Final Fantasy X-2 Is All The Fun Of The Series Without The Self-Importance

Final Fantasy X has a happy ending, and it’s called Final Fantasy X-2. It’s a game that starts with a toe-tapping musical number and features a combat system built around magical girl-style outfit transformations. And yes, blonde rogue Rikku looks adorably ridiculous in it.

This week sees the release of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for the Xbox One and Switch, giving the Nintendo and Xbox faithful their first taste of one of the most joyous games in the series. Final Fantasy X was all doom, gloom, fake sports and sacrifice, with a little horrifying forced levity mixed in for good measure. Final Fantasy X-2, the first direct video game sequel in Final Fantasy history, teams up a trio of adventurous women and sends them on a treasure-hunting road trip across the world of Spira. What begins as Yuna and friends’ quest to hunt down memories of a certain boy who may or may not be real evolves into a mission to save the world from an evil villain with an incredibly familiar face.

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In other, more vague terms, shit gets serious. But never serious enough to fully detract from the fun of taking Yuna, Rikku and Paine to dangerous places to find them killer outfits to wear.

Years before Noctis and the lads took a road trip in Final Fantasy XV, Y.R.P. (their stage name) were kicking ass and changing clothes mid-battle. Harnessing the spirit of the series’ job change system, Final Fantasy X-2’s heroes change character classes in dramatic fashion. Over the course of their adventure the group collects dresspheres, bits of memory containing a job’s special skills and unique appearance. Once slotted onto a piece of equipment called a garment grid, these dresspheres can be swapped out during battles.

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Say you’ve got Paine in the party as a Warrior. She’s got some strong physical attacks, but the enemy you’re facing is more susceptible to magic.

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What you need is some sort of magic-user capable of casting black magic. Like a Black Mage, maybe. Thanks to the dressphere system, Paine has that power, and she looks fabulous to boot.

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There are 16 different dresspheres to collect in Final Fantasy X-2, along with one special dressphere unique to each of the game’s three characters. That means that, despite having only three playable characters, X-2 has nearly endless party composition variety. And since the latest versions are remastered from the extended Final Fantasy X-2 International release, originally exclusive to Japan, it also features the monster capture system, which allows players to capture and add some 150 different creatures and characters to their party. The possibilities are finite, but far too many for me to bother calculating.

It’s also so very Japanese. Final Fantasy X-2, with its transforming clothes and healthy sense of humor, gave Westerners a taste of Eastern silliness many of us hadn’t tasted back in 2003. Who knew Final Fantasy heroes could just kick back and have some fun, especially these particular heroes? To go from plodding across the land on a dire quest to hopping up and down towers and cliff sides in search of treasure was such a lovely change.

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Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is now playable on Xbox One and Switch, as well as the previously-released PlayStation 4 and PC versions. Play Final Fantasy X if you haven’t yet, and then strap in for a wild ride. It’s the most fun you can have with the series until Final Fantasy XV-2 comes out (please oh please).

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About the author

Mike Fahey

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, toys, snacks and other unsavory things.