Fighting Final Fantasy X Parts 1-13: X Gon' Give It To Ya

  • 54 results
  • 1
  • 2
Avatar image for zombiepie
Posted by ZombiePie (6891 posts) -

Part 1: Oh God, Why Am I Doing This?

I can't... I'm in
I can't... I'm in "too deep" to stop now.

I have a greater personal connection with Final Fantasy X than any of my previous subjects. Final Fantasy X was released around the time I got into video games. While I went down the path of aligning myself towards Nintendo and Microsoft properties; the Final Fantasy franchise was busy carving a massive niche with my friends and schoolmates. Even I recall the release of Final Fantasy X being a big deal. Practically everyone I knew was talking about the game in some capacity. This leads me to one of my darkest video game secrets. This is the first PS2 game I have ever played.

I know that seems ridiculous coming from someone who moderates a video game website but hear me out. For much of my childhood, my family was not financially stable. In terms of video games, I was "stuck" with one console and a game per month. My parents strictly monitored my video game playing and selected Nintendo consoles due to their lower price and family-friendly reputation. For much of my life, my inability to play Final Fantasy games wasn't my choice. Every game I played required the religious stamp of approval from my grandparents or mother. Why I didn't immediately use my adulthood to rectify this inadequacy is a different can of worms, but what comes around goes around.

I would like to go on record in stating Final Fantasy X has the DUMBEST character weapons I have ever seen!
I would like to go on record in stating Final Fantasy X has the DUMBEST character weapons I have ever seen!

Final Fantasy X is the Final Fantasy game I know the most about, and thus the one I secretly wanted to play when I started this series. I know I have told this story before, but it bears repeating. I have seen Final Fantasy X’s ending. When I was in elementary school one of my neighborhood friends was into Final Fantasy to an embarrassing degree. When I told him I had never played a Final Fantasy game, he implored me to spend the night at his house as he endeavored to "re-educate" me. He decided it would be a great idea to force me to watch the last twenty minutes of Final Fantasy X and the first fifteen minutes of Final Fantasy X-2.

What a wonderful way to be introduced to the Final Fantasy franchise.
What a wonderful way to be introduced to the Final Fantasy franchise.

If the prospect of me knowing the ending is throwing you into a tizzy, then relax. I don't remember a GODDAMNED thing about this game. I can barely remember what I ate for dinner, let alone the narrative significance of a purple slug monster. I know more than I would like, but it isn’t getting me anywhere. So without further ado, let's review a few tidbits of "housekeeping!" What do I mean by that? Well, let's discuss which version of the Sphere Grid I elected to use:

Um, excuse me?
Um, excuse me?

Fun fact for those who have not played the PC port of the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, it defaults to Japanese when you boot it up for the first time. The game also runs windowed by default. WHO WOULD EVER DO THIS? I honestly think no one at SquareEnix understands what PC gaming is. No decent human being would do this.

I'm certainly no
I'm certainly no "Expert" in spheres or grids!
Give me every grainy beat with the original soundtrack!
Give me every grainy beat with the original soundtrack!

Part 2: Let's Talk About The Ins And Outs Of The HD Remaster

Before we jump into the "nitty gritty," there's various housekeeping items I feel inclined to mention. It would behoove me to disclose I am playing the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. As someone who never played the original on the PS2, I lack the ability to discuss the ins and outs of this port job. That said, there are many positives and negatives even a neophyte like myself could identify within the first handful of hours.

And one of you is going to have to help me with this bullshit
And one of you is going to have to help me with this bullshit "extra content."

The most astounding positive in terms of my early impressions of Final Fantasy X would be its spectacular artistic design. The HD Remaster is partly to credit for this. The in-game textures occasionally appear "smoothed" and the character animations often descend into the "Uncanny Valley," but so be the technical limitations of 1999. Almost in spite of these technical limitations, the game evokes an emotional response whenever you embark into a new environment. The pastel and neon-drenched set pieces are breathtaking and being able to trek through these worlds in 1080p is an equally impressive experience. I have found Final Fantasy X to be a visually stunning and impressive game regardless of its age.

The environments look fine. The faces... the less said the better.
The environments look fine. The faces... the less said the better.

Credit must go to the developers and programmers as each location feels eager to please. The set pieces evoke a distinct sense of mood and tone, and each plays a role in establishing a clear sense of "place." The game communicates that we are exploring the skeleton of a nigh dead civilization both in a literal and figurative sense. Characters will provide exposition on the sorry state of humanity, and immediately you are thrown into an environment which reinforces this sentiment. The absence of complex technology in each of the locations adds to the game's mood and tone. It is as if the majesty of video game storytelling is in full effect!

There are a couple nitpicks I wish to mention before we move on. The HD Remaster uses the "International Version" of Final Fantasy X. This is directly responsible for one major annoyance I have with the game’s controls. In prior Final Fantasy PC port jobs, the [X]-key translates to "Confirm" and the [C]-key to "Cancel."

Sounds simple enough, right?
Sounds simple enough, right?

The International Version reverses these keys, and I cannot describe in words how infuriating this is.

I feel like I could burn down England.
I feel like I could burn down England.

I know the rebuttal is something like "But ZombiePie, you can change the keybindings to whatever you like!" This exclamation is correct but ignoring one of the guiding principles of this blog series. I play these games using the default control settings no matter what. I do this to have a better sense of what it would have been like playing these games when they first launched. This dedication is ill-placed, but one of the few things I feel strongly about.

The other major nitpick is technical. A significant amount of time and effort was put into improving the visual look and design of the in-game textures. The cutscenes and pre-rendered environments, on the other hand, were adjusted from a 4:3 to a 16:9 screen ratio. This has led to one major unintended consequence. The cutscenes and pre-rendered environments lack visual and emotional panache. Now that so much of the real-time graphics have improved the CG cutscenes especially feel and look their age. Worse yet, they no longer provide their intended purpose of astounding their audience.

Can we talk about how the CG cutscene version of Tidus looks NOTHING like the in-game version of Tidus? This is driving me INSANE! It's as if this game has three different versions of Tidus!
Can we talk about how the CG cutscene version of Tidus looks NOTHING like the in-game version of Tidus? This is driving me INSANE! It's as if this game has three different versions of Tidus!

Part 3: Let's Talk About The Voice Acting... Because There's A LOT To Talk About

There's one big "elephant in the room" whenever Final Fantasy X is brought up. This problematic topic would be Final Fantasy X's voice acting. Even someone like myself who has avoided playing Final Fantasy X for seventeen plus years knows the game's voice acting is commonly cited as one of its sore points. Over the years in which I have moderated a video game website I have noticed two distinct "camps" regarding Final Fantasy X's voice acting. One camp defends the acting as laying the groundwork for future entries in the series, and the other views the acting to be the worst thing in human existence. Trust me on this, this is definitely NOT a logical fallacy used for comedic purposes.

Come at me, I dare you!
Come at me, I dare you!

My response is far more pragmatic. Final Fantasy X is a product of its time, and the quality of the voice acting is one of the many indicators of this. If you examine the quality of anime voice acting for 80% of what aired on Toonami during the block's original run, you would find Final Fantasy X to be part of the norm. Add in this being Square's first fully voice-acted Final Fantasy game, and a script chock-full of technobabble, and I err towards the viewpoint of this being the best possible outcome. I do not wish to equivocate larger issues which stem from the voice acting. Its inclusion unleashes many unintended consequences, but at the same point, I feel there are bigger dragons to slay in Final Fantasy X.

I do not feel the need to malign any member of the voice cast. I would even hazard to say they did the best they could with what they were given. Anyone capable of even the slightest bit of introspection can look at the script the voice cast were given and immediately discover how insurmountable their job was. Final Fantasy X is guilty of long-winded exposition dumps which hardly lend themselves to emotional pleas or method acting. Likewise, the script is filled to the brim with proper nouns every step of the way. I dare you to say "Sin," "Blitzball," "Zanarkand," and "Yevon" all in the same sentence without your tongue falling off. As a thought experiment, I counted the times Wakka said a proper noun in a two-minute scene. The answer is eleven. It is savage to expect any actor to salvage such an awkward script. As I like to say, you can coat shit in sugar, but it's still shit.

I will concede the voice actors for the NPCs should have been kicked to the curb. They are SOOOOO BAD!
I will concede the voice actors for the NPCs should have been kicked to the curb. They are SOOOOO BAD!

Most of all, the game's cast features some of the most emotionally honest characters I have seen. Understanding the pathos and logos of the cast means that even when the game is at its worst you understand what was intended in any scene. When Tidus screams in frustration after exiting the Kilika Cloister of Trials, the literal execution of that scene is "wanting." However, the scene's honesty and intention are so charmingly clear you can almost forgive the game for its shortcomings. The technical limitations can be ignored so long as the purpose of what is attempted is honest and intelligible. More often than not I feel this is the case.

Rest assured, I find Tidus's voice to be largely intolerable. The way he enunciates and spews witticisms sabotages scenes the game wants you to view as poignant. The supporting cast doesn't fare much better. The acting for the Luca Goers is atrocious. I mean, HOLY SHITtheir voices are an abhorrent nightmare! I get they wanted them to be the game's equivalent of the Cobra Kai but give me a fucking break. This highlights the biggest issue with the voice acting. When the stars are not entirely aligned the voice acting can cause entire scenes to shatter before your eyes. Worst of all, this is a monumental problem the game cannot entirely shake away. Like a looming Sword of Damocles, the voice acting can viciously assassinate entire scenes without warning.

These guys look and sound like crap so it is a double whammy!
These guys look and sound like crap so it is a double whammy!

