Final Fantasy X-2 - PS2

Also known as: Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster

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Also for: PSVita
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Square Enix Soft. Co.: Square Enix
Publishers: Square (JP)
Electronic Arts (GB)
Released: 2003 (JP)
20 Feb 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+
Features: Analogue Control Compatible: analogue sticks only, Vibration Function Compatible
Accessories: Memory Card

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Summary

Final Fantasy - perhaps the world's most contradictory game title for a series that in the beginning was a last-ditch effort from Square, and one that went on to be a 50-million selling franchise. But the impact of Sakaguchi's storytelling efforts didn't hit Europe until Final Fantasy VII was unleashed. It was the first in the series to get a PAL release and was welcomed amongst a large group of avid RPG fans and intrigued gamers who had never heard of it before.

As many Final Fantasy followers will know, as much as the series is a set of sequels, each and every release is a brand new game in its own right, boasting unique characters, a new game world, and often a new play mechanic. And until now, that tradition has never been broken. But as previous Final Fantasies become older, more and more players are left wondering what happened to their favourite characters. They have a desire to see what happened to Midgar after the demise of Sephiroth, and need to know if Zidane and Princess Garnet lived happily ever after in Alexandria. Well now, in the wake of the success of Final Fantasy X, Square Enix has delivered to us Final Fantasy X-2.

Taking place two years after Yuna's fateful journey to defeat Sin in Final Fantasy X, the once chaotic world of Spira has gone through a massive transformation, entering a period of "Eternal Calm". But High Summoner Yuna is left feeling empty after her first love, Tidus, died. But when she discovers a sphere offering footage of her supposedly deceased prince charming, her beliefs are thrown into doubt, and so she embarks on her second adventure with companions Rikku and the newly introduced Paine, to seek the truth.

We'll start by talking a little about the game's locales and world map. Now, because X-2 is a direct sequel to FFX, this game doesn't have a gleaming new world to explore, instead it retains the world of its predecessor and adds some extra areas for exploration. It's an easy short-cut for Square Enix, yes, but the familiarity of the new Spira will be welcome with most FFX players, and those who didn't have the pleasure of the first offering won't know any different. The world map is just like it was before too, but where players previously had to traverse the world on foot to uncover new areas of the game, X-2 gives players freedom of movement throughout Spira right from the beginning.

Now, there are two crucial differences in X-2 that set it apart from its predecessor - a mission-based storyline and the battle system. The main game itself is spread across some 15 missions. These missions can be triggered at any time by travelling to locations on the world map that are flagged as Hot Spots. To veterans of the series, this will sound quite pathetic, but each of the missions are lengthy, and there's a very respectable amount of dialogue to listen to. In addition, there's a shed-load of mini-games to enjoy - perhaps more than in any other Final Fantasy game so far, and this helps to prolong to the overall adventure. It is said that X-2 can be finished in around 40 hours by experienced players, but those looking to tear apart every aspect of the game can expect to spend some 100+ hours in front of their TVs.

Lastly, we have the much-vaunted battle system. For many, this is the most anticipated property of a new Final Fantasy game, and once again Square Enix has come up with something almost completely new - the Dressphere and Garment Grid. As feminine as it sounds, this play mechanic is actually quite brilliant. It does share similarities with the Job system of previous outings, but in practice it's actually quite unique. Here, players are able to choose from an array of trademark Final Fantasy jobs including Black Mage, White Mage, Gunner and Thief, which they can then assign to each character in order to form the best strategies for the coming battles. Each job comes with a range of unique abilities, placed on a special Garment Grid, which can be mastered by making a preset number of kills in battle. It's quite different from the Sphere Grid of FFX, and gives ardent fans of the series something new to sink their teeth into.

Final Fantasy X was considered to be amongst the top five best-looking PS2 games at the time, and because X-2's game world is nearly identical, the same can be said of X-2. Environments are sprawling and run consistently at 30 frames per second, and the transition into to battle mode is more seamless than ever. And to complement this, the facial animation, dialogue and lip-synching have all been noticeably improved. Many of the characters from the previous game make welcome cameo appearances, and the voice acting in general is much livelier, with the inhabitants of Spira much happier thanks to deity Sin's defeat two years ago.

Some people may think that X-2 is something of a cash-in, riding on the back of a best-selling Square game, but this is simply not true. It's a new game with a memorable background and it should be recognised as yet another great game from arguably the world's greatest maker of role-playing games.

Wallpapers

Final Fantasy X-2 - PS2 Wallpaper

Final Fantasy X-2 - PS2 Wallpaper

Final Fantasy X-2 - PS2 Wallpaper

Final Fantasy X-2 - PS2 Wallpaper