Angst? What Angst?: Gippal has considerably less angst about his past than the other three Crimson Squad survivors. He isn't flippant about those events, but you can tell there was a lesson learned. He's the only one who acknowledges Paine when he meets her: He excitedly says "you!" but plays along when she pretends they've never met.
Anti-Climax Boss: Vegnagun can be taken down near effortlessly if the characters' levels are even slightly above average (e.g. players sought 100% Completion or partook in even a few of the game's countless side quests). Afterwards, the climactic fight with Shuyin is a joke. Though at the very least, he actually tries to put up a fight, unlike X's Yu Yevon who was virtually helpless without his meatsuits.
Yuna, due to how her personality evolves in this game. Then there is the hotly-debated audio drama Final Fantasy X -Will-, wherein she breaks up with Tidus out of nowhere by claiming there is somebody else she loves, which caused some fans to lose all respect for the character (while others would rather not acknowledge it at all). The audio drama does have its defenders, though: Some have claimed that Yuna's infidelity is blown out of proportion and that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that she made the whole thing up.
Chuami from the audio drama. You either like her for how direct she is, or...not. And that's without addressing her claim that she's Auron's daughter.
Broken Base: Opinions on the secret ending vary. It's a bit trite, and kind of retroactively cheapens Tidus' sacrifice in the previous game. And washing up on Besaid just in time to be spotted by the Celsius is one of those dramatic moments that strain credulity. On the other hand, the same metaphysics that allowed Shuyin and the Dark Aeons to come back made Tidus' resurrection implicitly possible, so purists can't exactly argue with it, and it's not like X and X-2 didn't offer foreshadowing. Emotional justice, a term used by the romance novelist community, exists for a reason; unrealistic as it is, it's also pleasingly indulgent for that same reason.
Once the Gunner gets to the point where she equips Cat Nip, the game is as good as won: Trigger Happy will inflict 9999 damage per shot with this accessory. This was unsurprisingly nerfed in the International/HD Remaster versions, now preventing her from using Trigger Happy due to Cat Nip now inflicting Auto-Berserk and -Slow statuses.
Logos in the Fiend Arena. His Quick Hit spam is legendary and helps build up a chain, so his teammates' strongest attacks hit even harder.
Two Machina with Impale (which ignores Defense) is overkill, and three even moreso; even superbosses will get wrecked in seconds by seemingly innocuous and low-level machina.
Contested Sequel: The Lighter and Softer tone contrasted sharply against Final Fantasy X. Probably the rest of the series too, aside from Final Fantasy V (which it shares gameplay similarities with). You either like it as a breath of fresh air to a normally dramatic franchise, or feel it's completely out of place and ruins the tone of the previous game.
Cry for the Devil: What happened to Shuyin. Following his death in Bevelle alongside Lenne, the poor bastard spent the next millennium being forced to relive his death and the death of his lover. Over and over, without a break, for a thousand years. Yeah, you can understand why someone might want to reduce the entire planet to ashes after that.
Azi Dahaka has a nasty attack which knocks off 50% of your max HP. Not current, max. And it hits everyone at once. Its melee attack is actually several attacks done in one turn, so you can't stagger them all.
The following do not appear outside of Via Infinito and Fiend Arena, and for good reason.
Two words that will make many visitors of the Via Infinito quake in their boots: Mega Tonberry. Its attacks are more powerful and frequent than its normal brethren, along with inflicting some nasty side effects if the target does survive. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't require Cat Nip Gunner, it just requires players to be strategic in order to beat it. The Oversouled version also inflicts the Petrify status...unless the target has Stoneproof. In which case she'll just get hit with Confuse status instead, which cannot be blocked.
Individually, these two specific Fiends are already a headache. But then you can face them together, as the Shady Duo team, in the lowest levels of Via Infinito and the Fiend Arena: Black Elemental casts powerful spells, Berserks your party, and comes with innate Auto-Reflect. Coming from an Elite Mook with max Magic, Ultima generally means Game Over even with Shell on, and it cannot be Reflected. (X's Ultima Buster actually had less Magic at 178, and the next two below that were Jumbo Flan and Nega Elemental who didn't even break 100.) Mushroom Cloud's Pernicious Powder is an unavoidable, party-wide debuff which lowers the Strength and Magic of its targets to a mere 1/10th of their usual values. In addition, it inflicts a bunch of the more nastier status ailments, including Petrify and Itchy (the latter of which always hits), so there's a chance this attack can simply kill you outright if you're not protected against those ailments. Oh, and Mushroom Cloud also knows Ultima.
