It was fun but short lived and still contained some rage-inducing mechanics I wish I didn’t encounter RIGHT before I finished the game. 😂 As usual my husband played along so his comments will be in blue.
Yuna finds a magic 8-ball that has a Tidus clone in it and decides to go on an adventure, with her girls night out party, to kick ass and find her lost boyfriend. Alright it’s cheesy as hell, but a lot of it was cute/funny and enjoyable. A lot of the game is really based off you doing side quests because as I found out the hard way, if you miss the side quests in each chapter you cannot go back to do them in the next chapter! I sadly realized I couldn’t continue some funny Donna quest in chapter 4 because apparently I missed some side quest/flag in chapters 1 or 2. The good news is, once you complete 1 run of the game, you can easily return and start the game over to complete the parts you missed but keep all your stats (aka 1 shot everything.) HOWEVER a lot of completion requirements are really stupid things like “talk to every NPC in town x in THIS order” or “make sure you shoot the stupid cactus every single time in this mini game” or “make sure you sleep at the inn and pick up every single chest at the start of every chapter etc etc…….めんどくせぇ…… Needless to say after my first run of the game I was only at 55% completion with 2 dress spheres maxed out per girl and I couldn’t be bothered to go back to start over. If you do get 100% completion, you get a special Yuna and Tidus reunited scene but thanks to good ol’ youtube, I could just watch it without having to grind through the game again. 😂
The story also throws Lulu out by having her get pregnant and out of commission and replacing her with a new character Paine (pronounced like Pine so I kept calling her pineapple. 🍍) Unfortunately either I missed a side quest or something but I feel like I never truly got to know much about her at all but she was a pretty cool character. Rikku was the same as usual, except maybe was constantly randomly dancing around and flailing her arms. Yuna was obviously the huge change I mentioned from quiet shy summoner girl to ass kicking Job of Your Choice. Also I still don’t really get the whole Lenne thing. Who the hell is
fake Tidus Shiyun and Lenne anyway? Other than one being stuck in some piano and the other being stuck in Yuna’s dress…and why they looked like Tidus and Yuna ?? Lol. I don’t know maybe there was some side quest I missed or maybe it’s just never explained. I get the feeling a deep story wasn’t the purpose of this game anyways.
So yea it really sucks that the game really forces you into “man mowing lawn while the hurricane is behind him” mentality and not in an obvious way. The ship locations you can travel to list “hot spots” but a lot of them are story related so you could accidentally end up doing MSQ and completing the chapter without realizing it. After looking at some playthroughs on youtube for screenshots, I also realized apparently by playing blindly I somehow missed the opportunity to ship monkeys in Zanarkand even though I talked to every single one of them!!!!! ….because there was no clear instruction that you could actually pick up the monkeys and place them near their mates (´;д;`). Again, another shortcoming of an old RPG game.
A big part of the reason I can’t remember big chunks of the story is the sort of issue that I had with games like The Elder Scrolls games like Skyrim where I’d spend so much time exploring and doing sidequests and stuff that you just sorta forget what the actual point of the game was. I may have missed some of the minor technical details of the storyline (“which nation is Seymour from again?”) while playing FFX, but I still remember all the broad strokes of the story, partly because it’s so straightforward but mainly because we’re always focused on it at all times. But here I was like alright we’re hunting some spheres and uh…something now about Fake Tidus and Fake Yuna from old Zanarkand? Shit, got too distracted by trying to get more garment grids and dress spheres.
It does feel like the reason we’re confused by this stuff is probably patch storytelling rather than missing out of doing the in-game side content that explains it. After all, as we mentioned getting a 100% completion score is less about doing plot-relevant quests than it is about things like “always sleep in a bed at the start of each chapter”. Where we got tripped up here is that in this game, doing the MSQ usually brings you right to the end of each chapter rather than there being multiple components of each chapter’s MSQ quests and then a fairly obvious point of no return. Because of that, you need to do every sidequest first before you do any components of the MSQ. It’s also a bit tricky because not every area has “real” content in each chapter. Some areas just reset the treasure chests in them but with nothing to actually do (often not even one of those “talk to this guy once to get another 1% completion” events.) This can make it hard to tell what/if you’re missing anything at a given time. A game with better breadcrumbing (like my beloved Fallout New Vegas) would take you through various areas as part of the MSQ so that you can see that there is side content to do in these areas. Meanwhile, we missed out on tons of stuff like raising chocobos because the game never gives you any kind of reason to go to any of those places.
For the most part though, when I went back to compare someone’s PS2 playthrough, the differences were very minimal and the PS2 version had its own derpy moments. Of course that didn’t stop the remaster from having faces like this:
I also noticed they made Yuna’s legs extra thicc in the remaster but covered up more of her buttcheek from her booty shorts. Weird observation but I guess that’s what happens when you have to remake most of the character models. 😂 Anyways since at least Yuna actually had some emotions/personality in this version, the derpy faces were less terrible because at least somewhere underneath that mannequin exterior there was a happy girl going on an adventure.
We also missed a handful of dress spheres combined with only using the same few so that we could max out the skills in them, so we also missed out on some of the ho outfits like the gambler one.
