Way Back When
Back in the day, Final Fantasy games thrived on how they all took place in entirely different worlds but shared similar themes and mechanics, allowing developer Square to consistently build new and exciting lands to explore and characters to adore. That all changed with the series’ very first direct sequel in 2003, as Square saw an opportunity to expand on the success of their first PlayStation 2 entry, Final Fantasy X, with a quirky and unusual entry simply called Final Fantasy X-2. At the time, they likely didn’t know that it would become one of the most divisive Final Fantasy games.
Whereas Final Fantasy X had changed up some mechanics and introduced some interesting ideas for the series’ move to PS2, Final Fantasy X-2 opted to crank things up a notch further. For starters, it was the very first game in the series to feature only three playable characters, two of whom had been major party members from the original game, and all of which were female – also a first. Fan favorite summoner Yuna and eccentric Rikku were joined by a new character named Payne as they set off on a quest to find Final Fantasy X main character Tidus after his mysterious disappearance. But the changes didn’t stop at unconventional casting and playable character numbers.
Final Fantasy X-2 featured an interesting spin on the franchise’s classic job system, this time allowing the three girls to change their dresspheres in battle to gain specific effects and abilities, while the return to an Active Time Battle system meant that fights felt frenetic and consistently engaging rather than slow and highly strategic. The game was fairly wide open from the get-go, too, allowing players to explore various locations in the world of Spira as they saw fit using an airship, though explorable areas remained nevertheless relatively linear like in its predecessor. In addition to these changes, multiple endings, jumping and climbing features, and a handful of minigames helped set Final Fantasy X-2 apart from the original PS2 classic.
Despite being a well-rounded and mechanically sound experience, there were fans who balked at Final Fantasy X-2‘s tonal shift. Shedding much of the original game’s mature themes, Final Fantasy X-2 focused heavily on lighthearted and campy dialogue, singing, and fashion, causing some consumers at the time to feel it was too drastic of a departure from series norms to keep their interest. Nevertheless, the game sold exceptionally well and was generally well-received by critics, and as times have changed, many previous naysayers have revisited the title and found their original criticisms harsh. But regardless of whether or not you’re fully on board for its change in tone, Final Fantasy X-2 remains worth a look for its great battle system, especially now that the duology come together on modern consoles in the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster.
Where You Can Play It Now
All of the modern methods of playing Final Fantasy X-2 will necessitate picking up the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. This remastered edition of both games offers improved graphics, an optional revised score, and a handful of quality of life upgrades that only diehard fans will be likely to pick apart.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Final Fantasy X-2:
- PC (via Steam)
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Nintendo Switch
If you jumped right into Final Fantasy X-2 before playing the original game, you may have been a little lost. Make sure to hop over and catch yourself up, as Final Fantasy X is a truly beloved classic all series fans should experience.