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The International Content of FFX/X-2 HD

March 23rd, 2013 by Tony Garsow

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If you’re a North American fan of Final Fantasy, you’re likely aware of the widely-bemoaned “International” versions of Final Fantasy games. It turns out these Japan-only re-releases are anything but International as they include extra content overseas fans miss out on, dating as far back as Final Fantasy VII. In the case of Final Fantasy X, Europe was fortunate to have the extra content included on disc.

With the advent of Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD, North American fans have a chance to finally put their mastery of these games to the test on some of the extra challenges they have to offer. You may have had a peek at this stuff on YouTube (or through… less official methods) in the ten plus years that have elapsed, but we feel a refresher course for the International content is certainly due ahead of this year’s release.

Hit the jump below to read on!

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Expert Sphere Grid

In Final Fantasy X, Squaresoft put another twist on the “level up and gain stats” system used by the series religiously as the main method of character growth. This twist was a fascinating mix of a skill tree and a jigsaw puzzle.

You could spend the levels you gained in battle by advancing your character’s growth through the grid. By filling in nodes with corresponding sphere items, characters would gain stat bonuses like “Strength+2″ or learn abilities like “Curaga”. The “locks” placed throughout the grid hide more bonuses and abilities behind him, sending the player hunting for the right Key Sphere like a jigsaw puzzle player hunting for corner piece.

In the Normal Sphere Grid, each character (except Kimahri) had a predominantly linear path to travel through the Sphere Grid to activate stat boosts and abilities. In Expert Sphere Grid mode, all of the characters start in the center of the grid, but you’re able to move them through each others’ paths as you see fit. Such experimentation yields a Tidus with heavy use of Black Magic, or a Lulu versed in White Magic.

You’ll need to keep a watchful eye on where you spend levels and spheres to grow your characters, as some paths may lead you out of a character’s growth “archetype”. It’s possible to play through with characters weaker than those that use the Normal Sphere Grid if your growth choices are unfocused.

It should be noted that the Normal Sphere Grid allows for such experimentation, though it is much less conducive to playing that way, as alternate routes are often further away or behind high-level lock nodes. Compare and contrast each Sphere Grid in the images below:

Dark Aeons & Penance

Final Fantasy X International has a wealth of new super bosses to take on, including “Dark” versions of the Aeons Yuna obtains during her pilgrimage through Spira. These bosses are meant to be challenged in the post-game, but are unlocked after Yuna returns to Bevelle after the events in Zanarkand. Acolytes of Yevon who now see Yuna as an irredeemable traitor will ambush the party, even as they return to friendly places in Spira.

They may be an insurmountable challenge for players fresh off the ending, so you’ll need to prepare accordingly. Dark Valefor, Ifrit, Shiva, Ixion, Bahamut, Anima, Yojimbo, and Magus Sisters can be fought.

Of all the bosses in Final Fantasy X, Penance takes the cake. With over twelve million HP and two exceedingly deadly phases, you’ll definitely need a souped-up party and a battle strategy to stand a chance. It’s accompanied by two independent “arms” that have a half-million HP each, and regenerate over the course of battle.

Abilities such as Quick Hit and Rikku’s “Mix” Overdrive are absolutely essential. Penance is resistant to just about everything, though if you’re lucky with Yojimbo’s Zanmato, you can pull off a cheap (or costly) victory. (Note: Previously said here that it Penance was resistant to Zanmato based on a FAQ I was researching, though a quick search of YouTube has uncovered quite the contrary!)

Eternal Calm — Final Fantasy X-2: Prologue

This promotional video was included with the International version of Final Fantasy X back in 2002. Set after the events of the first game, we see Yuna in her daily life on the island of Besaid. It’s here we see the precursor to some of the events that play out in the sequel, such as the discovery of a sphere that reveals a young man who looks like Tidus, the splintering of Spira’s populace into factions, and the beginnings of Yuna’s personal transformation.

