Why Final Fantasy X-2 Holds Such A Special Place In My Heart

Why Final Fantasy X-2 Holds Such a Special Place in My Heart

Late last month, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was released on the PS3 and Vita in Japan and I have been dying to play it — not the remastered FFX, but the remastered FFX-2. But, to understand why Final Fantasy X-2 holds such a place in my heart, you need to know why I play video games.

I play games for the same reason I read books and watch movies, anime, and TV: because I love stories. For the most part, I enjoy well done stories from all genres — be that a sci-fi visual novel about a group of people locked in an unknown facility or a war story about a small team of soldiers entering a sand-filled Dubai looking for survivors.

But as a kid, I didn't know that games could have a meaningful plot — outside of point and click adventures, anyway. Console games always seemed so simple: rescue the princess or defeat the evil bad guy. Then I played Final Fantasy VI and everything changed. After that experience, RPGs (and Final Fantasy games in particular) were my drug of choice for great video game stories.

By the time of the PS2 era, little had changed. And while I had hated FFVIII (a story for another time), I enjoyed FFIX and absolutely loved FFX. So when X-2 was announced, I was more than a little excited.

Why Final Fantasy X-2 Holds Such a Special Place in My Heart

Mere days after its release in Japan, a Japanese friend of mine came to visit; and to my delight, he had his brand new copy of FFX-2 with him. We beat it three times (mainly him playing and me watching — it was his game, after all) while he visited and still hadn't done it all. So when it came out in the West, I picked it up and started back in.

And I didn't stop… for weeks.

Up until that point, I had never mastered a Final Fantasy — or any game beyond Chrono Trigger really. Once the plot was done, I was done. Super bosses, secret dungeons, and awesome gear didn't really matter to me — at least it wasn't incentive enough to keep me playing. I had plenty of other games to play with new stories to experience.

But X-2 was special. Not only did it have a plot that changed based on your choices and how well you completed missions, it also had a battle system that was just fun to play. Now, I have spoken at length before about my love of the active-time battle system, and X-2 took it one step further.

While you could just play like you would in any other ATB game, X-2 added in timing and player position into the mix. Instead of just trading blows, you could time attacks correctly to prevent an enemy's attack and keep him juggled and unable to act for several seconds. Moreover, with all the dresspheres, you were constantly getting new abilities and figuring out new combos.

Why Final Fantasy X-2 Holds Such a Special Place in My Heart

As much as I love RPGs, I get bored doing the seemingly endless level up grind. I have to throw on some music or TV or anything else interesting to keep me distracted till I reach the next plot point. But this never happened in X-2. And as I beat it again and again, gathering different items, levelling up costumes, seeing all the little possible differences in the plot, I was never bored. For whatever reason, I never get tired of the act of simply playing X-2.

Yet, all good things must come to an end. After weeks of playing nearly every waking moment (oh how I miss the five-week winter break I had in college), I reached an impasse. I had done everything — literally everything — in the game. I had three of every item, leveled up every dressphere, killed the secret boss, and seen the perfect ending. And so, with nothing left to do in the game, I moved on to the next game.

I didn't play Final Fantasy X-2 for the next decade.

Why Final Fantasy X-2 Holds Such a Special Place in My Heart

Then, this past weekend, I sat down for some serious time with the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. Included in this collection is X-2, and I was curious to see if the game lived up to my nostalgia. For the most part, it did.

Sure, it doesn't look as good as modern PS3 titles (though it does look nice), but the gameplay is just the same as it always was — and still a ton of fun. Meaning to play only an hour or two, I instead spent eight straight hours playing — and I didn't even finish the first chapter.

Why Final Fantasy X-2 Holds Such a Special Place in My Heart

Moreover, the version included in Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is the international version with new dresspheres and a monster collection mini-game/sidequest that adds over 150 extra members to your party (that's not a typo). And the collection also has the short epilogue game, The Last Mission, which I have yet to play.

So, will I be playing Final Fantasy X-2 to the extremes I did back in college? Probably not. But do I want to? Absolutely. I think everyone has a game that just clicks with them — a game they could keep playing forever. Mine is Final Fantasy X-2 — especially in its newest form.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was released in Japan for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on December 26, 2013. It will be released in Australia on MArch 20, 2014.


Comments

    FFX-2 had a plot? Battle system was great though.

      I never have X-2 a chance because as a continuation story (plot) both Yuna and Riku are kittens in strength that need to be trained up again. This plot inconsistency, I never looked into if it was reasonably explained, it's just glaringly obvious to me. Which is probably a loss for me, cause the fight system and dress sphere system was appealing to me too.

      Yeah it did. Yuna was all mopey so Payne and Rikku decided to take her on a fun-filled, all girl, monster murdering rampage across the world to cheer her up. Somewhere in their travels, Yuna was possessed by the ghost of Minmay and had to help her find her boyfriend or something. There was also a slumber party somewhere in there too.

      Disclaimer: It's been a while since I played the game so all facts may not be accurate.

      I love #FFX and #FFX-2 but also this post. Still can't wait for Final Fantasy XV or @Officialffxv if you have Twitter.

    I could never bring myself to beat this game. It felt like a sequel that never needed to exist.

    Also FFVIII was the best.

      50% of that bestness is Faye Wong singing "Eyes On Me" at the end of the game. I just wish someone could have bothered to go over the badly translated engrish lyrics BEFORE recording the song.

        Thank cripes they got their shit together by the time they recorded the english version of 1000 Words then. I never got to play more than five or six hours of FFX-2 back in the day, but I did listen to 1000 Words over and over and over...

      13 is the one I dislike the most. Just mash button x for auto attack. Exploring is almost as linear as CoD I did like the storey but the rest let me down.

    This was the first Final Fantasy game I ever played, I was around 12 years old and I had only just gotten a PS2 (my first console), and I borrowed it from my cousin. I adored the combat system, I thought the dressspheres we awesome, I loved the characters. I came back to it last year after playing FFX and found new appreciation for the story, as well as the freedom of choosing your missions and the impact skipping optional missions had later on. It's an excellent game and I don't know why it gets so much hate.

    i think you're saying this one is your fav. to be cool

    Man I disliked this game. It was my fault though because i spent ages doing the infinite gil/ alchemist exploit.

    All respect lost. FFX-2 was a horrible game

    No one has read the official FF X-2.5 Novel have they?

    X-2 is the first and only FF game I ever extensively played - though I never actually finished it. I got up to a bit quite far on I believe where these random Coffin looking dudes would just turn all my girls to stone and I lost. After doing that ... 10 odd times I got the hump and went back to Def Jam Vendetta. Which I still play to this day. I did thoroughly enjoy it before that point though. The bosses looked rad.

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