I used to hate Final Fantasy X-2. I went from the gripping, sorrowful, and at times, fucking depressing Final Fantasy X [and XI when I had the chance] to Final Fantasy X-2. It was bright, cheerful, but still hiding some pretty dark moments. But I hated it at first. I used to describe it as “Charlie’s Angels: The RPG”. Yuna, Riku, and Paine gallivant around Spira, collecting spheres, learning new things, and unmasking ghosts/stopping crimes. Do they find love, or meaning to their lives, now that the Eternal Calm is upon them? Maybe! Maybe not! I’m not here to tell you the story. But I am here to tell you how over the course of time, I changed my mind. That happens from time to time. Now I didn’t hate everything about it. The Dressphere/Job system? Fantastic. The Garment Grids were cool, the airship was a bigass Harley, roaring through the sky. Old, familiar characters show up, and people have changed, whether for better or worse. They moved on with their lives. Some did, anyway.
It felt so shallow at first. It was just a way to make a cheap buck and at at the outset, I was offended. I mean sure, I had the collector’s edition guide and a day one purchase of the game, but I’m a Final Fantasy Fiend [no pun intended] and X is in my top three, and my top ten favorite RPGs of all time. X was a gut-wrenching tale of loss, death, and how it affected humans just in general. But that’s what X-2 is about: Moving on. Death, loss happened, and Yuna is trying to prove, I felt, that Tidus was real, and that he didn’t just “stop existing”. Or that he never was. So, she’s trying to find proof in the spheres that the love of her life is real. That’s fucking moving, a real touching series of moments. She experiences some of the “Six Stages of Grief”, going through bouts of Anger [“WHO THE HECK IS LENNE!?”], basically changing her entire life and moving on to try and find happiness, and give others happiness. But ultimately, her goal is to prove that Tidus is real, and wasn’t just a figment of the imagination. It’s pretty touching: She realizes that her life no longer has to be about death and sadness, and instead moves forward.
I really looked at the game the wrong way. As someone who often has trouble moving forward, and getting past earlier events, it in its own special has helped me think more positive. And that’s one of the beautiful things about video games: In their own way they offer a cathartic release or relief from pain. It’s a gentle reminder that things can, and do get better. FFX is all about the endless, horrific spiral of death. FFX-2 is for the most part, light-hearted and cheerful. Sure, the Vegnagun is a demonic world-ending weapon, and only by completing 100% of the game do you see the real ending, but people change, things get better, and a whole world moves forward. I think it’s really quite lovely in that way. I don’t hate FFX-2 anymore.