If I thought I wasn’t looking to playing FFIX based on my past experience, I was outright dreading FFX-2. I had been warned that it was a girly game and it didn’t live up to previous titles. I was even told sympathetically by the guy I bought it from that I could always return it. But finish it I did (strictly playing off a walkthrough, because I did not feel like I would enjoy trying to figure out stuff myself.) And it was a bizarre game. I got 95% completion. I was going for the perfect game, but the walkthrough I used wasn’t very clear about what actually needed to be done and what was just suggested. I missed a few key points very late in the game and, by the 5th chapter, could no longer do it.
The is a sequel, which presents inherent problems. The game takes place two years after the end of FFX, which I guess is fine, and how they managed to come up with a “story” after the main evil is gone is passable. There are enough new characters to keep interest. But there are continuity issues all over the place. First, the characters are super weak. What happened to all the power they amassed? And if I spent all of FFX getting Al Bhed Primers so I can understand the Al Bhed language, why do I have to do it again in FFX-2? Especially since I have not one, but TWO people in my party (of 3) who are fluent? And seriously, how many unsents are gonna pop back up? I figured after Sin was gonna, people were going to finally just go away.
Was it as bad as I thought it would be? Well, yes, but not entirely. The target audience was the worst part – they took a great game that appealed to all parts and catered its sequel to a very specific audience: 14 year old bisexual girls. That is, of course, my opinion. But there were some very cool aspects to the game. Let’s break it down.
- Oversouling is a great idea. When leveling up, it gets very monotonous fighting the exact same guys over and over again. Oversouling not only adds challenge, but keeps it interesting when, every so often, a creature will be considerably more difficult. Especially since bosses can also oversoul.
- The Via Infinito – possibly the coolest place in any FF game. 100 levels (yes you read that right) of fighting where you can’t skip any of them. Great rewards to be found, but also immense difficulty. Even at level 99 for each character, I died a few times in those lower levels, where the normal guys that wander around are harder than the actual final boss. I would never have been able to defeat Trema, the hardest character in the game, without considerable help online.
- The return of the Berserker! Even Ash was happy about this one.
- Variation. There is a choice early on which affects how the rest of the game plays out. It won’t affect the ending, but it will change how you get there. And speaking of endings, there are actually different endings depending on how much you get complete. And if you get 100% completion over two games (very likely), you will see an additional ending, which gives replay value a boost. I, of course, won’t play again. Why? Here’s why.
- As mentioned before, I’m not sure who this game is intended for. With terms like “dresspheres” and “garment grid”, I would imagine not me. It seems dumbed down, much more than any other FF game – sidequests include giving out balloons and selling tickets to a concert. I mean, really? A little too much dancing in this one for my tastes.
- The characters. In starting to come up with ideas for my final wrapup of all the final fantasy games, I thought I might include a “best characters” and “worst characters” of the series. But I am opting not to do the worst list, because of the 5 that would make it, I think 4 are from or featured in this game. Maechen (shut up old man!), the Hypellos (they make Jar Jar Binks seem palatable), Brother (he was pretty bad ass in X, WTF happened?), Paine (it’s as if Auron and Lulu had a kid and they took all likeable traits out of her), Yuna (she’s always sucked).
- Since FFVII, there’s been way too much of a deal put into chocobo raising. It’s always stupidly complicated and not fun.
- The music. Okay, so I know this was the first game Nobuo Uematsu didn’t do the music for this one, and that’s fine. While I think he rules, I don’t *need* him to do the score (I’m also a big fan of Koichi Sugiyama’s music), whoever they go to do FFX-2 was horrible. In prior games, the music playing throughout that continually loops is usually between maybe 32-64 measures before repeating. It seemed like in FFX-2 there were two measures and then repeating. The music was just so so so so so bad. I can’t stress that enough, especially in comparison to Uematsu’s typical genius.
- To be blunt, it was not a sequel to FFX in any way except storyline. It should have been an offshoot game entirely, like “Final Fantasy Addition: Yuna’s Bored” mainly so I wouldn’t have included it in my project.
- The movies were unimpressive and oddly-spaced out. There were tons in the early going of the game, and then hardly anything until the end, which was also unimpressive. It’s hard to tie up “loose ends” when there really aren’t any.
- Was there even conflict in the movie? Nobody was really doing anything that was terrible, and about three-quarters of the game we find out someone is going to use a very big gun against the world. Okay… sure. Why? Because he felt unloved? That’s what I got out of it.
- Can I mention the music again?
- If the costuming and camera angles of FFX were ‘burlesque’ in tone, FFX-2 was softcore porn. Holy crap, the T&A in this game was gratuitous. I actually got tired of staring at LaBlanc’s boobs and Dona’s crotch. Similarly, the overt lesbian tones made Xena: Warrior Princess look very hetero.
- Too many jobs. Like in FFV (with jobs) and in six (with sheer # of characters), there is too much to choose from, and most of it is filler. Aside from Black Knight, White Mage, Lady Luck, Gunner, and Berserker (!!!), there was little use to any of the other jobs. Is Trainer really going to help you win this game? On that same note, Blue Magic is never useful ever.
So I’m happily done with this one. I spent a modest 74 hours on this one, bringing my total up to ~642 hours. Again, I will be taking a break so that I can actually see my wife after 7pm. I have issues.