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Remembering the Classics: 2015 Highlights

Finishing Final Fantasy X-2


Final Fantasy X was an incredible game, so like many others, I picked up its direct sequel when it came out back in 2003. The game was extremely different in comparison, but I liked the story enough to give it a go. Then something weird happened. Poor strategy on my part made the game impossible to continue, and it didn’t take long until my attention was completely moved elsewhere. What had been a really exciting new adventure lost its luster, turning my own opinion of X-2 into, “Eh, the game’s okay.” I admittedly didn’t give it the attention it deserved despite repeated attempts to beat it, and this contributed to it being by biggest library question mark.

Last November, a full twelve years after I first played it, I finally finished the game with a much deserved 100%. It took me about 40 or so hours, which meant I could have finished this game hundreds of times in that same period. I obviously didn’t plan for it to take this long. It just happened. This is why I dove back into it too. I’ve cleared out a lot of unfinished games over the past two years, and as a longtime Final Fantasy fan, this was my biggest one. I honestly got sick of it being incomplete and wanted it fully done to get it off my mind. Incidentally, this gave me a much greater appreciation for the game.3669_front

There’s a lot you need to do to fully complete X-2. Some of it is actually painfully tedious and seemed insanely excessive. However, most greatly contribute to the experience, which is actually one of the most fun of any game in the series. X-2 basically bleeds bubblegum happiness from every pore with a world ending conflict underneath. Characters sing and dance, your protagonists have fun saving people, and the strongest attacks in the game come from you wearing a mascot outfit. Even Payne, the de facto brooding character of your group, jokes quite a bit. There actually was a moment near the end where you’re acting especially silly, and it made me laugh. I can’t remember the last time Final Fantasy did that for me. It was pretty cool.

The infamous Garment Grid system changed in my eyes too. I’ve enjoyed Final Fantasy’s multiple job classes over the years, but when I first saw X-2’s own job system, I thought it was really silly. Changing clothes is what makes these characters stronger? Not buying it. Yet it’s obviously no different than what previous games had, it was just in a different wrapping. It took me an embarrassingly long time before I finally made the connection. Suddenly, what I thought was lame, actually looked really innovative.

Despite all the games I played over the year, this run through of X-2 is my biggest highlight. I beat the game at long last, and did it with such strength, the final bosses were jokes. This is now one of my most complete Final Fantasy experiences. The game went from a personal “eh” to a very valuable part of understanding the story started by X. Sometimes, all you really need to do to appreciate something is to give it your best effort.

Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television editor. Every Saturday afternoon you can read his video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.


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