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Psychicer & Festivalgoer

Final Fantasy X-2 brought back the classic Final Fantasy job system with the introduction of Dresspheres. Players could set them into specific Garment Grids and change between them in-battle, all while gaining various bonuses based on said Grid. In Final Fnatasy X-2 International+Last Mission, the team added two more to YRP’s arsenal: Psychicer and Festivalgoer.

The Psychicer floats in the battlefield, using Psionics to propel energy at their enemies and manipulate physics to become impervious to various types of attacks. They have support abilities that allow them to absorb the elements, and “Excellence” will allow them a brief period of invincibility.

The Festivalgoer dressphere is based on a fan-submitted artwork by way of a contest held in Japan. Yuna attacks with her temari and her exploding geta, Rikku attacks with her cotton candy and goldfish bag, and Paine fights with her huge fan and chucks her chocobo-shaped mask at enemies. Each of the girls have their own set of abilities with Festivalgoer much like the Trainer and Mascot dresspheres.

Creature Create & Battle Tournament

Perhaps the largest addition to Final Fantasy X-2 International+Last Mission is the Creature Create and Battle Simulator minigames. Similiar to Final Fantasy XIII-2, you’ll be able to recruit the many monsters and NPCs of Final Fantasy X-2 into your party, and level them up into proper killing machines.

You can even recruit party members from Final Fantasy X such as Tidus, Auron, and even Seymour. Laying traps in the various regions of Spira well net you new allies, which can be renamed to your liking. “Creatures” even have their own mini-scenario, and by training it in the Battle Simulator, you’ll unlock new chapters, including an “Episode Complete!” ending.

In the party menu, you’ll be able to customize your creatures by feeding them items which will increase their stats or change up the commands they use in battle. The monsters are controlled by AI, so you’ll need to do some tinkering to create an ideal build, like in the video below. Each creature has a different size value: Small (1), Medium (2), or Large (3). Creature parties can be constructed around this as long as your party size does not exceed a value of 3. For example you could have three Small creatures in a party, or two Medium creatures and 1 Small creature — or just one Large creature.

As you can see, there are some eclectic party choices:

Last Mission + Yadonoki/Ephemeral Tower

The Last Mission can be initiated from the start menu, and takes place after the ending of Final Fantasy X-2. Yuna, Rikku, and Paine reunite for their Last Mission: to scale the Yadonoki Tower. With eighty floors to climb, it’s a sizable challenge. The story slightly changes depending on if you’ve finished the game proper, especially which ending you get.

Gameplay in Last Mission is a departure from Final Fantasy X-2’s battle system, opting for a roguelike system similar to Chocobo’s Dungeon. You’ll be able to play as either Yuna, Rikku, or Paine, but only one character at a time.

Exploring the tower consumes turns, and you’ll need to proceed carefully to be able to take down enemies in your way and ascend to each new level. You’ll have a bevy of dresspheres and items to aid you in your climb, each with their own properties and effects on combat and traversal. Every twenty floors up you’ll fight a boss, followed by a cutscene.

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Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD is currently scheduled for release on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita this year in North America. The PlayStation Vita versions of each game will be sold separately, while the console version will include both games on a single Blu-ray disc. Currently, you can pre-order the PlayStation 3 version from Amazon by clicking here.

With all this extra content available in the upcoming Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD, we want to know what you’re looking forward to the most? How about PlayStation Network trophies — specifically what ones you’d like to see (or not see) implemented into the game! Leave us your comment with your thoughts below!

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  • Kayla

    omg so excited for this!! playing the international stuff is a dream come true for me :)

  • Tony Garsow

    @Kayla
    I’m looking forward to trying out Last Mission again myself.

  • lalik

    I seriously cannot wait. I always wanted to play X-2 International. Yes yes, it’s a dream come true indeed.

  • UndeadNecroMage

    Trophies? Not looking forward to those….
    As for the rest?
    *nerds in pants*

  • alexsam

    Never really was a fan of X-2… I only followed it through to the end just so I could see the main storyline from X, even though tbh, I’ve never even seen the International Edition. But X is one of my favorites and I’m really looking forward to it!

