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  -FFX2 Main
  -Part 1 :: [06.09.04]
  -Part 2 :: [07.04.04]
  -Part 3 :: [11.01.04]
  -Part 4 :: [12.11.04]
  -Part 5 :: [12.26.04]
  -Part 6 :: [04.24.05]
  -Part 7 :: [06.13.05]
  -Part 8 :: [07.17.05]
  -Part 9 :: [02.17.13]


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"But before Twink even takes his leave of DickFish V1.0, DF says something strange to Sean. 'That's it! I've repaid my debt! I'm done! You take care of the rest!' This leads me to believe that perhaps the dirty fish action was all some strange and disturbing plot on the part of Sean Connery. I've decided I don't really want to know the answer to that, and I hope you don't either."
     -Jeanne, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Part 4




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Final Fantasy X-2 : Part 1
By Sam
Posted 06.09.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
Those of you who are regulars here at VGR know very well that horrible, unspeakable pain is par for the course for us recappers--and, of course, very amusing to you people. Jerks. But sometimes the pain is so severe that even we can't take it alone. Jeanne, who was oh-so-very-brave in her solitary triumph over the spoogefest that was Final Fantasy X, is nonetheless only human. In order to make it out of the equally (if not more) mind-numbing sequel both alive and relatively sane, she enlisted the help of Kelly and myself. And when I say we're "helping," I mean she's using us as wank-blocking meat shields.

That said, if you were expecting Jeanne to start off this recap...let's just say she needs a little "vacation" after The Wank That Ate Spira. So I've come to the top of the batting order, and Yuna's hollow little head is on the tee. Let's find out just how hollow it's become, shall we?

A melancholy melody accompanies the game's opening credits. We see sepia-toned, skin-revealing body shots of the main characters and their respective weapons, Squeenix's way of introducing these characters to us without having to tell us anything about them, and without having to actually animate anything. How astoundingly innovative, except they've done it before. Oh, but wait, Final Fantasy VIII's opening credits were in grayscale, not sepia. Totally different.

Twenty seconds in, and I'm already screaming 'PENIS!!!'
 

Thrown in among the shots of the characters and weapons is a still of this evil, creepy Buddha statue playing the drums. I'm confused and frightened. To scare me further, a few slides later we see a bunch of elaborate-looking card-like things, no doubt foreshadowing some evil, soul-sucking mini-game which will make me use basic math. More weapons. More characters. No characters who look like Tightass or anything, oh goodness no, because he's dead forever and ever and ever. A gun, a sword, and a weird dagger with a ring handle form a Triangular Triad of Girl Power in the final shot, showing us that this will be a game about cooperation and teamwork and friendship, but in the end everything will be about Yuna. After what feels like an eternity--and sure enough, the first word in this musical piece's title is "Eternity"--the opening credits end and I get to start the game itself.

It's a beautiful day in Spira. Birds wing their way through the blue and cloudless sky, chirping sweet melodies, because Sin is dead and therefore everything is perfect and wonderful. The camera pans down to center on the humongous watery orb that is the blitzball stadium, letting us know we're in Luca. The shot cuts to an indoor stadium, packed to the nosebleeds with screaming people. I'm led to believe that this is the area under the blitzball "field," but the sphere of water that was so obviously present two seconds ago is nowhere to be seen now. I must just be crazy, since there's no way the game designers would let an inconsistency slip into their immaculate work of art.

The cheering intensifies as the stadium goes dark. Just as the center of the arena begins to glow, we cut to a dark corridor, where a guard has just been knocked on his noggin. As his body is dragged out of the way, we see a person with short silver hair and a lot of black leather garments running toward the light down the hallway. She waves at the person disposing of the guard before taking off out of sight.

 
'Hey, my face is up HERE!'

