So FFX-2 was always one of those games that back in the day I heard was bad like FF13 (FF13 is one of my top 3 FFs lol) and I remember getting immediately burned when I tried 13-2 but probably mostly because I was really satisfied with FF13's ending so to pick up and add more to it felt wrong. However with what I know about FFX's ending, a sequel seems more interesting or fitting? I've never actually beaten FFX but I've gotten the gist of what goes down. I played up to the wedding before my used disc crapped out and years later I bought a factory sealed copy but it had been too long to pick up investment. Maybe some day. The last major event I remember is when the game forces a Kimahri only boss on you and boy oh boy did I not level up Kimahri because I didn't really get that FFX's sphere grid wasn't like your average RPG where everyone is SUPPOSED to only learn unique skills, so him learning other people's skills (I think I had him pick up a couple of Wakka's) made him immediately uninteresting and somewhat useless to me at 15. Recently a friend explained to me that basically you can have two Aurons if you put in the work with Kimahri so damn did I miss out. Ultimately I benched him and Rikku pretty hard lol.
Anyway, FFX-2 is blast. The opening is a perfect relic of the early 00s and it feels like the devs really went nuts with style. Even the menus are a huge step up from FFX's minimalist and flat look for an earthy stone and old map look, absolutely love the detail of the spotlight that follows the cursor around. Call me old, but man they don't make menus like this anymore. Shoutout to Persona 5 and Neo: The World Ends With You for really trying to go nuts with RPG menus again, but I also admire FFX-2 for pretty much just have a standard menu, but with a little pizzazz, you know? Not too in your face to get old (P5's menus did get old for me) but just enough to say Wow! NTWEWY's will never get old tho, TWEWY is timeless like that (actually it's extremely dated inherently but I think it runs with that as a time capsule of teen angst. Which is cool).
As soon as I was given free movement and travel, of course I went and tried out the different classes represented through Dresspheres and basically started grinding. I completed one sidequest for the hell of it and was rewarded with a new class! That ruled!!! It got me excited to just go DO SHIT to see what other loot I could get. Once you have the power to go wherever and check out the sites, the game gets this VERY SaGa Frontier energy where you're given free exploration pretty quickly and there's a lot of spots you want to go early on to get party members or SWEET LOOT before monsters start cooking you. And with how most of the good skills are learned in SaGa Frontier only by sparking them to happen, FFX-2 also does but with a points system rather than hidden values and randomization. So anyway, I spent a good time grinding up my jobs and having a good time. I think this is the most fun I've had with FF's Job system since I last messed with it in FF3 DS. And that's pretty much as far as I've gotten so far. I love the characters, Yuna is as great as ever, Rikku is always a fun time, and Paine is EXCELLENT. The trio have such good synergy and the battle quotes of them all bouncing off of each other are so fun. Personal fave:
Rikku: Dr. P in the house!
Paine: Stop that.
Some last notes that I really about this game, changing jobs mid-battle is neat and I like how you have to set up the grid strategically around who you're likely to swap to what. I can see that getting REALLY interesting late game and it feels like an interesting beta to FF13's paradigm shifts which I liked a lot. Additionally a small QOL thing that I like that FFX-2 does, is that if you heal a party member at the same time or just before someone deals the killing blow to a monster, they will still heal that party member before going to the victory screen. Most RPGs end the battle there and force you to open the menu and go through the steps from there to heal, but I like that this game just says "oh yeah, you're gonna do that anyway, may as well save you the time." It really is the little things that can make all the difference in how an RPG handles, and I think X-2 gets it.
Looking forward to taking my time as I play through this one!