Sneaking out before the end of 2001, Final Fantasy X released on the Playstation 2. After three completely different entries on the Playstation 1, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this next generation version. As the menu loaded with the familiar theme music and sound effects, I felt more at home. The game opened with an attention grabbing cut scene and rock song. I was hooked.
FFX is the first game in the series to feature voice acting throughout. Bender Bending Rodriguez himself, John DiMaggio, voiced Wakka and Kimahri. The battle system has been simplified, with a new feature; the ability to swap out characters mid battle with no penalty. Since each character had their own unique talents (at first), this was necessary. It enhanced gameplay rather than breaking it. There was no world map this time around. Gamers essentially traveled on a straight path to the final destination with the ability to teleport back to previous locations.
Tidus (supposedly pronounced Tee-dus) is pulled from his home of Zanarkand, by a creature known as Sin, to the world of Spira. There he meets Yuna, the summoner. She’s tasked with making a pilgrimage to Zanarkand to battle Sin. Not having anything better to do, Tidus joins her and her guardians, Wakka, Lulu, and Kimahri in their travels. Like FFVIII before, FFX is essentially a love story, but a good one. Tidus and Yuna fall in a love as they travel, but in a believable fashion. Sure, there was some eye-rolling parts, but they were few and far between. It’s scenes like the lake that I remember, fondly.
Look at the character design. Actually look at it. What the hell is Tidus wearing on is left arm? How much hair gel did Wakka need? How did Lulu not fall out of her dress? Even with these oddities I never cared, it all worked. Thanks to the swapping mechanic, I frequently rotated through my entire team, though I heavily leaned on Auron, Tidus, and Yuna.
Like every previous FF entry, FFX had it’s own unique leveling system; the sphere grid. As characters gained levels, they would be allotted moves on the giant grid. As they moved next to an open node, a sphere could be placed to activate it. The spheres would do anything from raise base states like hit points or speed to unlocking special abilities. Characters would start at different location, thus giving them unique attributes at first. Yuna was the white mage, Lulu the black mage, Rikku the thief, while the males were fighters of different calibers. Eventually, characters can open up more of the grid, and even complete it. After hours of grinding, I did so for Tidus, Rikku, and Yuna (I don’t remember why I switched Auron out for Rikku). Even with my god like characters, some of the special, hidden bosses were freaking tough.
I loved this game, easily one of my favorite games of the generation. I played through it multiple times before doing my ultimate run of doing everything. I even mastered Blitzball, the new mini-game (confusing at first, but fun). I remember how blown away I was by the graphics, but looking at it now, I can’t believe how it’s aged (not poorly though). A re-release of FFX and FFX-2 is coming soon for PS3 and PS Vita. I wouldn’t waste my time with FFX-2. It’s a pile of trash. If you haven’t played FFX before, grab the HD remake and dive in, you won’t be disappointed.
How did they breath playing Blitzball?