Said person steps into view, and as the camera slowly pans up her nubile young body, we can take in her outfit, or lack thereof. Rikku is wearing short-short-short-short cargo shorts, with her yellow thong straps showing, a matching yellow bikini top, and a red, orange and yellow eight-foot-long scarf. Hey, sweetie, if you're cold, why don't you try putting on a shirt? The camera stops somewhere in the vicinity of Rikku's boobs as the Al Bhed girl speaks into a communication device. "Y, R, P, in position," she whispers, adding with a smirk, "It's showtime, girls." If I see Elizabeth Berkley wearing nothing but a smile and writhing around a pole, I'm turning the game off.

Back in the stadium, a bunch of flying machina things sweep through the air, their spotlights illuminating the hole in the center of the room. A small floating stage emerges from the hole. This is all set to a gnarly guitar riff played by a guy on a winged machina platform with giant speakers. The guitarist looks like Tightass in bondage gear. I'm sorry, but when something like that pops into my head, I can't just keep it to myself. I have to make all of you suffer with me. In fact, the entire backup band is in bondage gear and on winged machina, except for the drummer, which is the stage. No, that's not a typo. The base of the stage is the aforementioned evil, creepy Buddha, and the drum set is laid out in front of it. It spins around freakily and its drumsticks glow bright blue. I'm guessing Creepy Buddha is yet another machina, leading me to wonder if this recent technological revival in Spira is such a good idea, since it seems to have produced Creepy Buddhas playing the drums and spinning their heads around like Linda Blair.

Now, where's Simon Cowell to tell her she sucks?
 

Okay, enough about the backup band, because it's time for the STAR! The crowd counts down, and after "One!" the music starts and the spotlight flares on Miss Beautiful Perfect High Summoner Mary Suena. Yuna basks in the glow of the laser lights and her millions of admiring fans, before marching purposefully toward the center of the stage. There she twirls around prettily and her summoner getup bursts into a dazzling display of light ribbons. As much as I love both series, if someone had told me beforehand that this game would be a Final Fantasy/Sailor Moon crossover, I would have run for the hills. In a flash, our heroine changes from Summoner!Yuna to Spiran!Idol!Yuna, complete with a blue, goofy, ruffly pop idol outfit. Note that her hair also changed in this scene from FFX!Yuna's 'do to the new style. This will become important later. A pink-tinted glamour freeze-frame informs us that this is Yuna, but a question mark pops up behind her name. Is this going to be like that weird show on MTV with the people who get plastic surgery in order to resemble their favorite celebrities? I know the entire universe loves Yuna and all, but Christ, even for a Mary Sue of Yuna's caliber that's over the line.

With ten times the amount of stage presence meek little Yuna should possess--an obvious hint, at least to me, that this isn't really Yuna--Britney Spira (tm Kelly) grooves with her backup dancers as she sings the English version of "Real Emotion." Not only does the singer, Jade, sound nothing whatsoever like Hedy Burress, she also doesn't sing all that great. She tries to do all this showy variation in her voice, but instead of sounding cool, she sounds like she's having microphone trouble because it's impossible to hear her when she goes low. It makes trying to recap the lyrics a pain in the ass, but then I realize that the lyrics are trite and unimportant, and I don't need to recap them anyway.

As Britney Spira flips her arms and flashes her thighs and all that other stuff fanboys whack off to in their parents' basements, the viewpoint changes to Britney through a camera lens. At least, I think it's a camera lens, because I hear a shutter click. Maybe someone's taking photos to sell to the Spiran tabloids. I can see the headline now. High Summoner Yuna in concert: sings like ass, shows ass. We zoom out and see Rikku, bopping her head doofily along with the beat and...holding binoculars. Shit. I know I heard a shutter click. I hope I'm not losing my mind this early, because I've got a looooong way to go. A guard taps Rikku on the shoulder, and she slowly turns around, smiling sheepishly, like a puppy who just peed on the carpet and knows it was wrong. Britney Spira reaches a crescendo in her song and we get some quick cuts to Rikku kicking the shit out of the guard. Standing victorious over the grunt, Rikku grins and we get another glamour shot, this one yellow.