Rikku/Gippal is a popular pairing even if theres only a bit of Ship Tease canonically. There are numerous shipping videos, and the majority of fanart of Gippal depict him as Rikku's boyfriend.
Paine/Baralai has some traction too, which is surprising since there's absolutely no hint of it in the game. The logic seems to be that as Yuna's Single-Target Sexuality is for Tidus, Rikku is busy with Gippal and Nooj is (begrudgingly) tied to LeBlanc; Baralai and Paine are the only two members of their respective trios not paired up. There are a few cutscenes fans are able to use to show support of the Paine and Baralai ship. In the past, Baralai went out of his way to include her in conversations with the Crimson Squad crew and made her feel welcomed. He was the first to acknowledge her presence outside of her recording role. There were hints of Nooj and Paine due to her saving him during his suicide mission; however, it's shown later her interest is due to respect and seeing him as a "captain." Gippal and Paine behave more as buddies so the only one to ship her with is Baralai out of the Crimson crew. In the end, for male pairings it's Baralai, for female pairings it's Rikku.
Yuna somehow being a reincarnation of Lenne is a popular theory. This is mainly due to Shuyin mistaking Yuna for Lenne even though the two look nothing alike. The in-universe reason is that the Songstress dressphere has Lenne's outfit and her memories imprinted on it; it's also implied that Yuna sings with Lenne's voice. (This is better represented in the Japanese version, where Lenne's speaking and singing voice are provided by Koda Kumi.)
There is some confusion as to the age of the Crimson Squad survivors. Baralai is mistakenly thought to be the youngest, possibly due to being voiced by Rick Gomez's younger brother Josh. Gippal is actually the youngest, only being eighteen, while Baralai is twenty. It's All There in the Manual.
The criticism mainly revolves around mood whiplash and having a sense of who is this person wearing Yunas skin? Now, whether or not the plot/writing motivations behind it resonate with the player, it is undeniable that somber Yuna cant come to the phone right now because she is dead. Imagine you're playing Crisis Core, but the game is glitched to where Zack's swimming trunks outfit is the default one in every cutscene. It would sort of affect the drama and how you view his character, wouldn't it? Same with Yuna's underbutt and Rikku's visible g-string.
Last Mission was the last nail in the coffin for many. Tidus is BACK, and they say zilch about him (although it's reasonable to assume that not everyone playing Last Mission will have seen the canon ending) except for 5 lines in a cutscene, during which Yuna talks about dumping him for someone else. Or you could just pretend the bonus audio doesn't exist like most people who love X. Apparently, the Japanese version had different scenes based on what ending you got: The English version was supposed to play out as though the perfect ending save was uploaded. But the scenes indicate that it's anything but. (It's not even worth trying to rationalize because it was written as a prologue for a potential X-3 which has yet to happen and probably won't.) The Japanese version is super-comfy: Yuna keeps mentioning Tidus over and over again. Also, they discuss Lulu's kid.
The abominable audio drama (included in the HD Remaster) re-ignited the fanbase. Yuna breaks up with Tidus because he is supposedly cheating on her, and then she claims to be in love with someone else, despite the fact that this comes completely out of nowhere. A new character made specifically for the drama claims to be the daughter to Auron purely on the basis that her mother told her so. Lastly, Sin, which was eliminated for good, comes back into the picture just because someone or something wished it back. Needless to say, a lot of fans prefer to ignore the audio drama and preserve what they liked about the characters.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One of the Fiend Tales depicts a Bomb pretending to be a blitzball to encourage a little kid (his best friend in the Fiend's human life) to train hard. The audio drama has a scene of Tidus getting blown up by a grenade he thought was a blitzball.
Girl-Show Ghetto: Although it received positive reviews upon release, the game has a sizable hatedom partly due to being marketed to women, especially when compared to other Final Fantasy games.
He Really Can Act: One of the biggest gripes with FFX was Hedy Burress' attempts to lip-sync with a character who was clearly speaking Japanese, something the other actors were smart enough to not bother with. She had zero experience with voice acting and her dialog was wooden—which one could argue fit the character, but English speakers felt cheated. The improved graphics in X-2 allow the lips to be rendered in real time, and we get a much more confident performance from her.
There's quite a bit of it between YRP, particularly during the hot springs scene in Gagazet. Rikku checks out both Yuna and Paine, making it clear that she's commenting on their boobs/butts. The girls proceed to have a bit of a playful Cat Fight until Brother interrupts them with his horniness.
A later scene has Rikku compare herself to Lenne's dead lover, Shuyin, by recounting how she once tried to save the one sheloved, complete with holding Yuna's hands.
