Final Fantasy X celebrated its 20th birthday this week. Doesn’t that make you feel old (I feel old.) And what are we gonna do about it? Like Tidus’ arrogant father, Jecht (also known as our Blitzball star-turned-guardian-turned-Sin guy) once said,
“You’re gonna cry, you’re gonna cry, I know you’re gonna cry! See, you’re crying!”
And indeed there’s a lot to cry happy tears about. There are rumors of a Final Fantasy X-3 for Playstation 5, but Square Enix is focusing on continuing Final Fantasy VII Remake and the next chapters. On a personal note, that would be cool, but I have played this perfect game twice (original and remaster) and my heart is happy. I can safely say this is the one game that changed my life and made me fall in love with video games as a whole. Here are the reasons why FFX is the GOAT:
Right off the bat, I was emotionally hooked. Who are these people, and why do they look so sad sitting by a campfire amidst piles of rubble? The ubiquitous piano you hear in the background amplifies the scenery. Not-so-spoiler alert because this game is 20 years old: Tidus, a Blitzball star from futuristic Zanarkand gets swept by Sin into a traditional world called Spira. He chanced upon a beautiful summoner named Yuna and decided to become one of her multiple guardians (Auron, Wakka, Lulu, and Kimahri) and made their way to Zanarkand to find his way home.
And this summary doesn’t even capture the angst of everything you’ll discover on the way.
When you mention the OST, Nobuo Uematsu (of “To Zanarkand” fame) is the name that comes to mind for most people. There were 3 composers for the OST, and I’m so grateful for Masashi Hamauzu (remember Besaid, Thunder Plains, Hymn of the Fayth together with Uematsu) and Junya Nakano (Run!!, Guadosalam, Luca). The OST is seamlessly blended together with the 3 composer’s styles; and the execution in pivotal scenes? Flawless. I remember being sentenced to die in Bevelle and slowly finding my way out to the mesmerizing piano notes of Via Purifico. The feels, man.
A few of my other all-time favorite OSTs aside from To Zanarkand include A Fleeting Dream, Thunder Plains, Calm Before the Storm, Suteki Da Ne, and Movement in Green.
Who could forget this moment? And more importantly, who didn’t cry buckets? This moment was too beautiful to forget. The timing and emotional turmoil building up inside Tidus and Yuna, the latter knowing that summoners have to ultimately sacrifice themselves. Yuna’s tears and Tidus softly kisses her in the glimmering springs in Macalania Woods, surrounded by moonlight and pyreflies. For a moment, they forget their problems and express the explosion of feelings inside their heart.
This scene alone is so powerful that the succeeding Final Fantasies and remakes cannot recreate a moment like this in my opinion. It’s not the HD graphics, but how real both of them felt to us. Best Final Fantasy couple ever!
Need I say more? From my experience English cast for Final Fantasy X has done a superb job at making us feel immensely for each of their characters. Perfect casting. I can distinctly remember Wakka, Auron, Lulu, Seymour, and everyone else’s voices (even Maister Mika’s! And he’s a minor character).
Thank goodness Square Enix improved and released this masterpiece on updated consoles (PS2, PS3, Vita, and now even on the Nintendo Switch!) with a huge graphical makeover. The facial expressions became richer and textures were fleshed out (for example, Yuna’s hair looked better than ever!) My PS2 broke years ago, so imagine my excitement when I played the HD remaster on the PS4 a few years ago.
There’s additional content too, like being able to switch between the OG or remastered OST, and the Eternal Calm short film that links this game to FFX-2.
The battle system was, like most of its predecessors, turn-based. But having played Final Fantasy IX, I appreciated the new dynamic of having timed Overdrives and Aeons to spice up the battles and endure annoyingly strong bosses (Seymour). Before I even watched Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, I was screaming, “Overdriveee!” whenever Tidus makes a Blitz Ace.
My favorite Aeons have to be Anima, Shiva, and Bahamut. It’s fun how Yuna can obliterate the whole field full of slimes or eyeballs with them on a normal encounter!
Like Auron said, “It’s time for you to decide whether you give up and die, or fight against grief to live! Time for you to move the story as your heart tells you to.”
After battling Yunalesca, the gang realized a bitter truth of Yevon (their religion): the Final Summoning only perpetuates the cycle of death and only serves to give them 10 years of calm. One of Yuna’s guardians will be sacrificed to become a Final Aeon (who eventually becomes Sin because of Yu Yevon taking control and killing the summoner.)
Everything they believed in was a lie! And this hits hard for devout followers of Yevon, like Yuna, Wakka, and Lulu. But they persevere and look for a way to defeat Yu Yevon permanently. They adapted, improvised, and overcame. My heroes.
Who could forget dodging lightning 200 times at the Thunder Plains? How about recruiting and distributing attributes for the great (and often frustrating) game of Blitzball? The mini-games contributed to the depths of the series and made Spira a richer experience than just a straightforward plot with a lot of fetch quests—ehem, Final Fantasy XV, we’re looking at you.
There’s a point in the game where you don’t really know what to do with Kimahri because you finished his grids. So I ran him through Yuna’s and made him my second white mage who happens to have Steal! There was advice all over forums for this exact problem, and I think Kimahri is a silent and flexible warrior to round out your team.
There are so many layers to this game that made me think about it for years after I finished the game. There’s Sin as a metaphor for actual sin; they use “fayth” (faith) as an armor against Sin. Spira’s symbolism? Spheres. You can find this imagery everywhere in the game, including the Blitzball dome or memories of the dead (also in sphere form). Spheres symbolize the endless spiral of life and death.
There’s politics and racism, too. The Al Bheds were shunned by Yenonites because of their reliance on technology, and Ronso and Guado are purists so they shun those who do not fit the mold (Seymour is mixed human-Guado and Kimahri who is short.) As I played through the game a second time, I noticed the little details that make Spira such a unique and rich world.
I could go on and on, but you get me. FFX-2 expands on these, but lacks the emotional pull of the first one.
While we wait in agony about news of FFX-3, here’s a fan-made version of what FFX could look like in 4K. So, what are your top 10 things you love about Final Fantasy’s tenth installment? Let us know in the comments!
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