Final Fantasy X-2 (that's "ten-two") is a direct sequel to the 10th entry in the fist-bumpingly popular Final Fantasy series. Beware of Late Arrival Spoilers.Two years after the events of Final Fantasy X, the world of Spira has entered a golden era known as the Eternal Calm. Technology is no longer considered taboo, and an eager new generation of Adventurer Archaeologists called "Sphere Hunters" scour once-forbidden ruins in search of the history that had been buried by the suppressive Yevon religion.Yuna, now free of her obligations as a Summoner, is finally able to get some rest and attempts to settle down in her home town of Besaid. However, one day she is visited by her old friend Rikku, who brings her a Movie Sphere depicting someone who looks and sounds exactly like Tidus. Captivated by the mystery and wishing to reinvent herself, Yuna runs away with Rikku to join her Sphere Hunter group, the "Gullwings". Along with Paine, a cool-headedwarrior with an acerbic tongue, they form the dynamic Power Trio "YRP" and scour the world for adventure, fortune and (hopefully) answers to the mystery of the man in Rikku's Movie Sphere.But it's not all fun and games. Spira is cracking up in the wave of unprecedented societal and technological progression, and two opposing factions are looking to win the hearts of the people: "New Yevon", a conservative successor to the Yevon religion whose motto is "One thing at a time"; and the "Youth League", a radical young movement aiming to tear down the status quo as quickly as possible, no matter the cost. As hostilities between the two groups grow, the Gullwings begin to suspect that a third party is behind the strife, and must discover the truth before history repeats itself and Spira is led down the path of destruction once more.Aside from being the first true direct sequel to a main series game in the now number-crunchingly popular Final Fantasy series, the game has a less epic, more-down-to-earth tone, focusing on how the world of Spira is coping following the aftermath of Sin. It's a massive switch from the dark and nihilistic tone of Final Fantasy X, featuring Magical Girl-esque Transformation Sequences, heaploads of Fanservice and extremely cosplayable outfits, and peppy J-pop instead of sweeping orchestral scores. In keeping with this, Yuna got a big swing in personality (which is referenced quite a lot) and a new wardrobe to match.Along with Final Fantasy X, an HD version of the game was released for PS3 and Vita. The PS3 version of FFX includes X-2 on the disk, but the Vita version instead comes with a code for the digital version of X-2. The HD version is based on the International + Last Mission release, matching FFX.
Tropes used in this game:
Absurdly High Level Cap: Subverted. While an average, non-perfect game would have your characters around Level 50 towards the end of the game, those wishing to challenge Via Infinito WILL NEED to be at Level 99 note It can be won at the lowest level the game allows; however, unless you plan for it, you'll almost certainly break into the 90s just by fighting random encounters. to survive.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: averted with O'aka: if you cover his debts, he sells items to you at very low prices. Low enough that you can sell some of them back for a profit!
All Part of the Show: The In Medias Res opening depicts Yuna (or so it seems) throwing a concert inside Luca Stadium. Rikku and Paine crash the stage and provoke a battle with LeBlanc — using a Songstress dresspshere to assume Yuna's guise — and her goons. The audience seems to think this is all part of the act.
Alliance Meter: In a Calm Lands sidequest, you can choose from one of two companies, Open Air or Argent, and promote them by either playing their games or spreading the word to citizens. You can switch between companies, but that would cost you half of the points earned for the other company. While you'll only need to max out one of the companies' levels to achieve 100%, both companies have exclusive equipment when maxed out.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: Every new dressphere nets your party another set of clothes to show off their new powers. The same as other Jobs in the series, though this game describes them as clothes first.
Arbitrary Gun Power: Taken to the extreme with the Gunner's Trigger Happy ability, where you can shoot an enemy 20+ times in a row, yet they still have a fair chance of living.
Unless that gunner has Cat Nip equipped, and is at Critical HP. Then it becomes pure slaughter for the enemy.
Unless you're playing the International version, which doesn't let you use Cat Nip in conjunction with Trigger Happy.
Arranged Marriage: Yuna almost has one, although her intended and his father are never seen in the game, as they have been replaced at New Yevon by Baralai. While some people have thought this was supposed to be Baralai, he specifically states that this is not the case, much to Yuna's (thinly-veiled) relief. She was supposed to be married to Trema's son, who is never encountered. Much of this is addressed in a prequel video: "Eternal Calm".
