Final Fantasy X

  • Hi everyone,

    I just finished my first playthrough of FFX and wanted to share my thoughts. As always, spoilers for those who haven't played the game yet!

    First, let me say that I love all the "classic" style FF games, and was told by several people that I would probably hate this game for its setting and style, so I went into FFX with considerably lowered expectations. In fact, the only reason I wanted to play this game at all is the soundtrack: from the first time I heard To Zanarkand and Suteki da ne, I knew that I wanted to hear more. Rather than spoil the rest of the tracks, I decided to trust the pedigree of my favorite series and just take the plunge. Boy, am I happy I did.

    The game cheated a little bit - I didn't realize that it literally opened with To Zanarkand, which went a long way towards immediately winning me over. I was still pretty shocked at the quality of the writing and VO, though. "Listen to my story. This may be our last chance" is one of the most arresting opening lines I've ever heard in a game. I immediately wanted to know more. Also, just on the whole, the voice acting in this game gets a bad rap. Sure, there are moments where the voice direction and dubbing are off (including some really unfortunate dramatic scenes, which have the VO super weirdly sped up to match the lips), but I don't blame the voice actors for that. They did what they could, and I think on the whole it contributed to my enjoyment of the game. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Wakka had a vaguely pidgin accent, true to his pacific island roots. I thought the infamous laughing scene was actually quite touching, and stands out as one of my favorite moments in the game; it's supposed to be awkward, which is why they have genuine laughter afterwards.

    The game did lose me a bit once it started up in earnest. I found the opening hours to be a little too disjointed, and I really wasn't a fan of the early scenes in Zanarkand and with solo Tidus. They pretty much embodied everything that people told me I'd dislike: weird not-quite sci fi setting, bad writing, and bad VO (I know I just praised the voice acting on the whole, but some of the extras here are real bad). Once I met up with Wakka, though, things started to turn around, and by the three hour mark I was totally hooked. This is due in large part to the excellent combat system. I genuinely believe that this is the best combat system I've played in an RPG. It's strategic, fast-paced, and intuitive. Even grinding had a strategic element to it; I found myself constantly checking the turn meter to see how many character actions I could get in before offing the enemy to maximize AP gain across my party. Even with the (somewhat insane) random encounter rate near the end of the game, I never got bored. Seriously, why don't more games play like this?

    That's not to say things were all good. I have a whole host of issues with the game. On the more lukewarm end, I thought the sphere grid system was a little convoluted, and I wish that stat progression occurred more like it would in a normal RPG. I like the flexibility of moving around for abilities, but I crave the dopamine rush of a standard level up. Also, somewhat surprisingly, I thought the soundtrack was rather inconsistent; Auron's theme in particular stands out as an unfortunate low point for me. Some of my issues are fairly major. For one, I hated the weapon/armor system. I get that the customization system is probably really deep, but I just don't like alchemy in games. It overwhelms me. I'd much rather have the option to just buy a dope sword or armor set so that I can at least be passably strong without getting too involved in the customization side of things. Instead, I stuck with Brotherhood for pretty much the entire game (Celestial Weapons sounded too convoluted, and I'm more of a "main story" guy).

    I also really hated the Cloister of Trials. They were obtuse, hard to navigate, and just plain boring. The trials themselves weren't hard, but the sluggish controls made them a total nightmare. Seriously, I knew right away what to do for that trial with the automatic floor panels, but the game wouldn't register me trying to change directions half the time and would take me back to the top over and over again. It kills the flow of an otherwise beautifully paced game.

    Also, we need to talk about the villains. Seymour freaking sucks. First off, one of the more hilariously evil character designs I've ever seen (plus on the vita, his open robes just make him look like he has a weirdly defined hairy beer belly). It's absurd that the game even tries to make you think he might not be a bad guy when you first meet him. Homeboy has spiky long hair with crazy blue veins running down his face. He's hella evil. Then, he somehow goes from saying "we should get married to distract Spira from their pain" to "I should kill everyone in the world to end their suffering," because apparently "being killed by the thing you're sad is killing everyone you love" is better than... you know... being alive and sad I guess. Also, the maesters in general are all just absurd to me. I don't get their motivation at all. Except the Ronso. He's a bro. Then there's Yu Yevon, who's made out to be this insane badass evil mastermind, but is really just a squid kid who likes his magic rocks. Kind of a letdown after the Jecht fight.