The music was MUCH more catchy this time around! My favorite track was Yuripa Fight No. 1 because it felt like it really reflected the theme Spira’s Angels of this game. 😂
I also enjoyed the battle theme against
Team Rocket LeBlanc and her goonies. 😂
I swear I’m not trying to make a hot take here but…I like the non-Uematsu Final Fantasy soundtracks more. First FFXIV (Soken), then FFXV (Shimomura), and now FFX-2. And best of all, because we never uncovered where you do chocobo-related activities, we never got ruined by having to hear this game’s weird, out of tune version of the chocobo song.
Battle and Overall System
The battle system this time around was a MAASSSSIIVEE improvement over the first game. The garbage sphere grid was tossed out and instead was replaced with dress spheres and garment grids. The dress spheres were basically “jobs” you could switch to while Garment Grids were where you place the job stones so you could swap between jobs MID BATTLE and also gain some kind of bonuses from doing so. This made the battle system a lot more fun because I could go from being a masturi wasshoi fish thower with Riku to a dancing samurai. 😂 I ended up making Rikku a Matsuri/Samurai, Yuna a Black & White Mage and Paine a Warrior/Dark Knight. This combination worked out well because I could pretty much interchangeably use the skills of 2 jobs thanks to the garment grids I had without having to actually spend time changing jobs mid battle. A lot of skills seemed kinda pointless and barely worked though (like Doom/Death/Zantetsuken etc.) so I felt like I ended up just kinda spamming the same skills over and over….which was similar how I just spammed the limit breaks in the first game lol. Still compared to the first game, I mostly enjoyed battles and leveling and aside from that one annoying boss battle you get if you make mistakes in a certain part of the game, it was awwright.
Based on the number of side quests that we did, we eventually were able to max out about two dress spheres on each character. Maybe if you did some more sidequests and grinding you could max out a third, and then if you wanted more than that you likely would need to do a new game plus. It seems like a few of them are designed to be like “starter” classes that you then discard for the more advanced ones you find later on. The dark knight one seemed simply better than the starting warrior one, for example and the alchemist one that we missed looks like the “better” white mage. Amusingly, when I would look up guides to see how the different dress spheres worked, where to unlock them, etc. most of them had actual automated Progress Quest strategies to level them, like “go to this map and walk around until you get into a fight with a random level 1 goblin, then tape a heavy weight onto your controller to spam these abilities while you go watch Netflix to max out your dress sphere.”
Probably the most rage inducing aspect of the game had to be the idiotic piano system at the VERY end. You entered this zone full of electric barriers which had to be disabled by playing the keys they asked on this fake in game piano. If you failed to do this, you got this insane HP sponge boss which even with Turbo on took me 30 minutes to kill because with even Shell/Protect he would basically recover 1500 on every turn! I have no idea if you were supposed to die and accept your failure on the spot or if I actually just brute forced my way through him thanks to Turbo but it was such a huge waste of time right as I’m about to fight the last boss in the game. On top of this, once you finished PLAYING pianos by picking the notes, you then also had to do some platform jumping to pick the correct platform to play some MORE notes! (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻ I had to follow someone’s youtube video super closely to make sure I got on the correct platform (and by the way if you aren’t turbo steamrolling this and you died, you would have had to redo part of the piano platforms because the save point is right before them m9(^Д^)ﾌﾟｷﾞｬｰ.)
As I mentioned above, no obvious quest markers, no obvious MSQ markers so you would complete the story without doing side quests unless you knew how to do the side quests or had a really detailed guide. Unfortunately the guy whose guide I followed for FFX did not make one for FFX-2 and I couldn’t find any decent one so most of the game I played blindly. Going back to someone else’s playthrough videos made me realized how much side stuff I missed and honestly it made me sad….but also angry enough that I didn’t want to return to the game to complete them.
Annoyingly, most of the guides that we found were more about getting the 100% completion than about outlining sidequests, explaining boss mechanics, etc. Because of that, we would often end up skipping content (intentionally or not) and then later on when we’re reading the guides for a later chapter being really confused why stuff wasn’t working the same way the guide was saying that it should. And then because every guide was usually doing things a little differently, we couldn’t simply go to a different guide to see what they had to say since the new one might not line up properly either because of small differences in how they played. This was why for example we had to fight that HP sponge piano area boss. The first guide we looked at made it sound like you had to fight them as a boss fight for the zone and it wasn’t until we found a different guide that explained that they were a penalty for failing the piano part.
Overall it was actually a fun game that for the MOST part I did enjoy. I feel like near the end when I realized the things I missed and running into PIANO HERO was where I started to get really annoyed and just wanted the game to be over. A lot of people praise FFX for having this gr8 music but now that I think about it other than the chocobo song nothing particularly struck me as memorable meanwhile I was doing a jig in my chair to all the bouncy/pop songs in FFX-2. Come to think of it my favorite Final Fantasy soundtracks are all from non Uematsu composers so take that as you will. 😂Anyway if you found FFX kinda boring/frustrating like I did, give FFX-2 a play. Even if you don’t complete it I think it’s just a fun little side game and really gives you a chance to get to know the various jobs and skills found in the Final Fantasy universe.
I definitely at least wanted to like FFX-2. FFX had me constantly pulling my hair out at tedium that I wished I could fast forward past coupled with mechanics that even at the time I had gotten bored of. FFX-2 was a lot closer to what I’d want in an RPG and mainly just needed some more modern polish so that I’d be able to always focus on the fun stuff. Some better quest logging/journal functionality and a NG+ chapter select function would probably be all that it would need. It might be campy and frivolous, but since I never got invested in FFX in the first place, that’s a plus rather than a minus for me.