Jenkins’ Final Fantasy X Review
Nearly ten years after its original release, Final Fantasy X still remains one of my favourite games of all time, as well as a marking memory of my childhood due to the countless hours spent playing it. Every hardcore fan of the Final Fantasy series has beaten this game at least multiple times. It is the epic release we waited for since Final Fantasy VII five years prior. Of course the debate is still open on which is best.
Final Fantasy X quickly draws you in with much intrigue, and a giant asshole in the sky that can destroy cities. Among the chaos is the main protagonist, Tidus. As most of the previous Final Fantasy games, Tidus is the unfortunate person who gets drawn into the plot to destroy the world and has to save it. I wouldn’t call him “the chosen one” although there are strong implications that he just may be. Also him learning to use a sword in roughly four seconds really doesn’t hinder his chances. After being mysteriously transported from the dismal city of Zanarkand to the much more colourful world of Spira, Tidus runs into a wide variety of characters, because what kind of JRPG would it be if they didn’t have a bunch of conflicting personalities be forced to travel together in a group. When you first land, you’re alone, and you’re cold and lonely, and you get to hear him whine a lot. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last long. You soon get rescued by an unknown girl wear what appears to be the most revealing outfit of all time (Rikku) and her crew, only to be transported again after they force you into slave labor. Then you land on a bright green island and you meet most of the rest of the crew. There’s Yuna, the goody two shoes summoner/white mage combo, Lulu, the gothic, black mage bitch with huge tits (seriously, HUGE). There’s also Wakka, a blitzball player with an unidentifiable accent and Kimahri, a big blue werewolf of sorts, also known as a Ronso. Later you pick up Auron, who you get a glimpse of at the beginning of the game and who is also the most bad ass mother fucker EVER. And Rikku joins again. She turns out to be a peppy schoolgirl type, who is referred to as an Al Bhed, a race of people who speak their own language, which is essentially English only with every letter having a different letter value, making a new language would have taken effort. You get Rikku way too late in the game for her to be of any use to your party what so ever but she gave many ten year old boys their first boner. Of course she’s a great addition!
Together, you quickly depart on your adventure to rid the world of Sin, the giant sea monster who destroyed Zanarkand in the very beginning with his ass (which raises the question as to why a giant sea monster can fly, but its Final Fantasy, enough said). The main objective in the game is fairly straight forward. You all have to guard the summoner as she goes from temple to temple collecting beings known as Aeons, this Final Fantasy’s version of summons. The main ones haven’t changed as far as name and element, but they look so much more bad ass than ever before (notably Bahamut, because FUCK YEAH). Once the summoner has collected all the Aeons, she acquires the final Aeon and uses it to kill Sin. The plot of course doesn’t allow the gameplay to be this linear, and you encounter many twists and turns, as well as people who don’t want you to complete this honest and pure objective. The world of Spira, as well as the people who inhabit it, are rich with history and depth, this along with the charming, somewhat corny and overly exaggerated chemistry of the characters make for an entertaining storytelling experience that you’ll be willing to enjoy all over again.
Final Fantasy X decided against the action time based attack system of most of their previous games and went with a purely turn-based system, with each character attacking one after the other based on their respective speeds, quickest going first obviously. Nine times out of ten, this will be most of your party, seeing as how you are the good guys and all. You have three party members out of seven on the battle field at one time, fighting up to five enemies, with one fight as an exception at the very beginning. The people who made the game decided to be very nice to the other characters, though. At any of your turns, you press L1 and bring up a list of the other characters and you can switch without the cost of your turn. You can sit there for hours making them run back and forth and there’s not a damn thing the enemies can do about it but watch and be confused. Having a bank of fresh characters is useful when a boss lets out a signature move which leaves your three party members in critical condition. On top of this advantage, Yuna can summon Aeons, which clears your side of the battle field and replaces your three characters with one, much larger beast. Also, the Aeons conveniently get stronger as your other characters grow. Again, Bahamut will rape anything on the opposing field. And he’s not even the best Aeon! The game also has a lot of side quests to keep you occupied while you’re level grinding or after you’ve completed the game. This includes beast hunting, searching for legendary weapons and secret Aeons and the big one, playing Blitzball, but more on that later. The leveling system is also very new and shiny. Instead of the classic level system from 1-99, it uses a giant board known as the sphere grid. Every time a character gains a sphere level, they move one space on the sphere grid and one stat gets increased. During the length of the game its clear what each character is meant for, being strength, speed or magic (or in the case of Kimari, being useless), but since every character is on the same grid, in the end they would all be exactly the same. Luckily this only happens long after you’ve beaten the main story line. Since the game play is mostly linear, there’s not much replay value for those who aren’t hardcore fans of the series, but most hardcore fans will found themselves starting over right away.
