My Gaming Guilty Pleasure

Everyone has a guilty pleasure, don’t deny it. I guess perhaps if you’re completely comfortable with yourself you’d be guilt free… but I can’t be completely comfortable with how much I like this game! I just can’t. The game is…

Final Fantasy X-2… DUN DUN DUNNN

Sigh. This game did so many things wrong. Yuna (middle in the picture) lost half of her brain, Payne (bottom right) is just the replacement for a character who was in the previous game (She’s like a younger, more androgynous Lulu. Y’all know it’s true), and Rikku (top left) lost an entire dimension of her personality, the one with any depth. This game essentially took loved characters and changed their personalities in ways that seemed self indulgent and unlikely. Would Yuna actually decide to change her entire image over two years? Would she realistically lost a large part of her personality that gave her depth and decide “hey, suddenly I like booty shorts” when there are no indication of such in the previous game? I don’t care if you or anyone else wants to wear booty shorts. What I do care about is that I think the creators were selling Yuna’s sexuality by having her behave out of character, and frankly, dumbing down both her and Rikku in an attempt to appeal to young girls. Neither of these things sit well with me.

Final Fantasy X Yuna

 

Final Fantasy X-2 Yuna

Warning: There will be spoilers in this post. FFX came out over 10 years ago so I don’t really feel bad. Now over the course of FFX, Yuna found out her religion was kind of evil, and lost the one she loves. I understand this is going to change a person, but Yuna’s modesty was never a religious thing. In fact, there are other religious folk in FFX who are REALLY revealing (Lady Yunalesca? SUPER revealing). So I want to rule out the idea that when Yuna overcame her religion she also overcame her more modest style. Now I want to be clear about something: I do not think there is anything wrong with someone, or in this case a character, being dressed in revealing clothing. But in the case of Yuna it seems like a totally self indulgent decision. Like the creators couldn’t help but be like “she’s liberated! sex her up! and make her personality less serious!” Also, good luck not having a boob pop out while fighting in that shirt. Ain’t happening.

Now onto Rikku…

Final Fantasy X Rikku

Final Fantasy X-2 Rikku

To be honest, I can see how Rikku ended up in this outfit. She went from age 15-17, which is a more significant jump in one’s growth than what Yuna experienced (by the way, I’m not holding these characters to the same standards as a 17 year old girl that I would see walking down the street. This is another universe where everyone, men included, can be quite revealing). Rikku was already in this sort of style, just a more childish toned down version of it. Sure, the thong straps might be a bit of an unnecessary embellishment, but I get it. Unfortunately, what I loved about Rikku is almost completely gone in X-2 though. She was always spunky, silly and upbeat, but she also had a huge heart and depth to her. In Final Fantasy X she would have moments where she seemed more wise than all of your other characters. In Final Fantasy X-2 this pretty much never happens. She’s just the silly, fun girl. Again, if that’s what she was from the start, fine, but I don’t like that her character was simplified.

I don’t really need to talk about Payne too much, because honestly of the X-2 girls I probably like her the best. This is probably only because she had a clean slate though, so the creators weren’t taking something that already existed and changing it unrealistically. The name “Payne” in conjunction with her red eyes and black leather outfit is a bit juvenile, but I can get over it. Payne is kind of tough and snarky, takes advantage of dry humour, and has a vaguely emotional past revealed through side quests. She’s not on the same level of character depth as either Yuna or Rikku in Final Fantasy X, but for X-2’s standard’s she’s okay!

Despite what this game did to characters I love, I really like it. Why? It’s EXTREMELY fun. The battle system is both fast paced and turn based, which is something that I hadn’t come in contact with much until this point. Throughout the game you find items called “Dress Spheres” that you can put in your “Garment Grid” in order to change classes. Now I’m not even going to bother talking about how annoying it is that because this game has three female protagonists the class system had to revolve around outfits/fashion, because that’s a pretty obvious problem. I’m just going to leave that alone and embrace how fun the actual system is. You’re able to change classes during battle, and the classes themselves are all really fun and have interesting abilities. My personal favourite is probably the alchemist. Alchemists learn many of the healing items in the game as abilities, so you always have access to them (Mega Potion all the time? Yes please). Their most interesting ability though is how they can mix the items you have in your inventory to make something different/better.

Rikku wearing the Alchemist Dress Sphere

I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to all the things I think about this game, but I think this post would be crazy long if I tried to write all my thoughts out (I’d also probably go crazy trying). The side quests are fun, and the story actually has these amazing little bits that are unfortunately mixed in with a pile of average to below average story telling and characters.

Last little disclaimer I’m going to put out there is that these are only my opinions. If you think this game is great, then great. I don’t mind if you like what they did with Yuna and Rikku, or think Payne is the best thing since the invention of the Materia system. I know plenty of people who didn’t mind these things, and part of me envies them because they were able to enjoy the game more than I did. I really felt like I grew with Yuna and Rikku in Final Fantasy X though, so seeing their character simplified is bothersome. I actually have a friend who was really touched after playing Final Fantasy X, and decided to start playing X-2 immediately after he finished X. Well… let’s just say he was already crying a bit because of the sad ending of FFX, and then he was REALLy crying when he saw the opening sequence of X-2 featuring pop star Yuna.

Pop Star Yuna… Don’t worry, it was an impersonator. But that still doesn’t change that the creators thought it was acceptable for this to BE IN THEIR GAME

Yeah…

Well that’s all I have to say. Writing this post is making me want to play this again…

-Windie

 

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