For some reason I got an urge to replay Final Fantasy X. I popped open an emulator and turned on turbo mode to get through the slow-paced combat at 3x speed, and was done with the game in 3 days. Totally enjoyable. The combat is fun, there are plenty of side activities, and -- while all the "emotional" moments are totally awful and ridiculous -- there are a few parts with a few quirky npcs with a few quips that are genuinely charming. Above all, though, it has a decent core game that is fun to play... and the "core" story arc (excluding the awful dialog and acting) is actually fairly interesting to me. Overall it's a pleasant experience.
So, naturally, I wanted to play FFX-2, because I remember people praising it and I remember it getting positive reviews. Metacritic would mostly confirm that. Don't worry, I didn't just emulate the game, I went ahead and bought it on Amazon for 15 bucks.
To reiterate: this game is a crime against humanity.
It starts with a splash screen accompanied by music more suitable to Gran Turismo than what I thought should have been in a sequel to FFX. The intro sequence follows suit. My heart almost collapses into itself out of pure cringe-inducing, literally painful singing from a person who definitely should not be singing, according to her character. Little did I know it was only a kind of doppelganger, made possible by... garment grids? That's a whole other topic.
I thought, "phew, I'm glad that's over." But, no. No, Development! Holy fuck, no; it's not over. It's the entire game. From the hot spring scene, where Rikku attempts to check out Yuna and Paine's boobs in the most alien way imaginable, to the airship shaped like a crab/motorcycle hybrid, to... well, every line of dialog, this game is responsible for the most physical pain I've ever experienced from a piece of entertainment.
Yes, I understand what this game is supposed to be. Sin is dead forever. It's a time of great joy. Yuna has gone off to explore the world and have fun while searching for one final MacGuffin related to Tidus (who, by the way, is fucking DEAD. Why is she trying to find him? She knows he's dead. She saw him die and disappear. Actually, he was never even real in the first place!). The game is intentionally very laid back and you're generally supposed to feel like you're on vacation within FFX's world. I get that. But it's done in a way that makes me think it's all the product of a 50-year-old man who's never actually seen humans interact before, let alone young women.
That's just the story. The combat is a total fucking mess. I camped out in the Thunder Plains for a half hour and got to level 30, and proceeded to slaughter everything in my path from then on without even bothering to care what battle option I was selecting. "Attack, attack, attack. Everything's dead. Repeat." The combat favors mashing attack as fast as possible, because taking your time and choosing the "intelligent" battle option will end with you taking more damage than if you'd just attacked the enemy normally. Not to mention that "garment changing" takes too long for me to care about mid-battle when I could just kill the enemy in the time it takes for a single dumb animation to play out (it still takes too long when you turn the animations completely off). Oh yeah, and every single enemy I fought (with the small exception of the Leblanc goons and some giant machine in the desert) is an exact copy-paste of an enemy from FFX. Yes, I understand the locations are going to mostly be the same, but not even adding new textures to the enemy models is pretty pathetic. How was this game received so well?
I'm currently at a spot where I'm tasked with gathering musicians together (for the second time! The first time was just for fun! Yay!) so we can ostensibly put on a musical show for Spira, because it's "what they need"... or something. And fuck that. I'm done. This game is not for me. I don't know who it is for. Aliens? Toddlers?
Anyway, there's my rant. Felt good to vent after all the bad news lately.