There's one more talking point I would like to bring up before jumping into the story. Since announcing I would cover Final Fantasy X, I have since received four or five PMs, Twitter DMs, and/or Tumblr messages sending me links to the Tidus laughing scene. Please stop doing this. I get it. That scene is a weird fucking thing. I need not watch ANOTHER video to understand this. Please, I am begging you to stop.

Part 4: First Impressions Are Everything, And Final Fantasy X Starts Strong

I have nothing negative to say about the first scene in Final Fantasy X. The game's initial moments in Zanarkand are fucking awesome! The neon metropolis of Zanarkand is full of life and establishes an eclectic world you want to explore. Yes, the NPCs are terrible, but they serve their purpose in establishing a sense of vibrancy. The lead up to the massive Blitzball match works because it endeavors to craft a distinct sense of place. Zanarkand is a futuristic world with particular rules and customs. We are living in a world at its peak.

The story the sports commentator tells on the radio is oddly compelling. I am surprised I didn't hate it.
The story the sports commentator tells on the radio is oddly compelling. I am surprised I didn't hate it.

The visual presentation of Zanarkand is a master stroke in video game storytelling. As ridiculous as it sounds I do not hate the presentation behind Blitzball. Playing it is an abhorrent shitshow, but at least it looks good during the game's cutscenes. The sport also serves as a great segue to Sin's attack on Zanarkand as it allows the game to flow with a lively pace. The first two set pieces each center on Tidus desperately attempting to survive dire circumstances, and they work magnificently. Both set pieces culminate in confrontations with monstrous creatures that are above your skill level. They also develop a sense of increasing stakes as the story progresses. The music that plays during this sequence, on the other hand, is FUCKING TERRIBLE! WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS THIS? THERE’S NOTHING ELSE ON THE SOUNDTRACK THAT SOUNDS LIKE THIS! IT IS AN ASSAULT ON YOUR EARS!

This inevitably leads me to one of my favorite aspects of Final Fantasy X. This is a game eager to please its audience. Final Fantasy X is an exercise in technical excellence as it pushes the boundaries of what was possible in 1999. The battles are snappy and energetic, and the backgrounds are visually delightful. I especially appreciated the game using dynamic camera angles during battles. Whenever you perform even the simplest attack, the game makes it an excitable character moment. These small touches all work wonders in crafting a unique feel to Final Fantasy X. We have seen futuristic cities in past Final Fantasy games, but not with this sense of scale or gravitas.

Don't you love it when Japan tries to outdo Blade Runner?
Don't you love it when Japan tries to outdo Blade Runner?

In terms of storytelling, the game lays the groundwork for its protagonist within minutes. Tidus is a headstrong free spirit who thinks highly of himself. He’s also a social butterfly who seeks group interactions and fame wherever he goes. The game develops a darker subtext to Tidus when Jecht is brought up as Tidus tags along with Auron. The game does well to establish a sense of "mystery," without revealing too much too soon. Less is always more for introductions especially when we need to pay attention to the story and new mechanics.

I'm not joking... this is the only time i enjoyed Blitzball.
I'm not joking... this is the only time i enjoyed Blitzball.

Speaking of which, Zanarkand is a great tutorial level. Credit goes to the developers for ensuring the first two boss battles cannot wipe you out. They instead provide visual variety to the chaotic situation Tidus has been thrust into. I also think it was smart to split up the editorializing into chunks. Zanarkand tutorials the main combat mechanics, and other levels address different ones. This prevents the player from experiencing information overload and lowers the risk of total failure for the sake of allowing them to enjoy a spectacle... well at least in theory it does.

Part 5: I CONTINUE TO BE TERRIBLE AT PLAYING JRPGs!

I sure have not learned from the last three Final Fantasy games.
I sure have not learned from the last three Final Fantasy games.

I honestly have no one to blame but myself. In what can only be described to be my greatest "accomplishment" in a Final Fantasy game yet, I somehow died in Final Fantasy X's first location. I am amazed this is not an achievement given how "fool proof" Zanarkand is. Not knowing the blue hovering spheres were save points I idiotically blasted through the first level without healing my party. This was a dumb thing to do. My idiocy in playing Final Fantasy X does not stop at the combat. It wasn't until I reached Luca that I realized the game had equipable items. Then there was the time I moved Yuna backward on the Sphere Grid. I initially thought you were supposed to move TOWARDS the glowing orbs instead of away from them.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

I have never claimed to be the best at playing video games, but this is disgraceful even for me. Final Fantasy X isn't that difficult of a game to wrap your mind around. The turn-based combat is a massive refinement from Final Fantasy IX, and the turns are far more explicit. The order of attacks is provided in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and this order can be manipulated via status effects or character death. The biggest improvement from Final Fantasy IX to Final Fantasy X is the inclusion of “wait time.” In Final Fantasy X, you can wait on attacks for as long as you’d like. Allowing for an infinite amount of wait time means I can fully revel in my affliction of "analysis paralysis." On a more literal level, the combat in Final Fantasy X is relatively straightforward, and yet somehow I still fucked it up.

It was! Those fucking Sinscales!
It was! Those fucking Sinscales!

If there is one thing I refuse to take flak over its performing the Overdrives in Final Fantasy X. After selecting a character's Overdrive you are prompted the name of the finishing maneuver and immediately thrust into a character distinct minigame. There's no pomp or circumstance in using your first Overdrive, and the lack of a practicing mechanic all but guarantees the first use of any Overdrive will whiff massively. I found the interface for Trigger Commands and Overdrives to be cumbersome and the prompts for both too nondescript given their importance.

I heard Tidus likes to
I heard Tidus likes to "play with his sword!"

Another dick move is when there is a tutorial for equipment. The game equips items for Tidus to show you the ins and outs of the system. If you go back and re-examine Tidus, you will notice the changes from the tutorial weren't real, and he’s been stuck swinging around dog shit for the last hour. This is the THIRD TIME a Final Fantasy game has done this, and it NEEDS TO STOP! This is the worst way to tutorial any mechanic, and it is slowly driving me insane.

Part 6: Establishing A Sense Of Mystery Using Gameplay And Story

There's no going about it. It is time to delve into the organized chaos that is Final Fantasy X's story. As mentioned earlier, Final Fantasy X does a spectacular job in using its first handful of set pieces to set up the mood and tone of the game. Likewise, the script is replete with proper nouns which cause the dialogue to come across as unintelligible technobabble to first timers. To call the introduction a “mixed bag” would do it a disservice. As is par for the course, Final Fantasy X's initial moments work better when you tune off the logic centers of your brain and appreciate the spectacle for what it is.

And Auron is a total BADASS! What more is there to say about Zanarkand?
And Auron is a total BADASS! What more is there to say about Zanarkand?

A mysterious gentleman named Auron brings Tidus up to speed regarding the ensuing destruction to befall Zanarkand. A massive monstrosity named "Sin" has somehow lumbered into Zanarkand with no one noticing it. This right here is a wonderful example of the "Godzilla Conundrum." We have a massive monster of epic proportions, and yet somehow it can ninja its way into every scene significant to the protagonist. It's a fucking twenty-story tall monster that creates a massive tsunami whenever it surfaces! How is NO ONE able to notice its arrival? You mean to tell me the technologically advanced society of Zanarkand lacks ANY system to track this behemoth? This problem applies to Sin for the rest of the game mind you, and it's a major reason monster movies rarely "work" for me.

At least when Sin starts wrecking shit it looks awesome.
At least when Sin starts wrecking shit it looks awesome.

Our intrepid Blitzball player is thrust into action, but not before a hooded child and Auron suggests there are greater forces at work. I want to share a personal “fan theory” I have developed. I'm sure this introductory scene is a dream sequence and isn't real. So much of Tidus's introduction comes across as pandering to his ego, so I honestly think we are in his “dream life.” I will even hazard a guess and predict Auron is tasked by another force to rip Tidus from his blue-pill induced state. It is a stupid theory, but a stupid theory just dumb enough for a Final Fantasy game.

Either way, Final Fantasy X does a phenomenal job in crafting a sense of foreboding. The juxtapositions and cutscenes work to establish a feeling of unease you can appreciate from a distant vantage point; even if that vantage point is from the moon. After Auron tosses Tidus into the anus looking portal the game continues its snappy pacing. Just as you think you are out of the woods new confrontations continue to establish a sense of increasing "stakes." For those of you following this story using Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey,” Auron is the “Supernatural Aid” which allows Tidus to meet the “Threshold Guardians.”

You knew I would bring this shit up again!
You knew I would bring this shit up again!
See? I didn’t make that shit up!
See? I didn’t make that shit up!

The stakes at the temple are lower on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but they do the story wonders. A simple quest to build a fire can articulate how far the character has fallen from their perch. Yes, Tidus spends 90% of the scene whining like a toddler, but again the emotional honesty saves it. Tidus isn't meant to be a likable protagonist when we first meet him. He's meant to be an egotistical and self-servicing prick. Eventually, he will be humbled, but right now he's still refusing to accept the “call to adventure.” Poignant scenes where Tidus is forced to confront his humanity don't work unless there's a point of reference. This hindsight is something I can thank Final Fantasy IX for.

HEY! I'm the one who should be making questionable metaphors for comedic purposes!
HEY! I'm the one who should be making questionable metaphors for comedic purposes!

The scene after Zanarkand does well to showcase how Tidus needs his compatriots. He is our proverbial "fish out of water" character. Tidus is ill-equipped to survive the new world he is in, but how Tidus goes about expressing this role is a soul-wrenching annoyance. I mean for fuck's sake, when is Tidus going to develop some much needed social skills? Every time Tidus asks questions about Sin, summoners, or Yevon... I want to die. I JUST WANT TO DIE! The acting here results in stiff line reading, and their forced nature is cringe inducing. Worse yet is when Rikku tells Tidus not to bring up the subject of Zanarkand with the people he meets... AND HE KEEPS MENTIONING HE'S FROM ZANARKAND!

