E3 2003: Final Fantasy X-2 Hands-on Impressions
Some people are skeptical about Square releasing a direct sequel to a previous Final Fantasy game, while others are eagerly awaiting Square’s upcoming Final Fantasy title, FFX-2. Signaling a drastic departure from the series, FFX-2 is a mission based action RPG with a heavier influence on job class and combat than the modern Final Fantasy games.
Graphically, X-2 looks exactly like the original Final Fantasy X. However, seeing as how beautiful the original was when released in 2001, it still more than manages to hold its own in the visuals department.
After checking out the demo version of FFX-2, I must say that I am impressed with the production values of the game. The battle system is complex and quite deep, and it would take me forever to extensively detail all the changes from FFX. Some of the big changes, though, are the return of the ATB (Active Time Battle), and the heavy focus on the job classes in the game. The ATB makes a return in a big way, as FFX-2 is easily the fastest playing of any Final Fantasy game to date. I entered three attack commands one right after the other, and instead of waiting for each character to take their turn, all three women, Yuna, Riku, and Paine, attacked simultaneously. It was quite a thing to see.
Switching out jobs is done by pressing down the L1 button and selecting your choice from a pop up menu. You can choose between several different classes such as different mage classes, classes that enable thieving abilities, and perhaps the most bizarre, a class that changes your character into a dancer. With this class you can do certain dances that cause various effects to either your enemies or your own party.
As impressed as I was with some of the newer aspects of the game, the heavy emphasis on job changes seems a bit overdone, especially with so much focus on the costumes involved. Every time I switched a character’s job class, I was forced to sit through a short scene showing the transformation from one costume to another. It was akin to having to watch summons animations over and over again. After going through this multiple times, I really grew weary of the whole ‘dress up’ system.
Another aspect that I didn’t find terribly appealing was the cheesy, almost ‘pop’ aesthetic of the game. Other people said it, and I didn’t believe it before, but Final Fantasy X-2 is so reminiscent of Charlie’s Angels it’s almost eerie. It is really different from other Final Fantasy games before it, and people who enjoyed the darker feel of previous games may have a problem with the presentation of X-2.
It becomes pretty clear right off the bat that FFX-2 is probably going to be a game that you either love or hate. We’ll just have to see how Square-Enix puts everything together for the final version. In the meantime, we’ll post more on the game as it becomes available, so stay tuned.