Playing Final Fantasy X For The First Time in 2020 // my first ever review of a final fantasy game!

Hi friends! I know this is a little unorthodox for me, but that’s more or less because the only game I’ve finished since reviewing the original Kingdom Hearts game back in 2019 is KH Re:Chain of Memories. And I uh…meant to review that. But then I procrastinated? And subsequently forgot? BUT NO MATTER. We’re here now to review Final Fantasy X!

A quick note: I won’t be talking about Final Fantasy X-2 because I haven’t played through it yet. All my references will be solely taken from the PS4 base remaster.

Every numbered Final Fantasy game is its own story, just with a few common elements. This, however, was my first FF game, and well, I have thoughts.

so what is X specifically about?

Um…a boy named Tidus who played a sport called blitzball (which is basically underwater soccer) and suddenly he’s ripped from his homeland by this monster called Sin and dropped into this place called Spira 1000 years into the future. *takes deep breath* And…there IS a “save the world” subplot. In case you couldn’t already tell.

It took me four years, one restart, and a little bit (okay quite a bit) of walkthrough help, but I finally did it. I beat Final Fantasy X. And there’s so much to discuss that my brain is wallowing but I’ll do my best.

so what holds up eighteen years later?

If I were to state my three favorite things I took away from this game it would be: characters, story, and soundtrack. So let’s run over these three aspects real quick!

The characters were so well-designed. Tidus as a hero is kinda annoying sometimes but that’s because he’s flawed. Yuna, Lulu, and Rikku are all totally different personalities, but all three are excellent examples of strong female characters. Except for those extremely objectifying outfits. Not a fan of those. On the other hand, Wakka’s prejudice against the Al Bhed (basically another race/group of people who don’t believe in the religion Yevon that populates this land) adds an interesting dynamic to the group. Kimahri is hard to understand at first, but ends up becoming a beloved character. The full weight of Auron and his presence isn’t understood until much later. To summarize: this is a cast of characters who are layered, multi-dimensional, and provide actual roles in this world.

While I struggled with gameplay, the story is timeless.

Playing the game in 2020 means that there are certain aspects that don’t age well. I enjoyed the turn-based combat for the most part.

The bar on the side shows the order of turns that can be manipulated through certain abilities and spells. Furthermore, you can switch out one character for another, during their turn. It’s surprisingly fun to be able to plan and strategize, to balance weaknesses and strengths, to make weighty decisions. The biggest problem? It starts getting tedious. There are a LOT of random encounters, to the point that when I did get to a boss, I was already exhausted by the battling. I’m sure that if you love the combat system, this won’t be a problem. On the other hand, it is extremely annoying when you need to fight for AP, therefore a lot of your time is taken up by repetitive battles.

On that note, the Sphere Grid is amazing! Especially if you’re using the Expert Grid! Basically, all of your characters will start in the middle. Then, as you battle and they gain levels, you’ll spend each AP on a node that will grant you some sort of stat upgrade or new ability. Essentially, this means that any character can be anything. You want everyone to know white magic? Go ahead. You want a team of nothing but warriors and ranged attacks? Be my guest. It’s surprisingly ingenious, even compared to a modern progression system like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Now. The story.

Spira is a world heavily inspired by Asian culture, and I loved how that shone through. But the nature of Spira, and the story of FFX in general, is nothing short of dark and melancholy. I adored it. It makes the twists stunningly heavy, and it allows the more lighthearted moments to become infinitely more memorable*. Immediately you’re thrown in a world heavy with religion, a creature who destroys entire towns, and characters who have been through a LOT. The story grows through each area, with a new element or twist waiting around every corner. The scene in Macalania Woods? Beautifully romantic. The ending scenes, with Jecht and Tidus, and then Tidus and Yuna? Brilliantly heartbreaking. I was literally crying for like twenty minutes. This game hurt my feelings in the best way possible. Final Fantasy X’s story is perfectly funny at times, and heart-wrenching at others.

*no, i am not referring exclusively to the infamous laughing scene

Also I just want to add that the soundtrack is gorgeous in every way. The orchestral version of Zanarkand at the end did not help me in stopping my tears.

other points!!

  • Relationship dynamics were emotional. Like, you need a tiny break after finishing the game, they’re so emotional.
  • I wasn’t actually the biggest fan of playing the game. It was SO linear. Walk from Point A to Point B while running into a thousand monsters. It got a little better after more options were opened up, and you can stop random encounters, but dang. Coming from someone who loves the open-world aspect of Skyrim, the closed hallway format of FFX felt frustrating to say the least.
  • The graphics look nice. Well, for being a remastered PS2 game, that is. The voice acting and camera angles are understandably weak.
  • Some of the boss fights were pretty hard. And the Cloister of Trials didn’t ever feel like real puzzles to me, just incredibly obnoxious problems that I had to Google solutions for. Might just be me though.

So that’s it! The TL;DR is that the turn-based combat is pretty fun, but ruined by too much of it. Also, the game is very linear. However, the story, characters, and soundtrack are on point. So I think I’ll give this a 8/10! With the ending scene alone being 10/10. Overall, I spent about 45 hours on this specific playthrough. I really did enjoy this. Share your thoughts below!

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11 thoughts on “Playing Final Fantasy X For The First Time in 2020 // my first ever review of a final fantasy game!

  1. Love your thoughts! FF is a series I keep wanting to make time to play more of, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I know what you mean about tedious combat encounters. I grew up a devout Pokemon fan, and probably spent hundreds of hours in turn-based combat, but now the idea of grinding is, well, not my favorite thing to consider. But I HAVE been looking for more linear games to balance out my open-world ones, so maybe this will work out!

    If you like open-world, you may want to check out FFV (if you haven’t already). There are some linear sections, but also some pretty big chunks of just “drive about the world, find some side quests, kill monsters, do whatever.” Not as dynamic as something like Skyrim, but definitely gives you more flexibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh, it’s such a big series! Which ones have you played? And haha that makes sense! I actually totally forgot Pokémon was turn-based?! That’s so funny to think about now😂 ahh, that makes sense!

      YES. My brother actually got FFXV for free with the whole “ps5 collection” or whatever, so I’m extra excited to hear that it’s got some more flexible elements! Thank you so much💜

      Liked by 1 person

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