Game Review: Final Fantasy X — A Massive Disappointment

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I’m a latecomer to the FF train. My first game was FF12, then I went back to play FF10-2 (because the shop didn’t sell FF10 at the time), then I played FF13 and then bits of FF13-2. So this is my first time playing FF10, having heard endlessly about what a great game it was, how great the storyline was, how lovable the two main characters were.

We play the main character, Tidus, a cocky, irritating, no-filter-in-his-brain jock with Daddy issues. There are so many problems with this game I don’t know where to begin. Contains spoilers, a lot of rage and bitching, and virtually zero praise. You’re warned.

1) The main character is such an annoying, useless, stubborn, stupid piece of shit.

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Tidus is probably the most unlikeable Final Fantasy character I’ve played yet. Vaan from FFXII wasn’t likeable either, but he had no dislikable features either — he just had no existence. Tidus remains loud, obnoxious, and dumb as shit, endlessly announcing his role as a guardian — to keep Yuna safe, to ensure her pilgrimage continues, that they should beat Sin together — even though he has no idea what his job or Yuna’s job actually entails. And when Riku finally reveals Yuna’s fate as a summoner, he is shocked.

Well, that’s what happens when you sign up for a job you know nothing about and has no qualifications for. “Why didn’t I know?!” Wow, congratulations, you’re so vocal about a cause you’re entirely ignorant about and you remained happily ignorant — you never asked. Then you blame everyone else for Yuna’s free will. As he collapses, punches the wall in despair and cries, I feel absolutely no sympathy for the little shite whatsoever.

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When they are aboard the Al Bhed plane, Cid is basically saying all the stuff I want to say. Tidus comes crashing onto the Al Bhed boat, screaming for Yuna, punching people out of the way like he’s some hero to save the day. Cid then snarks at him asking what he plans to do once he finds Yuna. And all Tidus has to say is “I want to say… I’m sorry!” and “She won’t die!”

What are you going to do, apologise away her sealed fate? Oh, boo fucking hoo. Damn, excellent slam, Cid! I want to do it myself. When the Al Bheds reveal they don’t know where Yuna is either, Tidus declares he will find her and stop her from dying.

Moments later, he demands from Cid Yuna’s location (again). Nice to know he searches with his mouth only. When Yuna is found, Cid informs him Bevelle is a heavy-guarded area and they need a plan. And all Tidus has to offer is “Yuna is there, we go and get her!”

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Wow, yes, storm a heavily-guarded city when you’re armed with a bit of machinery and ten Blitzball players! Military plan of the century!

When Lulu questions if going into the Bevelle temple was a trap, Tidus’s answer was stupid as always: “Who cares? Yuna’s waiting for us!”

Yeah, it’s not like she literally threw her plan out the window because of her friends’ lives being threatened and then herself off the building… who cares, right? The plot must progress! Tidus has to make decisions!

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(P.S. The heartfelt final “I love you” from Yuna and the farewell hug from Tidus? Pahahahahah. Screw you, Tidus. Never come back. Wait, there’s a sequel? Goddamit.)

2) The game expositions like no tomorrow.

We see everything through endless expositions thanks to Tidus, who is a cocky, irritating, no-filter-in-his-brain jock. I don’t feel empathy for him nor do I really care about his goal towards returning to Zanarkand. The constant exposition by Tidus brought me out of the story multiple times. As it stands, FFX wasn’t immersive, but every time Tidus speaks over the story, like “At that time, I didn’t realise just how significant…” or “Your words that day stayed with me, Yuna” reminded me this is just a story and Tidus, in his condescending manner, prattled on without contributing anything to the story. Does it matter at that moment Yuna’s words (that she just spoke) that day stayed with him? Does it matter when Tidus got sucked up by Sin we, the player, need to know at that moment he had no idea what was in store for him? As if being sucked up by a mystery power isn’t enough of a hint as it is?

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3) The rest of the cast aren’t any more likeable either, except for the two who don’t really speak.

Yuna, the summoner, is a quiet, perpetual damsel-in-distress with exceedingly poor communication skills despite her harem of guardians, in her training to save the world. The other guardians are Wakka, a former Blitzball player and current racist (against Al Bheds) and religious fanatic, who speaks like he’s from Trinidad and Tobago, who has survivor’s guilt after his little brother died and hasn’t moved past the Anger stage of griefing, intent on blaming everything and everyone else for the death; Lulu, a boobilicious black mage with all the charm of death; Kimahri, a Ronso (upright dog? tiger? with a horn) who plays the strong and silent type; Auron, the mystery time-traveller whose purpose is to keep the story interesting by offering enough information snippets to keep the plot moving and be the voice of reason in the group of children he herded; and Rikku, the classic manic pixie dream girl and Al Bhed who looks classically Al Bhed but has miraculously hid her heritage from the racist by… doing nothing.

