What’s so good about... FINAL FANTASY X-2?Here are five reasons why FINAL FANTASY X-2 is more than just a sequel
We’ve talked before about why FINAL FANTASY X is such a classic, but what about its direct sequel? FINAL FANTASY X-2 takes the series in a new direction, with an altered structure, a lighter tone, and an expanded battle system.
It’s far from a predictable sequel then, and while it’s inevitably connected to the original it also stands apart as a distinctly different game - one that is very much worth playing when it releases for Xbox One and Switch on 16 April.
Here are five reasons why:
1. It’s set in the same world as FINAL FANTASY X… but isn’t
Like its predecessor, FINAL FANTASY X-2 is set in the world of Spira, but things have changed. Without wishing to get into spoilers, the events of FINAL FANTASY X have had a profound impact on both the world and its peoples.
Your journey will take you through many of the same locations you visited in FINAL FANTASY X, and it’s fun to see how they, and their inhabitants, have adapted to the new status quo.
It’s an interesting blend of the familiar and the unrecognizable, that continues to fascinate throughout the whole adventure.
2. The structure keeps things interesting
The structure of FINAL FANTASY X-2 is very different from most games in the series. If FINAL FANTASY X was an epic movie, FINAL FANTASY X-2 operates more like a TV miniseries.
Unlike the continuous story of the first game, in this adventure, you select distinct missions. Some are compulsory and some are optional, but each can be completed relatively quickly. What’s more, you don’t have to do them in a set order, giving you far more control over the narrative.
It’s a change that fits Yuna, Rikku and Paine’s roles as treasure hunters, and makes for a game that’s easy to dip in and out of.
3. The battle system adds timing and strategy
The FINAL FANTASY X-2 battle system is flexible, fun and robust, but there are two elements in particular that I think are worth talking about.
The first is the Garment Grid system. Rather than change party members to fulfill different roles, you instead equip characters with dresspheres, which imbue them with new abilities (and clothes). In effect, it means you’re able to switch characters’ jobs at any time, and learning how to best combine these different roles can be the difference between success and defeat in a scrap.
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The other thing to highlight is the return to an active time battle system. While still turn-based, enemies won’t wait for you to make decisions, and when you attack is almost as important as how. With good timing and a well-thought out strategy, it’s possible to plan your moves to disrupt enemy turns, combine skills to devastating effect and discover .
That said, if you do prefer a little more thinking time, you can switch back to Wait mode - enemies won’t attack while you’re taking your turn. Essentially, the game lets you play how you want.
4. There’s so much to see and do beyond the story
Final Fantasy X-2 is packed full of minigames and side activities, from the entertaining shooter Gunner’s Gauntlet, to a revamped version of Blitzball. My personal favourite though, is the Creature Creator.
Set up a pod in a monster-infested area and you’ll be able to trap creatures and add them to your bestiary. From there, you can develop them, level them up, battle them and uncover each’s ‘fiend tale’.
It’s a fun diversion, and with nearly 200 fiends (and even some characters) to collect and level up, completionists will be kept busy for a long, long time.
5. FINAL FANTASY X-2 LAST MISSION is included
FINAL FANTASY X-2 HD is the first time players outside Japan have been able to experience LAST MISSION - a playable epilogue that reunites the characters for a final adventure.
Actually, calling it an epilogue doesn’t really do it justice. It’s essentially a fully featured game in its own right. Set after the main game, heroes Yuna, Rikku and Paine must climb a tower, battling traps and monsters along the way.
What’s really cool is that FINAL FANTASY X-2 LAST MISSION features unique mechanics - there are roguelike elements, for example, where each floor of the tower will be randomly generated. That means your experience could be very different to a friend’s.
It’s challenging too - bad luck, or poor strategy can send you down a floor or even to the start entirely. It’s a great way to test your skills and a fitting farewell to the main characters.
FINAL FANTASY X|X-2 HD launches on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch 16 April. But it’s available to preorder right now:
Alternatively, if you have a PlayStation 4 or PC, it’s available to buy right now!
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