She Said: Final Fantasy X-2
Thu, 11/20/2003 - 07:37
I like this game.
Can I go play it again now?
Dammit.I have to give a disclaimer, here Ã‚– IÃ‚'m only about 20 hours into the game at this point, and things have only really started to roll on the main plot. IÃ‚'ll give a fuller account of my game experience when I finish up, but Certis thought that you all might appreciate a little heads-up on what I think so far.
Final Fantasy X-2 is the sequel to the bestselling Final Fantasy X, a game which some FF fans have called Ã‚"better than FF7.Ã‚" Final Fantasy is almost a genre unto itself in the gaming world, an RPG that defines RPGs, and new installments in the series are mostly compared to previous ones, rather than other series or games. FFX-2, by virtue of being a sequel, has broken the FF mold. ItÃ‚'s the first FF game to follow the characters and plotlines from a previous FF. Apparently, we just canÃ‚'t get enough of Yuna and the gang.
The gang arenÃ‚'t all here Ã‚– Rikku, the chipmunk-like Al Bhed girl, is back, having persuaded Yuna to cast off her solemn and ceremony-filled life (not to mention her shapeless Summoner robes) and join Rikku in sphere-hunting. ItÃ‚'s not clear what spheres are, really Ã‚– some are movies, some are outfits Ã‚– but everybody wants Ã‚"˜em. Along with Rikku and Yuna is Paine, a grey-haired, growly-voiced chick who is quite obviously filling the role of the Girl With a Shadowed Past.
These dresspheres are plugged into garment grids, which hold a certain number of spheres for access during combat. Each grid carries with it attributes Ã‚– better defense, higher strength Ã‚– that can compliment the dressphere that the girls are using. Each girl can equip a different grid, or they can all use the same one. only by cycling through all the spheres on the grid during the course of one fight can the girl access her unique dressphere Ã‚– kinda like trying on everything in your closet before a date. The grids are each designed differently, with Ã‚"gatesÃ‚" between the dresspheres that also carry attributes. If you have Gunner in one corner and White Mage in another, a gate between them gives you a boost of some kind when you change from one outfit to the other in the course of a fight. Properly placing the dresspheres on the garment grids can really help your fighting strategy.
The fights are in real time Ã‚– take too long to decide on an attack and the enemy gets a couple hits on you without retaliation. This makes for fast-paced and exciting combat, and the learning curve is steep but short. You can get by with just selecting the first option for quite awhile, until you get more used to the finer nuances of accessorizing and so on. Unlike most groups of teenage girls, Yuna and the gang get by more easily when they donÃ‚'t dress alike. IÃ‚'ve designated Rikku as support, dressing her in White Mage and Thief mostly, Paine as the heavy hitter with Warrior, Gunner and Gun Mage, and Yuna, sweet Yuna, gets to wield the Black Arts.
Of course thereÃ‚'s an airship. ThereÃ‚'s always an airship.
You can get around Spira in two ways Ã‚– the Airship, which can drop you at any open-air save point, or by running. Locations are reasonably close, and the landscapes beautifully rendered, so running is less of a pain in the ass than it might be. The ever-present Random Battle is still a standby of the FF series Ã‚– you canÃ‚'t go anywhere without tripping over fiends, it seems. IÃ‚'m still learning the nuances of fashion in the service of violence, so I tend to run most places. All the locations from FFX are present, most of them changed in subtle but fundamental ways. Most interesting is what they did with Zanarkand, though I wonÃ‚'t go into spoiler territory. As previously mentioned, Yuna jumps and climbs now, giving the environments a much deeper and more interactive quality. No jumping puzzles, relax. Simply hold down the Ã‚"OÃ‚" button when she comes to an edge and sheÃ‚'ll lithely take care of the rest.
As far as gripes go, I have only a few. A couple time while fighting in areas where trees were predominant, the camera slid up into the foliage and my view was obscured. Also, some camera angles during battle seem to cause the picture to go a bit fuzzy, as though the image was doubled. And the very first time I tried to change Rikku into her special dressphere, the game completely froze. Hasn't happened since, but it was a nasty shock at the time - I lost about two hours of play. Hoochie was unhappy.
All and all, it's been a long time since IÃ‚'ve enjoyed a game as much as IÃ‚'m enjoying this one. The best part is that I know there are hours and hours of fun left Ã‚– IÃ‚'m just a bit over a quarter of the way through. The FF series certainly gives value for the money in that department, and FFX-2 is a very open-ended game. There are pointers to lead you along the plot, but you can pretty much do as you please most of the time. There are plenty of side games and extras Ã‚– IÃ‚'ve been concentrating on the main plot so far, so IÃ‚'m not that experienced in them. But IÃ‚'ve played a couple games of chance, and run the GunnerÃ‚'s Gauntlet (I did miserably), and caught a chocobo (it just wouldnÃ‚'t be FF without chocobos!)