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I think eventually four of the crew pair off, but I can’t imagine how, considering the pairs have about as much chemistry as noble gases

Wakka is the stereotype of a brainwashed bigot — “My way is the only way” and “You’re against my teachings, therefore you’re evil” and shifting goalposts whenever Rikku challenges his ridiculous, basis-less beliefs — “Yeah, well, you got a better explanation? I thought so!” When Rikku said Yevon, the culture of the rest of the team, had once upon a time did bad stuff to her people, Wakka’s first response despite all they had already gone through as a team was “Well, you must have deserved it.”

Yeah, fuck you, you gaslighting victim-blamer and brainwashed racist bigot.

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3) The voice acting makes me want to run into oncoming traffic.

The voice-acting is cringeworthily awful and slow in English. Unfortunately my English copy doesn’t come with the original dub, so I had to sit through the awkward pauses between each flatly-delivered line, the flat conversations where emotions didn’t carry from one speaker to another, and the mouths kept moving long after the dubbed line stopped. The voice ators should be fired. There were such long pauses in-between lines I found my attention drifting. Probably one of the worst parts of the game — the dubbing. I don’t know if the Japanese version is any better.

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4) The minigames are useless, time-wasting creations.

Blitzball is a clear example of exotic for exoticness’s sake. The invention of a new sport seems to be a waste of time. There are too many acronyms — BA, CA, BL etc. — and mathematicising a physical sport just make it come across as tedious and boring and it does nothing to advance the plot. Not to mention the physics side is questionable at best — how do these people hold their breaths in a massive sphere of water? How does that water retain its form? And why is it when I, at the front of the team, pass my ball backwards to my teammates, my opponents standing in front of me have a chance of jumping (in water???) and blocking my backward throw? And how awfully not aquadynamic are their uniforms — which is what they normally wear! — shoes? Flappy sleeves? Belts? What the heck?

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5) There are areas of the plot that makes no sense whatsoever.

  1. The Al Bhed hide their green eyes behind goggles. Just when this piece of information is revealed to the player, Rikku shows up with her bright green eyes. Wakka, who spent his life hating them, didn’t realise she was Al Bhed.
  2. After meeting Rikku for all of two seconds, Yuna decides to make her a guardian. Okay, so maybe Yuna has some sixth sense, just like how she did with Tidus, but when Lulu was so staunchly against Tidus at the start and even Wakka, who knew Tidus a bit more, was taken aback by Yuna’s decision to take Tidus, they all just suddenly decided to welcome Rikku as a guardian with open arms? What the fuck kind of logic is that?
  3. During Yuna and Seymour’s wedding, Yuna weds out of necessity so she could get close to him to send him. She plucks her summoner’s stick out of apparently nowhere, but because her friends come to her rescue, her plan is thwarted as their lives are used as leverage against her. She drops the stick and then demands her friends be released or she’ll throw herself off the building. She then proceeds to go through with her threat. So if Rikku didn’t have her flash-bomb — and Yuna had no way of knowing she did — would all her friends have just perished then and there? What was Yuna counting on?giphy9
  4. We see lots of people in Besaid, Operation Mi’ihen, and Home dying. Their bodies just lay still on the ground. They are dead. But then we later find out Seymour, Auron, and Mika are also already dead, but there is literally nothing different about them compared to their living selves except for the fact that you can stab them and they don’t die. The game says if a person dies with high emotions, their souls linger — a bit like The Grudge, then — but are they saying none of those soldiers who fought for a just cause died with high emotions? They all made peace with themselves? So only the significant characters exist beyond death, because plot calls for it!
  5. Why are Yuna’s aeons suddenly being attacked?
  6. Wait, why does Tidus suddenly say when they defeat Yu Yevon, he’ll disappear? And why is he the only one aware of it? Random hidden information spontaneously erupting from characters’ mouths do not a plot twist make! (But of course he can conveniently wait until the heartfelt goodbyes are done and tears are shed until he actually pisses off forever.)

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6) The game is as linear as A-B-C.

The world itself is ridiculously linear. I distinctly remember people giving FFXIII a lot of grief, but FFX is exactly the same. You go to Besaid. You go to Luca. You go to Thunder Fields. You go to Macalania. 1-2-3. You can go back maybe two screens but then you get turned forward again. There’s no free travel until almost at the end of the game when you’re on the airship, when you then have the freedom to travel along any of the straight line roads you’ve already gone through!