This scene is also the first time I've had a good look at Rikku's hair. As Jeanne mentioned at the end of the Another Story recap, Rikku's blonde mane has grown a good two feet. And keep in mind that in the Another Story video, Rikku looked exactly the same as she did in FFX. So this isn't even a matter of her hair growing that much in two years (a feat in and of itself). It's grown that much in maybe a couple of months. Or it's faker than Tifa's tits. Or we're supposed to think it's been this way all along, and we shouldn't nitpick the game designers just because they were lazy asses and couldn't do new character models for Another Story. At least it'll make for some FFX-2 discussion that isn't "I wonder if Yuna and Rikku are doing each other."

 
That's a guy in the background.

Britney Spira continues to rock the beat, the Bondage!Tightass guitarist cutting through the chorus with more radical riffs, Britney's gay male backup dancers looking for all the world like they're wearing man bras, and the crowd predictably going apeshit. Britney could be up there singing "Hot Cross Buns" and they'd still probably cream their jeans over her. Cut from Britney back to the audience again, where Silver Hair 'n' Leather is confronted by another guard. She goes all Double Dragon on the guy's ass and lands a spinning cyclone kick right in his jaw. Silver Hair 'n' Leather lands catlike on the stairs and strikes a badass pose for the third glamour shot, in purple this time. SH'n'L has a name now, Paine. OH! That's what YRP stands for! It's Yuna, Rikku and Paine! I GET IT!

God.

Paine sits primly, legs crossed, on the banister and slides down to meet Rikku. Wow, I really didn't intend the lesbian innuendo. Honest. Paine jumps onto the winged machina platform Rikku has hijacked and they ride toward the stage, where Britney Spira's sashaying and singing the same line over and over again is starting to grate. On me, not on the stupid sheep audience. Thankfully, it's over, and on the last note of the song the stage explodes with pyrotechnics and the screen explodes with the Final Fantasy X-2 logo. And here I was, thinking they had made a Dead or Alive RPG.

Out of FMV!Mode, Britney Spira and her backup dancers are still thrashing away. But the graphical change has not been kind to Britney's dance moves--she's doing little thumb jerks and kicks just like Elaine on Seinfeld. The music has changed to a dance beat that is way catchier than it has any right to be. Rikku and Paine jump onto the stage, Rikku asking Britney to "give it back already!" We don't know what Britney has taken, other than what little remained of Yuna's dignity. Britney isn't interested in returning anything, and calls her goons on our heroines in a voice that is distinctly not Yuna's. Britney says to someone, either her goons or Rikku and Paine, "Want in on this number? Then show me your moves!" Paine smirks and whips out a huge pointy phallus sword. "Think you can keep up?" she monotones. Yes, I've made "monotone" into a verb. Believe me, if I'm to be recapping Paine's lines, it's necessary. The absurdly catchy music continues into our first battle of the game, and I'm glad no one's here as I write this recap, because I'm humming and drumming my fingers on the desk and generally making a fucking fool of myself.

This isn't a difficult battle by any stretch, so I take my time and let Rikku steal items from Britney and the two goons (now in skin-tight green jumpsuits instead of man-bras) while Paine uses Power Break. At one point Britney does something called "Ecstasy," in which she groans orgasmically, resulting in healed HP for her male goons. I don't want to know, I don't want to know. Other than that, all Britney can really do is cast Thunder for piddly damage. Once all three of them have gone down, Paine strikes yet another pose and monotones, "I could've danced all night." Gag. Not wanting to mess with the lesbians anymore, Britney runs off, denying her fans an encore. I know I'm crying in disappointment. Rikku and Paine chase her out of the stadium and into Luca's harbor area. "Hold still!" Rikku cries. Britney, of course, listens to her pursuer and comes to a stop. Or not, because unlike the real Yuna, Britney Spira has half a brain.

On the docks, I take control of Rikku as she and Paine chase after Britney. Many pairs of goons, male and female (the girls in pink jumpsuits instead of green), try to keep the girls from catching their boss. All of them have something like seven hit points each, so let's just say they fail. But they should know that in their death defeat, they've helped to teach Rikku and Paine the "Steal Gil" and "Sentinel" abilities, respectively. And that sacrifice is so worth it, because I know I'll be using Sentinel all the time.

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