WE WILL COME BACK TO THIS ISSUE!
WE WILL COME BACK TO THIS ISSUE!

Part 7: The Dream Sequences Are A Flaming Pile Of Trash

After offing a massive fish monster Tidus kindles a fire and falls asleep in the temple. Tidus enters a sketchy looking temple full of baddies, and his first thought is to get some rest. What a wonderful example of human intellect.

I need a new hobby! Let's trade maladies!
I need a new hobby! Let's trade maladies!

Upon falling asleep Tidus subjects the audience to a dream sequence. We need to talk about these. Tidus's dream sequences ARE ATROCIOUS. HOLY SHIT, THEY ARE FUCKING TERRIBLE! Each sequence "attempts" to convey Tidus's id, ego, and super-ego because psychoanalytical psychology is the ONLY psychology represented in video games. Unfortunately, the appalling script results in the stiffest line reading in the game, and the technical limitations entirely ruin the scenes' intent. Take for example this scene:

He's a family friend who has known you since you were a child! Why are you acting like an asshole to Auron!
He's a family friend who has known you since you were a child! Why are you acting like an asshole to Auron!

The dream sequences partially assist in building Tidus as a character. For one, Tidus is seen in an emotionally vulnerable state. He has some "daddy issues," and his previous vanity feels like a call for help. But this is narrative “low hanging fruit.” How many times are we going to have Final Fantasy protagonists be abandoned or orphans? Everything feels so stunningly superficial that it is honestly painful to watch.

Uh, what the fuck am supposed to get out of this scene?
Uh, what the fuck am supposed to get out of this scene?

There's an insufficient sense of progression with Tidus's dream sequences. Each furthers why he hates his father with little ambiguity provided. I cannot help but think other gaps in Tidus’s character arc would have been better served here. How about discovering how Tidus became a Blitzball player or his relationship with his mother? It's just scene after scene of Tidus trying to be happy, and then his father being a dick to him. The game is bludgeoning you over the head with its simplicity.

Part 8: The Fan Service Makes Me Want To Puke

Maybe you shouldn't have taken a nap in a temple populated by monsters. Just an idea.
Maybe you shouldn't have taken a nap in a temple populated by monsters. Just an idea.

After Tidus wakes from his convenient slumber, he is chucked into a battle against a horrible monster. Luckily for all involved, a team of masked bandits arrives to Tidus’s rescue. The lone female member of the masked team joins Tidus in his fight. Our new party member has the "Special" ability to throw grenades, and this is FUCKING COOL! Equally badass is how our new party member is the deciding factor in our victory against the monster. However, the game designers then fuck up a perfectly fine introduction by including bullshit fan service.

Uh, what the fuck?
Uh, what the fuck?
Oh, they fucking
Oh, they fucking "knew" what they were doing.

This is decidedly NOT COOL! Ostensibly our introduction to Rikku devolves into fan service. Does the game introduce Wakka with a camera pan hovering over his junk? Hell no, and the contemptible practice of emphasizing certain parts of the female figure is a recurring issue. Here I am trying to process the news of Tidus being thrown 1,000 years into the future, and inexplicably the camera pans to Rikku's ass. Like honestly, what the fuck is happening?

Not cool game, not cool.
Not cool game, not cool.

My main quibble is how there is important information to process whenever we talk to Rikku, and this is a distraction. Given she saved Tidus's life I wanted to learn more about Rikku. However, the game's sense of narrative triage places the inclusion of an ass-shot above positive social interactions. Given that fan service defined two whole scenes with Rikku, I have developed a sense of dread regarding future interactions with our female party members.

Think I am joking? How about we discuss what happens when Lulu gets the finishing blow in a battle? Lulu bends over, ever so prominently, and you can see her cleavage. Rikku's ass-shot is one scene, but Lulu's fan service continues for the entire goddamned game. It's the pits. It's the drizzly shits of Final Fantasy X.

Fuck this, fuck life.
Fuck this, fuck life.

Rikku’s fan service is a damn shame. It was a hair away from ruining the introduction of the Al Bhed. The dress, language, and culture of the Al Bhed is interesting in concept. The mannerisms used by Rikku's party members are touchingly done. The Al Bhed have no intention of hurting Tidus, and you slowly develop the sense they wish to help him. Unfortunately, the game's priorities are decidedly fucked.

Part 9: OH GOD THE SPHERE GRID!

When the nauseating fan service has subsided Tidus finds himself aboard a ship. Unable to speak the language of the Al Bhed, Tidus increasingly gravitates towards Rikku who can speak his language. Whilst aboard the Al Bhed ship they request his help in exploring an undersea platform. It is at this point the game introduces the "Sphere Grid."

Jesus Christ, what am I even looking at?
Jesus Christ, what am I even looking at?

If there is one aspect of this game which causes me to wake up in a cold sweat, it would be the Sphere Grid. This byzantine monstrosity is more complicated than it has any right to be. Admittedly, the game's heart is in the right place, but a child who makes a grilled crayon and thumbtack sandwich should be told to try again. To the Sphere Grid's credit, most of the pathways are straightforward for the first dozen of levels. The branches and dead-ends do not rear their ugly head until much later in the game.

WAIT! I barely understood the normal features of the Sphere Grid!
WAIT! I barely understood the normal features of the Sphere Grid!

Equal credit goes to the developers for attempting to provide the player with the opportunity to customize the characters to their liking. I'm only five hours into the game, but I have been told the Sphere Grid can result in noticeable changes in how characters play in combat. Personally, I find this to be an appreciated change of the "Tabula Rasa" direction of Final Fantasy VII and VIII. The Sphere Grid also motivates you to take advantage of every party member. While every player has their favorite character(s), I feel a sense of satisfaction in progressing and developing each character as relative equals. If a system results in greater buy-in by the player, then it can't be entirely horrible, right?

Well, we're ignoring the obvious. Navigating the Sphere Grid is a chore, and the consequences of moving a character down its many branches are not articulated to the player. In theory, moving one character makes them similar to the character they are moving towards. But what this results in is up to the player to discover AFTER they have selected a direction. I'm moving Tidus towards an unoccupied sphere and do not understand what this means because the branches themselves are neither color coded nor labeled as being distinct from one another. Am I making Tidus a physical attack powerhouse or a minister of time-bending magic? Lacking a point of reference also hurts the system and my desire to experiment with it.

I'm not ready... someone please help me!
I'm not ready... someone please help me!

I need to ask a burning question about the Sphere Grid. Why isn't the Sphere Grid an individualized tech tree? If you want to have branching paths then why not have the paths result in distinct character classes like every other action role-playing game? What the Sphere Grid expects out of the player isn't communicated at all. Neither are the possible endpoints or destinations. Here the game mentions they exist and asks you to forget about them for the next four hours. To say the tutorial for the Sphere Grid is “inadequate” would be a gargantuan understatement. The Sphere Grid is indisputably intimidating to newcomers, and the game subjects you to “trial by fire” after introducing it.

Part 10: Slow And Steady Wins The Race

I have gravitated towards Final Fantasy X’s story more than I expected. The story initially revolves around Tidus’s desire to return to his past. With each location, we learn more about Tidus's upbringing and the world of Spira. There's a simple, but effective flow to the game which adds to its whimsy. Tidus's ego driven nature results in him constantly trying to assert his prior fame. The dialogue here is cringe-inducing, but it's another case of the game's honesty carrying you through its limitations.

I can't help but root for Final Fantasy X when it honestly tries to make its story work.
I can't help but root for Final Fantasy X when it honestly tries to make its story work.

When we join Rikku in exploring an underwater facility, it is a journey not only for Tidus, but for us. As much as I would like to deny it, Tidus is my vessel in understanding more about the world of Spira. In that regard, Tidus serves his role with distinction. Admittedly the game’s use of Tidus as a “fish out of water” isn’t entirely successful. The narrative tries to justify Tidus's awkward questioning by claiming Sin can “poison” people’s memories. Unfortunately, this justification does not stop many of Tidus’s introductions from devolving into schlock.

He's just dumb, didn't you learn that fifteen minutes ago?
He's just dumb, didn't you learn that fifteen minutes ago?

As Rikku and Tidus beat the ever loving crap out of an octopus, they power up the underwater facility. Upon returning to the surface the two have a simple aside. Rikku reveals her name and brings Tidus up to speed. Zanarkand has been in ruins since a thousand years ago, and Sin's activities have all but ruined modern civilization. It is an honest to goodness well-done scene where the emotional core of the moment supersedes everything else. Tidus lets his guard down, and our sympathy builds for him. Moreso, there's a genuine sense of caring by Rikku.

After dealing with his superficial posturings for what seemed like an eternity, Tidus showcases a more emotionally vulnerable side. By allowing Tidus the opportunity to exhibit a breadth of emotions he feels more “real” than his predecessors. What takes other Final Fantasy protagonists two discs to achieve, Tidus has accomplished in one hour. There is a consequence to Tidus being painted with a potpourri of affections. The game jumps between disparate emotional states in the same scene. The narrative dissonance this results in is undeniable. In one scene we can witness Tidus cracking a joke, fawning over Yuna, having a heart-to-heart with Wakka, and becoming emotionally torn between two worlds. Then there’s Tidus’s voice actor… his inflections are ALL OVER THE PLACE! Entire scenes are torn from their foundation because Tidus always sounds like a sarcastic sack of shit.

Is Tidus going to learn how to lie, or am I going to have to listen to him sounding like a goober the entire game?
Is Tidus going to learn how to lie, or am I going to have to listen to him sounding like a goober the entire game?

