Final Fantasy X-2 is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy X (hence the odd title). But just saying that won't convey how bizarre the game is. It takes place in the exact same world, with all of the exact same locations, maps and enemy sprites as in Final Fantasy X. Only here, Yuna is wearing short shorts, says "poopie" in conversation, and runs around collecting treasure with Rikku and some girl named Paine. To the sound of funk guitars. If you are staring at this description in shock, I am sorry, I cannot help you. There is a storyline in here -- Tidus has gone missing after the events of Final Fantasy X, and Yuna wants to find him -- but it takes a back seat to a mind-numbing amount of side-quests, as well as the capers of the main characters.
The game plays like an immature teenage boy's idea of feminism. There are practically no prominent male characters, and the stronger ones from Final Fantasy X have disappeared. Yuna and company easily beat the hell out of anyone and everyone, thus displaying their toughness and independence. At the same time, they are dressed in ridiculously scanty outfits (Rikku first appears wearing a bra and two shirt sleeves, but without a shirt), act like giggling airheads, sing bubbly pop songs, and constantly change clothes.
I find myself wondering who the game's target audience is. I strongly doubt that real girls would be able to relate to these caricatures. The revealing clothing, and the overall characterization, seems to be targeted at immature teenage boys. Now, before you yell at me for saying that, I don't mean that that's a bad thing -- I can totally understand that an immature teenage boy would want to play a game where he identifies with a tough hero who rescues stereotypically attractive women from monsters, or something like that. I find that very understandable and even admirable. But why would an immature teenage boy want to play this game, where the women will just make him feel inadequate with their aggressive displays of their physical charms, combined with god-like fighting skills? And what immature teenage boy could tolerate such a sugary-sweet pop backdrop? Perhaps it's the same factor that drives the success of female characters in fighting games. I'm just not sure that that factor is a good enough premise for a forty-hour RPG.
Let me emphasize: I don't object to the fact that the game forsakes the serious air of Final Fantasy X for a more humour-oriented style. I would welcome a genuine humour RPG. The thing is, the game isn't really all that funny, it's just hyperactive. Despite Yuna's crazy antics, despite the lighter tone, the writing is actually kind of bland. The game has got the revealing clothes, the martial-arts action, the glitzy FMV, and every other kind of sound and fury, but in the end it's surprisingly forgettable.
The gameplay repeats the Job system. Again. You know all the jobs by now, and you know all the abilities, and you know how it works. There are a few minor changes here -- now you can't use abilities from a job you've mastered with a different job, you can only learn abilities by performing certain actions in combat, and you can change jobs in the middle of a fight. Some of these changes work pretty well, and the game plays quite smoothly. But still, when all is said and done, these are minor, relatively insignificant modifications to a system that was already more than ten years old when the game came out. Come on, Square. At least try to come up with something new. Oh well, it's not a total loss -- at least the battles are fairly fast-paced, even more so than in Final Fantasy X.
You should probably rent this once just to marvel at the grandiose tastelessness of the game designers. But beyond that, it won't really show you anything you haven't seen before. Whether you like or dislike Final Fantasy X will be no indication of whether you will like this game.