This game, honestly, is going to have to be a lesson for Square Enix. I've never seen them fully repeat a battle system, and this game has the most engaging battle system I've seen so far. Unfortunately, it's behind a rather goofy premise that seems to have turned a lot of players off. The garment grid could have easily become a "Job Grid", stick a few male characters in and you have Final Fantasy XII. Instead, this battle system may end up going to waste in a game that really needs a bit more substance.
Mission-based RPGs, I think, aren't prone to long play. Especially the way this game sets it up, where it prods you to where you need to go. You CAN spend a long time doing the secondary missions, but a lot of the time there's not much of a sense of satisfaction involved with completing them. The story scenes that it gives you for completing them, while funny at times, are not necessary in that basically all of them can be skipped and you won't miss any major plot points.
...Oh, and I just have to point out that whoever decided Wakka and Lulu should be parents together should be shot. NO! EVIL THOUGHTS!
The real selling point for this game, as I discussed above, is that it ties up a lot of loose ends left in FFX. Not necessarily with the big finale, but with a lot of the minor characters that the game took pains to introduce. Seeing a summoner turn into a theme park announcer is a rather interesting end to one of the many mini-storylines. However, the main story takes a backseat most of the game. I could care less, though, because if you pay attention, these people start out to have fun, not to save the world. Yeah, she started because of that one sphere, but it's all because they want to have fun, nothing more. Which is why a lot of the time the story goes away.
However, they manage to create 4 satisfying characters with great chemistry. 4, you ask? I count Brother in this tally because he cracks me up with how blindly in love he seems to be with Yuna. Speaking of Yuna, she's not a boring monotone dullard anymore. She's actually interesting, and she really does seem to have evolved as a person in the two years since FFX. The voice acting helps in this regard. What I DON'T like about the voice acting is how some of the characters sound slightly off from their FFX roots (Wakka) or totally different (Isaaru). I got used to those voices, and now they're all switched up on me.
The music is great, all of it having some sort of a light tone to it befitting the Eternal Calm. Even the big boss theme for the boss my brother's fighting now has some highupness to it. However, there's not enough. It repeats A LOT, and overall feels as if it was more of a "take this theme for these 3 areas" job rather than trying to tailor it to the individual areas. The battle theme sucks, too. Seriously. It doesn't even sound like Nobuo Uematsu composed it. What I like about it though is that it takes a backseat to the rest of the game. So it doesn't get as boring to listen to it the 50,000th time like in FFX.
The ending, unfortunately, is kind of a mixed bag. What many people might be expecting to happen at the end of the story doesn't, and the requirement to complete the game completely (which, to my knowledge, requires use of the New Game + feature, explained below) to see the best ending is a bit excessive.
The New Game + feature is something that Square last used on one of their major projects in Chrono Cross (Thanks to MightyMooQuack and RPGeek for pointing out that it's not Chrono Trigger). In this game, however, you do not keep your levels, only your abilities that you may have gained. This keeps the game from turning into a cakewalk the second time through, but it also makes all the random battles that much more tedious.
And regarding minigames... the more the better. ^_^ I don't see how anyone could complain about minigames.
Overall, I enjoy FFX-2, but I really think they messed up in the way they packaged it. This could have been the chance to prove that FF games DO deserve sequels, but somehow this doesn't seem to prove that point.