Game of the Week (7/22/18) – Final Fantasy X/X-2 + Sequel Extravaganza (Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Silent Hill 2)

“Final Fantasy X/X-2” are the tenth and eleventh games in the long running Square developed and published “Final Fantasy” franchise that got its North American start on the NES. In the early 90s it moved to the SNES (after skipping a few chapters that had been released in Japan) before switching console manufacturers completely to join the Sony team for “Final Fantasy 7”. After a couple more releases on the PlayStation, the much anticipated “Final Fantasy X” showed up in 2001 and visually blew everyone away. No more pre-rendered backgrounds, the FF world was now in full 3D glory, complete with actual voice actors and not just text boxes as was the norm for all the previous entries.

While there had been 9 previous entries in the franchise, none of them could really be called a true sequel as “Final Fantasy” was always more of a concept and an aesthetic than an actual linear story told over numerous chapters. What made “Final Fantasy X-2” unique was the fact that it was a true sequel to “FFX” in terms of reoccurring characters and plotlines. In addition, “FFX-2” included only three female main characters to chose from, another precedent set for the franchise. Both games are gorgeous and “FFX” is one of the hallmark titles for the PS2.

The PS2 game library is intimidating. It’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest, with almost 4,000 games made and released. With a game library that big, it’s not easy to sort through what is good, what is bad, and what may appeal to you as opposed to another gamer. So when I was buying new and used games for my PS2 collection, I tended to take the easy way out and buy sequels to game franchises I was familiar with. Hence the “Final Fantasy” games. Hence the “Castlevania”, “Metal Gear” and “Silent Hill” games from Konami. All of these franchises offered some of the best games available on the original PlayStation so there was no reason to believe that these would be complete bombs. I haven’t played all 3 of these games through but I’ve played enough to know that “Castlevania: Lament of Innocence” and “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty” are fine enough games but I didn’t find them as compelling or a joy to play like “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” or “Metal Gear Solid” on the PS1. As for “Silent Hill 2”, I really enjoyed the PS original so this sequel had a steep hill (no pun intended) to climb to reach those heights and thankfully Konami did a much better job with this particular sequel than they did with the “Castlevania” and “Metal Gear” sequels. With that said, I am happy with all 5 of these titles that round out my current PS2 collection.

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