Moments like these show what Final Fantasy X's characters can bring to the table. They are still caricatures, there's no denying that, but there's a resolute sense of honesty whenever they interact. These interactions are simple to understand and work to build our sympathy for the cast. They are rarely intellectually challenging, but this is a game trying to put its best step forward before it sinks in its tendrils. Until then we have a story grounded with a small compact cast of believable characters. What more can you ask for out of a Final Fantasy game?

What I'm saying is: I cannot wait for Final Fantasy X to fuck up this grounded and character-driven narrative with some bullshit science fiction plot twist. Let me guess. Tidus is going to have an existential crisis where he is forced to confront his personal identity! Then Yuna pulls him back into reality. Oh boy… I am waiting with bated breath.

Or maybe Blitzball is the answer to everything!
Or maybe Blitzball is the answer to everything!

Part 11: Wakka Is A Rollercoaster Of A Character

After further discussions, Rikku pounces on the news that Tidus is a Blitzball player. She resolves to take Tidus to the city of Luca as the sport is played there. Rikku eventually reveals Zanarkand to be a "holy site," and Tidus shouldn't bring up the subject of the city when interacting with other people. It's another scene where Rikku expresses a sense of concern regarding Tidus's well-being. If only Tidus did well to honor this sense of caring.

LIKE SERIOUSLY, WHY DOESN'T TIDUS LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE?!
LIKE SERIOUSLY, WHY DOESN'T TIDUS LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE?!

Just as Rikku developed her "master plan," Sin arrives and attacks the ocean platform. I guess Sin has a natural attraction to Tidus otherwise Sin's appearances are terribly convenient. Tidus is knocked off the platform and somehow drifts to an island populated by characters critical to the progression of the plot. As Tidus washes onto the shores of Besaid, a Blitzball bumps against his face.

This boy does not understand what it means to maintain a
This boy does not understand what it means to maintain a "low profile."

I like Wakka as a character. He's your usual bumbling buffoon that seems typical in these sorts of games. Unlike comic-relief characters in prior Final Fantasy games, Wakka has some much-needed depth. He's the captain of a failing blitzball team, and a religious zealot. Wakka holds his religious beliefs near and dear to his heart and they are a defining aspect of his character. His brimming enthusiasm is complementary to his desire to honor his religion. Eventually, we discover a darker subtext to Wakka when we learn more about his dead brother. I want to express how relieved I am to have a comic relief character that has a genuine story arc!

Wakka's multi-faceted nature highlights another aspect of Final Fantasy X I have enjoyed. The main characters have avoided feeling one-note, and much like Spira feel distinct from previous entries in the franchise. Better yet, each of the supporting characters has a social network of friends even before Tidus arrives. For once we see a supporting cast pursue interpersonal relationships beyond the protagonist. Watching Lulu privately confide to Wakka about current events is one example of the game doing its darndest to create a sense of community amidst the ruins of Spira. It is both an inspiring and touching undertone.

If this was Tidus's plan, why does he spend the rest of the game running away from Sin?
If this was Tidus's plan, why does he spend the rest of the game running away from Sin?

As my title suggests, Wakka is a bewildering rollercoaster ride of emotions. Sometimes Wakka is a comic relief character for the sake of humor. Other times he can level with Tidus in a brotherly manner. How about Wakka's voice? Here I was thinking Tidus somehow found his way into post-Apocalyptic Hawaii. Instead, we have another Final Fantasy game with a character featuring a distinct manner of speaking no one else seems to use.

It's the
It's the "Barret Conundrum" all over again.

There is one quibble I would like to mention before discussing the hidden depth behind Besaid. The brush strokes that crafted the HD Remaster are careful in some parts and broad in others. This point is made all the more obvious when we examine supporting NPCs next to the primary cast. Important characters including Wakka and Tidus have an extra resolution when compared to the rest of the game. Hopefully, this screencap will help cement this point:

What a weird fucking thing sometimes.
What a weird fucking thing sometimes.

Part 12: Final Fantasy X's Creative Use Of Religion And Sport

Exploring Besaid is a visual treat. We arrive in the village via swimming through some of the most pristine waters you could ever imagine. As we enter the village proper, we have a better sense of how far civilization has regressed.

At least there's plenty of
At least there's plenty of "visual variety" to Final Fantasy X's apocalypse.

There is something compelling about witnessing the cataclysm which destroyed a civilization and watching the remnants try to live idly by in the ruins. More often than not, players take control of characters from the perspective of archaeologists or post-apocalyptic survivors. Witnessing every step of the rise, fall, and resurrection of a civilization is fascinating. The totality of Sin’s destruction is another compelling aspect of Final Fantasy X. The visuals hit home the dire situation humanity is in.

While Spira lacks the technological supremacy of its past, it has maintained two bedrocks: Blitzball and religion. Blitzball is an odd commentary on sports culture, and its deadening effects on all who subscribe to it. While not everyone is a Blitzball player, everyone subscribes to enjoying the sport as a panacea to their otherworldly problems. While the threat of Sin is looming the people of Spira are more than willing to disclose the Blitzball team they root for. The sport has filled a massive void and drives many like Wakka to the point of obsession. I would even conjecture Blitzball is a clever cautionary tale against the ills of consumer culture. Everyone fawns over Blitzball players more than their political leaders.

I wonder what Blitzball hooliganism looks like.
I wonder what Blitzball hooliganism looks like.

The game's depiction of religion is equally interesting. The practices and customs of the game’s religion have a distinct "folk" feel to them. Tidus at one point shares how the prayer of the religion has appropriated a victory signal from Blitzball. Religion has united hundreds if not thousands of people in a fight against Sin. The comparisons to established religion honestly write themselves. While the threat of Sin is a physical and tangible threat, masses of people turn to religious institutions to solve their problems. The citizenry follows the orders of a governing force which uses a religious mandate to direct them in an unwinnable war.

You are doing a
You are doing a "GREAT" job by the way!

Both elements are oddly specific, but they further underscore the unique nature of Final Fantasy X. While Final Fantasy VII set its target on environmentalism and personal identity; Final Fantasy X sets its target on something a few pegs lower. Not that one game is superior or inferior to the other. Instead, I would like to commend the writers of Final Fantasy X for picking a simple and easy to hit target like sports culture. This assists them in crafting an "accurate" story with an excitable pace. Final Fantasy X has avoided repeating the follies of Icarus as its targets are only a few feet above its head.

Part 13: The "Law Of Averageness" In Storytelling

This inevitably leads me to my final note for this episode. Final Fantasy X's first hours are a highly rewarding experience thanks to workmen-like writing. While Final Fantasy X does not set itself up to slay any large dragons, it crafts a provocative world with mostly relatable characters. There are plenty of bumps and bruises to be had here, but I have to admit the game's infectious enthusiasm is rubbing on me. For once, I'm playing a Final Fantasy game which squeezes a smile out of me from time to time.

In my many attempts to discover why this is the case, I gravitated towards an old storytelling theorem I once postulated. Sometimes it is better to play it safe rather than risk a swing and potentially miss. Much of the game is spent introducing the world of Spira in a nonconfrontational manner. The characters are the glue to this, and they use most of their dialogue to please your neural synapses. Final Fantasy X is a dopamine inducing travelogue like a summer blockbuster.

It wouldn't be a true Final Fantasy without shitty puzzle sequences!
It wouldn't be a true Final Fantasy without shitty puzzle sequences!
Moderator
Avatar image for darkbeatdk
#1 Posted by DarkbeatDK (2326 posts) -

FFX is a pretty good game and Rikku is waifu, so I hope you enjoy it.

Avatar image for thatpinguino
#2 Posted by thatpinguino (2652 posts) -

The Cobra Kai blitzball team are the Luca Goers. The Besaid Aurochs are Wakka's squad.

Moderator
Avatar image for cloudymusic
#3 Posted by cloudymusic (1880 posts) -

I would like to commend the writers of Final Fantasy X for picking a simple and easy to hit target like sports culture. This assists them in crafting an "accurate" story with an excitable pace. Final Fantasy X has avoided repeating the follies of Icarus as its targets are only a few feet above its head.

Don't worry, it doesn't stay that way forever.

Avatar image for lawgamer
#4 Edited by LawGamer (1301 posts) -

I hate X. I hate nearly everything about it. I hate the characters. I hate the script. I hate the way the script is voiced. I hate the world. I hate the spheregrid. I hate the graphical style. I hate the linearity. I really hate the music. I think it's overall just a terrible game and it kills me that it's the template the series decided to carry forward in more modern games.

I think part of that might have to do with the shift to a fully voiced game. FF has always been corny, but when you actually hear that shit read - out loud - it's so unbelievably stupid you start to ask why you ever liked the series in the first place.

X-2 on the other hand, is a gem. Primarily because the developers finally said "fuck it" and just went full on fan service without trying to disguise it. Magic girl transformations that only barely conceal the characters are naked? Sure. Copious swimsuit sequences? Absolutely. Lesbionic back massage mini-game complete with uncomfortable amounts of moaning? Check. Hey, it's uncomfortable and creepy, but at least the devs were honest enough to lean into it.

Avatar image for taesoawful
#5 Posted by Taesoawful (71 posts) -

I legit hate the ATB system era.

Avatar image for geraltitude
#6 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5719 posts) -

Very excited for this series. Kind of makes me want to replay this game again... FFX definitely among my favourites, if only for the combat, which I thought was such a tremendous design success for the team. Dunno how you feel about it yet, but really it is among the few RPGs that so easily allows / promotes use of the entire team. Khimari is a slow burn but he's a boss.

But that blog title; starting the show with the showstopper huh?

Oh and without confirming or denying anything... interesting theory ZombiePie.

INTERESTING.

