Final Fantasy, the words roll right off your tongue. I suppose it’s easy to say when you’ve been raised on it. Many Final Fantasy games have come and gone, each securing a little piece of our minds and hearts. Every fan knows Chocobo’s are faster than walking, spells cost way too much MP, and Cid is a household name in almost every universe and time period. Squaresoft (now SquareEnix) has given us many things in it’s run, however, a sequel was never one of those thing, until now.
Final Fantasy X-2 is the 12th installment in the mainstream series, and the first, ever, to follow a story line previously used by a predecessor. We spend countless hours playing through a final fantasy, only to get to the end of the game, and have no more to do with the characters. A new Final Fantasy comes out, and we are forced to learn and get to know an entire new set of characters. Finally, we have a game where we already know the characters, and we get to stop dreaming about what happens to them after the final battle with the impossible boss that is bent on world destruction.
We are treated to a very realistic and very fun opening cut scene right off the bat. Yuna seems to have become a pop star, and is gearing up to sing to a crowd that rivals Blitzball in number. As the stage is set, we see Rikku and a new girl, Paine, taking out guards and infiltrating the concert. After some amazing animation, a rather catchy J-pop song, and a very Charlie’s Angels-ish intro for the characters, the first battle ends up being against Yuna, not along side her. Rikku keeps demanding that Yuna “give it back”, to which she and two backup dancers reply, “get them”. After defeating the dancers and doing some heavy damage to “Yuna”, she runs, and you must chase her through the halls of the concert hall. After finally catching up and Rikku demanding one more time for her to give it back, the real Yuna appears and demands her “Garment Grid back”. Here we have a unique introduction to the new class technique in the game, the Garment Grid.
It reminds me of Tactics, only you can change mid battle, and the change sequences are amazing to watch. They go fast, but are always fun to see. After the battle with the girl who stole Yuna’s Grid, you head back to the same airship used in FFX, with many of the same faces, like Brother, whose English has improved somewhat, but he’s sort of a pervert. In the game, you come to find out that you are sphere hunters. Yuna joined this group because she was shown a sphere that contained a memory of what looked to be Tidus. So she and Rikku have decided to go on a search for more, hoping they can find out what happened to him after he disappeared into Sin.
The battle system in FFX-2 is really fun. There’s no more waiting around for everyone’s attack command to be put in before everyone does something. Small spells like fire or thunder don’t get their own special cut scene, they are just like every other attack. It shows the spell, and people get attacked. The battle system is very fast, and very active. If you stop to look at your items, you’ve been attacked twice already. It’s very intense and fun, but sometimes it gets somewhat frustrating, especially for newbies.
For fans of any Final Fantasy game, especially those of FFX, this game is worth getting. The battle system is close enough to the original that you won’t have to relearn, and animations are more than worth watching. Sometimes I wish they’d just make a whole movie of animations…. Oh wait, Advent Children…. They are!