I remember years ago, I had never played a real “Final Fantasy” game. Yeah, I had played “Crystal Chronicles”, but it is so different, I don’t know if it really counts. I wanted to try the series out because it sounded good, but I just didn’t have the right consoles for it. Finally, I got a PlayStation 2, my first non-Nintendo console, and I decided it was a good time to finally play a real “Final Fantasy” game and see what all the hype was about. The only games for the PS2 at that time were “Final Fantasy X” and “X-2”, both of which I bought. I started out with “FFX”, of course, and it was, to say the least, quite impressive.
My first experience with a real “Final Fantasy” game was unlike anything I had ever played before. The game had the most amazing story, complex characters, and some great character and location designs (or in the case of some people, *cough* Dona and Yunalesca *cough*, very unflatteringly revealing clothing designs). Aside from the few people that felt clothing was more of a suggestion than a rule of society, I really enjoyed the game a lot. It was really amazing. Even the music was very beautiful, the graphics were quite good, and the voice acting was well-done. The latter two were particularly impressive because the GameCube (my only other current console at the time) didn’t have great graphics, and most of the games on it had bad voice acting. Seriously, what was wrong with the voice acting in some GameCube games? The PS2 games can handle it, why not you, Cube?
Anyway, I really liked playing my first “FF” game, even if the story was sometimes hard to grasp, and I still really sucked at RPG’s back then. (Skipping half the battles and, thus forgoing much needed experience was a really terrible idea. I know that now.) The game was great, and I learned that “FF” games are some of the most creative and complex games out there, and I found it really easy to get quite involved in them. Having such good memories of my first “FF” game, I recently decided to play “FFX” again. I actually hadn’t played the game for a whopping eight years, and the rest of this post is dedicated to my most recent thoughts of the game.
For one thing, I found that, even though I liked the game the first time I played, I like it even more this time. I don’t know why, but I love this game more than ever. And it probably helped that I really paid attention to the story this time and have managed to understand most of it (though, some details of Seymour and the ending still elude me). I also love the characters more than ever. I’ve always loved sweet Yuna. I always thought Auron was pretty cool, too. (Cool enough to warrant me buying a foot tall figurine of him? Perhaps. Okay, maybe it is a bit overkill. Or maybe you’re just jealous. You’re jealous. I know it.) But, now, I love everyone.
This game really has a great group of characters. It sounds corny, but I like that all the playable characters care about each other. You know, in “FFXIII”, I don’t think half the characters cared about the other half, so I had trouble caring, too. But, in this game, the characters actually choose to be together, and I like that they are actually concerned about each other. I like the energetic Rikku more now. I think I stopped loving her because of my more recent experience with her in “FFX-2”…. I found that Lulu isn’t so bad once you get to know her better. Wakka’s a nice guy. Ignorant and can’t think for himself, but nice. Kimahri may be quiet, but he is loyal to Yuna. I can respect that. And I used to think Tidus was annoying, but I see even more how good of a guy he is and how he doesn’t give up easily on what he believes in.
Speaking of Tidus, I better tell you a bit about the story. The game starts out with Tidus, a blitzball player who lives in the city of Zanarkand. One day, a huge creature called Sin comes and Tidus wakes up 1,000 years in the future. He finds the Zanarkand he knew is long gone, and Sin is a creature that’s long been terrorizing Spira as punishment for what the people did wrong. Poor Tidus is a bit lost in the world, until he meets the summoner Yuna and her guardians. Yuna’s going on a Pilgrimage to pray at every temple in Spira so she can summon the Final Aeon (Aeons are powerful creatures) and hopefully temporarily defeat Sin. Unfortunately, Sin never stays gone for long, and so far no one’s been able to defeat it permanently. The game follows their journey through Spira, and then their adventure turns into so much more.
Gameplay-wise, the game is a lot of fun, too. It is a very good length and took me over 50 hours to beat, but it never got boring. A lot happens in the game, and all those hours went by rather quickly. The game is actually pretty linear for quite some time, which may bother some, but it didn’t bother this duck. After quite some time, though, you can then travel all around Spira using an airship, allowing you to revisit all the places you’ve been before, including at least two extra areas you find by searching the world map. One area, the Omega Ruins, was actually new to me this time through. I found it by randomly moving all over the map and repeatedly pressing X. Want to know where it is? I’ll give you a hint. Upper right, but not too upper right.
I also think this game has a great battle system. I love that you have all the time in the world to make decisions. Unlike some other games, enemies aren’t beating you up while you’re trying to compare the merits of using Demi or Bio. Everyone’s turns are lined up on the right side of the screen so you know who goes when, and your turn doesn’t end until you make a decision. It is much less stressful. I also love how flexible it is. You only fight with three characters at a time, but your entire team is available to you. You can actually switch characters at any time, which almost never happens in RPG’s. It was great. And I no longer find myself in frustrating situations, like against flying enemies when all my characters have swords. Oh, there’s one of those flying eyes again? No problem, I’ll just switch out Tidus for Wakka and pow, you’re dead, winged peeper! You can also switch weapons and armor during battle, which is also pretty neat.
Anyway, I want to finish this post with five things I learned since my last playthrough.
1. Healing works great on zombies. I think it said so in the little bar at the top that tells you about enemies, but I didn’t actually make use of that information until this time. Last time, this zombie wyrm boss caused me so much trouble. This time I used two phoenix downs on it, and it was dead. Well, more dead.
2. Don’t skip battles! For the love of all things decent, don’t! Last time, I was impatient and skipped enemies, which caused me to often be too weak to defeat bosses. And then I spent hours fighting enemies trying to get strong enough to win the next boss battle. This time, I didn’t have to do that much because I fought every enemy that came my way. Except for the really scary ones. (Stupid Great Malboro, stop confusing my characters and making them murder each other! And who else is freaked out by the Demonolith? Years later, I had a nightmare inspired by those things. I know it was because of them. These horrible creatures trapped in glass cases with nothing free but these big arms of evil they tried to swipe me with…)
3. Overdrives are your bestest friend. These are extra strong attacks your characters can use when this bar fills up. All the Aeons Yuna can summon have them, too. So what I would do when a boss battle was coming was I would get every character and Aeon to have an Overdrive ready, then, I would just pummel that boss. Won me some battles very quickly. Scared of Ultima Weapon? Fo’get about it! Just use Bahamut’s Overdrive + Yuna’s Overdrive to give Bahamut a second Overdrive, and you just did 60,000 damage to the bugger right there. Am I the duck or am I the duck? I am definitely. The duck.
4. Lancet stuff. You learn awesome things, like Mighty Guard, the much better sounding version of Big Guard. Except, I though learning Bad Breath from a Malboro was weird. Why would I want to have bad breath? Eww.
5. Valefor is not a fire creature. Some Aeons can use magic of their respective element on themselves to heal. I used this often with much success with Ifrit, Ixion, and Shiva. Valefor looks like a phoenix, so I thought she was a fire creature, so one day I had her use Fira on herself, and she died.
So anyway, I loved this game. I really enjoyed the characters and the story. And the battle system is just great. I spent a lot of time in this game, and I still haven’t done everything. (I actually missed an Aeon I got in my first time through. Where the heck were they, stupid bug ladies…?) Besides not being able to skip cut scenes, this is a nearly perfect game. There is just one other thing that bothers me, though. How is it that the characters can breathe and possibly speak underwater? I’ve done ten minute battles underwater before. It’s insane! Insane! They have the lung capacity of a whale!
High Summoner Duck