* SPOILER WARNING! * Do not read if you care about spoilers!
When Final Fantasy X originally came out it was a huge let down for me. I’ll always remember it as the first ‘Bad’ Final Fantasy game, and the one that marks the transition where the series started turning to Poop. While my original impression of the game was poor the game has achieved some sort of cultural relevance that over time has tempered my feelings about the game into what I can only describe as ‘somewhat less hostile’. I even found myself thinking about playing through the game again. When Square-Enix announced the HD Remaster version it seemed like a good opportunity to give the game a second go.
I thought my wife and kids might enjoy watching me play this game because it plays more like an interactive movie than a traditional game. I was right about the kids, but my wife’s feelings are summed up with comment “They need pants.” (One of the common clothing choices for characters involves thigh-high socks and bikini bottoms). Lulu’s dress made of belts and Yuna’s shirtless sleeves in particular received more than their fair share of her scathing remarks. My wife clearly does not benefit from the years of indoctrination into video game fashion that I have.
My kids really enjoyed watching the game, and my older son kept asking when I was going to allow him to play (Never! You’ll kill my whole party!). Both of my boys had their favorite characters (My older son preferred Yuna because her eyes were different colors, and my younger boy preferred Tidus because he was fast) and shouted out unsound battle advice that mostly consisted of insisting I swap their favorite character into battle. Once I caught my older son walking around the house with one pant-leg pulled up as high as it could go saying “Look Dad! I’m Tidus!”
Final Fantasy X played exactly like I remembered it. Similar to the Kingdom Hearts HD remake, this game doesn’t appear to have any meaningful changes other than to bump the resolution of the game up. The voice acting and character animations are still the same they were in the original and in comparison to the games of today FFX seems particularly awkward.
The biggest problem with FFX are the many parts of the game that simply aren’t fun. Back in my college days I remember watching my roommate play through the Chocobo Catcher mini-game for DAYS trying to get Tidus’ ultimate weapon. Several thrown controllers and rage quits later he eventually gave up on trying. I was lucky when I played through the game for the first time – it only took me three tries. This time I spent nearly two hours and I had to resort to YouTube videos for tips on how to complete it. Other irritating side quests include capturing 10 of every monster in the game (Some of which are rare encounters or can kill you before you get a turn), completing the sphere grid for all characters ( which takes a herculean time investment ) or playing Blitzball for Wakka’s weapons or overdrives. I didn’t find any of these to be fun – only time consuming and frustrating. There was no sense of accomplishment when I completed them all – only a great sense of relief that I was finally done and I’d never have to do any of them again.
Being the Final Fantasy fan that I am, I decided that I wanted to get the Platinum trophy for this game (The only platinum I had for a Final Fantasy game is for FF XIII-2). Unfortunately this meant I needed to complete all of the irritating side quests including the ‘Dodge 200 consecutive lightning bolts without saving’ quest which I had never even attempted in the previous release. (It seemed like a lot of trouble for very little benefit). I read on the internet that it was easier in a dark room so I started locking myself in the closet under the stairs and took regular breaks after 50 dodges. It took me an entire weekend but even with children, cats (one jumped on my lap at 186 dodges) and other distractions I was able to accomplish it. I couldn’t have done it without my PS Vita. If I had tried to do that on the TV with people watching and laughing I simply would not have succeeded.
Before FFX came along being a ‘Final Fantasy’ title meant something. It meant an over-world map, it meant airships, it meant exploration. All of these traditional elements were stripped out of FFX and replaced with the FMV cut-scenes that Square-Enix had become known for. It is impossible to get lost in FFX. Each map in FFX is a variation on a straight line and is clearly labeled with your current position and where you are supposed to be going. The Airship has been replaced with a menu that lets you choose where you want to go.
The only other thing I want to mention is that during the final Battle with Yu Yevon when you have to kill all of your Aeons my sons became very upset. They had grown really attached to our summoned friends and they didn’t understand why we had to kill them. They asked me for days after the end why Tidus faded away at the end of the game (I don’t know boys, the plot is crazy) and the whole thing about Auron being a ghost really spooked them (get it?).
In spite of all of my complaining I did enjoy playing the game (I put over 100 hours into the game, so I must have liked something, right?). I probably won’t be playing it again but who knows, maybe in another 10 years I’ll be playing the Ultra HD remake complaining about this game all over again.
- FFX in HD
- Trophy Support
- Besides the resolution, not many upgrades.
- All the mini-games suck.
Is it fun: Yes