Avatar image for shindig
#7 Edited by Shindig (3962 posts) -

I haven't touched X since I sphered myself into a corner after 33 hours. I need Lulu to learn Flare and I've only got this mountain five inches away from an unwinnable boss fight. So I need the AP required to backtrack through the grid, as well as the AP to head in the right direction.

Avatar image for sparky_buzzsaw
#8 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (7965 posts) -

A travelogue is a great way to describe X. I wouldn't mind a return to this universe somewhere down the line if it allows a great degree of freedom in exploring the overworld and threw in more locations, but for what was there, I loved exploring that world.

Avatar image for bboymaestro
#9 Posted by bboymaestro (695 posts) -

"Auron is cool" is a consensus I like seeing.

Avatar image for baka_shinji17
#10 Posted by baka_shinji17 (1118 posts) -

I really still like the battle system in FFX, but have realized that some the other aspects aren't so great. Totally looking forward to see you spiral into insanity by this games end.

Avatar image for alwaysbeclothing
#11 Posted by AlwaysBeClothing (1781 posts) -

FFX continues to be my favorite of the series. This long form post makes me want to write up a similarly long blog post. I love the story, the characters, the combat and I'm really tempted to re-play through the game again. Great write up!

Avatar image for fezrock
#12 Posted by Fezrock (204 posts) -

Even though I played FFX when it came out, I do not have the same nostalgic attachment to it that I have for FFIX, so I'm curious to see if I react differently to this playthrough.

I played the HD Remaster myself a few months ago, so the game's pretty fresh in my memory. I didn't have the same technical issues you did, since I remembered how to play from way back when; but I'm less forgiving than Tidus of you. I hate everything about Tidus; his voice acting, his script, his story. I do like the introduction to Spira quite a bit though. I just wish one of the other party members was the main character; probably Wakka actually, though his character would need to change some for that.

I am very glad though that Yuna is not the main character. I really like the concept of the most important party member not being the one you control.

Avatar image for azulot
#13 Posted by azulot (231 posts) -

I'm at work right now but I am VERY excited for this read.

Avatar image for encephalon
#14 Posted by Encephalon (1702 posts) -

I've consistently enjoyed reading this series because the dramatic irony of knowing what's coming as you forge ahead blindly is so good. Buckle up, motherfucker! This game gets weird.

Online
Avatar image for zirilius
#15 Posted by Zirilius (1438 posts) -

FFX is a game that I think starts strong, stays consistently strong until you reach a certain unskippable bliztball event, and then regains itself throughout the rest of the game. While not my favorite Final Fantasy in the series it is still way up there on the list. I'd be curious to know how I'd feel about it now after not playing it in about 10 years or more but I have great nostalgia for that game.

Avatar image for thewildcard
#16 Posted by TheWildCard (328 posts) -

Buckle up, this game is going to get real stupid.

Avatar image for justin258
#17 Edited by Justin258 (14373 posts) -

I'm sure this introductory scene is a dream sequence and isn't real.

:)

I never finished Final Fantasy X - my PS2 disc messed up at about the 3/4 mark and I stopped halfway through the Vita version that I bought afterwards - but I still like that game a lot.

EDIT: I haven't finished reading yet but this should help with the Sphere Grid. A lot. Good thing you didn't pick the Expert one!

Avatar image for zirilius
#18 Edited by Zirilius (1438 posts) -

Buckle up, this game is going to get real stupid.

He's played 8 already. X doesn't even reach the levels of stupid that game reaches.

Avatar image for slag
#19 Posted by Slag (7349 posts) -

Always Kinda felt that X was the peak of the series in terms of cultural impact. I've grown more to appreciate it with time.

Also Rikku was the first time I ever heard Tara Strong in video games who was quietly everywhere shortly thereafter. A Nolan North before Nolan North. She struck me instantly as a really dang good Voice Actress.

oh and the butt cam shots are even creepier when you consider Rikku is canonically underage (15 years old)...

Avatar image for azulot
#20 Edited by azulot (231 posts) -

Happy to see you're enjoying it thus far. My family was also financially unstable so I always had a console on the next cycle (pretty smart of my dad, I thought). I grew up playing video games alongside my dad, but FFX is what really got me into games. Like, sent me over the edge with hundreds of hours trying to unlock everything.

Anyway, the story is certainly something. Excited to see how it pans out for you.

Also, I really liked blitzball. But a la the question on the recent Beastcast, that would be one of those things I'm oddly good at.

Avatar image for hassun
#21 Posted by Hassun (7881 posts) -

Still waiting to see that Otherworld replacement in the FFX intro cinematic. RULES OF NATURE!

Avatar image for mikachops
#22 Posted by mikachops (326 posts) -

Not really sure what everyone's going on about... X doesn't get that weird. It at least follows it's own rules 99% of the time unlike others in the series i still love you 8

Avatar image for onemanarmyy
#23 Edited by Onemanarmyy (2566 posts) -

Good to see you're playing FFX. I think it's a really fun game. I always liked the pure turn based combat and the ability to influence the turn list. It also has a lot of optional content that's fun to do.

I even enjoy the blitzball segments. Recruiting new guys to your team, leveling them up and going through the tournaments was enjoyable. I definitly have turned the ps2 on just to play some blitzball :)

Surprised to hear about the dissapointing voice acting. I have gone back to FFX a few years ago and still thought it was fine overall. Yuna is a bit of a boring performance, but not bad. Same with Kimahri. Not a performance of a lifetime, but it does the job and Kimahri doesn't speak much anyways. Tidus had a nice range between pixie boy and a more solemn tone during monologues.

Avatar image for kmfrob
#24 Posted by kmfrob (277 posts) -

Oh god you're gonna be one of those weird people who actually like X, aren't you? Nobody saw that coming!

Avatar image for audiobusting
#25 Posted by audioBusting (2518 posts) -

Godspeed, ZP. I tried playing X and X-2 earlier last year, and could not stand them anymore! They have not really aged well.

The observation that it's like a travelogue is spot on. They go visit the hot tourist spots of Spira, one by one. Honestly, it almost feels like Tidus is just on an adventurous vacation there, while Yuna and the rest of the crew are the ones actually on the world-saving job.

And also, I don't quite remember the fanservice much anymore, but I vaguely recall there being a lot of weirdly angled butt shots of Tidus throughout the game...

Avatar image for nietzschecookie
#26 Posted by NietzscheCookie (58 posts) -

I do really enjoy the pacing of the first 15 hours of this game (it starts to break down in the last part). There's a flow from towns to battles to battle-free puzzle areas to big CG cutscenes that makes the switch to a voice acted linear RPG a joy to experience. Its kinda like the Uncharted of RPGs. And something they have never successfully replicated after this in the franchise I feel.

Avatar image for shindig
#27 Posted by Shindig (3962 posts) -

I just wish I knew when the time to grind was. The lack of a world map makes it real difficult to determine when to stop and boost up. I might actually get back into it now that it's been presented as Tidus' gap year.

Avatar image for marokai
#28 Edited by Marokai (3577 posts) -

@nietzschecookie: I totally agree - proper pacing is the greatest strength of FFX and it's something that all of my favorite JRPGs nail so well. For the vast majority of the game FFX never feels like it lingers much or loses you, the entire narrative setup of the game (going with Yuna on this pilgrimage) is the perfect way to carefully dole out a nice balanced pattern of traversing to new zone -> plot -> puzzles, and repeat, seasoned to taste with boss fights. One thing that also helps FFX so much in comparison to its predecessors is that from a plot-perspective, it definitely reels things back in and becomes much more character-focused.

I definitely love more open RPGs but FFX is a great example of the strengths of a carefully planned and paced narrative as opposed to something more sprawling or that bites off more than it can chew. Pretty much from the get-go you have a clear goal and the game never really strays too far from it.

Avatar image for dudeglove
#29 Posted by dudeglove (12575 posts) -
Loading Video...

Avatar image for sinusoidal
#30 Posted by Sinusoidal (3327 posts) -

Ahh X. An actually half decent story and some great combat marred only by increasingly insane character design and some painfully tedious and difficult optional content. I loved this game, but it's one of those games I'm pretty sure my memory of which is better than the reality. It's exciting to vicariously re-live it without the actual frustration of playing it!

Avatar image for imhungry
#31 Posted by imhungry (624 posts) -

Reading this has made me remember just how weird X gets. X gon' give it to you indeed. I am incredibly excited for this series of blogs. Great combat system though.

Avatar image for thewildcard
#32 Posted by TheWildCard (328 posts) -

@zirilius said:
@thewildcard said:

Buckle up, this game is going to get real stupid.

He's played 8 already. X doesn't even reach the levels of stupid that game reaches.

VIII is complete nonsense, but X seems to hinge on it more imo, thinking its nonsense is clever or insightful.

Avatar image for dixavd
#33 Posted by Dixavd (2494 posts) -

You don't know how happy it made me reading this when you posted it (I didn't comment straight away because I was too giddy and wanted to make sure I didn't get over-excited and spoil stuff).

It's no secret that FFX is my favourite game of all time, so I'm ecstatic that you didn't hate it immediately off the bat (and some of the sincerity that warmed my heart so long ago is alight ever-so-dimly today).

I truly adore the section of this game you just described: from the technological powerhouse of Zanarkand in its prime > though the attack > Tidus' loneliness > foreshadowing with Rikku and the Al Bhed > to finally seeing the sun for the very first time in Besaid. The music of Besaid Island always makes me tear up when you step foot in Besaid's jungles: it's my favourite song of all time and encapsulates Tidus' glimmer of optimism as he takes his first few steps in Spira so beautifully.

Loading Video...