    There are also moments where the story starts to lose me. I've since read up on all of these, but I think the reveal that the Zanarkand we know is really just a dream was poorly handled. I'm not against the idea like some other people I know, I just wish they handled it in a more natural way than "hey, we're near the end of the game, so let me explain a twist that you didn't even know was relevant to the plot since we haven't suggested anything like this before." The closest thing to foreshadowing that we got for this was the fact that Sin attacked at the beginning of the game, which I guess was a sign that we couldn't have been in the past. This brings me to my next issue, though: why did Sin attack Zanarkand if it was created for the express reason of protecting it to begin with? I've read some explanations online that it was an accident, but that doesn't make any sense, given that Yu Yevon is controlling it. If Yu Yevon wanted to preserve the Zanarkand of his memories, why would he let his creation destroy it?

    Despite these gripes, I can't get over how much I loved this game. It has one of the best casts of any Final Fantasy game (Auron, Lulu, Wakka, and Yuna are all incredibly developed, even by today's standards, IMO), and it has the best difficulty curve of any Final Fantasy game, with a final boss that wrecked me several times without feeling cheap (if you couldn't guess this from my earlier statement on the Celestial Weapons, I'm not a huge sidequest guy). Also, even though I have several issues with the story, I freaking loved the ending. The final sequence, from the fight with Jecht through the end, gave me goosebumps several times, and Tidus's goodbye to Yuna made me genuinely emotional. This game might have surpassed FF4 to sneak into my top 3 Final Fantasy games. Seriously, I can't believe I almost didn't play this game.

    So what do you all think of FFX? I know it has its haters, so I'd love to hear your reasonings. Also, if you can help me understand those story bits more, that'd be much appreciated. Otherwise, off to the next game I was told I'd hate: Chrono Cross!

  • Banned

    My least favorite FF by a country mile. I think the story is pretentious shit, the characters all terribly generic anime tropes, and the writing just balls to the wall bad.
    It is very short (my first time playing I had a save file at Yu Yevon clocked at just over 24 hours) intensely linear (seriously anybody who complains about FFXIII being linear needs to remember FFX was just as bad for it) and the only redeeming quality of it is the combat, which now isn't all that special since every single JRPG after it copied it exactly.
    Yeah. I pretty solidly hate FFX.

  • I don't hate FFX, it's a fun time. I completed it when released on PS2 and have completed again on PS4.

    But as someone who has seen credits on all main FF's except XI (XIV I haven't completed Stormblood MSQs yet), for me it's one of the worst Final Fantasy games.

    The story is interesting and kept me moving through the game. Some of the characters are pretty good (although if Wakka fell off a cliff I wouldn't miss him too much). I agree the laughing scene sounds awful and forced because it's forced fake laughter, it's a nice moment.

    But the game does occasionally go out of it's way to try to stop me liking it. The cloisters of trials can go do one for a start.
    And I think El Shmiablo is right that all the people complaining about linearity in XIII always seem to miss that X is just as bad for that, except there's a inn every now and again.

    Have you played XII? I'd love to hear what you made of that. For me it's a game that changes things up from the classics but in a way that really works well.

  • It was my first FF actually, I really enjoyed it, it's usually around my 6th favorite in the series after 6,9, Tactics, 7, and 8.

    Though there are parts and times I like it more than 7 and 8, but overall it's probably 6th favorite in the series. I really like Auron, the overall plot is really cool, love the world and battle system is great. Yuna is a good character, Titus could be a little better with some editing, he wasn't awful though.

  • Before I say anything, @naltmank I want it to be known that I'm really happy you gave the game a shot. Regardless of whether you would hate it, like it, were indifferent, or love it, at least you decided to try and find out for yourself. Now, allow me to respond to your points and hopefully try (but likely fail) in addressing potential questions.

    Not only is FFX my second favorite Final Fantasy, but it's my second favorite game of all time, and as such what you're about to read my be jaded with bias, so please take the following with a mountain of salt, if you so desire.

    On the soundtrack - There are quite a few songs here I thoroughly enjoy, and Auron's theme is actually one of them, but my favorite track is Besaid Island, hands down. There isn't another song in the game that is just so relaxing and gives me jolly vibes. Makes me want to lie on a beach and listen to that song...

