Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission (PlayStation 2) Review

By Drew Hurley 23.12.2017

Review for Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission on PlayStation 2

After the huge success of Final Fantasy X, the prospect of a continuation of the story was well received. Final Fantasy X-2 would be the first direct sequel in Final Fantasy history and promised to return players to the fantastic world of Spira. It's always a real joy for fans to have an epilogue to show how the world has changed since the climax of a story, and this would be a huge opportunity to do just that; however, this world was something quite different from what players would remember. Breaking from the mechanics and even the style from Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2 seemed a drastically different beast. Now, 13 years on, Cubed3 takes another look, focusing on the International + Last Mission edition that was only available in Japan until the later FFX / X-2 HD Remaster.

Right from the opening FMV, fans knew they had something very different on their hands. Instead of the beautiful piano tones chiming out while the cast prepares for the final battle within Zanarkand in Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2 began with idol Yuna dancing and banging out the theme Real Emotion. No more demure lady summoner. Instead, Yuna is quite an adventurer, having formed a sphere hunting team with the returning Rikku and newcomer Paine. The three - known as the Gullwings - travel around Spira hunting for spheres that show glimpses into the past of Spira.

These spheres are used as recording devices, and one, in particular, is the main plot device to this story - Rikku finds a sphere with a recording of an individual that seems to be Tidus! The love story of Yuna and Tidus was fantastic - even that laugh couldn't ruin it - and many will argue that the bittersweet conclusion was actually the ideal end to their story, the type of ending that has been a common occurrence in the Final Fantasy series and indeed JRPGs in general.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission on PlayStation 2

Anyone who truly appreciated it will still be able to see it now… Yuna running to Tidus, falling through his body… Shut up. I'm not crying. You're crying. Never mind the changes to the battle system, the style or the soundtrack. Never mind the silly comic relief villains or the sudden addition of Paine. It's this return to a story arc that was wrapped up so well that feels like the biggest misstep. Bringing back Tidus and continuing the relationship between the two instead of letting the narrative end with its amazing finale ruins the impact and meaning of that previous story.

The story isn't much of a story at all, to be honest. Yes, Yuna is hunting for her lost love, but the majority of it is just a trip around Spira, filling the time with exposition-heavy moments explaining how the world and its inhabitants have changed since the previous game. There are plenty of reused assets and locations, but this time they're filled with characters who can't help but tell you how their life has changed. FFX-2 away from the normal open world style, too, instead using a mission style system. There are five chapters in all, each made up of "Hotspots" the Gullwings have to visit and revisit to take part in mini-games or listen to even more exposition from the inhabitants.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission on PlayStation 2

Final Fantasy X-2 does away with many series mainstay elements, but it actually returns one of the best parts. The predecessor, Final Fantasy X, stepped away from the series' Active Time Battle combat system and instead implemented the Conditional Turn-Based Battle system that allowed players to take their time with their next command. Long-time fans will be happy to hear that FFX-2 brings back the ATB system, building on previous versions of it, adding its own unique elements to deliver a surprisingly great combat system. This is by far the best part of X-2. It takes into account positioning on a 3D field, with back attacks able to deal big damage, and adds the chaining of attacks for huge damage multipliers.

The biggest change and the best innovation is the Dresspheres. Harkening back to the days of the classic Final Fantasy titles with the job change systems, the Dressphere system allows each of the party to switch into numerous other classes - and there are plenty to choose from, including familiar jobs from older games, such as Warrior, Thief, Black Mage, White Mage, Samurai and Alchemist. Dresspheres need to be found and equipped onto a character's "Garment Grid," and then they can be switched between during battle by choosing the Spherechange command on the command window.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission on PlayStation 2

The Dressphere system seems silly at first, having the three lady characters in the party play dress-up in funny outfits, and it's something that requires an alteration to the settings to not have to watch the fan service-heavy transformation sequences. Despite all that, it makes for a fantastically enjoyable combat system where characters are able to switch between different roles - and, even better, different Garment Grids can have different bonuses on them, so switching roles can also grant buffs or abilities to use.

The combat system isn't the only redeeming feature in this release, though. First off, Tetsu Tsukamoto did a fantastic job on designing some of the outfits (Some. Not all. Oh god, that Berserker...). This release also includes the International + Last Mission gameplay elements, which are really great. There is a final mission to wrap up, giving players a chance to capture enemies and customise them to be part of the party, and there's even a way to add NPCs and characters from FFX for those savvy enough to figure it out.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission on PlayStation 2

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

It's strange going back to a game like this that, because of great elements, left a positive memory of it, but in reality, there was a heavy amount of nostalgia vision going on. The prospect of returning to Spira and seeing the fan favourite characters again is great, but it is let down by a horrible story, terrible missions, and cringey moments. Honestly, though, it's actually somewhat redeemed to being a fun game, since the combat system is fantastic, there are some decent battles, and while much of the story is subpar, there is still an enjoyable epilogue here.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

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