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Final Fantasy 10: fond memories of the classic RPG

Wednesday, 2 April 2014 08:39 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Final Fantasy 10 is over ten years old and still one of our favourite modern RPGs. We run down the Square Enix classic’s finest points in a celebration of the adventures of Tidus, Yuna, Lulu, Wakka, Kimahri, Auron and Rikku.

final_fantasy_10_10-2_hd_remaster

Popular consensus regarding the Final Fantasy series wavers with the ebb and flow of fashion. Final Fantasy 7 has gone from all-time classic to something to waggle your horn-rimmed glasses over while you talk up how good Final Fantasy 6 was. Final Fantasy 8 was going to be “four discs long with Resident Evil-style graphics”, but its confused themes and unpopular magic system have rendered it something of a red-haired stepchild of the series despite its boldness. Final Fantasy 9 was a return to the old school stylings we all said we wanted, but has gone largely forgotten by everyone except me (it feels like).

The same tides have affected Final Fantasy 10′s reception. The dizzying hype we experienced building up to its release held out for a while as we marvelled at the beauty Square Enix wrung from the then-new PlayStation 2, but crashed down bare months later. Suddenly it was all, “Hironobu Sakaguchi took a back seat on this project” and “dodging lightning is stupid” and “the sphere grid is broken” and “that scene with Tidus and Yuna laughing is fucking creepy”.

Well, bollocks to all that. We are not at home to irony around here; we do not feel the need to distance ourselves form things we like out of insecurity that someone will judge us. We are grown ups. Final Fantasy 10 is fantastic.

Here are a couple of reasons why we have eternal love for the adventures of Tidus and co. Spoilers follow.

And we’re off.

The aesthetic.

Square Enix’s avowed intent with Final Fantasy 10 was to break away from the generic medieval European look of many fantasy worlds. Personally, I don’t think Final Fantasy 6, 7 or 8 suffered from that at all, but 10 certainly made great strides in depicting a world with a more South-East Asian flavour in the mostly coastal inhabited regions of Spira. (Don’t ask difficult questions about why hardly anybody lives in the great empty plains where the monster from the sea can’t get to them. The explanation is as silly as it is unsatisfying).

The characters.

Final Fantasy 10′s ensemble cast are varied and interesting and for once that makes some kind of sense. In the story, Yuna’s crew of protectors were chosen for their skills and their relationship to her, rather than just being dragged along by events. For once, someone found a decent justification for throwing a chirrupy blonde into the mix beyond “she happened to be there at the time” – and all the character save the giant kitty cat have decent, complex motivations.

While your mileage may vary, Final Fantasy 10′s party is certainly memorable. Wakka’s stoic cheerfulness and respectful pursuit of Lulu are only part of the story; his little brother issues make him a perfect companion to Tidus. Lulu’s unsuccessful first pilgrimage explains a lot of her reserve and need for control, and her warmth, when it shines through, is touching. Auron is – well, that’s one of the great spoilers and certainly explains a heck of a lot.

Look, one of the characters has a dress made entirely of belts and fights with stuffed toys; if you want to argue about that you go right ahead.

final_fantasy_10_sphere_grid

The first time I saw this I had to have a lie down.

The Sphere Grid

Yes, the Sphere Grid is a bit broken. If you put in the time (a lot of time) you can ruin the game utterly. But really, if you’re going to spend the hundreds and hundreds of hours required to erase all the low-stat spheres and replace them with major ones, you probably deserve whatever you get.

In the meantime, the sphere grid grants a genuine sense of progression. Later Final Fantasy games (notably Final Fantasy 12 which is excellent even in its unfinished, cobbled-together, confused state, and I don’t care to argue with you on this) refined on the theme, making it far more flexible and customisable, but this early-proto version was fantastic in that every few levels felt like you were actually achieving something. Much better than just watching a bar fill up.

It must be said though, Kimarhi’s also-ran starting position, where he’ll always be slightly less good at whatever path you choose than the character with a head start, is a crying shame – because who doesn’t want an eight foot blue horned lion in their primary party.

