In 2001, I was 11 years old and was walking to my friends house just down the road. I would always go to this particular friends house more often because his family had what appeared to be two houses stacked on top of each other. The top “house” was for his parents, and the bottom section was for their kids. It was pretty mind blowing as a kid and ended up being one of my favorite hangout spots.
It appeared to be a man laying in a pool of water, quietly contemplating. There was no sound, other than the calming water lapping against the side. As the camera focuses on the man, a rock ballad begins to play and the camera quickly zooms out. We find out that the man was actually in a cylindrical stadium filled with thousands of adoring fans. A bright circular ball of light begins to form as thousands of more spectators flood the over crowded arena. The man takes his place as cheers erupt. The ball of light grows brighter and smaller and, at the apex of its might, it eventually exploads to the shock and amazement of everyone around it. The cheers can be heard on the outskirts of the town as the camera focuses on a mysterious man on top of a building. The man appears to be looking over the city, as if to see it one last time. He turns towards the ocean and raises his flask to a gigantic being that is currently attempting to breach the surface. As the object becomes biblical in size, the camera takes us back to the sport being played in the arena. It’s a sort of Swimming meets Soccer, meets Football, and everyone is giving it their all. People are flying from the arena into the crowed, cheers are being screened by everyone in the stadium as this chaotic and beautiful event plays out before them. They are completely unaware that the city they live in is crumbling around them as the massive creature begins absorbing everything around it. Everything is as it should be, until our hero breaches the water, in an attempt at a dolphin like shot, and he sees the creature fire a barrage of energy like missiles at the city. As the hero falls, the stadium is virtually destroyed. He reaches out in a last ditch effort to save him self, but is unable to hold on. He falls into the chaos and the screen goes to black.
I wanted this movie. Really really bad.
After a while, I notice he is actually playing a game. I jumped up and yelled, “what the fuck!?”
My friends mom yells down to us, “Watch your language!”
I was blown away that he was actually playing a game. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. We sat there and I watched him play this game for a few hours. I couldn’t take it anymore and I eventually ran home to beg my parents to take me to the store to buy this game. Saving up chore money really paid off.
Final Fantasy X became one of my favorite games of all time. It has become the game that I have replayed the most and is still timeless to this day. I have taken my time; leveling up every character to 99, mastering the sphere grid, acquiring all the Aeons, collecting all of the power weapons, and unlocking their potential.
Other times, I will play it for the story and eventually get frustrated at the final boss.
When this game first came out, it was visually stunning and way ahead of its time. Though the areas that you visit in the game are linear by today’s standards, the world is vast and is full of random treasure chests, people, puzzles, and lore to be explored.
Each area is unique and feels lived in. Each person that lives in the town or village that you visit seem to have their own customs and personalities. Whether you are in a major city filled with the hustle and bustle of big city life, or a small village that has been ravenged by the world’s events, you always feel like a stranger in someone else’s world.
Each area that you explore will also have a host of new and engaging enemies that you will have to face. It’s rare that you actually see the same monster from one area in a different area. Often times it will be a stronger form of that creature, or possible a creature that has a different elemental property. For the most part though, you can expect to fight something new in each area and have to adapt your fighting style accordingly.
Who doesn’t love a good turn style RPG? I have always preferred this style of combat over wait timers. Maybe it has to do with my obsession over Pokemon at a very early age.
The combat is very easily mastered and will draw you in after a very short tutorial. If you get stuck or need to figure out your next couple of moves, the game will stop with you and wait for you to make your choice. I have walked away from a major battle to get something to drink or get something to eat just because I could.
You may have a 7 playable characters, but you can only have 3 character fight along side you in battle. This can lead to some pretty cool combinations and fight styles. You have your black mage, your white mage, your fighter, your thief, and every other fight style you can imagine in classic Final Fantasy. However, this game does something pretty special. If you level up your character to a certain point, you can actually start teaching them anything that you want. You can have a fighter be a mage, a mage a thief, or a healer a warrior. It’s your choice. Don’t subscribe to social or gender norms.
Each character has a special move that can be implemented during a fight. If you are able to build up your Overdrive meter, then you will be able to unleash a powerful attack that can really shift the flow of battle.
Speaking of powerful attacks…how about some bad ass monsters that you can control that just wreck the competition?
One of your characters will have the ability to summon Aeons to battle along side you. Some of the classics are back, like Ifirit and Shiva, and they are gorgeous in this game. Each one is stunning in their own destructive way.
Each area has it own music that seems to fit just right. You feel more invested in the story and understand a little bit more about the area around you.
Even the dramatic scenes seem to feel just a bit better with the music in the background.
Without giving too much away, the story is a great look at the dark side around religious topics.
The main character, the one being adored by fans, is a young sports star named Titus. After the events that transpire during the destruction of his city, the mysterious man turns out to be a long lost friend of Titus. He assist Titus in escaping the crumbling city and even provides him with a weapon. Nice guy.
Its only after he has a strange talk with with giant beast that he actually lifts Titus towards the monster. A bright light fills the world and then everything goes black.
Titus wakes up in ocean, far away from home, and is now on a journey to figure out what happened and how he can get back home.
He eventually finds out that the giant monster that attacked his home is named Sin (religious undertones) and apparently this thing wipes out civilizations every hundred years or so.
During his adventures, Titus runs into a woman named Yuna who is actually on a pilgrimage to acquire all the Aeons and fight Sin. Titus agrees to help her and become one of her Guardians.
The rest of the story has many twist and turns that are still pretty fun to explore even today. The ties that all the characters have to the one another, and even the world, will tug at your heart strings and make you want to know more.
This game was also the first time that I actually got to experience a choice of who the love interest would be. Maybe you don’t want the typical, run of the mill, Hallmark love story. Maybe you want to fall in love with the black mage that scares you a little. Your choice bro.
All In All
All in all, this game still stands as one of my favorite games and one that I have probably beaten the most. In my life time, not only have I played and beaten this game an amount that my brain is probably blocking due to concerns about my psyche, but I have also bought the game for every platform it offered and the HD remakes…yes I’m the reason that they do these things.
It is my hope that if you have never given this game a chance, then you will go out and buy it. Give it a chance and see that it becomes one of your favorites as well.
If you liked this post, or didn’t, you can thank Ian over at Adventure Rules. He set a community event called Charming and Open in which he accepts questions, answers them, and in turn offers a question to you. I recommend checking it out and just having fun with different events like this.