Summary: Released in December of 2001, Final Fantasy X was the first Final Fantasy for the PlayStation 2. Two years later, Final Fantasy X-2 is set to be the second Final Fantasy X on the PlayStation 2. Confused? Don’t be, it’s all quite simple… at least until you see Yuna in her short shorts.
Even though Final Fantasy X is the tenth ‘title’ game in the series, you couldn’t really call any of the Final Fantasy follow-ups true sequels. By the American Heritage dictionary’s definition, a sequel is “a literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative continues that of a preexisting work.” While many of the Final Fantasy games share certain elements (such as Chocobos and a guy named Cid), the worlds, characters, narratives, even play mechanics were all independent of one another.
The Final Fantasy series was one that carried on with sequels that weren’t really sequels… that is, until Square decided to make a sequel.
Who likes short shorts?
About a year ago at the Tokyo Game Show, a teaser poster was released featuring Final Fantasy X’s female lead looking remarkably different and sporting shorts that redefined short. The first Final Fantasy sequel was official.
Final Fantasy X-2 hit the streets of Japan on March 13, 2003, but North American gamers will have to wait until early December before getting their official turn in the short shorts.
We were fortunate enough to play through a good deal of the localization-in-progress English version of Final Fantasy X-2, so read on to learn all about the first real Final Fantasy sequel.
SIDEBAR: I like short shorts!
In fact, what we’re about to go over here may also contain a number of minor spoilers in Final Fantasy X-2, though nothing that hasn’t already been revealed in past coverage of the Japanese import.
Good, old fashioned lover boy
With that out of the way, Final Fantasy X-2 takes place two years after Yuna’s fateful journey to defeat Sin. The once chaotic world of Spira has gone through a massive transformation, entering a period of “Eternal Calm.”
Gotta catch ‘em all
Now that the High Summoner is through with her pilgrimage, she now fills up her days as a sphere hunter. Spheres contain visual recordings of historical events, just like those that you could purchase from the theater in Luca in the first game. Apparently, spheres are now all the rage and everyone wants them.
SIDEBAR: I actually imported a copy of Final Fantasy X International just for the special sphere grid.
All three female lead characters appear at the game’s start, which is quite a different in tone compared to FFX. Final Fantasy X-2 opens with a great looking CG movie, with Rikku appearing first, looking slightly wilder than what we’re used to. A massive crowd has gathered in the stadium, but it’s not for a Blitzball game – it’s for a concert! Yuna then appears as we remember her, but then the music starts and she transforms into pop-star Yuna complete with alluring looks, song, and dance. Surprise #1. Rikku and Paine take out the security guards and rush the stage to attack Yuna. Surprise #2. It’s not the real Yuna. Surprise #3.
What nice guns you have
The fake runs away; Rikku and Paine give chase. After catching up to the impostor, the real Yuna in all her short shorts glory leaps through the air rapidly firing her guns akimbo. The Gullwings trio is reunited and strikes a pose unmistakably Charlie Angelic. This is definitely going to be a very different Final Fantasy.
SIDEBAR: The original Charlie’s Angels were Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson.
The music from FFX, however, does not get to do an encore in FFX-2. Because the sequel is different in tone from the first game, the music couldn’t carry over. Instead, we get brand new tracks that are far better fitting of the game’s whimsical feel.
A new way of fighting
Although FFX-2 shares much in common with FFX, there are many dramatic differences, many of which are found in the battle system. Gone are the patient turned based battles, and making a return to the Final Fantasy world is Active Time Battle. Those who have played older Squaresoft games know how it works. Essentially, your opponents won’t wait for you to take your turn before attacking you; they’ll attack as often as they can. This speeds up the tempo of your fights, forcing you to make quick decisions.
SIDEBAR: There are already plans for a FFX-2 International release in Japan, featuring an extra mission, extra costumes, and English voices.
You’ll need to change clothes often during some battles to win. If you’re fighting toe-to-toe, the warrior class is the way to go. Thief is useful for stealing things. Gunner shoots stuff with guns. And songstress sings and dances. What good is that last one? Plenty, as it can cast status effects such as darkness on all your opponents in a single sweep.
Throughout the game, you will gain additional dresspheres to expand your wardrobe, giving you new abilities. Classic classes such as the black and white mages show up very early in your journey.
SIDEBAR: I don’t watch Sailor Moon. Honest.
A percentage complete counter keeps track of your sphere hunting, with each successful exploration and mission adding to your total. Completists will definitely strive to see 100% of what FFX-2 has to offer.
Though the final American version won’t be shipping until December, the build we go to play featured abundant English voice acting. Fans of the first game will be pleased to know that the returning characters are all voiced by the same actors from FFX. Yuna is still gentle and soft (though those short shorts and dual handguns speak far differently), Rikku is as joyful as ever, and Paine picks up right where Lulu the ice-queen left off.
During your first visits in the first chapter back to Besaid and Mt. Gagazet, Wakka, Lulu, and Kimahri all show up looking and sounding just like they did two years ago. Much of the fun in FFX-2 comes from reunion scenes such as those, making Final Fantasy X essentially a pre-requisite before even touching the sequel.
SIDEBAR: Lulu’s pregnant.
Wakka’s the father.
( o_O )
Eye candy addicts will just adore the gorgeous CG cut scenes, as they look noticeably better than those found in FFX.
Final Fantasy X-2 has a very different feel than FFX. It’s more lighthearted and cheerful. I can’t think of another RPG where you get to play dress up with your attractive leading ladies. It’s fanservice for the Final Fantasy X otaku.
Because of this, Final Fantasy X-2 is a game that every Final Fantasy X fan should have on his or her radar this coming holiday season.
Stay tuned to FiringSquad for further coverage from the American version of Final Fantasy X-2.
UPDATE: Due to popular demand, we've now added a bunch of new screenshots and a handful of new job class costumes from our favorite threesome. Click on to the next page to start the gallery!
SIDEBAR: Find random battle encounters in the news comments!
IMAGES: ©2003 SQUARE ENIX Co. Ltd.
MAIN CHARACTER DESIGN: TETSUYA NOMURA
IMAGE ILLUSTRATION: ©2003 YOSHITAKA AMANO
SIDEBAR: Find random battle encounters in the news comments!
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