Awesome, but Impractical: The Special Dresspheres. They've got sky-high stats, have cool attacks, and lots of different abilities...but it's pretty meaningless against some of the strongest enemies, where the versatility of switching between different dresspheres or exploiting their inherent abilities becomes more essential. Plus a lot of their attacks seem to be focused on causing status ailments for some ungodly reason. There're very few enemies in the game that would suffer any real setback from status effects, and a good number of them are outright immune anyway.
Badass Grandpa: Trema, founder of New Yevon and now Unsent, is just an old man... Which, given that he lives at the bottom of Via Infinito, should tell you something about his capabilities.
Bag of Spilling: Yuna and Rikku both do not retain their abilities or attributes from the previous game. Justified in that they're explicitly using a new sphere grid, focused on Dresspheres instead of the old one. Maybe they just like the challenge?
Could be justified since there is no longer a threat of Sin and therefore fewer people getting killed by him, thus fewer fiends. Rikku has also been on the airship for two years, so it's reasonable that she forgot the basics since she hadn't been in battles and therefore didn't need to use them.
Also, regardless of whether you found them all in the previous game or not, you have to find all the Al-Bhed Primers all over again. Regardless of the fact that Rikku, an Al-Bhed, is in your party at all times. And that Paine ALSO speaks Al-Bhed as is revealed later in the game, and that Shinra, Buddy, and Brother are all Al Bhed. Still gotta dig though the desert to find 'em.
Trema has spent two years learning how to master Fiends in the Vio Infinito. These aren't just run of the mill unsent, either; he controls Kinoc, Grand Maester Mika, Lady Yunalesca, and Lord Zaon aka Nemesis from the first game (second only to Penance in terms of toughness).
Vegnagun should be noted as having a giant cannon as long as its entire body... and its body is pretty big to begin with!
The Alchemist Dressphere lets any of the girls wield one.
BFS: Rikku's sword for the Samurai class, which she takes awhile to actually lift and hit the enemies with.
Bilingual Bonus: The HD remaster version added extra voices in battle for the girls, in which their English Voice actors ramble off in Japanese. They appear most often when in the very Japanese Pysicic and Festitvalist dress-spheres.
Bloodless Carnage: Apparently Lenne and Shuyin were killed by invisible bullets that left invisible wounds with invisible blood. Which doesn't make a lot of sense, since the attackers weren't using invisible guns...
Bottomless Magazines: Played straight with the Gunner's Trigger Happy ability, subverted in the Gunner's Gauntlet.
Brutal Bonus Level: The Via Infinito becomes this the deeper you go. Expect Lacertas with a terrifyingly high Agility stat and Auto-Haste, Elder Dragons that can easily smash your party dead while disabling your Escape command, and Mega Tonberries that (once again) prevent you from escaping and do horrendous damage...unless they're Oversouled, in which case said damage comes with a choice of Stone status or unavoidable Confusion. And those are the regular encounters.
CamelCase: The theme is titled real Emotion, making it an odd case of this trope applied to multiple words.
In Chapter 4, watch the Besaid CommSphere enough times and you'll watch the Besaid Aurochs practice some blitzball shots. It ends in the ball being kicked at the camera and Shinra commenting that the Aurochs "really suck."
In Chapter 5, several CommSpheres are destroyed by outside forces when you examine them.
Canon Name: The game doesn't enforce this upon Tidus, who could be named in Final Fantasy X, and goes to sometimes awkward lengths to avoid referring to him by name to allow the player to pretend he still has whatever name you gave him if you played the first game; this is almost certainly the reason why the option to name your characters has been removed in every FF game since.
Catchphrase: Shinra's "I'm just a kid," in response to questions he doesn't know the answer to.
"Anything goes for..." Leblanc, Tobli, the Gullwings — take your pick, all of them are used at some point or another.
Nhadala: We've got a prickly situation. Fiends are attacking the Cactuar Nation! Yuna: We'll take care of it! Benzo, let's go! Paine: I was wrong. She doesn't get dragged into trouble. Rikku: She jumps in headfirst.
Combos: The new attack chaining system that rewards characters for attacking in unison by increasing the damage of their attacks.
Certain attacks (such as the first Gunner ability "Trigger Happy") do this automatically.
Contagious A.I.: As Vegnagun absorbs more and more energy from the Farplane, the mossy terrain appears to be turning to metal.
Continuity Nod: Elma's argument with the Hypello, about allowing a chocobo to ride on a shoopuf, is the exact same one she had in the previous game.
If you go to Bikanel Desert in chapter 2, Rikku will get the party lost, just like in X.
Maechen makes comments about explaining Spira's history and geography to Tidus.