Obviously the intro has its pitfall (I also dislike Overworld!) but I still think, especially tonally and artistically, it's a master-class on how to captivate an audience to a new setting. Many games are set in a post-apocalyptic future, but I always liked how FFX found a way to give the player a sense of what the world was like before the calamity (and thus something to care about). More than this though, the new world of Spira feels lived in and tangible even outside of its place after the events of Sin. Most games either fail at properly contextualising the brilliance and wonder of the state prior, or fail to give the aftermath a real identity. I've always admired FFX's approach.

I hope you return to this piece towards the end of the playthrough (or at least when certain story-beats are revealed) as there are a couple comments I'm sure you'll find amusing. Also, keep an open mind about the flashback scenes: I'm not going to say that any of them are especially revelatory but I think, as the game progresses, they make more sense as to why they're focused on Tidus' relationship with Jecht (and why his relationship with his Mother isn't mentioned so often despite him spending a further 10 years with her after Jecht disappeared).

Avatar image for dhutch
#34 Posted by Dhutch (81 posts) -

@zombiepie So you're sticking with the default button layout because you're trying to play the game as people originally experienced it? Did I read that right? Because *I* sure used a ps2 controller. I 100% believe that if you're not somehow wiring a dualshock (or similar) into your pc, then it's already not "authentic", and you should probably make it easier on yourself if you can.

Avatar image for fingerprints
#35 Posted by Fingerprints (29 posts) -

@zombiepie: aha you choose the standard sphere Grid. You are all good,super easy to follow just plod along and it will naturally guide you, blocking off crazier roots. So Yuna will follow a route of white magic and Lulu Black etc. You won't have any problem. (Just don't use teleport spheres)

Avatar image for dudeglove
#36 Posted by dudeglove (12575 posts) -

A few things I wish to note:

- I completely forgot Rikku meets you at the start of the game. I remember the temple sequence well (I thought that was actually kinda cool, almost a vaguely survival horror vibe) but I completely blanked on Rikku being the one to pull you out of there. Spoiler note: you can return there much later to deal with fish monster who is actually really hard because it can instakill you in a certain way if you don't have the right equipment.

- I think the game holds up well right up until you get to Zanarkand (the first time) because the game is meant to be a series of flashbacks of them Wizard of Ozing their way to the Emerald City. Then it really friggin loses it because it decides to last SEVERAL MORE HOURS. I thought it was neat of them to introduce your whole crew without any context, and then spend that interim time fleshing out everyone.

- Aside from the completely leftfield shitty metal track, I think I really liked some of the music?

- If you want the best Blitzball player, it's the pilot of your airship. He has ridiculous values for every single stat and can out run anyone else on any other team.

- I am glad you agree that Auron is a badass.

- Most of the sidequest/ultimate weapon stuff doesn't suck, and I think it's neat that you actually get given the weapons fairly easily, but then have to unlock their powers. Also, some of the Dark Aeons are really a neat challenge that aren't implemented all that haphazardly, although they don't exactly explain why they turn up.

- You can remove spheres from the sphere grid and put better spheres in their place. Completely filling out the sphere grid will not make you hit 9999/999. If you wish to go that far you need to replace the crappy spheres with better versions.

- Oh right, there's chocobo racing in this game. Have fun with that.

- Wakka's voice actor is Bender from Futurama. Yuna's and Tidus' voice actors look oddly similar to their in character models.

Avatar image for zombiepie
#37 Posted by ZombiePie (6891 posts) -

FFX is a pretty good game and Rikku is waifu, so I hope you enjoy it.

Rikku deserves better. She spends too much of the game being a source of fan service or a bubbly sidekick. She's on paper the most interesting female member of your team, but the game doesn't realize this in the first handful of hours I have played it.

The Cobra Kai blitzball team are the Luca Goers. The Besaid Aurochs are Wakka's squad.

This contemptible factual error has been corrected. To my defense, the voice acting for any of the supporting characters regarding Blitzball is STILL TERRIBLE!

I would like to commend the writers of Final Fantasy X for picking a simple and easy to hit target like sports culture. This assists them in crafting an "accurate" story with an excitable pace. Final Fantasy X has avoided repeating the follies of Icarus as its targets are only a few feet above its head.

Don't worry, it doesn't stay that way forever.

Oh wait, do you mean to suggest I am playing a Final Fantasy game? It's almost as if every game in this franchise has to crap its pants when it tries to conclude its story. I just cannot wait to see what they managed to pull out of their ass this time. I'm hoping there's no space travel. I'd finally like to play a Final Fantasy game which did not arbitrarily go to space.

@lawgamer said:

I hate X. I hate nearly everything about it. I hate the characters. I hate the script. I hate the way the script is voiced. I hate the world. I hate the spheregrid. I hate the graphical style. I hate the linearity. I really hate the music. I think it's overall just a terrible game and it kills me that it's the template the series decided to carry forward in more modern games.

I think part of that might have to do with the shift to a fully voiced game. FF has always been corny, but when you actually hear that shit read - out loud - it's so unbelievably stupid you start to ask why you ever liked the series in the first place.

X-2 on the other hand, is a gem. Primarily because the developers finally said "fuck it" and just went full on fan service without trying to disguise it. Magic girl transformations that only barely conceal the characters are naked? Sure. Copious swimsuit sequences? Absolutely. Lesbionic back massage mini-game complete with uncomfortable amounts of moaning? Check. Hey, it's uncomfortable and creepy, but at least the devs were honest enough to lean into it.

I love the music! Final Fantasy X has the best version of the Final Fantasy prelude in the entire franchise! I'm not joking you, THE ENTIRE FRANCHISE!

Loading Video...

It is a chipper upbeat techno rendition of the prelude and does well to establish how different X is to the rest of the franchise. And if you mean to tell me you dislike the theme to Besaid Island... I just don't even.

I can understand the rest of your complaints to a degree, but honestly I think your complaints should be directed towards Final Fantasy VII. That was the game which moved the entire franchise down the pathway of being showcases of technical excellence rather than narrative masterpieces. Voice acting was an inevitably in a franchise which prides itself in providing movie-like production values, and the attitude that Final Fantasy should have movie-like attributes started with Final Fantasy VII, and not X.

Everything you are saying about X-2 sounds terrible.

I legit hate the ATB system era.

Brother, I am right there with you! For as much as I appreciated Final Fantasy IX's narrative accomplishments, I enjoyed playing it the least. That combat system is slow and no fucking fun for the first half of the game. There are a number of reasons why I like Final Fantasy X's "Act List." First, it incentives the use of status ailments, and it allows for careful planning on the part of the player. It is an appreciated change from what I toiled over when playing final Fantasy IX.

Very excited for this series. Kind of makes me want to replay this game again... FFX definitely among my favourites, if only for the combat, which I thought was such a tremendous design success for the team. Dunno how you feel about it yet, but really it is among the few RPGs that so easily allows / promotes use of the entire team. Khimari is a slow burn but he's a boss.

But that blog title; starting the show with the showstopper huh?

Oh and without confirming or denying anything... interesting theory ZombiePie.

INTERESTING.

Right, so you mentioned Kimahri being a badass and this reminds me of one of current problems. I have no idea how to level Kimahri. His Sphere Grid branches immediately, and while I have been using him in combat as much as possible, I still haven't progressed him on the Sphere Grid. Any advice on which direction would be best for me would be greatly appreciated.

@shindig said:

I haven't touched X since I sphered myself into a corner after 33 hours. I need Lulu to learn Flare and I've only got this mountain five inches away from an unwinnable boss fight. So I need the AP required to backtrack through the grid, as well as the AP to head in the right direction.

This is a comment which I have seen a number of times, and it scares the shit out of me. You are not the first person to admit to walking away from Final Fantasy X because of an unwinnable boss fight. I know I am not supposed to solicit gameplay advice from the community, but I'm not replaying 33+ hours of this game for your entertainment. I have limits.

A travelogue is a great way to describe X. I wouldn't mind a return to this universe somewhere down the line if it allows a great degree of freedom in exploring the overworld and threw in more locations, but for what was there, I loved exploring that world.

If there is one major criticism I have regarding Final Fantasy X it is that it does not allow for you to explore its world openly sooner. I wish to see the progress of Kilika's rebuilding effort. I feel as if the previous Final Fantasy games I have played allowed for a great deal more freedom in exploring the world sooner than Final Fantasy X. Plus, the first five to seven hours do not exactly provide the player with "breathing room." It is story set piece after story set piece from what I have played.

"Auron is cool" is a consensus I like seeing.

I mean, he's an anime character doing anime-ass things in an anime-ass world. What's there to dislike?

How limited is the anime?

Moderator
Avatar image for sergeantz
#38 Posted by sergeantz (177 posts) -

It follows the other games in that it has a pretty direct time/anime proportion.

Avatar image for drdarkstryfe
#39 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (2080 posts) -

Auron is second to Vivi on my list of favorite characters in the franchise. The scene where Auron returns to join Tidus's party in the blitzball stadium is such a great moment. I love that you can tell that he is really serious about a fight when he decides to use his other arm.

Avatar image for TechnoSyndrome
#40 Posted by TechnoSyndrome (1342 posts) -

This game is so fucking dumb. Good luck.

Avatar image for geraltitude
#41 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5719 posts) -

@zombiepie: Yeah it's a bit odd in that Khimari's sphere grid really rewards knowledge of a previous playthrough. His placement is all about choice; moreso than any other character, the result of his build is based on you. But, how can you be expected to make decisions with knowledge you don't have? Well, don't look at me none!

I've included a link herein which may melt you. Proceed slowly! I think you get your first Level 1 Key from Mi'hen Road based on a quick google, so no big decisions until then!

At high-level, my personal flow is to move Khimari first towards Rikku, than towards Wakka. However, many players like to push Khimari towards Yuna's path, which can yield a balanced character who has solid attack and defence abilities; often, Khimari gains access to abilities sooner than the characters he intersects, which is another interesting wrinkle.