    On the writing/VO/etc. I agree about the opening line. I forget what the name of the forum thread about great opening lines is, but I touched on this one for pretty the reasons you've pointed out. There are some issues with it for me as well, and again you've pointed out things like awkwardly being sped up, plus cheesy dialogue kind of takes me out of it. For context on the laughing scene, the voice actor of Tidus, James Arnold Taylor, has been on record for asking if the HA HA HA HA was intentional, and offered to make it more natural, but those in charge of the VO sessions were adamant to keep it the way it was. I get it, but I wish there could've been another storytelling device used to convey the same point they were trying to make.

    On losing you in earnest - I can understand that, as different people like different parts. For example, the moment when you destroy the machina on top of Lake Macalania all the way to when you beat Seymour a second time in Bevelle (more on him in a moment) is my favorite sequence. The story turns really serious, is fast paced, and takes you fascinating locales. And when that sequence is over, the game becomes a personal slog, as I'm not a fan of the scene with Yuna and Tidus in the lake, the Calm Lands take FOREVER (But probably not for you as it's side-quest central for the first time in the game up to that point), and story aspects really start to go in a more... weird... direction for me.

    On the combat system - I completely agree. It is my favorite system, not only for really implementing turn-based without a timer, allowing you take breaks in between turns to go take care of whatever in the real world without worrying about a timer on an enemy, but allowing you to change party members mid battle, and each character is a defined job, set in their specialty until real late in the game, adds a strategy element that I find immensely satisfying.

    On the sphere grid - Probably one of the more despised elements of the game, I have no issues with it, because it's there to develop characters along their role. Now in the international and HD versions, you can pick the "Expert" grid and make the characters whatever you want. Want to make Auron a thief and Yuna a heavy hitter while Wakka is the White Mage? Go for it. But for me, I find the standard grid to more intuitive if not frustrating in two parts. 1.) Some abilities I never use and are kind of pointless for me to have and 2.) Gaining access to very powerful abilities like Ultima, DoubleCast, Holy, Auto-Life, and Full-Life require the all too rare Level 4 Key Spheres, which the game doesn't drop enough of. Also, I can understand trying to keep a balanced party is a little tricky so figuring out a way to make sure everyone is on equal footing is a pain.

    On the weapon/armor system - From your descriptions, the equipment was fine until Rikku became a permanent member, and that's where it lost you (Please correct me if I'm wrong). And from what you said elsewhere not being a side-quest person, the system was doomed to be a poor experience for you from the get-go. There's nothing wrong with your preference, and I can understand having to create new equipment isn't all that fun or interesting. ESPECIALLY when you don't have rare items that dish out the great abilities like "Proof" items and HP +30%.
    There ARE two things about it that are beneficial however: 1.) It's a good source of gil. But constantly augmenting equipment or armor you don't want with more abilities, particularly with items you don't want and have an abundance of, you can supplement your gil intake from not only fights, but selling as well. 2.) It's the only way to acquire some really neat stuff like "No Encounters" and "One MP Cost". As for the Celestial Weapons, they're extremely powerful, but I think you may have done yourself a good service by skipping them as getting some sigils are very, VERY bad game design. For example, to unlock Lulu's Onion Knight to it's full potential, you have to dodge 200 lightning bolts. In a row. Without getting hit once. If you do, you start over. At ZERO. Granted, there are some, like Yuna's and Auron's that aren't bad at all, just time consuming (gathering Aeons and winning against them in the Calm Lands for the former and "capture" all the fiends and monsters from every area in AT LEAST 10 areas for the latter). As for Brotherhood, it actually IS the best weapon for Tidus short of his Caladblog or something you create.

    On the Cloisters - Each one gets more increasingly frustrating, and I agree: Bevelle's is aggravating. Besaid and Kilika are simple and easy. Djose and Macalania are a little obtuse, but not too terrible, especially when you've played the game a couple of times, and know what to do before hand. But Bevelle isn't great.