Contrived Coincidence: Apparently, the fact Shuyin looked JUST LIKE Tidus, who looked just like Chappu (Wakka's brother), was just a coincidence. Unless the Zanarkand Faith based Tidus on Shuyin. In addition, Lenne also looked a bit like Yuna, though the only person that felt this way may have been confused since Yuna only appeared to him using the Songstress dressphere made from Lenne's memories. Furthermore, when you actually see Chappu, he doesn't look a lot like Tidus - Wakka may have simply been melancholic since they were both close in age.
Tidus being based on Shuyin is never explicitly stated, but is still pretty obvious, especially during the final boss fight, when every other attack is a renamed copy of one Tidus used in the last game.
Debate and Switch: Carries over from the first game. In the original, there is an active debate in-game about whether or not it's right to sacrifice people in order to temporarily bring the rest of the world peace. Near the end of the game, the characters find a workaround to the Vicious Cycle, but it will still cause the deaths of two of the major protagonists. This was done intentionally, in order to show The Hero's growth from being selfish to selfless. However, in the sequel, a similar situation comes up and a character offers to sacrifice himself in order to defeat the Big Bad of X-2. Yuna vehemently opposes this idea, stating that she is sick of watching friends die or fade away, and that she does not want to fight battles where "we have to lose in order to win." Furthermore, the aforementioned sacrificed hero gains a chance to be reborn in this game, should the player meet certain requirements, providing no resolution to the overall debate.
Yuna begins her opposition of the idea with her best line in the entire game.
Duel Boss: Yuna fights Rikku and then Paine alone in an optional event.
Dressing as the Enemy: A whole chapter of the game is devoted to finding three different female goon uniforms for Yuna, Rikku, and Paine so they can infiltrate Leblanc's mansion.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Continued from Final Fantasy X's ending: the entire sequence of events Yuna has to go through is what led to Tidus's return depicted at the end of the previous game.
Paine makes a reference to this trope, commenting at one point "People who want happy endings have to write their own."
May be subverted, if the story of the new audio drama Final Fantasy X ~Will~ released with the Final Fantasy X HD Remastered version is considered canon: After an unspecified amount of time from the X-2 ending, it seems Tidus and Yuna are separated by the former's devotion to his life as a blitzball player in Luca and the latter's want for a peaceful life on Besaid. Not only that, Tidus' reappearance is a signal that the thoughts of Spira's people, if strong enough, are capable of also bringing back Sin, and Tidus sets off to protect Yuna when she declares that she will be the one to defeat Sin once again.
Elite Mook: Kill enough of a particular type of Fiend, and one random encounter will eventually see that fiend absorbing the pyreflies released by those of its kind you killed previously, making it much stronger (but also drop much nicer loot, more gil, and experience).
Elite Tweak: The Songstress dressphere. There is no possible way of attacking, and they only start out with Darkness Dance. Once you learn a few dances (which takes a lot of AP to learn), she can consistently cast Haste on the party or cast Stop on the enemies. The dances acquired through key items far into the game are also worth learning.
Evil Debt Collector: Somebody involved with the making of this game definitely seemed to have something against debt collectors. In Chapter 1, you can choose to hide O'aka from a group of Al Bhed debt collectors on the Celsius, though you are also allowed to turn him over to them. Then, in Chapter 4, you run a mission in which you pursue Tobli, who is on the run from debt collectors, and he waylays them in a series of increasingly amusing and outrageous incidents.
Excuse Plot: You have no objective whatsoever other than "run around and steal treasure" until about halfway through the game.
Fanservice: The game is fully aware of how cute and pretty it is, although Yuna's default outfit isn't really more ridiculous than any average FF character. The alternative outfits are quite racy even for her, though, especially the Thief and Lady Luck dresspheres. Then there's the Hot Springs Episode. And let's not even start on Rikku and that bikini!
Fear of Thunder: Averted since the last game: Rikku has gotten over this in the two years between games by camping in the Thunder Plains for a week.
Foreshadowing: When Yuna wakes from her nightmare in Chapter 2, Rikku makes the offhand remark "Blame it on your new jammies!" - the songstress dressphere. Later, we find out that the dressphere has been acting as a conduit for Lenne's memories, and the memory of her death was responsible for the nightmare.
Free-Range Children: Unfortunately, there are a number of these running around Spira because of Sin having killed off so many of the parents. While some have found other guardians, many of them have had to learn to fend for themselves, so they're even capable in certain cases of fighting off basic fiends. Examples include Calli, Lian & Ayde, and the members of the Kinderguardians.
