In the realm of J-RPGs, Final Fantasy X-2 is pretty like it or “how dare they make a sequel that ruined what FFX was trying to do!” Because after Aerith and before Lightning there was Yuna. Though Final Fantasy X was in some ways about Yuna’s journey, the main protagonist was Tidus. And Tidus was one of those love him or hate him characters. I didn’t really appreciate him. So, when X-2 got it right and put Yuna in charge…
I played that game over six times.
Do I really think it was the best continuation of Yuna’s story and best use of the world? Eh. Not really. But man, it’s fun with three female protags (and your only party members) who can kick butt in a bunch of really awesome ‘dresspheres’ which means you can be in the middle of battle, change their outfit and get a whole new set of abilities.
Of course, there was a bit more to it than that. Like I said, the story was okay. Rikku has dragged Yuna out of Besaid and mourning for Tidus by pulling her into a sphere hunting group. Her bait was a sphere that may or may not show Tidus. Maybe he’s still out there … somewhere? Spheres are like petrified balls of water that can contain movies and thoughts. Some of them can be used for locks and others for dresspheres and so on. Rikku insists that if they look they might be able to find Tidus. (Rikku doesn’t always come off the sharpest, which is really odd given how things usually tend to go her way.)
Remember, Yuna is looking for Tidus. Them stumbling across a political splintering involving a superweapon from the original Zanarkand war was a coincidence. I’m not really fond of the fact that Yuna spent the entirety of the game looking for a boy. I think her character motivation could have been deeper even if the “save the world, get the boy” is the opposite gender of the usual trope. Depending on how well you play the game and how you feel about Tidus returning, the game has multiple endings and multiple items to get that will reveal more about the story.
X and X-2 came from a time where they spent more time on showing the story, rather than XII and XIII where there seems to be a novel of very tiny type to read on the screen to know what is going on. I prefer the FFX method to the FFXII method. I bought a game to play a game, not read tiny glowing type. If I wanted to read type, I’d buy a book or write a book. If I can’t get the story on what you show me in game, then maybe the story is a tad too complex.
While blitzball didn’t completely disappear, the player had less control over it. I never liked blitzball and there was no point to it in X-2, so I always ignore it. They introduced a new mini-game called spherebreak. That tests your math ability. There are tons of mini-games in X-2 everything from a Gunner’s Gauntlet, to a “Frogger” type game and ‘Fiend slots.” There is a ton to do in X-2 and the international version made it worse with the addition of a ‘monster arena.’
Back to those dresspheres for a moment. The active time battle system is the best I’ve used in the Final Fantasy series. It gave me the most control over my entire party. XII and XIII, battles tend to run themselves and honestly, it gets boring. X-2 I have complete control and each dressphere has 99 levels and they get more powerful and better abilities as they level up. (Fortunately, it is easy to level them up too, just play through the 99 level dungeon in Bevelle. You’ll get them all levelled.) It keeps me engaged in the game.
So, for me, FFX-2 is still my favorite JRPG just for the sheer fun factor. Maybe that means I miss the point of a Final Fantasy game.
Now if they’d make a FFX-3 with Rikku as the main character.