    On villains - Seymour is terrible. What got me the first time I played the game, I was NOT expecting his voice to be what it was. I was expecting about an octave lower. And his motivations are a little weird, but it's been the same since the beginning: "I want to end all life, because in death, there is no misery or pain." You just don't realize he needs Yuna to merge with Sin (and taking Jecht's place) until much, MUCH later. He sees marriage as a means to an end. Does any of that make sense. Not. A. Bit. But it is what it is. The reason I despise the maesters, not in terms of absurdity, but their characters, is the hit on the underlying theme of a corrupt clergy in a religion that is fraudulent. I LOVE that concept, and you don't see too much commentary on that in gaming. The maesters covet power at the expense of others, except for Kelk, because of the four, HE was the only one who believed in the institution (even if he did know of Mika being an unsent) and when exposed to the corruption, he walks, believing in his people and their charge of Gagazet. As for Yu Yevon, that, to me, makes no sense, introduced WAY LATE as you're led to believe Seymour and Sin are your primary foes, but no, there's this... thing... that is actually behind it all. Go fight it and finish the game. Not a fan of that. At least you couldn't die.

    On the handling of Zanarkand - At the beginning of the journey, the seeds are planted you've been time traveled and that's not it at all. It was a dream in the middle of the ocean, far away from land, as to not be discovered. And keep in mind, there are clues it was a dream you don't realize are there. Auron's dialogue are giveaways, particularly in Guadosalam, when you learn the Guado can smell the Farplane, and Auron acts weird around both Seymour and the Farplane itself. Or when Rin comments that he was amazed he survived from injuries he had when he discovered Auron 10 years prior. Things like that are revelations when you go through the game a second time and make the twist he's dead that much more meaningful. To your question, Yu Yevon isn't the ONLY one in control. Jecht is too, and he brought Tidus to Spira, by way of destorying the dream, to end his torment being Sin. Think of it like this: Yu Yevon has no awareness other than having Sin as armor to stay alive. Sin is a sentient creature, that needs a human to become an aeon to take shape. Jecht keeps his awareness and you know this from conversations with Auron and Tidus after Operation Mi-hen and when underneath Macalania Lake. So, by bringing his son to Spira, Jecht (as Sin) needed to figure out a way to stop the never-ending cycle.

    On character development - I agree, as each of the characters you've listed have that one thing about them that changes them over the course of the game like Wakka's Al Bhed prejudice or Auron going from a near-mythical figure to a flawed and wounded failure.

    On difficulty - I believe it was the easiest FF until XV came out.

    On the ending - It's alright, but I felt the "Eternal Calm" video was a nice addition to letting the player know what people wound up doing, and provided a great transition in the beginning of X-2.

    On the linearity - I vehemently hate XIII for that reason (one of the three FF games I've played that I couldn't finish) and the primary defense of X over XIII in that aspect is: X lets you grind, allowing you to get stronger, accrue more gil, and prepare your characters' overdrives. XIII constantly pushes you forward, with no means of getting better. At all. Until it's opened up on Gran Pulse DEEEEEP into the game.

    Overall - I'm happy you enjoyed it, and at least you gave it a shot. If you have any other questions, or if I wasn't clear about something, please let me know!

  • I'm glad you enjoyed your time, but I played this years ago and had to stop not before I got too too far into it. Once Final Fantasy lost the text and replaced it with voice acting, the whole charm went out the window. The characters are tissue soft, and they even lost me with the walk cycle where Tidus just prances around. The character designs are just so cheesy and unlikeable.

    I felt embarrassed for myself while I played it and I was like 10 years old back then.

  • @theotherjohnp XII is the game in the series I most want to revisit - I got it close to when it first came out, and quit it about 4 hours in because I absolutely hated the combat system. I think I just didn't get it. I also wasn't a huge fan of the license system, but I think I'd like it way more now. The recent re-release seems like it went a long way towards remedying all of the issues I had when I first played it (namely speeding up the combat), and I absolutely love the revamped soundtrack from what I've heard.

    @Brannox thanks for the explanation on some of those plot details. I remember you saying in a few places how much you love FFX, so I was really curious to hear your thoughts/takes in more detail. To be honest, I was a little nervous going into this game because of what I know your tastes - I know you love FF7, which I was kind of meh on, so I wasn't sure if this was going to be a repeat of that.

    Overall, I can't really argue with people that totally hate this game. I get it. But I just really liked it for some reason. The length wasn't an issue for me - I like shorter games, and this one still took me around 36 hours (keep in mind that FF4 I think took less than 30). The difficulty was perfect for me, since I'm not very good at video games (although it was still harder than FF7 and FF9). I just like the vibes here. To each their own, I guess.