Game Show Host: Isaaru now entertains tourists at Zanarkand by getting his Regis Philbin on. That is not a typo.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: In Chapter 3, the Gullwings decide to become "Your Friendly Neighborhood Gullwings, taking out fiends and charging for it." Of this money, however, you don't actually see a dime, except for a 10,000 gil reward on the Mi'ihen Highroad, and that's for taking out machina, not fiends. Justified in Besaid, which is Yuna's hometown, so she doesn't really want to charge them for it. Not so much for Kilika, though.
Pretty much the dresspheres. No matter what dressphere the girls are using in battle, if there's a scene right after it, they'll be wearing their default Dresspheres (Yuna - Gunner, Rikku - Thief, Paine - Warrior), even if said sphere isn't even on the Garment Grid.
Global Airship: One of the big changes from your normal Final Fantasy game is that you get this at the start and can go pretty much anywhere.
Continuity Lockout: If you were dumb enough to pick this up without playing FFX first, you'll have absolutely no idea where to take your Global Airship, because this game doesn't recap the previous installment's events.
Golden Ending: Notable for being very hard to get. What's more infuriating is that there is only one extra scene not included in the Good Ending, so completionists won't feel too rewarded.
Getting 100 percent completion on your first playthrough without a guide is impossible, especially since the game doesn't show you fractions of a percentage even though many actions only earn a fraction of a percentage. Most players actually rendered getting 100% impossible during the first FIVE MINUTES of gameplay. There is a very short hidden conversation off to the side of the first area. Miss it, and even if you do EVERYTHING else perfectly throughout the game, you'll never get that 100%. Not to mention the fact that skipping scenes also deducts points. As does going through the wrong path, and accidentally hitting X during an extremely long lecture, etc. On the other hand, going through New Game+ and taking the second path will practically guarantee 100%, since there's actually a total of about 140% if you count both paths, and your percentages carry over.
Getting the best ending without one is nearly impossible. How the hell is anyone supposed to figure out on their own that you hit X during this particular scene?
The International / HD release adds the Creature Creator feature, which can consume large amounts of your time all by itself. To unlock certain features in CC's Fiend Arena and certain creatures for capture, you have to locate and finish the storylines of other creatures throughout all five chapters. Which creatures? Good luck finding that out because it's not mentioned anywhere.
Guilty Pleasure: For both male and female gamers, but for different reasons. For male gamers, it feels like a game for females due to the dress-up aspect. For female gamers, it feels like a game for males due to the Fanservice.
Heel Turn: The most difficult outcome of Mi'Hen conspiracy is implicating Rin. Rikku causes the Machina to malfunction through her own bungling; the Chocobo Eater was just hungry; Prophet was a demagogue.
Impossible Thief: The Thief dressphere fittingly enough. Aside from items, you can also steal an opponent's time (Stop status effect) and souls (Berserk).
Impossibly Cool Clothes: Almost every dressphere. The design philosophy seems to be, "How can we make this as hard as possible for cosplayers to pull off?" That hasn't stopped them trying, of course, with wildly varying degrees of success.
Improbable Weapon User: The Lady Luck dressphere continues Square's tradition of using gambling and cards to attack, and the Mascot beats enemies up with dolls. Surprisingly, the remaining spheres all use appropriate or practical weapons, though some of them are ridiculously embellished.
The Festival-Goer dressphere uses shoes, goldfish, and cotton candy to attack, among others.
Informed Deformity: Despite Lulu being nine months pregnant, her character model is identical to the one from Final Fantasy X. Hell, she's still wearing her corset! This is actually Lampshaded by Rikku, who states that Lulu doesn't look pregnant.
Involuntary Dance: Leblanc had so much fun at the concert that emotion latches onto Yuna's garment grid, so that when Yuna gets the grid back, the emotion apparently brainwashes her, so that she dances uncontrollably for a few seconds.
Just a Kid: Shinra's standard excuse whenever he's unable to come up with the answer to a problem.
Large Ham: Brother, not just because of the voice-acting, but because whenever he talks, he flails his arms up and down.
Last Minute Baby Naming: Wakka and Lulu's son doesn't get named unless you complete a sidequest, and if you fail or skip the quest, then Rikku jokes that the kid might go nameless until he hits puberty.
Lethal Joke Character: The Gunner dressphere. Most of their stats are decent, with their specialty being Accuracy. Their abilities somewhat make up, but once you get the Cat Nip accessory near the end of the game, you'll be relying on them to take out the Via Inifinito bosses.