Now the graphics in each Final Fantasy game since the jump to the third dimension in number seven has gotten significantly less polygonal, and the important characters in this game actually look very decent for their time. Of course you can tell they put emphasis on the important characters and their facial expressions, as advertised on the case, as opposed to everyone else. They didn’t get the luxury of changing facial expressions, or any kind of three dimensional effect other than the body itself. For example, most of the males don’t have hair that isn’t painted onto their heads. The most noticeable example is when you first meet Wakka and compare his head to the rest of his team. His hair is dominated by a large red spike in the middle of his forehead that would put Fry’s to shame while the rest have shaved with black or brown paint where you would expect hair to grow. Same can be said about the environment. Plants are a complicated bundle of flat plains and a close up on anything will reveal just a mess of pixels. But that’s next to today’s standards. When we first put this game in 8 years ago, it was beautiful. And the characters’ detail is really brought to light. Throughout the game, there are many prerendered cut scenes. Aside from making every character look more asian, they look absolutely gorgeous. Everything is smooth and colourful. The only problem with these is that the game sometimes jumps back and forth between game play quality videos and prerendered cut scenes, as if they were too lazy to just make one long cut scene.
It’s time to talk about Blitzball. In the world of Spira, they play one sport and one sport only, this is Blitzball. Blitzball is essentially handball or rugby or something of the sort, played within a giant sphere of water. It’s important to mention here that everyone has lungs of steel and no one needs oxygen, since everyone can seemingly breathe underwater. Most RPG lovers don’t play sports or sports related games that often, since both involve leaving the darkness of your own(or your parents) basement, so adding a sport mini game doesn’t sound like the best idea ever. This is why they tweaked a multitude of elements to be more like an RPG in itself. Each character has a level and a set of stats usually relevant to the position they are more or less meant to play. Usually this only means a difference between offence and defense, with goalie off on its own somewhere. The characters gain experience based on how useful they were in the ten minute game. Since Tidus gets the Jecht shot, the best move in blitzball history that no one else can replicate, you have a distinct advantage and likely don’t hesitate to take advantage of it over and over. It’s also the only sport ever where you’re allowed to stop and think about what you’d like to do next, turn based style. Every time you encounter an opposing player in the playing sphere (you’re not allowed to go up or down in the playing sphere, much to our disappointment), they swim in front of you and wait for you to decide what to do next. Of course this is usually going to end in a Jecht shot so you can knock those bitches out of your way and score almost every time. Basically, Blitzball is awesomely rigged in your favor.
In the end, I fucking love Final Fantasy X, as a child and even now. Everything comes together in a way so awesome, it rivals Neil Patrick Harris. Do you have any idea how difficult that is? Very few things ever come close to such a height. Anyways the game play is entertaining yet simple to grasp and the difficulty is fairly moderate. Except for that one fucking boss. Anyone who has every played knows EXACTLY which fucking boss I’m talking about too. THE ONE ON THE FUCKING MOUNTAIN. Personally I think it’s a shame this game will probably never be played among today’s gamers because it was fucking epic. In its time it had great graphics, an intricately tangled web of history and storytelling that kept you listening for hours while still being fun to play.
Final (get it?) Score: 5/5