[PS2] Final Fantasy X-2

posted 5 Jan 2011, 00:43 by Thomas Vale   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 00:44 ]
Recently I finaly got round to playing the sequel to one of my favorite games and the first true sequel to grace the Final Fantasy series. As it is a sequel, comparisons have to be drawn with it's predessesor.

When I began to play this game I was already aware that this was using the same engine as ffx, but it appears that SquareEnix did some not insignificant optimisations. The game looks similar to its predessecor in most respects, with SquareEnix reusing a lot of character models and doing merely minor alterterations to most of the areas. The first place where these optimisations show is in battels where we notice, albiet blocky, realtime shadows as opposed to the blob shadows we had in 99% of the ffx battles. The second is in the closeups in cinematics, where the faces of the characters in high detail models has been significantly improved. However, a loet down as far as FF games go is that instead of having oodles of fmvs (I counted at least 50 or 60 in Final Fantasy X), the game 
relies on these higher detail models to move along the plot. I counted at tops about 15 fmvs in this game. Although a game should not be judged on the amount of fmv it has, the FF series since vii has been defined by its mind-blowingly good fmv.
Graphics /10

The composer behind many of the FF series' greats, Nobuo Uematsu, was somewhat relegated in this episode, and it shows. A good number of the tracks are decidedly to rocky for my tastes  for an FF game, although this is a matter of opinion. The tracks themselves were well done, and the 2 J-pop tracks (later trash-lated to English) were good and I enjoyed listening to them. The voice acting possibly has taken a small step forward in this episode, with a little better lip-syncing compared to ffx (I stress a little).
Sound 6/10

The problem I have with the voice acting is not so much with the voice acting but the dialog the actors have been given. This game essentialy is about 3 girls going around having fun while incidenlty looking for the man they thought gone in the first episode. It doesn't take itself seriously enough and thus gives you a very 'Charlie's Angels' feel that I really wasn't a fan of. However, there are times when the plot takes a serious note that makes it feel a hell of a lot better for a while. Overall this game doesn't feel like the sequel to a game where the whole focus was death. It feels likeit was bolted on to that plot to take advantage of its sucess. The moments where the plot 
is serious, however make up for that in some small amount.
Plot 5/10

Now, the actual game itself. Essentialy any FF game's gameplay can be summed up by 2 things: the battle system and the experience system. ffx exceled in this points with thier take on turn based battles (if you don't recall; In ffx there was a guage down the right of the screen showing whose turn was after whose. This meant it was possible to tacticly plan your battles, making them a little more slow pased), the ability to switch party members mid-battle and the innovative sphere grid. ffx-2 returns to the slightly more old-school atb turn based battle system from FF6 up which makes the battles a lot more fast pased and gives you no time to tink at times. In a way they kept the party member switching ability with the dresspheres idea. Essentialy any character can be any class (the trainer and the mascot have different modes for each character, but all other classes are identical) and as long as they have learned the abilities of the appropriate sphere, can do all the same moves (a little like the sphere grid in that respect). This means that, in ffx terms, you can have 3 Yunas, 3 Tidus' or 3 Aurons on screen at the same time. I do like the job system of ff tactics and FFV, so this was good for me and it was well executed.
Gameplay 9/10

SquareEnix did a clever thing in this by adding 2 things. Firstly there is the New Game+, a feature that extends longevity in any RPG. In this one however, you don't keep your levels but you 
do keep all the abilities you have learn't, all the dresspheres, all the grids and all the items. This means going through teh second or third time can be just as difficult as your characters won't be powerhouses from the word go. The other thing the New Game+ allows you to keep is the second reason for the game's longevity. This game has a percentage scale of how much of the plot and side plots have been completed. The pure running through the game itself isn't very long at all, but the sheer amount of sidequests and sub-plots in this game compared to the previous, which is essentialy one long road as far as the plot goes, is quite astounding. The question is whether or not you can deal with the excessive 'girl power' that is exibited in this game
Longevity 8/10

A well done game but the flaws are in it's Charlies Angels feel which doesn't flow with the predecessor
Overall 85%