So when I picked up Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD remaster on the Switch, I thought I was getting two great classic RPGs. I loved Final Fantasy X, and you can read the review here: Review: Final Fantasy X HD Remaster (Switch). Now it is time to review the first direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game ever released, Final Fantasy X-2. This game was originally panned by reviewers and the fanbase on its original release, and it is time for me to see if I can figure out why, or if it deserves such treatment.
Most RPG sequels have the odd tradition of taking place in a separate world than its predecessor, and feature completely new characters and storylines. This may be due to the developers trying to create new levels in a universe with a complete world, which would be difficult to do if the world and characters don’t change. Another reason this may happen might have something to do with how potential returning characters had gotten stronger in the previous game. If they remain just as strong as they were at the end of the last game, then the next game would either be much easier, or the numbers might need to be much higher. Early on in the history of gaming, higher numbers could lead to technical issues. Final Fantasy X-2 follows the same world and characters as Final Fantasy X, so the hope would be that the developers found a workaround for these potential issues. Now let’s see how the game holds out.
First off, I almost lost interest immediately. The game’s intro sequence was quite jarring after just finishing Final Fantasy X. Final Fantasy X-2 starts with the three (exclusively female) main characters infiltrating a concert, and there’s also the revelation that Yuna from Final Fantasy X is now a gun-slinger. In the previous game, she was a summoner and healer, so this is quite a change to throw at the player, especially since it was done without explanation.
The gameplay is quite different too. The game returns to the real-time and turn-based combat hybrid that other Final Fantasy games had previously. It features turn based actions, but enemies can attack while you think about your actions. (For reference, Final Fantasy X was fully turn-based.)
Another new twist in Final Fantasy X-2 is the ability for all three characters to change “dress spheres” mid-battle based on how they are placed on the “garment grid”. To explain this system further, it means you can change character class mid-battle. This is an idea that sounds neat, but comes with lengthy animations as the character switches roles. It should also be noted that there is limited customization of these classes as you play, so it is mostly used to find the best combination possible, or to make each class stronger. I personally didn’t change class mid battle very often, unless the game forced me to do so.
The story is kind of weird too. Yuna and friends seem to be searching for spheres to find clues related to the main character from Final Fantasy X’s whereabouts, although the game rarely builds on this. They are bossed around by Rikku’s brother, despite Yuna being one of the main heroes of the last game, and to top it all off, there is a weird 1970’s vibe for reasons unknown.
Perhaps the most vexing thing about this game is how it is structured, especially if you are trying to master the game. Getting 100% completion requires you to make some very specific decisions throughout the entire game, including completing otherwise optional side quests and mini games that aren’t particularly fun, nor match the rest of the gameplay.
There are a few more things to note on the topic of completion. To do so, you have to revisit all the areas of Final Fantasy X-2 around 5 times each. Since it takes place in the same world as Final Fantasy X, this means the locations should be way too familiar to those who played the previous game. Also, there is a portion of the intro that you can miss, and it happens before you have the first chance to save! I found this out through a guide just in case I wanted to complete this game myself, and it turns out I missed it! It is almost mandatory to read a guide throughout the entire game to reach full completion.
To top it off, this game has 6 endings, with the best one requiring 100% completion. If you want to see all 6, you have to play the game at least 6 times. Basic math means you could play through each area up to 30 times to do this. That is too much, and much of the game doesn’t justify that.
Since I did some of the side missions, I also found the game was sort of easy till around the end of the game. Not counting an optional, avoidable late game boss, (I lost to him a few times till I used a guide to find out how to avoid him) I had only lost twice near the end, one of which was in the final stages of the finale.
In essence, Final Fantasy X-2 should have been a good game. Many of its elements sound good on paper. A mid-battle class change system sounds good, if the player is put in situations that make the system useful for progression. Turns out, I rarely used it in any strategic manner. An all female playable character party could work, and should have been no issue, if they were fleshed out as people in the game’s writing. They were not. And being a sequel to a game that some think of as a masterpiece should be a slam dunk, but the game recycled level design, so it didn’t feel fresh.
Sadly, Final Fantasy X-2 is one of the worst high production quality games I ever played. I can only imagine what worse games might look like. I suspect they are glitchy messes with worse narratives, and are bound to be very lazy efforts. Suffice to say, if you liked Final Fantasy X, you probably won’t like Final Fantasy X-2.
- Do not play immediately after Final Fantasy X. Final Fantasy X-2 feels worse if Final Fantasy X is still fresh in your mind.
- If you intend to complete this game 100%, then use a guide while playing all of it!
- Take some breaks while playing. I personally needed to switch to another game for a palate cleanse after reaching certain save points.
- Even if you don’t want to 100% the game, still do some side missions, so that your characters get strong enough to finish the game.
- If you didn’t finish the game 100% on the first time around, and you aren’t sick of the game, you can use the new game+ feature to get what you missed and see the best ending.
- Graphics are somewhat updated.
- Has a class change system.
- Music is mostly rehashed.
- Forced to explore the same locations 5 times each.
- Easy to miss 100% completion.
- Story is limited in character development.
- Class change system has limited use in a casual playthrough.
- Level design is too familiar.
- Side quests aren’t interesting, don’t resemble regular gameplay.
5/10 At best, Average
Final Fantasy X-2 misses the mark on multiple points. Recycled level design, poor story, and an interesting game mechanic that saw little practical use are all points against it. You might want to skip this game if it doesn’t catch your interest. The game could be a 4.6-7 based on tolerance of these features. Anyone who doesn’t like RPGs would score this game much lower!
And that wraps up my review of Final Fantasy X-2. What did you make of this game? Did you like it or dislike it, and why? Was there a class you liked to play as? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! If you enjoyed this review, then click that like button and share it on social media. To keep up with That’s All Games, you can subscribe via email or WordPress. Until next time, have fun gaming!