Averted in the International and HD releases, which add permanent Slow and Berserk statuses on top of Catnip's other ability.
A straighter example would be the Mascot dress sphere, which is an absolute pain in the ass to obtain and the most expensive dress sphere to train, but it has the potential of being ridiculously overpowered, almost as ridiculous as the costumes themselves look.
Lighter and Softer: Even ignoring the brighter color palette and the "girl power" themes, compared to Final Fantasy X, this game has a lot less overwhelmingly depressing cutscenes. The pretty much non-existent body count aside from the flashbacks of the Crimson Squad, anyway, helps.
Lip Lock: Subverted towards the end of the game. Special mention goes to Lenne in the ending sequence, where her lip-movements continue for a good few seconds after a quick "Hey there."
Living Legend: Yuna is known across Spira for being the one who permanently defeated Sin. And singing.
Loads And Loads Of Sidequests: The game has an astounding number of sidequests, most of which can easily be missed. Most of them are required to get 100% completion and the Golden Ending, but the game can be completed with around 50% completion, meaning that about half the game's content consists of sidequests.
Averted in at least a couple of instances. The mission to rescue the trapped people in the cave in the Calm Lands Gorge and fight Yojimbo is still available in Chapter 5 if you didn't complete it in Chapter 3. The same goes for setting up the chocobo ranch, assuming you at least completed Cuckoo for Chocobos at Mi'ihen in Chapter 2 and had Clasko board the Celsius.
Marathon Boss: Angra Mainyu. Even if you know exactly how to beat it, and your party setup is all but invincible to it, the battle can take a painfully long time due to its high defenses, frequent turns, and lots and lots of HP.
In order to understand how bad it is, by the time you get to Angra Mainyu, you'll be doing about 900 damage with the physical oriented dresspheres (the last monster you probably faced was a drawn out battle with a monster with 8888 HP). Angra Mainyu has 333,444 HP. Heaven help you if you don't have the Cat Nip.
Meaningful Echo: "It all began when I saw this sphere of you..." is said by Yuna (in narration) in an early cutscene, and can be heard as her voice sample for her character dossier. If you get the best ending, this exchange occurs:
Tidus: Whoa! You've changed!
Yuna: Well, you've missed a few things!
Tidus: I want to hear everything!
Yuna: Well, it all began when I saw this sphere of you...
Wakka states that he shouldn't risk his life protecting one memory, the possible destruction of the Besaid Temple, when it means missing out on all future ones (his son's life). He says to Rikku "memories are nice, but that's all they are", which she used as the reason for why Al Bhed don't go to the Farplane back in the first game.
Meaningful Name: The name of Wakka and Lulu's son, Vidina, means Al Bhed for "future". It's even more meaningful because this means Wakka has gotten over his hatred toward the Al Bhed.
Mechanically Unusual Class: The Lady Luck class. Among her abilities are skills which effects are determined by playing a slots mini-game in the middle of battle.
Mexican Standoff: Gippal VS Baralai VS Nooj. And then again later on, though the three of them point their guns at the person they didn't point them at the first time. Yuna, Rikku, and Paine join in with this too.
Mind Screw: The events inside the Den of Woe. The haphazard pacing of events and unnecessary flashbacks are the reason behind this.
Mini-Game: Many, though mostly optional. Sphere Break stands out for offering a Dress Sphere as a reward, and considering what seems to be the point of this game, that makes it practically mandatory.
Money for Nothing: if you cover O'aka's debts (see Adam Smith Hates Your Guts), he sells you all kinds of objects at low prices... which you can then sell to the Hypello in the bar for a higher price, netting you good benefits if you buy 99 of each item and then sell them.
Moral Dissonance: Yuna finds the tourist trade at Zanarkand utterly reprehensible, but it's just fine for her to go on a Sphere-Hunting adventure at the ruins in Chapter 1. To be fair though, Yuna's arc throughout Zanarkand has her eventually driving away the tourists/Sphere-Hunters as well for an episode complete, but she DOES wonder if she really did the right thing, as opposed to letting Zanarkand have a chance to rebuild.
Multiple Endings: The Normal ending happens no matter what; the Good ending occurs after the Normal ending if you complete certain criteria; the Sad ending is what happens if you fulfill the right criteria but have less than 75% game completion; and the Perfect ending is achieved through 100% Completion. There's also a Bad ending if you lose the final battle after a certain amount of turns, though it takes at least half an hour of gameplay for this to happen.
Never Trust a Trailer: One of the early trailers ended with Yuna and Tidus getting gunned down in front of Vegnagun. Granted, said scene does actually play out in game, but it's not as... permanent. It certainly has shock value, though.
