Flashback Zone – Final Fantasy X

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Ah, 12 years old. What an age! Just about to enter the horrors of puberty, and blissfully unaware of how horrible it would be. I remember fondly the first time I put this game into my PS2, unaware of the dozens upon dozens of hours of utter joy I was about to experience.

You see… I had never played a Final Fantasy game before, as shocking as that might sound. I had never really even played an RPG before. My gaming life had been comprised solely of; strategy games, sports games, racing games, and platformers. I didn’t realise that I was about to experience something so enrapturing and time consuming. Almost all games I had played before had stories that were over within a matter of hours. I had no idea that a game could last longer than that. But then, I played this: Final Fantasy X.

The game started relatively well. A fairly engaging and intriguing opening scene asking me to “listen to my story”. Next, your standard stuff; choose your name, get used to the controls a bit, push your way through hordes of fans and do weird stretches in the process… you know, the usual. But then, the REAL game began.

If you just skipped past that video to keep reading, then you my friend are a fool! Why? Because that cinematic is quite simply AMAZING! As a 12 year old this blew me away. My heart was pounding by the end of this cinematic and I knew that this game was going to be incredible! Even now it still gets my blood pumping! Over ten years after first playing this game, I sat down again recently to play the HD remaster and I felt that same surge rushing through me. This is one hell of a way to start a game!

But then… well… it gets a little stale. I mean, don’t get me wrong. As an almost-teenager, this game had me hooked all the way through. But going back to it now, as an adult, it just doesn’t satisfy me in the same way. Make no mistake; as a game, it’s good! There are many, many great things about this game… but sadly there’s a lot of not so great things. Take, for example, the characters.

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Now, as a kid, these guys were all badasses! They were all interesting, with their own cool backstories, and awesome unique moves and weapons. But upon examining it as an adult, some of them are pretty awful! So let’s take a moment to look at each character through my 12 year old eyes, and my 25 year old eyes respectively:

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So yeah. Age has not improved this game in terms of its characters for me. But there is one thing that has remained awesome; blitzball!

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Now, I am well aware of the divide that exists about whether blitzball is any good. But for me, both past and present, it is AWESOME! This was such a great addition to the game, and really helped provide a nice diversion from the main story, if you ever needed one. It was like a full game, within another game. They honestly could have released blitzball as its own game and probably done pretty well, not great maybe, but pretty well.

Not only was it a nice distraction every now and again, but it also integrated well into the game. A nice addition was that you could find people along your journey that you could hire for your team. This kept you on the lookout for new players, whilst you were travelling. I’ll admit, as a kid, this side game didn’t take up too much of my time. I was much more interested in the main story. However, as an adult, I LOVED building my team! I spent hours searching for players, playing matches, leveling up my team members. It holds up really well.

The voice acting on the other hand… well… it sucks. It sucked then, it sucks now. I’ve heard that the Japanese version is pretty good, but the English version… my god. It was so bad at times that even 12 year old me cringed when I played it again as an adult. I mean, did these guys even look at the game while they were reading their lines? I honestly don’t need to provide any more proof that this game’s voice acting SUCKED than our protagonist Tidus’ now infamous laugh scene:

If you had to pause that video before it ended, you’ll receive no judgment from me. To this day I have to mute the television at this part. It is just so tremendously cringe worthy! Oh, and I’ve seen the “Tidus laugh explained” videos. I don’t care what “reason” there is for this. If it is embarrassing and annoying to watch both as a kid AND as an adult, you’ve done something wrong.

Finally, I’m going to talk about the story. Now, yes, I could say that over time I’ve come to dislike the story a little. The obvious bad guys, the predictable twists, the cliches. But honestly, despite those being true, I still think that this game’s story is fantastic. Now, I know that there are die hard Final Fantasy fans that hate this game. They say that this was the first of a long string of games that have ruined Final Fantasy. But honestly, you’re wrong. I’ve played your so called “real Final Fantasies” and honestly, this game fits well into the Final Fantasy worlds and how they play out. Yes, there are issues, and it’s by no means perfect, but it is a great game. If you’re able to look past the often bad voice acting, and the character’s flaws, this game’s positive aspects make this a highly enjoyable game, with an ending that 12 year old me never saw coming!

So… would I recommend it? Yes. But don’t expect it to be perfect. You will have moments of “what the hell is this s**t?!” But if you stick with it, this game will make you satisfied overall by the end. Oh and I’m well aware that people are going to hate me for saying it fits in with the old Final Fantasies’ structure, including other writers on this site, but I don’t care. I liked this game.


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