This week, we will be tackling best sequels. Honestly, this wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be. I’ve played quite a few sequels in my day, and unfortunately most of them have been lackluster at best. There is one sequel that had enough innovation, and creativity to be a stand alone title. It was vastly different from any of its predecessors, and experimented with the well established formula, becoming the first direct sequel ever to be made in the series. My vote for best sequel goes to Final Fantasy X-2.
One of the biggest reasons I chose this title as the best sequel, is because it had the most innovation of a Final Fantasy game of its time, with a ton of “firsts” for the series packaged in the gamble of trying something new. The most evident addition to the Final Fantasy Franchise is that FFX-2 is the first true game sequel to the series. All other games have been stand alone titles, with their own gaming universe. FFX-2 was the first title to be a continuation in the same world, with an interconnected storyline making it the first true Final Fantasy sequel. X-2 was also the first title to have an all female cast of characters.
In many ways, FFX-2 was the game that paved the way for later iterations in the Final Fantasy series. Switching from the turn-based FFX system back to an Active Time battle system, actions were faster as characters and monsters could simultaneously attack, as opposed to the previous iteration where each action took place one at a time. There’s also the different dressspheres that represent differing classes or jobs within the game. The ability to switch jobs on the fly, is combined with the freedom of choosing where to go and when. The game is much more fluid than it’s linear predecessor, allowing for multiple side-missions that reveal backstory, as well as entertain, and allowing the player to control which story missions to do and when. In essence, FFX-2 allows players to create their own story, by completing all or no side-quests, and tackling the story at their own pace as well, revealing all or part of the story as they go along.
The battle system is extremely enjoyable, and requires a high level of strategy at times, due to the multitude of different job classes and the chain system tied to switching dressspheres depending on the dress grid one chooses. The fun also lies in the Sailor Moon style transformations and different outfits present in the game to represent each class, with distinct looks for each character.
There was also the fabulous addition of JUMPING for the first time, tied to the O button. The only other game to introduce jumping would be FFXIII. FFX-2 is also the first game to introduce scene skipping in the series as well.
FFX-2 was ahead of its time, and the innovations made for a unique Final Fantasy title that improved in leaps and bounds through it’s additions, some additions that wouldn’t be fully realized and utilized until later games such as FFXII, FFXIII and even FFXIV.
What makes a good sequel? Taking your original game and improving on it, while creating new and exciting ways to play. FFX-2 succeeded in this aspect, and is my ThrowbackThursday choice for best sequel. To this day, it is truly it’s own game, there’s no other Final Fantasy title quite like FFX-2