There’s no denying that Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy is incredibly popular. Despite the weird direction its taken with the later installments, the series is still a huge moneymaker for the company and the games still have a solid following, myself included. I will admit that I still haven’t played Final Fantasy XV as I’m still waiting for that Game of the Year edition that comes with all the DLC. But I still find myself going to my local video game store just to look at the box and debate with myself whether or not if the wait is worthwhile.
Now, not every Final Fantasy game is created equally and, as such, there are certain Final Fantasy games that people just love to rag on. One of these games just so happens to be the very first Final Fantasy game to get a direct sequel. I’m talking about Final Fantasy X-2. While I can see why some fans don’t like Final Fantasy X-2, I am proud and brave enough to say and freely proclaim that I absolutely adore Final Fantasy X-2!
For those who haven’t played the game yet, well, you really should! I mean, Final Fantasy X and X-2 have been given HD makeovers not once, but twice! There really isn’t a reason why you still have been missing out on it. But I digress. Let’s go first talk about the game itself.
Final Fantasy X-2 takes place a couple of years after the events of Final Fantasy X. Sin has finally been vanquished and the land of Spira is now free from the cycle of death the creature has done. The summoner Yuna from the previous game teams up with Rikku (also from Final Fantasy X) and Paine (a totally new character) and forms the Gullwings, a team devoted to hunting the various spheres and treasures hidden throughout the world of Spira.
The biggest problem a lot of fans have with Final Fantasy X-2 is that it doesn’t follow the tone of its predecessor. While it did have some humor, the overall tone of FFX was grim and serious. It had to be as there was a grand story where a summoner would have to go on this journey in order to prevent the entire world from being destroyed. Well, FFX-2 totally flips the switch as it’s a generally lighthearted adventure most of the time. I mean, when you have the game start up with a J-Pop dance number, you know it’s not going to be all that serious!
I totally get why they would be upset. It would be kind of like the last entry of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy being more akin to the 1960’s Batman television show starring Adam West. That doesn’t mean, however, that the campy television starring the Caped Crusader is bad. It’s still a really good show, as long as you actually like and enjoy the silliness of it all. In fact, a lot of hardcore Batman fans actually do like this version of Batman as, while it may not conform to what Gotham City’s defender is supposed to be like anymore, it’s still a fun little aside.
I’ve also heard a lot of fans complain about how, well, sexualized, the characters look. Okay, Rikku’s new outfit doesn’t really leave much to the imagination but that’s not what people are complaining about, oddly enough. They’re more outraged at Yuna’s updated look. She definitely doesn’t look like the conservative summoner from the first game anymore. She’s gotten a bit more flamboyant after defeating Sin. And I like it! It actually makes a whole lot of sense to me and, to a certain level, I can relate to the change.
Imagine a girl that was raised to be super prim and proper the whole time. You didn’t really leave the safety of your home and you were pretty much kept under lock and key. Now, imagine this very same girl, who just had the adventure of a lifetime and was exposed to all of the wonders and excitement the world has to offer. Wouldn’t she want to shed off some of her inhibitions and try to enjoy the world and try to experience its wonders, especially when you have an influence like Rikku at your side all throughout that adventure? It may seem like a big change but, from my point of view, it seems rather logical for Yuna to actually change her attitude and attire. Also, hasn’t Yuna earned the right to be a little ditzy? She already saved the world but she never really had a chance to have any real fun before! She deserves to have a little fun and dress a little more sexier if she feels like it!
That actually leads me to the Dress Sphere system, which is another thing fans didn’t like so much about FFX-2. There are a few people that have complained about how this limits the party to just Yuna, Rikku and newcomer Paine. Essentially, with the Dress Sphere system, you don’t need characters that specialize in specific skills like healing magic or fighting as you can have a character equip a particular outfit to get those skills.
I actually like the variety of the Dress Sphere system as you don’t really feel “locked out” of a certain job class if you get into a battle wherein you need some particular attack that works better. It feels pretty satisfying as well if you just so happened to map out the proper outfits. Also, it’s not like changing outfits is instantaneous. You still need to use the Active Time Battle system (which is my favorite battle system out of all the Final Fantasy games, by the way) to select the right outfit. So, not coming in with the right outfit can actually be deadly but at least you don’t feel cheated if you get into an encounter without the right person by your side because you’ll always have the right person with you!
But the issue that people have with Final Fantasy X-2 have and I totally understand is, well, the singing. I actually do enjoy the music as I grew up watching all sorts of anime. You can definitely tell that the music that have vocals were heavily influenced by anime and J-Pop in general. The problem isn’t the music but the actual English vocal performance. I may not understand Japanese but there is a certain “twang” they have when they sing because of the actual language. It’s an accent thing. But it seems to me that the accent is a big component to why J-Pop sounds like J-Pop. So, when the songs are sung in English, it just seems weird to me. Honestly, I wish there was a way to pick from either the English or Japanese vocals when it came to the singing portions.
Is Final Fantasy X-2 my favorite game in the series? No, however, I actually rank it really high on the list. I know a lot of people hate it because of the silly premise and lighthearted tone. But, strangely enough, those are a couple of the reasons why I like it so much. It’s different from the other Final Fantasy games out there and still familiar because of the characters and setting Square Enix set the game in. Much like the Yuna we got in the game, it didn’t let expectations come in between what it wanted to be and what it ultimately became: a silly romp that’s still fun if you have the right mindset.
What do you think of Final Fantasy X-2? Let me know in the comments section below!