No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: Invoked with dresspheres. The girls are stuck in their Gunner, Thief, and Warrior duds, respectively, though Yuna might appear in Songstress attire while channeling Lenne.
Non-Human Sidekick: The Trainer dressphere gives each girl a thematically appropriate pet: Yuna gets a dog, Paine gets a pheasant, and Rikku gets a monkey. This is arguably a play on the Japanese folklore hero Momotaro, who met a dog, a pheasant and a monkey, who all agree to help him on his quest.
Not the Intended Use: To finish Via Infinito, many players rely on the Gunner/Cat Nip combo to defeat the final boss. It's clear the developers have realized this, since in the International Version, it also adds a Slow/Berserk status, ruining the strategy.
Model Swap: the Warrior dressphere is particularly prone to this. Rikku uses Auron's animations, whereas Yuna copies Tidus's—only her casting animation is different.
Perspective Reversal: Downplayed Trope. In the first game, Tidus is completely against any form of sacrifice. At first, it's Played for Laughs to make him seem childish — but later, it's played seriously after it's pointed out that the pilgrimage is a Senseless Sacrifice. Yuna, on the other hand, is perfectly fine with sacrifice if it makes people a little happier and safer. By the end of the second game, Tidus is the one who's sacrificed himself (along with all of the party's Aeons), and because of this, Yuna HATES the idea of sacrifice. Look at these quotes for emphasis:
Tidus: "I get it! I thought it was weird. Yuna's dad defeates Sin ten years ago, right? But Sin's still here! Didn't make much sense till now. Wait... If it just comes back..."
Yuna: "Don't say it isn't worth it... Because it is."
Tidus (narration): "Even for a little while... people can sleep in their beds without being afraid. That kind of time is worth anything. Don't say it isn't worth it. Your words that day, Yuna — I remember them well."
Yuna: "I don't like your plan. It sucks. Your plan is awful. Think about it. It's no different than what we did two years ago. We destroyed our own allies. We destroyed the aeons who had fought together with us, at our sides. We didn't have a choice then. We believed that was the only way we could save Spira. Do you know what it felt like to watch them die? Right before my eyes? It was the only thing we could do. It was the only choice we had. I gave in, I accepted, I believed. I allowed it to be true. I thought I'd be able to go through with it without ever doubting myself. But I... It hurts so much. Everyone was so happy. 'Great job, Yuna. You did it. You saved us all.' There were too many smiles to count. And I know that I was smiling, too. But now... when I look back... The people who should be here aren't. The ones who should be smiling with me aren't here. 'We had no choice.' Always 'we had no choice.' Those are our magic words. We repeat them to ourselves again and again. But you know... The magic never worked! The only thing we're left with is regret. No. I don't want this anymore. I don't want friends to die... or fade away. I don't want battles where we have to lose in order to win. Nooj, I know that what you say is what you mean to do. Give me your resolve. Believe in Yuna."
Plot Tunnel: In-universe example. In the first two chapters, the Gullwings are sphere hunters, but take part in other missions than sphere hunting when they can. In chapter three, powerful fiends are coming from the temples, so they put off sphere hunting for the rest of the game, and most of their missions require saving people from the fiends.
Shuyin: This is our story, Lenne. Yuna: Don't make me say this again! I'm... not... Lenne!
Rapunzel Hair: How the hell did Yuna manage to get that floor-length braid of hair of hers in two years?
It's speculated by fans that Al Bheds have an accelerated hair grow. Rikku went from "tomboyish" to "giving any saiyan a run for his money" in two years too, and Yuna is half Al Bhed.
The Rival: LeBlanc is Yuna's rival in sphere hunting. Eventually, you find out pretty much everything she does is to impress "Noojie Woojie", including throwing the concert at the beginning of the game and impersonating Yuna. She eventually teams up with the Gullwings to deal with the real threats.
The Rock Star: Yuna's concerts are a plot point in several parts of the game. Following the influence of Lenne's dressphere.
Run Don't Walk: Noticeable during Chapter 2 if you side with the Youth League. In Mushroom Rock Road, while traveling through, you must walk by the on-screen monsters to go unnoticed. Thing is, it's VERY hard to walk in this game, and chances are you will fight one of the monsters.
Serious Business: One sidequest has you pair up love-struck monkeys in the hope that they will breed and drive out tourists. The monkeys all have ridiculous names, and when you examine them, the game tells you things like "Sylvah can't keep living like this" and "Quivorr looks ready to break some hearts." This is all done with a completely straight face.
