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Why this game is actually pretty good
As a veteran of every game up to XII, I have to say I like this game.

FFX was painful. It had gameplay elements I found painful (the sphere grid), idiotic complications to the weapon and armor system (admittedly, customizing all your stuff was a cool idea), painful voice acting (over half of it was narm save for Auron, who got all the lines that DIDN'T suck), and the general story tone was depressing. The ENDING was so much of a downer I wonder why I bothered playing.

FFX-2 was fun. The gameplay was familiar, simple and streamlined (Leveling, yay!). Also, thogh I like collecting weapons and armor, the dressphere system was very intuitive (though the ingame justification is shoddy at best), the voiceacting, while narmy, was more amusing than facepalm worthy (considering the tone, I believe it was on purpose), and all the dramatic scenes actually seemed dramatic (some of FFX's early scenes were just horrfying to watch, at least for the first third of the game, where the narm was highest). Also, the story largely removed the bad taste of the Neon Genesis Evangelion style "why did I even bother with wishing for hope to prevail" ending.

Bonus points for confirming LOTS of stuff hinted about in the backstory, at the fact it all fit, not to mention a love story that didn't feel forced.

(No offense to Tidus\Yuna shippers, but the romance was pretty slapdash and formulaic in it's setup, and I largely consider FFX-2 to be the Authors Saving Throw in regards to salvaging it.)

My love isn't total. It had some lazy cutscene animation (Rikku in Zanarkand Ch.1 is a good example), and sometimes Yuna picked up the Narm Ball Tidus seemed to be carrying, and while I loved the gameplay, it had a tendency to be TOO easy (unless you were in the bonus dungeons)

However, when compared to FFX, it's not so bad, and while I wouldn't call it outstanding, it was at least decent to above average, and I don't regret buying it.

As for the fanservice, I'll be blunt:

This complaint is pointless! If you took a good look at FFX, it had a lot of fanservice too, it's just FFX-2 decided to throw in a lot more, and I just considered it bonus eyecandy for those into that sort of thing, and I personally liked it not just because I'm male, but because it does look aesthetically pleasing to the eye as well.

In short, it was a good game.
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Only J-pop can save us now
Ah, yes. The first FF sequel. I still remember seeing the EGM splash page of Yuna in hotpants.

Gamers (or Disney fans) had become numb to this sort of thing, however. Who can forget Aladdin 5: Jafar's Tax Audit, or Cinderella 14: Now Where Did I Put My Glasses?

I like FFX. That's a litmus for whether or not you'll hate X-2. For a first effort on the PS 2 (Little did we suspect XII would take an eon to see release), and the first to feature VAs, FFX was good. Too many people quibble about Tidus while simultaneously admitting that without a fish out of water protagonist, XIII was incomprehensible.

So now we turn our attention to X-2 — a.k.a. the Mein Kampf of video games. Well, as a fluff sequel, X-2 performs above expectations. Don't expect much in the way of character development. Yuna is no longer a chaste nun. Don't get me wrong, the Gullwings are an ingenious idea (Sky Pirates. Your argument is invalid). But FF games, like most jrpgs, become boring when its heroes work out their neuroses. Yuna has done that, and therefore has no arc. Call it anti-feminist but there it is.

As for the gameplay, well...even with the New Game + gimmick, the ease of beating X-2 discourages many replays. There aren't any Self Imposed Challenges for X-2, because the thing plays itself.

If anything, X-2's plot is a bit too interesting, especially given its payoff — or lack thereof. We learn that each of Spira's bigwigs share some sort of murky history. The game tries to deconstruct the notion of toppling the Evil Empire, with everything being gravy afterward. Rival factions are springing up, and civil war is on the horizon. Inevitably, however, the game chickens out, and all the world's problems are solved through Yuna's power ballad. The big revelation surrounding the new character, Paine, is similarly flaccid.

Still, I would rather have experienced X-2 than not.
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