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Final Fantasy X – 19 years and three copies later I have finally finished it

Content of the article: "Final Fantasy X – 19 years and three copies later I have finally finished it"

After originally owning the game when it first came out on the PS2 when I was a small child – I fell in love with what at the time were the most beautiful cutscenes I had ever seen. This was before my exposure to anime, the perfection of the images remain with me. However I had to give away my PS2 before I finished it. I then got it back years later and still had my copy of FFX, I started it again, but never finished it. Finally the HD remake came to steam and during lockdown I have finished it, only 19 years later.

As for the actual game – it is honestly kinda underwhelming. The gameplay and story are separated by cutscenes, so the flow of the game is incredibly stop/start. The gameplay is fairly okay turn based combat. No interesting gimmicks to be seen, a la FFX-2 or Ar Tonelico 2. This is straight-up, you know when everyone is going to go and once you have a set game plan, it is pretty much a stat check. I did a lot of the optional end content – beat the Omega Weapon, got all the Celestial Weapons, did some of the dark aeons. The issue was going into the final boss, I one-shot every single end game boss to the point where I can't comment on their difficulty, or even their mechanics. The superbosses are fine once you have got the right gear. I am not sure if you are meant to figure out what is best, but I used a guide and it meant that is was mostly a grind rather than anything else.

Oh and fuck Blitzball and grinding out Wakka's weapon.

The story itself is fairly interesting as a concept. Tidus is revealed to be a part of a dream and several important characters in the world are "unsent" dead. In fact the whole world revolves around the spiral of death. Sin, the bringer of death, wracks destruction with no reason on helpless towns and villages. The only hope left in the world being a seven year respite from inevitable death, at the cost of the life of a summoner and one of her guardians. The idea of death is so powerful that one antagonist sees it as the only true power and attempts to merge with Sin. The guardian of the Final Aeon, herself an unsent ghost, admits that it is better to die with false hope, than live in despair. The major religion of the world, led by the unsent dead, know the truth, but preach the hope of the Final Summoning nonetheless. They are as much a part of the cult of death as Sin itself.

Aside from being a meditation on death, there is one further aspect to the story. The journey of a son who hates his absent father. There is the eventual reconciliation, but it is bittersweet, as it is at the moment when the father die and Tidus can only say that he hates him, because that is all he has wanted to say. But you get the feeling that while it might be true, Tidus knows differently now and attempts to save his father from his inevitable death, by reaching out a hand.

There are many charming little scenes that help carry you along. The infamous laughing Tidus, which makes sense in context, and is even a little poignant as a result. Yuna's first sending still holds up as a great image. And the entire opening of the game, set to the only metal(?) song.

What is much better are the characters – while the voice acting is all over the place the characters have a charm to them that I can't tell if it is simply nostalgia or something genuine. Wakka's big brother like quality, with a fitting Jamaican accent; the excited little sister in Rikku; the awesomely gruff Auron, who holds a sword bigger than himself in one hand; Kimahri stoic in the face of everything. Unfortunately I think Yuna and Lulu fail to be as charming as one would hope. Lulu has the cold big sister vibe going, but having watched far too much anime I don't think she goes far enough and fails to have her own story for the most part. Yuna isn't quite as bad, she is arguably the second most important character, and the story paints her as tragic, but she doesn't quite have enough going on to be as charming as the rest of the cast.

Read more:  Bioshock Infinite went from good to great because of the ending and the Burial at Sea DLC.

Perhaps the real standout, and the thing that holds up the best, is the music. Just banger after banger that have makes me a little nostalgic everything I hear them. I would totally recommend listening to the entire OST, although without context it might not have the same impact.

Honestly, what the game could've done to improve itself massively, is being able to spend more downtime with the characters. If the game had side quests to I felt there were so many missed chances to make little improvements. I understand that this was the first(?), fully 3d FF game, so they were probably already overworked, but it could've been so much better. I am looking forward to playing FFX-2, one that I barely touched when I was a child.


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