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Final Fantasy X-2 Still Doesn’t Work – And A Sequel Wouldn’t Help

Another game in the Final Fantasy X universe is in the early planning stages, and there’s even a chance it might actually see the light of day. As somebody still trying to get through the slog of Final Fantasy X-2, I’m not convinced this is a good thing.

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Final Fantasy X-2 is famously divisive. Some praise it for its excellent job system and attention to world development. Everybody else knocks it for… well, just about every other element.

The story is cheesy, the characters tough to recognise. The graphics seem to often take a step down from Final Fantasy X. There are systems upon systems, explained only in lengthy tutorials. And, even then, you’ll still struggle to work it all out.

While reward for mastering these systems in RPGs are often great cutscenes, twists or turns, here they’re just further cheese.

I’m struggling to continue, I’m not going to lie. Just like I’ve struggled time and time again over the last 20 years. Final Fantasy X is a masterpiece, the sequel less so. Who would ever want to return to Spira again?

YRP – A Final Fantasy

Listen – I get it. After the less-than-subtle religious overtones of the original, Final Fantasy X-2 is about throwing off the shackles of repression. Final Fantasy X-2 is what happens when you leave the cult and realise you’re not going to get struck down for wearing sexy clothes or having a few too many to drink.

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In the game, that’s an awesome excuse for skin, skin and more skin. It’s Charlie’s Angels, if one of the angels had defeated the literal embodiment of sin and then destroyed God.

The tone is lighter by design. In fact, the full game fits into what the developers were going for. That doesn’t stop it being a great example of theme over function.

All these things are fine. It’s the weak way everything is threaded together that hurts it. If the story drove you on, getting used to everything – including the ludicrous amount of fan service – wouldn’t matter. But straight off the back of X, this game hurts.

To Zanarkand – Again

Now we find out that Final Fantasy X-3 might actually happen. So given how unsuccessful Final Fantasy X-2 was as a continuation of Final Fantasy X, are we wanting to go back? Does revisiting Spira do anything but further water down the impact of the original?

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Or perhaps it could have the opposite effect? Maybe, just maybe, it could make up for Final Fantasy X-2 in many ways. It’s an interesting though, although not one I’d necessarily want to bet on.

I’d like a return to the original fight system, and if we’re talking absolute pie-in-the-sky ideas, it’d be great to have the full world remade in the Final Fantasy VII Remake style. I think that’s unlikely, and I’m sure there’s plenty of people who’d be happy just to get the same old fixed camera locations in higher definition.

There needs to be real stakes, and a bigger roster of characters we love. It can’t just be visiting friends and allies again.

And bring Auron back. I don’t know how. Just do it.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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