I'm not sure how much input you want here but let me know how you are going with Khimari. At the end of the day keep in mind that really anything works in this game, for better or for worse, so you aren't going to be punished in any way for your decisions. One big / small tip is simply not to feel like you gotta invest in the grid everytime you have a chance. Save up your nodes / etc for some downtime than dump em all. This alleviated some of the management tiredness for me.

Avatar image for dixavd
#42 Posted by Dixavd (2494 posts) -

@zombiepie:If you want some advice on how to level Khimari - I highly recommend you teach him steal (this requires following Rikku's sphere grid). Having a character that can steal earlier than getting Rikku on your team is generally useful, but there is a specific fight with Khimari on your side (that Rikku cannot be present for) where stealing is very lucrative. You'll need two Level 1 Key Sphere's for this I believe - earliest they can be obtained is on the Mi'ihen Highroad (one from a random NPC on the road, another obtained automatically at a story spot along it).

Once he's learned Steal (and might as well learn Use since they are next to each other) then you could have him follow Rikku's sphere grid or you could double back to another. Remember that the party is effectively split in two: Tidus, Wakka and Rikku who can swim, and the others who cannot. So Khimari following the role of one of the three: Tidus, Wakka or Rikku, is generally helpful since there are times when the party will split-up at waterways and they will be unavailable during the non-swimming part. Tidus can be a good sphere grid for Khimari to follow since Haste is a very useful ability, however it might be simpler to just continue with Rikku's. For a first playthrough, Khimari is basically your excuse to experiment, so feel free to use your Teleport Spheres, Friend Spheres, and Return Spheres on him without remorse... Just make sure you do level him up or you will have a bad time at a specific fight.

Tangent: I'm so happy you liked the theme of Besaid Island! It's my favourite song! (No qualifying statement - it's my favourite song, period.)

What do you feel when comparing the Original to the Remastered (don't miss the string section) versions? I love the varied arrangement. Spoiler-tagging my interpretation, not because it's a spoiler, but because I want you to think of your interpretation first.I interpret the former as aligning closer to Tidus' view of Besaid: an unfamiliar land full of promise. On the other hand, the remastered version feels almost nostalgic for the richness of the place. This rearrangement has a greater presence of the surroundings as if it were recorded through the ears of Yuna who's deeply familiar with the island's every sound. When I play the remaster now I play the original version on the way in (for Tidus' introduction), and then the remastered version on the way out (for Yuna's farewell).

Avatar image for zombiepie
#43 Posted by ZombiePie (6891 posts) -

I really still like the battle system in FFX, but have realized that some the other aspects aren't so great. Totally looking forward to see you spiral into insanity by this games end.

I appreciate the combat system of Final Fantasy X as someone who actively dislikes what I have seen of the ATB system. The ATB System is SLOW, and it takes forever to speed up to a reasonable rate wherein the combat has a distinct sense of flow. That's because you're stuck doing nothing while you wait for your gauges to fill. Planning? Good luck with that! It's less about planning and hoping the enemy doesn't have the ability to attack twice before you get a turn. Even when your enemy is attacking, you don't get to relax and plan your next move: your eyes are darting back and forth on those gauges as you frantically select a move before the enemy wrecks you. I also would argue the ATB System makes cinematic one-on-one confrontations painful.

FFX continues to be my favorite of the series. This long form post makes me want to write up a similarly long blog post. I love the story, the characters, the combat and I'm really tempted to re-play through the game again. Great write up!

Thank you for the kind words! Always feel free to write up a blog post detailing your own thoughts. As is the case, my perspective is outside of the norm when it comes to this franchise, and being able to read over the thoughts of someone who has played this game before would be greatly appreciated on my part.

@fezrock said:

Even though I played FFX when it came out, I do not have the same nostalgic attachment to it that I have for FFIX, so I'm curious to see if I react differently to this playthrough.

I played the HD Remaster myself a few months ago, so the game's pretty fresh in my memory. I didn't have the same technical issues you did, since I remembered how to play from way back when; but I'm less forgiving than Tidus of you. I hate everything about Tidus; his voice acting, his script, his story. I do like the introduction to Spira quite a bit though. I just wish one of the other party members was the main character; probably Wakka actually, though his character would need to change some for that.

I am very glad though that Yuna is not the main character. I really like the concept of the most important party member not being the one you control.

I don't like Yuna. In the next episode I am even going to argue why I think her voice acting is worse than Tidus's. I get why Tidus has become the whipping boy of the game, but at least he attempts to express a wide breadth of emotions over the course of the game. Yuna, on the other hand, spends most of the game responding to prompts from other characters with monosyllabic responses with the same monotone droning over and over again. I can at least laugh at Tidus, but with Yuna I'm just bored.

I've consistently enjoyed reading this series because the dramatic irony of knowing what's coming as you forge ahead blindly is so good. Buckle up, motherfucker! This game gets weird.

Playing a Final Fantasy game blind is the best way to experience it. Every game I have played in the franchise, besides Mobius Final Fantasy, has tried to impress me in its own way within the first couple of hours. Each game also has a distinct feel and scope to them I cannot help but appreciate. When you play a FInal Fantasy game you know you are about to experience a new world alien from the previous entry in the franchise. I guess I'm starting to see why many people view that to be rejuvenating.

@zirilius said:

FFX is a game that I think starts strong, stays consistently strong until you reach a certain unskippable bliztball event, and then regains itself throughout the rest of the game. While not my favorite Final Fantasy in the series it is still way up there on the list. I'd be curious to know how I'd feel about it now after not playing it in about 10 years or more but I have great nostalgia for that game.

MAN... that Blitzball scene IS SOMETHING ELSE! I'm just going to warm you all right now, I have nothing nice to say about Blitzball. I know there are some of you who really enjoy the minigame for whatever reasons, Fine, I'm not going to tell you how to live your life. However, it's indicative of a greater problem in Final Fantasy X. That is to say there is tons of content hidden beneath mountains of bullshit busy work no reasonable human being should ever do.

I never finished Final Fantasy X - my PS2 disc messed up at about the 3/4 mark and I stopped halfway through the Vita version that I bought afterwards - but I still like that game a lot.

EDIT: I haven't finished reading yet but this should help with the Sphere Grid. A lot. Good thing you didn't pick the Expert one!

Thanks for the guide on the Sphere Grid. I still have no idea what I want to do with Kimahri. I think it would HILARIOUS if I spent the entirety of this series not touching his Sphere Grid at all.

@zirilius said:
@thewildcard said:

Buckle up, this game is going to get real stupid.

He's played 8 already. X doesn't even reach the levels of stupid that game reaches.

Yo, word! For all of the moaning and groaning I directed at Final Fantasy VII and IX, those games at least crafted story moments which work. Final Fantasy VIII has three or four story moments work on a non-ironic level. The rest of that game is kind of a flaming pile of trash. I love playing that game, but at some point I viewed it the same way I would a B-movie from the 1950's or 60's.

There is nothing else like the ending to Final Fantasy VIII. I feel confident in saying that.

@slag said:

Always Kinda felt that X was the peak of the series in terms of cultural impact. I've grown more to appreciate it with time.

Also Rikku was the first time I ever heard Tara Strong in video games who was quietly everywhere shortly thereafter. A Nolan North before Nolan North. She struck me instantly as a really dang good Voice Actress.

oh and the butt cam shots are even creepier when you consider Rikku is canonically underage (15 years old)...

I forgot to ask @thatpinguino this question when we recorded our first Final Fantasy X podcast, but I was wondering if Final Fantasy X was an introduction to the Final Fantasy franchise much like VII was for the PlayStation One era. I recall Final fantasy X being reported by multiple news outlets, and everyone was talking about it where I was at. I have to imagine that it is the game many judge future entries in the franchise by, similar to how older generations judge new entries via VI, VII, or even IX. Maybe the disconnect between those who enjoy X, and dislike it is generational?

And everything you have informed me about Rikku makes this game even grosser.

@azulot said:

Happy to see you're enjoying it thus far. My family was also financially unstable so I always had a console on the next cycle (pretty smart of my dad, I thought). I grew up playing video games alongside my dad, but FFX is what really got me into games. Like, sent me over the edge with hundreds of hours trying to unlock everything.

Anyway, the story is certainly something. Excited to see how it pans out for you.

Also, I really liked blitzball. But a la the question on the recent Beastcast, that would be one of those things I'm oddly good at.

Glad to see you are enjoying this new series. Blitzball... is indicative of a recent development in the Final Fantasy franchise I actively dislike. Every game needs to hide cool and interesting spells, items, and/or costumes behind busy work. Maybe you are willing to defend Blitzball, but I am almost entirely no one is going to defend those God awful Temple puzzles. I feel there's other examples of gamplay distractions getting in the way of player enjoyment in Final Fantasy X, and I have been warned I have yet to see the worse the game has to offer.

Moderator
Avatar image for zombiepie
#44 Posted by ZombiePie (6891 posts) -

@hassun said:

Still waiting to see that Otherworld replacement in the FFX intro cinematic. RULES OF NATURE!

I know I mention it on the blog post, but I just want to make something incredibly clear: that track is hot garbage. There's nothing else in the soundtrack which sounds like it, and it is entirely out of place in the greater scheme of things. And those lyrics... it is such a painful facsimile of thrash or death metal.

It's like watching a toddle fail at walking. You want to laugh, but it feel wrong to do so.

Not really sure what everyone's going on about... X doesn't get that weird. It at least follows it's own rules 99% of the time unlike others in the series i still love you 8

At this point I have come to terms with the fact Final Fantasy X will pivot in an arbitrary and disconcerting manner. I say this on account of how the rest of the game feels distinctly Japanese and appears to draw from anime in creating its narrative. The tropes and idioms it is pulling from almost necessitate an odd turn of events which invert your expectations. Also, Final Fantasy X does a better job of frontloading the idea you have only seen the tip of the iceberg.

