SummaryAn overture to the symphony
The GoodGood... bad... good... bad... it is not the right way to refer to it, but more as innovative, and from various points of view, too. One thing this game managed to break is its independency from the series. Every Final Fantasy game was always a standalone world for itself, with no general connection to one another. This one becomes the first true sequel to one of those game, more correctly, to Final Fantasy X. The story of Final Fantasy X didn't left us hangin' as much as it was a deep, touching and overly sad, but done marvelously at that very design pattern. However, Squaresoft obviously had in mind to leave it open and, with all the art and world done, they could focus on making this game a mission based plethora of quests. But they had to make a story to it, something that would still somehow keep the two major characters from the prequel in the center of event, driving this story until its conclusion.
Well, the whole game starts kinda... off balance and very silly I sensed the eruption of feelings in me wanting to throw it outside the window, along with the console and liquid crystal display. However, hours have passed and new opinion came to me, and the way events were unfolding, I couldn't help but to notice the game was patching itself up with every new move. Bottomline, the story was intriguing (and would be even more if I didn't have all the game's cinematics on my hard drive long time before). The ingame menu and all those stuff that looked complicated at first are actually not, and shouldn't take more times to adjust than the ones in FFX took you, but some may still be left unexplained which can drive you crazy if you cannot find even mentioned it in the manual either.
As the first battle started, I had no knowledge of what the heck is happening so I kept just pressing and pressing as if that would make a big deal of it. The thing is, the battles are incredibly neat and fully real-time (you can only pause them partially if you want, though), and it very depends how your characters are turned, and whether they strike from the front, side, or back. Both fiends and your characters will be changing positions on occasion, but you cannot move them yourself, it's in the heart of the battle, *g*.
The music this time wasn't composed by Nobuo Uematsu, and if you go listening to this game's soundtrack before playing this game first, it may well seem as a music from 1960s you can see in easy James Bond movies whenever they made cars go faster than actually. But as you play the game, it's quite alright, and gets a cool feeling for a change. Not to mention that "1000 no Kotoba" and "Real Emotion" are both great songs, even better when you see Yuna performing them in the pre-rendered cinematics.
And hey, this Final Fantasy game is way great for the fact you only have three characters and you don't get any new ones and can easily upgrade all three at once. Just shows how you don't need 12+ characters to make a good game.
The final boss battle is kinda neat. You can reach it and then fight first couple parts of the boss and then go exploring and finishing side-quests, and filling in the story bits, and then return to face the final boss again. But the final, three-battle boss is easy to pass if you're leveled up enough, little harder if you went just to grab the ending. The last of the three, if really a great battle. I dunno why, but seeing Shuyin (who looks similar to Tidus) fighting Yuna was really... well, there was something in that particular fight I liked though can't explain, 'cos generally, Shuyin character didn't seem too bright, and he played poorly his 1000 years of torment and suffering. Square could work a little bit more on his dialogues and attitude, though.
The BadFor a company such as SquareSoft, obvious bugs are intolerable. Probably the most obvious is the animation display of dresspheres. It is equivalent to summons in FFX, where you could see full animation, short one, or turn it off. Same thing in this game, only whichever you try, you'll be seeing full animation. Kinda makes you not wanna change the dresspheres too often, ya.
The whole setting and, new as well as old, characters were neat, except LeBlanc. Man, that cow alone could make this game so much less appealing you cannot imagine. And to boost up the annoyance, you'll have to confront her and her two goons more than once. Don't you just hate when you win some boss battle just to realise that you didn't win but only show off the enemy.
The ending is good but not so good at the same time. Since square focused on replayability level with this game, they made a couple of endings that you cannot see quite all at once, and doing a replay is not something people do with long RPGs (or if they do, then they are really to be admired). Luckily, I downloaded all the game's cinematics and saw all the endings, and I must say that they could easily glue the true ending right after the credits or after the normal ending and it would still look perfect. But no, they force you to replay and hope to capture all 100% of the story. Tsk tsk tsk, Square, always having extra time to complicate on their games.
The Bottom LineYuna's now put in the role of heroine, quite a gunslinger looking one, too, not so shy anymore. Rikku's there, joyful as ever, always boosting up the atmosphere, and Paine is a new, mysterious and sexy, just to add up to the trio. You'll be able to visit any place now as you'll be flying most of the time, and when on board, you will never lack tears to shed because Brother will be there to constantly give you a hard time being serious gamer.
So, if you played the prequel, this is a logical step to undergo. Otherwise, there isn't much meaning in playing this game alone. Sure, it's different and all that, but you miss a big picture if you didn't play the original. Good move would be to have 'em both or none. Better both, 'cos FFX was really something to mark the era of PlayStation 2.