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THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. And blood. And milkshakes.
I arrived a little late to the party as far as Final Fantasy games go. I believe I picked up Final Fantasy X at Blockbuster one fateful day in 2002, when I passed it in the PS2 section and thought, "That guy looks cool." Oh, how looks can deceive. But I became a massive fan of the series despite how irritating some of the characters were.
It was my first experience with the JRPG genre and it was a good one. The lengthy, complicated story, the gorgeous soundtrack, and the in-depth world background (and Seymour Guado) all made up for how squeaky and obnoxious Tidus was. Jecht smacking him around a bit helped, too.
As a love story, it was kind of beautiful ... in a way. You've got Yuna -- a young woman, completely accepting of her fate as a summoner to die at the hands of Sin in order to keep the world safe for just ten more years. Then there's Tidus, an angsty athlete from an alternate dimension, kicking and screaming his way into the summoner's guardianship, all the while insisting, "THERE MUST BE ANOTHER SOLUTION!" Like I said, beautiful ... in a way. The game had its flaws, but it was enjoyable and the story played out well.
But by far the best part of the game was the end -- it wasn't a happy ending. Yuna and Tidus didn't get to be together, because Tidus was dead. His character had served its purpose, Sin was gone forever, the cycle was broken, and the citizens of Spira could live out the rest of their days in peace. Good job, Square. You managed to break the cliché of "and the googly-eyed hero and heroine lived happily ever after" by killing off the hero, and it was a truly amazing ending to a game. I cried like a baby.
So that's the end, right? ... right? :(
Fucking wrong. Surprise! Yuna and Rikku make a comeback wearing little more than hotpants and a thong, and oh wait...who's this butchy, gothy pile of angsty feminazi goo?
That's right. It's PAINE. Hi, my name is PAINE and I used to be a cutter but now I just channel my emotions into more creative pursuits like writing poetry about unrequited love and finger painting because I am a unique individual.
They're back, and they're on a mission. Fuck if I remember what the mission originally was, except that it involved dancing your enemies to death and a lot of high fives and a heavy girl-power vibe. Oh, oh right. They're looking for clues to lead Yuna back to Tidus. You know, the one that's supposed to be gone forever.
The most irritating part of Final Fantasy X-2 for me isn't the dress-up-game combat system, or even the fact that Yuna gets to be with Tidus again. It's these guys.
Lenne and Shuyin -- somehow tied in with Tidus and Yuna, these two died during the Machina War in what looked like it could have been a much more thought-provoking story. We got a little bit of the Machina War back-story in FFX, so I've always felt like a prequel taking place in Zanarkand during that era would have made more sense than what we got -- a fanservice-driven, mindless addition to the Final Fantasy series that's hardly been improved upon in FFXI or even FFXII, which also ended up disappointing me. I'm sadfacin'.
The dancing feminazi trio's cheap rivalry with LeBlanc's crew and the conflict between the Youth League and the New Yevon party didn't save the game for me. There was no real depth to them; they just felt like more uninspired filler in an already uninspired game. While some of the cutscenes admittedly made me a little warm and fuzzy, FFX-2 just didn't sit right with me.
In short, I loved Final Fantasy X (and realize that I'm part of the minority here). I hated Final Fantasy X-2 (then again, I've never met anyone who didn't). So there.