Ah, 2002. It’s almost mind-boggling to think that it was 15 years ago, and that we’re in “the future”. This is, for the most part, going to be a serious article unlike most of the borderline sarcastic things I write and that’s for a reason. I was excited that I finally got a PlayStation 2 to replace my pirated PS1 and one of the first games I had gotten was the Star Wars Jedi Starfighter game. While my brain was blown by the game, there’s another game that I got that I hold dear in my heart. Final Fantasy X. Now, this game was the first Final Fantasy game in a lot of fields. They replaced the real-time Active Time Battle system with the Conditional Turn-Based system and replaced traditional leveling with a grid based node system. The graphics were fully 3-D areas with voice acting. Now for those of you young-ins, most games had the voice work of Gordon Freeman back in the day so to have an elaborate and detailed ROLE PLAYING GAME voice act their game was a huge jump forward. And on the note of the music, To Zanarkand still gives me chills a decade and a half later.
So, onto the cast. Like any Final Fantasy game worth its salt, the playable characters make the game and I’ll be damned if they don’t deliver a stunning cadre of individuals. The main character Tidus (who you can rename and the game beautifully uses non-descriptive third person words to address your character so you would never notice if your character was named “Facey McFacerson”) is a blitzball player from Zanarkand. Imagine Soccer underwater and you’ve got blitzball, since apparently breathing isn’t a thing. Next, you have the summoner, Yuna who has the cutest case of heterochromia I’ve ever seen and is the love interest of our main character. There’s one of Yuna’s Guardians, Wakka who is voiced as if he was Jamaican even though he is rocking a very not Jamaican appearance and still comes off as a lovable other Blitzball player. Lulu who is another childhood friend of Yuna and happens to be a combination fashionista/belt obsessed witch/black mage. Kimarhi is a large Ronso who is a giant cat warrior who rocks a kick ass halberd. Rikku is the cousin of Yuna and happens to be an Al Bhed girl who actually provides a very upbeat and happy flow to the story. Finally, there’s my favorite character, Auron who is another stereotypical FF character that rocks a giant sword, but his is better. (Seriously, this guy is a badass)
The story follows Tidus finding himself a thousand years in the future after an interesting interaction with Sin, and meets Rikku, an Al Bhed girl. Al Bhed being a clever little simple replacement cipher to convert English into an interesting unique language and one of the fun mini-games being collecting the primers that allow you to understand the Al Bhed subtitles. So Tidus is then separated from Rikku and find himself in what is essentially a tropical paradise known as Besaid. Here he meets the local blitzball team (essentially the worst team in Spira) and its captain Wakka. Upon introduction to the summoner Yuna and her other guardians Lulu and Kimarhi, you are introduced to the concept of the summoner pilgrimage and gain the Final Aeon to defeat Sin. After helping the underdog Besaid Aurochs win the championship, Auron explains how Tidus’ father Jecht had helped Yuna’s father to defeat Sin during the last incarnation of Sin.
Jumping a large amount of the plot, the story is revealed that Tidus is functionally the dream of a ghost and that the Final Aeon is really a guardian who is summoned into becoming the next iteration of Sin who then kills the summoner who raised it, leading to a never-ending cycle of death and rebirth. Of course, by this point, Tidus has fallen in love with Yuna and decided “fuck that noise” and goes on a new quest to defeat Sin without costing his beloved her life. This being a Final Fantasy game you, of course, do this but Tidus is whisked away along with ghost Zanarkand.
Now plot aside, let me get to the meat of my article. This is an amazing game. It’s available on steam and if you haven’t played it, I highly advise doing so now. I have the HD re-mastered version and I’m going to be playing it, potentially even recording if I have the time. The gameplay is fantastic, as are the visuals and the artwork. Honestly, the characters development really sell the game from Tidus growing from a rash pro-sports player into a hero, to Lulu and Wakka’s love, to even how you grow to care about the family drama of a giant walking lion. And as I’ve said before the music is almost hauntingly beautiful. From Hymn of the Fayth to Suteki Da Ne to my favorite, To Zanarkand, the soundtrack will be stuck in your brain before you can say Chocobo. This game has everything and more in a Final Fantasy game and I feel it had something that was missed in XII and XIII and I’ve done my best not to reveal too much about the plot but trust me, there’s a lot MORE. Now go out to steam and buy and play the game! Also, we don’t talk about X-2. Ever.