  • @naltmank Your welcome! But in all honesty, you shouldn't have been nervous about mine or anyone else's opinions. If you wound up not liking it, I would like to discuss the points where we would differ, and hope to glean as to why some things you dislike/hate I enjoy and vice versa.

    The absolute awesome thing about Final Fantasy (and I'll say it again): For most people, there's a game for them. I love entries people hate, I dislike/hate games people LOVE. That's just the way it falls sometimes.

    I get it too; as I just touched on, some things people may like, others might find irritating. And agreed: To each their own.

  • tl;dr not enough talk about Auron in here.

    Glad you mostly enjoyed your time with 10 though! Way back when, I used to claim it was my favorite in the series but my opinion has cooled off considerably once I tried to revisit the game with the remaster.

    Fun fact - you mention liking Wakka's voice acting and you absolutely should, considering it's actually John DiMaggio (Bender from Futurama/Jake from Adventure Time) doing that voice.

    Actually super curious about your next venture into Chrono Cross. I remember loving it as a kid (way more than Trigger...) but I honestly don't recall much about it. I'm wondering how its aged.

  • @sabotagethetruth When I saw DiMaggio's name in the credits I felt like an idiot for not realizing it sooner, haha. And yeah, Auron is the man! Really liked his arc (and Brannox's summary of it). We'll see about Chrono Cross - I consider Chrono Trigger the greatest game of all time, and I'm already a little nervous just from the opening 30 min of Cross. The art style isn't really jiving with me yet, but I'll probably warm up to it. Fingers crossed!

  • Agreed about the Auron talk. He's my favorite character in gaming for a reason and can conveniently be seen in the forums' top 50 characters of all time here

    Auron rules.

  • Banned

    @brannox At no point in FFXIII should need to grind. Every obstacle can be overcome by being better at the game's combat mechanics.
    Despite being largely automatic, I find XIII's combat to be one of the the most skill based in the series. Cid whoopin' yo ass? Time your Paradigm Switches better.

  • Global Moderator

    Im playing through X again on my Vita. Must say Im almost enjoying it more now than I did back on the PS2. Maybe its because I havent really played a JRPG like that in a long time. Perhaps the writing isnt the best and the temple trials annoy me a bit, but man I love the combat and even grinding on the road to next boss is fun. I might be a little OP but it makes things easier... Also I have a burning hatred for Seymour which is something you are meant to have for a villain.

    The music is also great and I find myself hyming on the songs even when Im out walking. It got some real nice melodies that stick with you and there has been a couple of times where I just stop to listen to the music before I continue on.

    With the equipment I often stick with the same gear as well, only change before some bosses when I know that they are weak towards specific elements. That said I kinda wish that they had different dmg etc (more than the added stats) so you would have more of a reason to try new stuff. Brotherhood and so on are very iconic for the game, but using the same weapons for 30 hours makes me feel like every other weapon are a waste of Gil.

    About the HA HA HA-scene, When it is in context I must say that its actually really moving. I know its a meme, but its meant to be that stiff and weird.

    Im no fan of Blitzball

    All this said, I think it is a great game and once you get through the sluggish first 2-3 hours and end up on the island, its one of the better JRPGs on the PS2.

  • @el-shmiablo Here's the beautiful (or aggravating) thing, dependent upon your view, is I can't remember if I fought Cid in XIII (hell, I can't even remember Cid PERIOD), but the fight that stopped me was an impassible "normal" fight, in some tower, shortly after two boss fights with a BS timer (which I completed both with less than one second left). XIII doesn't become an RPG until it opens up to where you can improve. Where you hate X's design and see things as terrible mechanics for the game, I find XIII's to be horrible, prevents you from experimenting outside of about six different Paradigm options (dependent who you're controlling in the story) and combat is strategic regardless of game, just different in the type of strategy. If a game prevents you from getting better, that's not a sound choice.

    And all of this is about combat. I haven't touched on why story, characters, setting, etc. have me annoyed, if not aggravated.

    We've had our stances on the subjects, and I'm worried we're about to jump into a never-ending circle. If you wish to continue, I'm game so lez do eet. But I don't think either of us wants to defend a Final Fantasy the other despises, and go on and on and on. It's all good: You hate X. I hate XIII. You like XIII? Great! I like X. Big woop.