It also has a lot of optional content that's fun to do.

I respectfully disagree with this statement. I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me the Chocobo nonsense in this game is fun. Or how about those puzzles in the Cloisters? Is anyone willing to defend those? Don't you lie tome. Don't you dare break my heart.

Similarly, I do not think there is any strategy to be had with Blitzball. You just recruit new players and then cheese the ever-loving Christ out the artificial intelligence. I mean let's be honest here, the A.I. in Blitzball is a war crime.

@kmfrob said:

Oh god you're gonna be one of those weird people who actually like X, aren't you? Nobody saw that coming!

Or maybe the tradition of me being impressed by the way a Final Fantasy game introduces the player to its world, but slowly disgusted by its later developments continues. Final Fantasy IX slightly bucked this trend, but for the most part, I have always enjoyed the first couple of discs of Final fantasy games the most in comparison to the rest of the game.

Godspeed, ZP. I tried playing X and X-2 earlier last year, and could not stand them anymore! They have not really aged well.

The observation that it's like a travelogue is spot on. They go visit the hot tourist spots of Spira, one by one. Honestly, it almost feels like Tidus is just on an adventurous vacation there, while Yuna and the rest of the crew are the ones actually on the world-saving job.

And also, I don't quite remember the fanservice much anymore, but I vaguely recall there being a lot of weirdly angled butt shots of Tidus throughout the game...

I partially selected the term "travelogue" for another reason. Final Fantasy X introduces its story and world in the least confrontational manner possible. There's nothing about the story or characters which intellectually challenges the player until the game's second movement. Even then there's a decidedly lighthearted bent to the action. While there's certainly the subtext of tragedy in the background it usually immediately complimented with a comedic set piece or playful joshing about.

It comes across as more a relaxing trip rather than pensive meditation.

I do really enjoy the pacing of the first 15 hours of this game (it starts to break down in the last part). There's a flow from towns to battles to battle-free puzzle areas to big CG cutscenes that makes the switch to a voice acted linear RPG a joy to experience. Its kinda like the Uncharted of RPGs. And something they have never successfully replicated after this in the franchise I feel.

So far the first half of the game has been a visual and mechanical treat. Mechanics play out at a reasonable rate, and everything in the story avoids overwhelming you. Plus, the game does a great job of introducing the player to distinct locations and places which all serve a greater purpose in building up the world of Spira. It's a game with a sense of whimsy, and it isn't shy to share this with you.

@shindig said:

I just wish I knew when the time to grind was. The lack of a world map makes it real difficult to determine when to stop and boost up. I might actually get back into it now that it's been presented as Tidus' gap year.

I would agree this is a constant annoyance, but Final Fantasy X doesn't come across as being open world like previous entries in the franchise. Again, I'm going to use the term "travelogue" to describe the game. Final fantasy X is strongest when it strings together a series of events that work to create a cohesive flow or pace. It's certainly superficial, but it's fun to look at and play.

Now in regards to grinding, I full-heartedly agree with you. With such a complex leveling system as the Sphere Grid, I do not feel like the game provides enough locations where you can level up and prepare for boss battles in the game.

@marokai said:

@nietzschecookie: I totally agree - proper pacing is the greatest strength of FFX and it's something that all of my favorite JRPGs nail so well. For the vast majority of the game FFX never feels like it lingers much or loses you, the entire narrative setup of the game (going with Yuna on this pilgrimage) is the perfect way to carefully dole out a nice balanced pattern of traversing to new zone -> plot -> puzzles, and repeat, seasoned to taste with boss fights. One thing that also helps FFX so much in comparison to its predecessors is that from a plot-perspective, it definitely reels things back in and becomes much more character-focused.

I definitely love more open RPGs but FFX is a great example of the strengths of a carefully planned and paced narrative as opposed to something more sprawling or that bites off more than it can chew. Pretty much from the get-go you have a clear goal and the game never really strays too far from it.

The one time Final Fantasy X managed to lose me during its introduction was when we entered Luca, and had to do what we were tasked to do in Luca. That... is complete crap. Here the game presents this massive event Wakka will not cease to clamor about, and it amounts to one mission which you are expected to lose. Everything after that is entirely optional. It's almost as if the game trying to build up the importance of Blitzball is all for naught.

Moderator
Avatar image for onemanarmyy
#45 Edited by Onemanarmyy (2566 posts) -
No Caption Provided

@zombiepie: I like the chocobo race in FF X.

The cloister puzzles are mostly mandatory content. The one optional cloister treasure chest in Macalania is a bit tricky, but i don't remember hating it.

There's one optional thing that no one will defend though. Don't worry :)

Avatar image for marokai
#46 Posted by Marokai (3577 posts) -

@zombiepie: It is kind of hilarious how bad the introduction of Blitzball is, it's completely fucked. You're thrown into a game you have almost no chance of winning, and this is apparently supposed to make you want to play it all the time at save spheres after that point? Yeah no thanks.

I know Blitzball has its defenders but I've honestly always hated it and even in that story match against the Goers I pretty much just run around in circles or hide behind a goal to run out the clock. The whole Blitzball "season" doesn't even really make sense. Wakka references that the Blitz season has just started - after the equivalent of the Superbowl? It's totally backwards.

Avatar image for slag
#47 Posted by Slag (7349 posts) -

@slag said:

some stuff

I forgot to ask @thatpinguino this question when we recorded our first Final Fantasy X podcast, but I was wondering if Final Fantasy X was an introduction to the Final Fantasy franchise much like VII was for the PlayStation One era. I recall Final fantasy X being reported by multiple news outlets, and everyone was talking about it where I was at. I have to imagine that it is the game many judge future entries in the franchise by, similar to how older generations judge new entries via VI, VII, or even IX. Maybe the disconnect between those who enjoy X, and dislike it is generational?

And everything you have informed me about Rikku makes this game even grosser.

Well I don't remember it quite that way, but you could be right.

Fwiw I'm an old timer with FF games, been with the series since Day 1 of FF 1 US release. Saw it in Nintendo Power http://nintendo.wikia.com/wiki/Nintendo_Power_V17 and my parents got it for me for xmas.

The way X's reception felt at the time, and to be fair it was a lot harder to get a consensus feel for this stuff pre-social media, was dictated by the notion that many of the great franchises like Final Fantasy, Zelda And Mario had massive leaps in quality and innovation with each new entry.

We now know that wasn't entirely true (e.g. what we call Super Mario Bros 2 was a re-skinned Doki Doki Panic, whereas the real SMB2 was basically an expansion pack to SMB1).

So the expectation was, as unfair as it was, that each new game in those series was going to blow your mind by being radically better than the previous entry in some way. And at least for Final Fantasy through X, it pretty much did that. And for the most part it sure seemed to me that people absolutely loved it. I know I did. I don't replay many games, but I'd much rather replay X than any of the PS1 era games.

And X definitely lived up to that. You got incredibly beautiful visual spectacle, you got an even faster more fluid battle system, you got more human fuller relationships between the characters and you got Voice Acting. It was the last FF game to blow the previous entry out of the water on a technical level in a spectacular fashion.

but the Seams also started to show. The entire overworld exploration was removed from the experience, the airship becoming basically a teleporter. The Voice Acting through a bright light on how differently the Japanese creators envisioned their characters versus what I think many westerners' headcanon envisioned them. Not to mention the different tropes and verbal pacing Japanese anime and games tend to have versus American content. FFX felt a little alien in a way the previous games maybe didn't as much. And unlike in the SNES and PS1 western developed games were starting to close the game in terms of production spectacle and storytelling, which made the quirkiness of FF localization less tolerable to some people than it had been previously.

the people I remember who dislike the game pretty much did so for that reason.

In retrospect I guess it should have been obvious that Square could continue topping itself like this everytime.

To me X was the end of the Golden Age of Squaresoft and the series. Right around then The Spirits Within Movie came and nearly tanked the company. You got the emergency merger with Enix, Series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi left the company, then the Series tarnished itself with heavily recycled X-2 (which wasn't as terrible as people say, but it broke the illusion that each FF game was going to radically top the previous one) and a bunch of Vii related cash grabs and then went chasing Everquest money with Xi. By the time Xii came around, FF had been gone a pretty long time. Longer than it ever had previously. They've certainly had games I've loved since, but the brand and Franchise has never been quite as impactful or ambitious since.

That's how I remember its' reception fwiw.

Avatar image for alexl86
#48 Edited by alexl86 (803 posts) -

@zombiepie: You keep saying 1999, but FFX came out in 2001. Also, your argument that you stick with the original controls make no sense at all. The only way to play this prior to the HD remaster was with a PS2 controller.

Other than that, great job.

Avatar image for clagnaught
#49 Posted by clagnaught (1262 posts) -

This is good.

11 year old (or however old I was at the time...) me freakin' loved Otherworld. As I've gotten older, the less I care for it. Mainly the vocals (especially since I now listen to actual death metal and am picky about mediocre/bad harsh vocals). There's some parts of it that I think are alright, and how it was used in the game is still...neat(?).

From my recollection, Rikku gets pretty much all of the fan service in this game. Which on looking back at it is kind of odd. Like the two main moments I'm thinking of, one being the butt shot, are the only things I can remember from the entire game.

Avatar image for onemanarmyy
#50 Edited by Onemanarmyy (2566 posts) -

@clagnaught: Lulu bends over a lot to show her cleavage. Yuna gets away from most of that, apart of having to know that she wears a black bra underneath.

Are you enticed?!
Are you enticed?!

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.