And when you complete the mission, you get this poem:
Many battle quotes are taken from various media and trends. For example, Rikku's reaction to one of the first enemies, a snake-like creature, is "Snake. Snake? Snaaaake!!!"
The entire game is a shout out to Charlie's Angels. Even the Japanese version did this.
The majority of the weapons from Final Fantasy X are reused. Yuna's Warrior costume wields Tidus' Brotherhood. Yuna also wields Caladbolg as a Dark Knight, both her and Rikku wield Auron's weapons as a Samurai. Rikku's clothing also evokes Auron's in her Samurai form. Rikku's sword in Dark Knight also comes from FFX. The Mascot gives all three girls Lulu's dolls, both White and Black Mages get Yuna's rods/staffs (Yuna gets her default and Celestial Weapon respectively while the others get other weapons). Even the main villain uses Wakka's Celestial Weapon, World Champion, in Terror of Zanarkand, his version of Tidus's Final Overdrive, Blitz Ace. It should be noted that Paine gets her own unique swords in this game due to her weak connection with the previous game.
Yuna's Warrior costume is an almost-perfect copy of Tidus' in FFX. She moves differently, when casting. Her casting pose is the pose Tidus used when you were activating his Overdrives.
Many of the accessories, such as the Soul of Thamasa, are also series references.
The name of the airship, Celsius, is a reference to Bahamut Lagoon, which had an airship named the Fahrenheit.
... And, in a less obscure homage, also to Final Fantasy X, which had the exact same thing. (Plus, the captain of the Celsius happens to be the Fahrenheit's captain's son...)
The bestiary descriptions for some enemies nod toward their past incarnations, such as warning not to call Ultima Weapon "Atma", or the insectoid King VERMIN!'s entry ending in Barret's manner of speech.
Late in the game, Shinra talks about how the Farplane is made up of limitless energy, and in a few generations, that energy could be harvested and used. Yuna exclaims how it would be great for Spira, and how there would be shining cities that never sleep. Hmm....
Spira Shattering Kaboom: Die or take too long in the battle with Vegnagun, and you're treated to this in the cutscene that follows. But you basically have to try to "lose" in this manner — if you're powerful enough to get that far, you can easily defeat Vegnagun's final parts within the time limit.
Spiky Hair: Gippal has the distinction of being one of the few FF guys with a spiky hairstyle that's actually possible to pull off in real life.
Spoiler Opening: Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster came as a separate game on the PS Vita, and therefore has its own title screen as a result. The image of said title screen? It's straight out of the Golden Ending!
Story Branching: Subverted in the second chapter, in which the player is required to hand an important MacGuffin over to one of two rival factions before the plot continues. While this has only a cosmetic effect on the main plot, it does affect the availability of certain (faction-specific) sidequests available later.
Stripperific: Too many costumes like this to count, though the Lady Luck and Thief dresspheres are the two most noteworthy. As a rule, Rikku tends to don the least clothing.
Suddenly Voiced: The "Prophet" spends the entire game on the Mi'Hen Highroad, stumping for chocobo rights. If you finger him for the Mi'Hen conspiracy, he suddenly pulls a rifle and starts talking like Scooby-Doo's Shaggy.
The special dresspheres, which are near-useless in Via Infinito's lower levels...
To a lesser extent is the Mascot dressphere, which has its own unique abilites for each girl and pulls abilities from previous dresspheres, which also vary depending on the girl.
If you defeat a particular species of enemy enough times, the next enemy of that species that you encounter will enter "Oversouled" mode, gaining stat boosts and new abilities. Encountering a low-level Oversouled enemy will cost you some extra time at the worst, but Oversouled higher-end enemies, especially the minibosses in the Via Infinito, will prove catastrophic. Defeating Oversouled enemies grants better rewards and is necessary for absolute 100% Completion.
In some cases Oversouled enemies turn into a Glass Cannon, resulting in them actually being easier to kill than their non-oversouled version.
Terrible Trio: The kimono-wearing Leblanc and her two henchmen, Logos and Ormi.
Take Your Time: Wasn't it nice of Shuyin to delay activating Vegnagun until the Gullwings got there?
Talk Like a Pirate: There's a Sphere Break player (possibly the most challenging) who shows up in Chapter 5. He wears a pirate-y outfit and asks if there's anyone in Spirrra who has the guts to take him on.
Time-Limit Boss: You have to beat Vegnagun before it fires. However, the time limit is so long that you pretty much have to try to run the timer out to see what happens.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Rin, but only if you manage to pin him with the guilt in the Mi'ihen Mystery mission. Otherwise, he's the same kind man he was in the former game.
