Those who enjoyed FFX certainly won't be disappointed.