There's a Mini-Game where Yuna has to straddle LeBlanc and give her a massage, complete with suggestive moans of pleasure. When she falls asleep at the end, Yuna peers at her magic fingers and remarks with awe about how "good" she is.
Yuna's line during the final act of the main campaign, "I don't like your plan. It sucks." Unintentionally funny for some (everybody present recoils as though she just uttered a string of raunchy expletives), but it precedes a Rousing Speech about how shes tired of people sacrificing their lives for a hollow victory, and how she will make sure Everybody Lives this time around. She manages to get the Machine Faction, the Youth League, and the LeBlanc Syndicate on the same page, along with perpetual Death Seeker Mevyn Nooj.
Paine is not the first character to tame a falcon. That was the Ranger from V, who could randomly summon one.
Play the Game, Skip the Story: Not everyone was keen on the direction of the game relative to its predecessor. However, most agree that X-2 features a great implementation of the Active Time Battle system, with characters performing multiple actions all at once (which befits the theme about teamwork) and allowing players to switch classes on the fly during battle.
The Scrappy: While Brother was likable enough in X (partly due to how useful he was in Blitzball), here his incestuous and childish antics tested the patience of more than one player. Brother also suffered from being a Replacement Scrappy for Cid.
Self-Imposed Challenge: Some fans have said that there's not a lot of good challenges in X-2 since they restrict one's Dresspheres, and the whole gimmick of the battle system is being able to switch Dresspheres on the fly and have lots of obscure abilities. If you're stuck with a single Dressphere for each girl, that makes the run of the game feel akin to Final Fantasy, though probably not as good. However, there are still a few standouts:
The one many fans always point to is "First Steps Challenge." (First Steps Garment Grid, no accessories, and no items.) You have to use a ton of different abilities throughout the run and switch Dresspheres constantly, all with minimized stats. This can be done in a New Game+ on a maxed file, which is nice since players already have all of the Dresspheres and abilities without needing to grind for them again.
"All Songstress" team. Certain players find this one pretty amusing, especially in the early parts of the game when you can only kill things using magic, which requires creative use of accessories and Garment Grids. You have to balance out which girl is using her MP and how much, so you don't reach a boss and have no way to kill them. Though the rest of the game can be easily-broken by cheesing the Songs and Dances.
"Fewest Steps" (taking the shortest-possible route to the final boss) is another good one. Not the most difficult (especially if you're using Creature Creator), but can be pretty interesting.
Compared to the original, the game has a lot less emphasis on being a JRPG since there are a lot more minigames and it's also easier to grind to Lv. 99. A good number of fiends tend to roll over and die from melee attacks, so strategies that require different combinations of Garment Grids, Dresspheres, and accessories are put on the sidelines more often than not. That and you have Dresspheres that can break the game in half like Dark Knight and especially Mascot, and the Cat Nip accessory. At least it's far more balanced in the International and HD Remaster versions: you can still use it, it's just riskier and requires strategy. (But then again, the International and HD Remaster versions have the borderline overpowered Psychic Dressphere obtainable from the start.)
Since MP scales when you change Dresspheres, and you can also do it outside of battle, just flip over to the White Mage temporarily and then use her MP reserves to heal up between battles. You'll usually have one melee character who isn't using her MP for anything else, anyway. Through this method, White Mage trivializes most of the game's dungeons.
The Alchemist's Stash ability isn't so much of an instant win button as a can't lose button.
The First Strike Garment Grid is a near necessary for catching chocobos, and more than flexible everywhere else.
Aeons are no more, and they were part and parcel of a lot of strategies for surviving bonus bosses.
Stat grinding is also no more (unless you're playing the HD/International versions), so you're limited to what the Dresspheres give you and what you can scrounge up from accessories and Garment Grids. And those dip into your Auto-Abilities, which brings us to...
No customization of your gear. Accessories tend to give you only 1 or 2 Auto-Abilities, if even that, and you usually need a slot or two to make way for Defense and/or Magic Defense boosting accessories if you hope to live through whatever kind of nasty encounters the game throws at you, especially in the Via.
The reason the Cat Nip exploit was so popular is...seriously, bosses are so cheap in the later parts of the Via (it's on par with trying to do XI's late-game content having missed missables), and your own strength has been kneecapped compared to X. Or VII and VIII, for that matter. So the 'grin and bear it' strategies that saw you through the tougher fights in X are no longer viable. You more or less have to finish off enemies quickly here, or you don't stand a chance.
Shocking Moments: If you don't defeat the second-to-last final boss, Vegnagun, under the given amount of turns, or if it kills you, Shuyin fires the cannon and completely annihilates Spira.
Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Creature Creator in the International and HD Remaster versions, which allows you to recruit nearly every fiend out there and have them join your party and fight alongside or instead of YRP. And every single one of them has their own capsule bio. That's not even going into the tournament-style Fiend Arena, which grants you incredibly valuable items like Psychic and the ever powerful Mascot, and the requirements needed to unlock certain fiends and tournament cups. There's just so much to do, you could spend hours in Creature Creator without even progressing in the main story (especially during a New Game+).
Special Effect Failure: The most notorious instance is Rikku's calling out "Monkey!", which is accompanied by so many lip movements that it looks like there was meant to be a whole line of dialogue there.
Squick: Brother being madly in love with Yuna...when you remember that they're first cousins.
After he jumps out of the Celsius trying to save her, when she thanks him for his efforts he seemingly leans in to try to smooch her, or at the very least try to cop an uncomfortably feely and exploitative hug.
Strangled by the Red String: A variation. Since X ended, Lulu and Wakka are now together and expecting a baby. There were approximately two scenes in the first game which hinted at a possible romance between them: The first being Lulu comforting him during the Blitzball finals, and the second being Tidus suggesting she hook up with him (which she flatly refused). Although it's entirely possible for them to make a love connection in the two year Time Skip, especially since they both have had some more time to move on from Chappu and probably a lot more opportunity to bond and have fun now that Sin is gone.
Heartless Attack, which drops your HP to 1. It's only used by a few enemies outside of the Fiend Arena, but a lot of the exclusive enemies in said arena use it, to the point where L-sized party members are nearly useless beyond Grand Cup: Hard.
Pernicious Powder. As you might guess, it's an enormous Game-Breaker in the International and HD versions. You can capture your very own Mushroom Cloud as soon as the Via Infinito opens up. And yes, it can use this very same attack, with no downgrade in power whatsoever. Pernicious Powder's stat-lowering effect works on every enemy in the game, even foes normally immune to such debuffs, and it will obliterate the Arena bosses.
Paragon, basically Nemesis (X's bonus boss in all but name), has kept his Apocalypse attack, here renamed Big Bang. It does 99999 damage more often than not, and you can't have more than 18000 HP in a vanilla game. (You have the option to HP-boost creatures in the HD/International version.) Paragon casts it whenever special attacks are used, which kind of limits your options against him.
The Delta Attack from the Dark Magus Sisters. It automatically drops the HP of all your characters to 1. Worth noting that if you do the math, it did a LOT more damage when used against fiends in X; considering it can only harm your HP cap, the Dark Sisters' version is actually quite handicapped.
That One Boss: Like X, the story campaign is a cakewalk (even moreso without the worry of Seymour popping up), but it makes up for that by piling on the Omega-tier enemies:
The Experiment machina at Djose with all of its stats at Level 5 can wreck even a high-leveled party with ease. The (mercifully rarely used) Lifeslicer does damage equal to its target's max HP. Unless you're using a Garment Grid or accessory with Break HP Limit, you will die.
In the Den of Woe, Mevyn Nooj. Not only does Ligfall drain MP, but it hits your HP pretty heavily too: 5,000 fixed damage on the entire party, in a game where the maximum base HP at Level 99 is around 6,600. Thankfully, he only uses it when he Turns Red, so cutting him down to size before he uses it is quite doable. Unfortunately, Lightfall is his opening attack in the Fiend Arena, and he begins to pull it off at random intervals afterwards.
Tonberry the Ripper team. You can't expect to win without any sort of strategy or putting thought into your setup. Even then, only a certain set of creatures will have a high enough Defense.
Yojimbo's Zanmato does the same thing as Delta Attack, with the added "bonus" of depleting all of your MP. Oh, but keep in mind that he uses an attack which Poisons a target, so either guard against that or heal it, else you're in deep shit: At 1 HP, the Scratch Damage from Poison will kill anyone affected by it.
Almighty Shinra catches a lot of players off-guard. It's well, Shinra, absorbing the pyreflies of Omega (who wasn't a terribly difficult enemy), with near-max stats and some of the strongest moves. Of course, any party who prepared for this battle will have it easy, but considering that YRP can charge blindly into most fights and win, this is one of the more memorable ones. He opens with Clione, which makes it difficult to outwit his A.I. script, since he will prompt YRP to go into recovery mode. Clione delivers non-elemental damage to random targets.
