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A Few Years Later...
FFX-2's battle system is excellent. Taking the best elements from FFX's system and combining them with a fast paced ATB system, enjoyable quick battles are formed. For those not familiar with the ATB system, it allows characters a number of turns proportional the their speed. In FFX-2, each ability has a special speed as in FFX, and some also require charge times. By timing attacks so they go off at the same time, chain combos can be created. If an attack is in a chain, it gains a minor damage bonus. Classes may be changed in the middle of battle and bonuses can be unlocked depending on which grid is equipped. This allows interesting strategy and allows flexibility. Characters are also no longer limited by which keys or which equipment they have. As long as a class is unlocked, any ability can be learned, though order matters. Battles are fast, allow smooth chains, and allow strategy.
Normal battles are easy and only a few annoying late bosses pose any real threat. The ability to change classes in the middle of battle offers enough flexibility to get out of nearly any bad situation. The high frequency which characters are able to use their desperation-like classes also makes battles easy as they are usually horribly overpowered. Overall, a very easy game.
FFX-2 features an excellent interface as was expected. The only problems it has are when it plays the annoying transformation clips even when they have been turned off and some issues with jumping. The localization is excellent as well, featuring few noticeable errors and plenty of good translated voice acting.
Being a sequel to FFX, FFX-2 is naturally very similar. Everything from the characters to the way the final boss is fought comes directly from FFX. FFX-2 can't be penalized for being similar to FFX though as it is a direct sequel. Direct sequels are also something new to the Final Fantasy series. The battle system is also quite new and interesting despite being made up of the ATB system and the one used in FFX. The ability to chain, change classes in battle, and have charge times are fairly new ideas. The addition of the jump command is a fairly new concept and adds slightly different gameplay. Still, FFX-2 is only somewhere in the middle in terms of originality.
X-2 makes a transition into a game that's heavily sidequest based. Most of the game consists of small subplots which advance slowly as they player completes more and more quests in an area. The main plot itself a decent, but it is severely neglected due to the focus on sidequests. There are only a few new major characters that are fairly developed. The major characters from the previous game aren't developed very much at all and remain fairly static through most of the game. As there isn't a strong central story and most of the subplots aren't very developed, FFX-2 doesn't live up to the Final Fantasy standard for storyline, though it is still average overall.
The music found in most of FFX-2, especially the battle theme, is painfully repetitive. Even one of the boss themes repeats every few seconds. While it does still have a few good tracks, most of the music is lacking. Fortunately sound helps make up for this as most sound effects are good and there is plenty of clear voice acting. The good and bad tend to cancel each other out, but music/sound still isn't very good.
Most of the visuals come straight out of FFX, though there have been a few improvements and additions here and there. They still remain at the top of the RPG graphics pyramid though and the FMVs are simply stunning.
Though FFX-2 fixes most of the errors present in FFX, it makes a number of new mistakes such as neglecting the plot. It's still a lighthearted and fun game to play and it has plenty of extras to keep players busy. Overall, a good game and I recommend it to those that enjoyed the original FFX.
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