Final Fantasy X Escapades: Part 01: Blitzballin' Outta Control

Final Fantasy is a series that I've never had much luck getting into. It's not that I don't like games of the particular ilk, either. I've played and enjoyed things such as Legend of Dragoon, Golden Sun, Lost Odyssey, Wild Arms, and more. I've never played more than a few minutes of any Final Fantasy, however, so I figured I'd finally give one of the most unanimously adored entries a proper go. I thought it'd be fun to record my various thoughts as I traipse along.

Just to be up front, no I'm not playing the original PS2 version, but rather the "remastered" version on Vita. I have to assume the experience is largely identical apart from the Vita version being widescreen and conveniently portable.

As alluded to above, I don't have a ton of Final Fantasy knowledge, though I feel I've absorbed quite a bit over the years via osmosis. So far I've seen Chocobos, copious spiky hair, phoenix downs, giant summoned monsters, and a ridiculous amount of cut scenes. This is going pretty much as expected.

Oh for the love of god
Oh for the love of god

The one part that snuck up on me is Blitzball. Now, I did know of the existence of Blitzball beforehand, but I didn't realize the extent to which the story seems to revolve around this imaginary sport. Blitzball is the first thing you're introduced to, and it's only proceeded to become more prominent as I've advanced nearly six hours into the game now. The protagonist (whom I've renamed TyyDyy) has at this point been transported a thousand years into the future, is fighting monsters constantly, has no idea what's going on, but oh hey, I just competed in the first big Blitzball tournament of the season, which has comprised the bulk of the story thus far. Baffling.

It's actually been especially interesting learning more about this fake, dumb sport and its apparent importance in this world, as one of my friends when I was in school actually claimed Blitzball to be his favorite sport. Keep in mind he was being asked about real life sports when he provided this answer. Of course I was completely dismissive at the time. Actually, I still am if I'm honest. But after all the buildup and finally getting to play a quick match of proper Blitzball, I can see the appeal. It's all very numbers-based and lacking in actual dexterous maneuvers, but for a playable sport existing within an RPG, it could be worse. I was legitimately pumping my fist a little bit and calling the AI team unrepeatable names as I scored goals and claimed victory.

Thankfully, Wakka, the character I was helping win the Blitzball tournament, is now supposedly retiring from the sport forever. I'd say I hope the focus will now shift more firmly to the evil-whale-monster-that-might-be-my-reincarnated-father-destroying-the-world part of the plot, but with all of the ridiculously in-depth tutorials I went though before playing my Blitzball matches, I'd bet I'm not nearly through with this crazy sport.

Despite the stilted and awkward dialog, silly story, and sometimes tiringly frequent cutscenes, I've found myself strangely engaged. I know these games typically take a while to really get started proper, so hopefully things will pick up as I march forward. I'll be sure to report back regardless.

I can't go before stating that the protagonist dresses like an absolute idiot. God, it's unbelievable.