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7) The music brainwashes.

The music. Oh god. So the starting sequence before we get to the load game menu — that music was quite dreamy and typical of Final Fantasy. I liked it. Then after that, you get endless brainwashing of the battle sequence music. The game’s pause button pauses just the gameplay, not the whole game, so the music continues on blaring on and on and you can’t get a moment of quiet. There is no volume control in the game either. I put my monitor’s volume at [1] and it was still horrifically loud and brainwashy. By the time I got to Macalania temple, I had enough and played the rest of the game on mute. It’s not like I’m missing anything with the god-awful dub and repetitive music anyway.

And what’s with the stupid metal track during the Jecht fight anyway?

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8) The saving mechanism and unpredictable power of absolutely random enemies take the piss.

On at least two occasions, I’ve had a perfectly average-healthed team (that is, not fully healed but not at death’s door, either) just get KO’d by random enemies, not bosses. They would appear out of nowhere, and for some reason the turn-base would allow them to hit my team six times in a row before I even get a chance to choose my attacks, destroying them entirely. Or if you’re good enough to beat Behemoth King, he suddenly summons a meteor and does 8k damage to your team with an average total HP of 4k each, making you game over even though you actually won the fight. Or let’s talk about opponents inflicting confuse on your strongest members so that said strongest member one-hit-KOs your own team. But at the same time, on the same road, you can encounter fights where you kill all your opponents before they even get a single turn.

And then, because the save point was one boss, two hills, and a shop ago, you get respawned at that save point. Congratulations, you can replay the mundane part of the game again! What a joy! I just love walking through the first part of Inside Sin three freaking times.

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And after that? When you’ve made your way through the infested lands of random spawns that may die after one hit from you or murder you before you even decide whether to attack or use a skill, you’ll hit two save points in a row, with nothing in-between: no boss battles, no major decisions, no point-of-no-return. You’ll just get all the save points you could have benefited from earlier.

9) The story is predictable.

From the get-go, Tidus has been bestowed the undeserving badge of the Chosen One. Yuna just knew he was different. Yuna would fall in love with him. His ‘plan’ to charge gung-ho into Bevelle to rescue Yuna would of course work, instead of being a suicide mission before they even crossed the borders. Where those stronger and smarter than him before this game couldn’t change the cycle of summoners being sacrificed for short-lived Calms, his desire to just not let Luna die — with no plan whatsoever — would of course prevail, if he would only ask Yunalesca. Because, obviously, nobody has thought of doing that before. And the power of friendship prevails over the Big Bad.

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10) You can’t skip cutscenes.

A deadly combination with (2). That last fight with Yunalesca? I died three times. There are three cutscenes before you get to that part, first when Yuna arrives at the temple, then when she sees Yunalesca, and then finally when we watch Braska’s crew angst over Braska’s sacrifice, followed by Yunalesca laughing at them, followed by each of the seven members of Yuna’s team having a declaration of confidence, each having a seizure-inducing flicker back and forth before a close up of their face.

That last part with the long-winded flashbacks, Big Bad’s Evil Talk, and then the “I won’t lose” speech x7? I watched it four times. Because you can’t skip it and Yunalesca killed me three times. And then on the fourth time when I finally killed her, I went back by accident before getting the sun crest and I couldn’t go back! So I had to fight her again. A fifth time seeing that goddamn annoying cutscene. I really don’t give a shit about each of the characters stating their motivations and pep-talks.

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And when I was inside Sin, every time I wanted to go back up into the airship to sell off the tons of crap I ended up (the bag is too damn small!)? I have to watch the Fahrenheit flying into Sin again. Even though I literally just came from there. Every single time.

Redeeming features (I guess??)

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1) The Graphics.

For a remastered version of a game released 17 years ago, the graphics are actually pretty good. The kids’ faces are absolutely horrifying, but I was determined not to determine the game’s quality by its graphics, especially given its age.

2) The lake scene.

Okay so I’m not completely cold-blooded. When Tidus finally apologises to Yuna and supports her genuinely rather than out of some heroic grandiosity, it was quite sweet. And the kiss was cute. And the music was nice.

That’s it. That’s all the redeeming features. And I’m going to play FF X-2 now because I’m a sadist and I want that $9 USD to be worth it. Prepare for more bitching in a few week’s time.

Apparently I spent just over 60 minutes playing this (according to the save file). Pretty sure it’s more like 2 weeks.

tl;dr: fuck this game.

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