cptnoblivious's Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission (PlayStation 2) review

A Very Confusing Game

Actually what I should be saying is that I am confused whether I should be giving this game a 5 star mark, or a 2 star mark.  On the one hand, this game is definitely a Final Fantasy game from the Final Fantasy V gameplay style branch.  On the other hand, you have a ridiculous "girl power" plot and the most confusing series of events this side of Final Fantasy VIII.
For those of you who don't know, Final Fantasy X-2 is the first direct sequel to any Final Fantasy game.  It continues the story of Spira after the events of Final Fantasy X.  You play Charlie's Angels... er... I mean the Gullwings who are comprised of Final Fantasy X heroes, Yuna and Rikku as well as their new sphere hunter friend, Paine.  They travel around Spira in a hot-rod airship looking for spheres (video logs) of Spira's past.  The world itself is a marginally realistic look at what happened to Spira after the marginally realistic events of Final Fantasy X.
There is a lot to like in this game.  First off, the graphics are good for a PlayStation 2-era game.  Secondly, there is a lot of fan service for those who are into anime babes.  Lastly, and most importantly, the job system implimentation here is actually fantastic.  It is most similar to Final Fantasy V, for those who have played that title.  For those who have not, each character chooses a "job" such as gunner, warrior, white mage, etc. and builds up powers and skills associated with each job.  Unlike past Final Fantasy job systems, this one doesn't punish you for leveling up, as your character level still greatly effects your abilities with each new "job", so you never feel as though you're starting from scratch.
That being said, there is a lot of nonsense in this title.  First off, there is a lot of fan service, which distracts from the very real problems associated with the world as it stands after Final Fantasy X.  Secondly, this game is supposedly trying to play off the "girl-power" theme that you would find in the Charlie's Angels movies, but instead it boils down to slight sexual innuendo and gratuitous bikini-clad butt shots.  Third, the job system that is so cool here gets wrapped up in fan service by making the system actually a "dress" system where your job is  your attire that you dress-up in.  Finally, I consider myself to be a pretty smart guy, but this game's plot had me scratching my head almost as much as the plot to Final Fantasy VIII.  It got wrapped up so much in the girl-power, fan service, and just plain goofy-ness of the characters overall that the real plot suffered and was honestly very confusing as to why I needed to follow the plot path in the first place.
Overall, this game is recommended for serious fans of the series only, or people who will skip cut-scenes who want to play with the job system here.  All others will feel their intelligence being insulted, and their rational nature being confused by the story.
edit: Fixed a spelling error

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