I was born in the year 1981, which led to me being the perfect age to be targeted for Nintendo Entertainment System sales. My parents spoiled me rotten so I think I was about 7 or 8 when they gave in and bought me an NES, and then a few years later the SNES came out and I discovered a little game called Final Fantasy II that basically changed my life and made me who I am today. Of course, this blog post is about Final Fantasy X and not Final Fantasy II, but I feel like I will probably need to talk about the whole series throughout this post so why not start at the beginning?
I have played every Final Fantasy game other than XI and XIV (both were MMORPGs, which I’m not into), and quite a few of the spin offs from the main series. Many of them are among my top favorite games; Final Fantasy II (US) IV (Japan) takes you to the moon and is a great early example of JRPG excellence, Final Fantasy III (US) VI (Japan) has the best cast of characters ever featured in a JRPG, and Final Fantasy VII is a cyberpunk classic with one of the most bizarre stories ever conceived. But Final Fantasy X stood out to me, and still does, both because it was the first Final Fantasy game to have fully rendered three-dimensional environments, and also because it featured a love story that spoke to my romantic 20-year-old soul.
When I play games I am often looking for an experience where I can really lose myself in the characters and the story, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever found a game that delivered as well on both as Final Fantasy X did. I also really enjoy the gameplay on it, as well! And not gonna lie— I like it because I find it user friendly, self-explanatory and easy. There is just enough of a challenge to keep you playing, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time grinding to level up your characters or trying a million different strategies to beat a boss until you eventually luck out. One of the things I find most fun about the gameplay is the ability to switch out characters mid-battle, so that you can utilize their unique abilities as needed, since it is traditional in JRPGs to only be able to switch characters in your party on the world map or at a save point.
While the protagonist of Final Fantasy X, Tidus, is a dude, I loved that there were several strong female characters in this game. The story revolves more around Summoner Yuna, a young woman who is ready to give her life in exchange for 10 years of a peace on her planet, Spira. Every 10 years a giant, whale-like monster named Sin wrecks havoc in the form of seaborn natural disasters all over the world, and especially in tiny island villages. And every 10 years a new batch of summoners compete to defeat Sin, bringing 10 years of peace until Sin is reborn again— but they must give their life in order to defeat the monster. Yuna is an amazing character, and arguably the strongest or most necessary fighter in the game as she fulfills the role of both summoner and healer. Her best friend/ mentor/ sister figure Lulu is a goth lesbians wet dream, and also a powerful fighter as the only black mage in the game. And her cousin Rikku fulfills the roles of alchemist, thief, comedic relief and representative of an oppressed racial and social class within the world of Spira. If you love strong female characters, I cannot recommend either this title or it’s sequel, Final Fantasy X2, enough. FF X2 features Yuna, Rikku and a new friend named Paine to compose an all girl team. A rarity in video games!
I haven’t done a ton of research on this, but I know both FF X and FF X2 get some hate from diehard, toxically masculine gamers for being too easy and too girly. All the more reason to like them, I say! Final Fantasy X definitely has a few issues, as well, and if you really love to be challenged and hate story or cut scenes it might not be a good choice for you. But in my opinion the softness is what really makes X work as well as it does, and what makes X2 endearing despite it’s numerous flaws.
So what are the downsides to Final Fantasy X? Not much in my opinion! Sometimes the rendering is weird, and it has grown especially clunky with time as video game graphics have continued to advance. Sometimes the voices and the lip movements don’t match up, if you’re playing the game in English (and I do! Maybe I should try it in Japanese sometime though ha ha, I might learn that dang language better). Some side quests are boring, and Blitzball is a whole annoying thing. Tidus, the protagonist, is a whiny emo butthole, but I like him anyway! The final battle is not challenging at all, and in fact it’s impossible to die during so it’s really the 2nd to to last battle that should be considered the true last. The ending might make you cry. I didn’t the first time I played it, but I did once several years later when replaying it and going through some shit™.
Final Fantasy X and X2 are available as a package deal on the Switch right now, plus you can get them for just about any Playstation 2-4 and I think on computers now? I’ll be downloading the Switch versions soon. If anyone ever wanted to hire me solely to watch them play this game, or watch me play it, or just talk about it, I would be so so down. I plan to some day make a Lulu cosplay outfit. Well maybe. So many belts!