That One Level: The New Cave in Thunder Plains is unlocked in Chapter 5 and can be fully explored after defeating Humbaba and rescuing Cid if you're going for 100% Completion. A veritable maze with non-sequential doors that unlock by adding up certain numbers (fiends encountered, gil earned, etc.) that are given to you throughout. Have a pen and paper nearby, as the combinations of later doors often involve the codes from previous doors! (It also helps to wear a Charm Bangle to prevent random encounters, because you'll have to keep track of the amount of fiends defeated and gil you've earned since entering the dungeon.)
The matchmaking/publicity side-quests, which requires you to walk up to random NPCs and pick from a list of five pitches each, which will prompt either a positive or negative response from the NPC. The problem is, without a FAQ or guide, you're given no clues whatsoever as to which statement to pick for which NPC. And if you want the best results for either side quest (especially for the former since it is required for 100% Completion), you have to be near-perfect. Now that's just pure sadism! You're thus reduced to either consulting a guide as mentioned earlier, Save Scumming to oblivion, or blowing all your money over the minigames at the Calm Lands building to boost your rep the slow way. Even if you do consult a guide for it, it's a game-spanning quest!
Sphere Break against Shinra if you're bad at math. If you're not, it still requires a bit of luck, because his core tends to generate core spheres of 1, which is likely to break your echo chains. You must beat him if you want to acquire the Lady Luck Dressphere. The new Sphere Break players in the International/HD Remaster have quotas starting from 300 and go all the way up to 500. There's a reason they reward you with endgame gear.
The Chocobo Ranch. The only useful thing you can reap from it is a few Bonus Dungeons, a few Garment Grids, and access to the Central Expanse for digging. Aside from that, you'll just end up getting lots of Vendor Trash. And locating one of those dungeons is completely obscure.
Did you hate the Cactuar side-quest you needed to tackle in order to power up Rikku's weapon in the previous game? Well then you'll be thrilled to learn that hunting 10 Cactuars to complete a quest, including playing minigames with them, is required for 100% completion. But not only that, they are spread all over Spira this time, so good luck decoding the clues to find them all!
By the time you reach the more deeper levels of Via Infinito, even random encounters feel like you're on a highwire. Lacertas with terrifyingly high Agility and Auto-Haste, Elder Drakes that can easily crush your party while disabling your Escape/Flee command, Mega Tonberries with their on-crack attack speed and physical damage going upwards to 99,999 HP.
While dealing with the groups who emerged in the political fallout of the last game made for an interesting last act, some people think that the game would have been a lot more interesting if that was the entire story.
The Good and True endings, for some. There is no buildup or reason (except one vague line from Bahamut) to explain why Tidus comes back two years after the events of X, or how Shuyin's incident is related to him.
Brother's relationship with Yuna. It's stated that he learned the common language so he could communicate with her, which could have been a decent subplot about Yuna and Brother bonding as cousins after they were prevented from doing so as children. Instead it was used for a widely-disliked Running Gag about Brother's blue balls.
Tier-Induced Scrappy: Naturally, not every Dressphere can be winners, and there are a few that are abused to all hell. Case in point:
Dark Knight just has too much going for her. It's the cheapest to master, but it is a boring class: Too much Defense, essential for surviving most of the late-game bosses, and Darkness spam (which pierces Magic Defense) gets old very quickly. This is further exacerbated by a bug involving Spellspring, i.e. infinite MP. Literally the only thing keeping players from cheesing three Dark Knights for the rest of the game is that they need a dedicated healer. Now add an Alchemist with Stash > Mega-Potion, and they're essentially immortal.
Uncertain Audience: Some male gamers were turned off by the sassy female leads and the dress-up aspect, while some female gamers were weirded out by the blatant fanservice.
Values Dissonance: Yuna has no problem bending the rules when it comes to other peoples' beliefs, but has a major stick up her butt when it comes to Zanarkand, and takes action to drive people away from an ostensibly public place. Yuna's version of events would be valid if she had extended the same courtesy to Gagazet. After all, Kimahri was upset that the Leblanc Syndicate were defiling sacred ground, so Yuna broke up their pool party—only to do the exact same thing. Even Rikku expressed some hesitation. (Maybe Kimahri should breed monkeys in the hot spring to stop Yuna from coming.) Unfortunately, there is no line of dialog to indicate that Yuna has proven her worth to the Ronso, or that they consider it a compliment that she would want to use their hot spring. Why? This is a Japanese game. There's not one example of a sacred hot spring where you aren't supposed to bathe in it. That's usually the whole point of why a particular hot spring is considered to be sacred. They usually aren't places where you are expected to be very solemn or serious, either. On the other hand, generally speaking, treating things like battlefields as tourist attractions in Japan is considered disrespectful. It doesn't mean it isn't done, but it isn't something which is regarded very highly as compared with Western cultures.