  • Banned

    @brannox I don't think I ever mentioned saying FFX has bad mechanics. In terms of combat, FFX was a milestone for turn based JRPGs, as evidenced the fact that pretty much every single JRPG after it has copied it's mechanics almost exactly.

    My frustration stems from the horrible story, annoying characters, atrocious design, and generally unsatsfying everything else in the game.

    I don't understand the logic of "it isn't an RPG unless you can get better". Like I mentioned, you can most certainly get better... at the combat. Where you can "get better" in X by overlevelling, you can get better in XIII by paying better attention to the flow of battle and Paradigm Shifting at exactly the right time. I had absolutely zero problem progressing in XIII until the Cid fight. I tried levelling for a bit but it made zero difference. What made the difference was exactly what I mentioned; paying attention to the battle and using the game's mechanics to my advantage. Ever notice that an animation plays sometimes when you shift? You can predict and time this, which can help you tremendously in combat.

    As for XIII's story, I quite liked it. The game presents it somewhat disjointedly, but reviewing it in the loading screens and in the glossery it is actually quite good and cohesive. Squeenix actually has a video on their YT channel that presents the game's story in sprite form and it makes it much more digestable.

  • @el-shmiablo My apologies in terms of inferring from the mechanics.

    As for your frustrations, I feel the same about XIII. Also, upon rereading my writeup, I wasn't clear on what I meant about getting better. I was not referencing the player getting better, but the characters. Otherwise, there's no difference in getting better from a character standpoint in a first-person shooter, and say, a fighting game: Both of those (and many other genres) requires player skill, not really the characters. What I was pointing to was progressing in-game characters in being stronger with better abilities, a diverse set of stats determining other characteristics, etc.

    In no way am I saying that a player's skill isn't important, but my point is I despise XIII's combat in mostly the lack of the ability to be stronger. Being able to buff characters, and more specifically, invest in how said characters fight (which if I remember there IS a diverting system, but it's not too, too branching), allows combat to progress and grow. Something clicked for you, where it didn't for me, (Combat) and vice versa (Characters, Design, etc.).

    To your question about an animation playing, no, as it's been some time since I've played and as a result, some details are fuzzy.

    For XIII's story, again, I couldn't progress past a specific spot so I don't remember much. I DO remember Barthandelus (I fought him once), I remember Lightning and Hope being stuck together, Hope was pissed at Snow for some reason, Lightning was irritated about Sarah and Snow for some other reason, and I can't remember where or why Fang and Sazh fit in. I remember the chocobo living in his hair though. Granted, knowing my luck, the story probably became exceptional right after I stopped, but from what I can remember, the story in real-time was underwhelming (And speaking of disjointed, I could rail about XV's presentation, but I don't want to digress).

    I still stand by my defense, as I'm sure you do as well. The most fascinating thing I have found, not exclusive to our discussion, is X seems to be the most divisive entry for many reasons. My I ask your favorite entry to have a better understanding of your tastes for the franchise? Regardless, thank you for the conversation.

  • @brannox It has been awhile since I've played XIII, but I believe the reason Hope was angry at Snow was due to Snow's actions leading to the death of Hope's mother. A pretty legit reason to be upset with someone but yet Hope receives a lot of hate from people that dislike XIII. A lot of people complain he whines a lot... which he does... and that's his arc. Overcoming a tragedy like that and finding his own strength.

    Unpopular opinion of the century - the combat in FF13 is my favorite out of any Final Fantasy game. Yes, even Tactics. X is real solid though, much better than the sluggish mess of IX.

  • @sabotagethetruth All I remember was the anger, not the reason, so thanks for letting me know!

    As for your combat preferences: Great! Though I must say I AM surprised you like it more than Tactics. As for IX, it's the most recent one I've played and it's combat is alright, but there are certain design choices that I wish were different. But C'est la vie.

  • @brannox I surprised myself with that realization too. Maybe something is wrong with me, got a case of that blitzball fever clouding my judgement or something.

  • Banned

    @sabotagethetruth I also share that sentiment.
    Despite people complaining about how automatic it was, I thought XIII's combat was very engaging and required more actual skill than other FFs.

    That 8bit story recap of XIII I was talking about.