Too Many Belts: As usual for Nomura character designs. Nooj in particular is probably the worst offender by a long shot, even by Nomura's standards.
Totally Radical: Rather than the RPG standard "You obtained [item]x[number]," the game insists on saying "You scored [item]x[number]!"
Translation Convention: Subverted, just as it was in the previous game. Somewhat annoying, in that it made sense for Tidus not to speak Al Bhed, but Rikku speaks it natively; you'd think Yuna would've picked up on some of it, too, since her mother did also, and an optional scene reveals that Paine knows a little of it as well, so there's no need for Yuna to, say, dig through the desert for more primers when she could just ask for lessons, or even just ask Rikku to translate for her. This is just a strange example of Gameplay and Story Segregation.
Updated Re-release: The "International + Last Mission" version. Contrary to what its title implies, it is Japan-exclusive, and includes a truckload of new stuff : A Last Mission mode that serves as a sort of gauntlet, new Dresspheres and Garment Grids, new superbosses, and a Creature Create system, where creatures from the game, including the new superbosses and most playable and non-playable characters from the first game, can be captured, trained, and used in battle.
It's getting an Updated RE-Rerelease, for the PS3, which subverts No Export for You by being based on the Japanese exclusive version.
Useless Spleen: Rikku has the in-battle quote "I'mma kick you in the spleen,", to which Paine replies "'Spleen'?"
You can allow genocide by skipping a certain mission. You also get a very good accessory later on if you do this.
When choosing to allow whether or not let Clasko board the Celsius in Chapter 1, the wording of the negative choice is "Sorry, loser."'
There's a female Sphere Break player who is saving up money to open up her dream shop. Each victory of Yuna's puts the woman one step further away from her new shop.
The Leblanc massage sequence. Screwing it up is both funny as hell, and rather cathartic...
You can walk over Brother when he's lying on the floor after he "jumped" in the first mission at Mt. Gagazet.
Vocal Evolution: In FFX, Yuna's voice was soft and stilted per her personality, but in X-2, her speech has noticeably improved, as she's gained quite a bit of confidence with her new job. The actress and lipsynch technology got a lot better too.
One of the main problems with FFX was Hedy Burress' attempts to lip-sync with a character who was speaking Japanese, something the other actors were smart enough to not bother with. New technology in X-2 allowed the lips to be rendered in real time, and we got a much more natural performance from her. (It should be noted that, in most animation situations, the voice actors do record first, and the artists animate to their performances, so all the English VAs would have been out of their element. Why they let Burress keep lip-synching anyway is its own question.)
Walking the Earth: The Ronso children Lian and Ayde travel all across Spira over the course of the game trying to find a way to fix Kimahri's horn. While they don't succeed, they do expand their horizons by exploring the world beyond their mountain home and inspire their fellow Ronso to do the same.
Despite having their Global Airship, the main party can do this as well, as most places on the map are connected in a way where you could simply walk the entire path of the first game's pilgrimage if one is so inclined, resolving any side quests along the way.
Waxing Lyrical: When Yuna first changes her dressphere to Songstress in their first fight with Leblanc, she often shouts "Hey, eyes on me!" "Eyes On Me" was the love theme between Squall and Rinoa from Final Fantasy VIII.
We Used to Be Friends: Baralai, Nooj, Gippal, and surprisingly, Paine, but Shuyin's possession of Nooj during the Crimson Massacre and afterwards destroyed their friendship. While Nooj doesn't fully recall the incident, Gippal returned to the Al Bhed, and Paine sought answers about the incident on her own, Baralai is plagued by his inability to understand why Nooj did what he did. He even almost says word for word:
Baralai: WHY DID YOU SHOOT?! ... WE WERE FRIENDS, AND YOU SHOT US IN THE BACK!! ANSWER ME!!!
White Hair, Black Heart: Subverted by Baralai, who gives off the impression of being the white-hair pretty boy type typically associated with villians and the morally shady. While he does fight YRP at one point and gets possessed by Shuyin later on, by the end it is clear that he is on the side of good.
Zettai Ryouiki: Oh so very much, including Grade A on Paine's (default) Warrior and Gunner outfits, and Rikku's Black Mage and Gun Mage outfits, and a variation of Grade B on Paine's White Mage outfit.
Also Nhadala, who sports a Grade A with shorts.
"Gimmie a 'Y'!" "Gimmie an "R"!" "... Gimmie a break."