  • alexsam

    Sorry for the re-post, but I just caught a glimpse of the trailer that was shown at PAX… OMG!!! I only actually saw X in action but it was so improved! Nothing to do with the PS2 version and almost up to XIII’s standards! I gotta say, this… SO worth the wait!

  • Ehren Rivers

    @Alexsam: Where did you get this glimpse?

  • Tony Garsow

    @alexsam
    I was a bit worried about the quality of the FMV sequences, but they looked great in the trailer.

    @Ehren
    Choppy cam footage trailer:
    http://ruliweb.daum.net/news/view/50241.daum

    Waiting on the official version Monday. :)

  • Ehren Rivers

    Do you think that’s the final version of the trailer? I certainly hope not, I’d like to see some battle stuffs. It is very pretty though, I can tell even on the crappy recording. Hahaha.

  • alexsam

    @Ehren Rivers I don’t think that’s the final version because the cam-corded trailer I saw said “Trailer coming 25/3″ on the top left of the screen. Guess we’ll see tomorrow.

    @Tony Garsow It’s like the difference between cgi movies and the field of play has almost disappeared! Great stuff!

  • Defrift

    Interesting they made a change to Penance, the Zanmato skill works against him in the Ps2 version. Sneaky square really Sneaky, guess they got tired of people making Penance look like a joke by using Zanmato rofl.

  • Tony Garsow

    @Ehren
    Yes, that’s probably the final version.

    @Deifirit
    I checked two walkthroughs that both stated he was resistant to Zanmato as I was writing the article (though it didn’t seem right to me). After reading your post, I was still unsure. I did a quick search on YouTube to find that he is in fact easily killable by Zanmato — so I’ve gone and updated the above article. Maybe I should trust my gut instinct more! :]

  • Defrift

    @Tony I felt that was weird too was asking myself why would Square change that after all these years….seemed kinda of pointless

  • AgitoXIII

    absurd were waiting this long to play all the extras. this stuff canme out b4 the age of DLC tho

  • anony

    If there is new content, or some kinda easter egg would great icing on the cake. I highly doubt it, but I would like something kool, that could top kh 1.5 remix’s new content.
    Nevertheless internation content is still instant buy. FFX is the best game I ever played

  • hutch

    Finally! A reason to be stoked about Square again! I’m VERY pleased. And the music should lossless too, I hope. Day one purchase. It’s pretty obvious that 12 should be next. Fingers crossed for 7,9, remakes, nice remasters (ala Ducktales remaster) of 1-6…and, if they must, 8.

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  • John

    Excited for X-2 International. Game is definitely not the best Final Fantasy game but battle system is one of the best and endgame content rules, so we get more of that, great. Its been a while since i last played this, 8 years or something??

    X International is familiar for me as european. Never finished all Dark Aeons and Penance because ridiculous amount of grinding and farming it requires. If there is trophy support, i might finally do it!

    Hopefully this comes in summer so for nostalgia i can once more play sick marathons of these games haha!

  • YuffieKisaragi

    Really looking forward to this. I wonder if it’ll have trophies…it’ll give that extra incentive to play. At any rate, hope they have FFXII lined up as well.

    For anyone who loves FF and has an Android/iPad, check out Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade. Each week, they feature a new installment. FF7 just finished, it’s the anniversary event now so…I hear Yuna’s making an appearance in the coming weeks. :)

    If you ever do try FFAB, you can get a Terra (Final Fantasy VI) summon off the bat. Just use the code:
    4f1fc81f
    (it’s after the tutorial, in “Enter Invitation ID”).

    Terra SR summon can be claimed until April 10, 2013 only

  • In recent Dengeki/Famitsu interview, Square Enix obviated “Eternal Calm: FFX-2 Prologue”, and said “Last Mission” it’s still under consideration, so they are NOT ensuring the inclusion of these two features.

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