Out of all the major Final Fantasy titles, the tenth in the series seems to be the one where they tried to throw the kitchen sink at it to create a major title, worthy of the first sequel in the series.
It was a big step going from 4 disks on PS1 to being able to fit the whole game on one DVD. They were able to make major upgrades in absolutely every area of the game (except ‘laughter’ but even in 2017 the robotic Theresa May laughs like Tidus and Yuna during parliamentary debates so computerised people doing that back in the early 00s isn’t outrageous.
X was the first title of the series that decided to forego the ‘world map’ where you run between towns in a huge sandbox, opting for a fully interconnected world.
With 1-9 you left towns and wandered a vast expanse with limited detail until you reached another dodgy looking sprite that was meant to represent an entire castle or city.
With this title you run from scene to scene and every part is crafted like a real world would be. It looks and feels incredible.
I felt a bit frustrated the first time I played it because I love being able to fly around the world in the airship you unlock late on.
I think being able to to explore from on high and just see the world in all its glory was a major plus for me with the older titles. Nine seemed to respect this by having other airships in the world, and making it feel a bit more integral.
Since 10, airships have taken a bit of a back seat. Instead of being able to fly around in the sky, you tend to travel via list.
You can run around your ship talking to the inhabitants and taking stock, but when its time to go from A to B you just tell the pilot to visit a place and then the game loads and you’re there.
I get why this is progress. It cuts out the arduous trip from A to B – something I love, but something most gamers could do without.
It also allows for the world to be canonically enormous. Like they can say that there are millions of people living in the backdrops and that places are thousands of miles apart.
One thing with the older games was that their worlds seemed very under populated, so I often wondered – especially in 7 and 8 – how a world could really function with so few people.
For me this change is probably one of the only reasons I don’t consider X to be an absolute favourite of mine. I loved the game to pieces. I am one of the few who loved X-2 also.
There are a huge amount of strengths to this game though that make it feel really difficult ranking them in any kind of order.
The premise to this game is actually kind of insane. I just tried to refresh it in my head, but to be honest I just got confused.
I’m going to do a brief summary mainly to help me comment further on, but also to get it straight in my head.
Tidus is playing Blitzball, a popular sport in FFX, and suddenly a major attack takes place.
He tries to flee with the rest of the world but ends up being taken away by a strange man, and wakes up in another version of the universe where he meets Yuna and her friends who are about to head off on a pilgrimage across the world.
They plan on a light family friendly jaunt, visiting temples and helping the souls of the dead move on to the afterlife; before ultimately sacrificing Yuna to a great evil creature called Sin that comes to destroy the world every few years unless a sacrifice is made.
I’d welcome corrections here, but from what I recall, Tidus kind of fancies Yuna early on and is outraged that these people would let her sacrifice herself to save them. He wants to derail that, and take down Sin head on.
Cue the major quest to one way or another, defeat Sin.
This was epic. As far as villains go this one wasn’t a human being that could be reasoned with, and its motives were unclear. All they knew was that it would return time and time again to wipe the slate clear unless a sacrifice was made.
I like that whilst the twists and turns to this plot were insanely confusing and elaborate the basic premise was relatively straight forward so it was open to everyone – just get Yuna to Zanarkand so she can complete her sacrifice. The rest falls into place as you go on.
This game blended in the traditional ‘summons’ (aeons in this game) which were in the previous games, and put them as bosses you had to defeat to recruit. These made for amazing bosses and with the great advancement in graphics, it was mind blowing to fight and then use them moving forward.
The side quests and games in this game were again brilliant. I always played with a specific sword that allowed you to ‘catch’ the beasts you fought. Every capture would be sent to a ‘beast maester’ who would either put them into his battle arena, or splice them with other monsters to create even more elaborate monsters to fight. This was a quest I tried my hardest to 100% regardless of the fact it was insanely difficult!
There were also tons of mini games for unlocking the character’s best weapons. One was to complete a race with a finish time of 00:00 by hitting the right ‘power ups’ to lower your score. Another was to doge 100 lightening bolts which seemed insanely difficult. I managed over 100 one time and vowed never to do it again when I failed.
This means FFX is one of the few I never ever came close to 100% mastering. I don’t know that I ever have fully mastered any of them, but with 7 and 8 it was just a matter of time.
With 9 I simply couldn’t beat the game in under 12 hours. 10 just made it impossibly difficult, you have to earn the rewards with a skill level I do not possess, I simply focused on completing the story in each of them.
Blitzball was the most ambitious attempt in this game to create a different mini game. You could recruit and manage your own team of ‘underwater football’ players.
Your efforts unlocked better moves for one of the characters, your success made you richer and more powerful, and it just becomes a side story in itself because you can essentially rise up to be the best team in the land.
It always feels like a shame that these games aren’t reused in future as it would’ve been impressive to see them evolve Blitzball into a sport that spreads across more FF Titles.
I think this was the last time the game had a proper ‘party vs villain’ battle system where you stood on one side with them on the other.
It also expanded out the system for better tactics, and gave an enormous skill tree so you could personalise your characters pretty well.
After this title they stopped doing turn based battling and went for more running around, hacking with specific buttons to do specific attacks and spells. It never feels like ‘final fantasy’ to me as a result.
I feel like I’d rank ten as my 5th or 6th best Final Fantasy purely because I think that 6879 are locked in, and I’m not decided on whether I rate 10 higher than all of the other titles.
It is definitely above the awful FF13 Games. I don’t count the MMORPGs as part of the series. Leaving 12 and 15 in modern times and 1-5 in the old ones.
I can’t put it below 1-5, so I think I will place it in 5th right now, as the more Final Fantasy evolves, the further it goes away from the way it ‘should’ be and Final Fantasy X seems to mark the peak of their entire efforts with the best graphics, battle system, most advance characters, and everything else.
It would probably rise at least 2-3 places if it had an awesome airship I could fly about in and control, and if Tidus wasn’t such a beta male.
What do you think of FFX and X-2? I recall Anna on MGP saying it was her personal favourite and I can definitely see why she’d feel that way.
I really wish I had the time money and patience to play the HD Remaster!