The music.

Regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu isn’t above sneaking memorable singles onto Final Fantasy soundtracks. Final Fantasy 10′s Suteki Da Ne is a corker, and that cutscene still ranks. Apart from that, Final Fantasy 10 made some bold departures from franchise norms with its score – the opening cutscene with its heavy guitars was shocking at the time, and remains memorable.

Also, I know all the words to the Hymn of the Fayth and I will sing it to my children.

Blitzball.

This is a controversial one, because a lot of you hate Blitzball. It’s certainly not easy to get into, but once you get the hang of it, start gaming the system, and begin recruiting in earnest it actually turns into a pretty cool little sports management sim – only everyone is underwater? Somehow? It’s much more fun than Triple Triad et al, anyway.

Page two is packed with spoilers, so don’t click through if you’re yet to experience Final Fantasy 10.

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8 Comments

  1. Michael Ireland

    Dodging lightning bolts is still stupid. *rips out his manly locks in frustration*

    Still a great set of games. I think I must have been one of the few people that ran to FFX-2 before FFX though…

    …wat? Don’t like at me like that!

    #1 1 year ago
  2. salarta

    I started listening to Final Fantasy music again lately, especially FFX music. I may abhor the remaster for trying to force FFX-2 into acceptance, but I can at least say it did make me nostalgic for the old Final Fantasy. I might play my PS2 copy of FFX some time soon.

    FF8 is increasingly gaining acceptance. The main reason people hated it when it released was people expecting a repeat of FF7, unaware that Final Fantasy doesn’t work that way. Today, people play it without expecting it to be like FF7, which allows them to appreciate it more. FF9 was also kinda maligned because of ridiculous expectations, but it was an incredibly fun and meaningful throwback, and a much needed reorientation of the series after the prior two entries started heading into a futuristic direction.

    Aesthetic: I wish more games had an Asian style approach. That was an excellent shift for Final Fantasy. Up until then and even after then, the majority of RPGs only included Eastern and Japanese themed areas as a small sub-area of a world predominantly Western and European themed. Valkyrie Profile is a good example of this, as is Final Fantasy IV’s Fabul and Eblan compared to Baron, Troia, Damcyan and Mysidia.

    Characters: Listening to the character themes, it’s just so stunning to me how well they symbolized the characters. Lulu’s creepy mysticism, Rikku’s cheerful innocence, Yuna’s sullen purity, it’s all there. It makes me a little depressed thinking of how thoroughly each was squandered in FFX-2, to get Lulu out of the way, turn Rikku into a giddy hardly-dressed spaz, and Yuna into a teenybopper. I always wondered about Lulu in particular, because her entire aesthetic is completely unlike anything else in all of Spira. You don’t meet anyone else with red eyes, or Gothic fashion sense, or that can manipulate dolls. She is 100% unique to the world, which makes her such a paradox. And no, I’m not including Paine, because she may as well not exist as far as I’m concerned unless a real FFX-2 is made some day that uses the characters properly. :P

    Sphere Grid: I tried to think of and find any other games using this approach recently, after I played Tales of Xillia and enjoys that. I only managed to find FFX, FF12 and Tales of Xillia fitting the mold. Too bad more games don’t make it possible to do something like this.

    Music: As I said, excellent. Otherworld was an awesome and entirely unexpected new direction. Every single game before FFX had a symphonic piece for major boss battles, but then here comes FFX, completely breaking expectation with rock. This worked well, and was made by Uematsu, unlike the attempt to force in pop music for FF13.

    Blitzball: Other people I know loved Blitzball purely for Blitzball’s sake, and would’ve even bought a game devoted exclusively to Blitzball if it was available. Myself, I found it okay, but kinda distracting from the main game.

    Aeons: I’ll agree here, aeons were great. Last time we had a real BOND between summons and the characters in any way was in FF6, so we went a long stretch where the summons were mostly just fancy summons. Also… uhh… Yuna’s trials inspired quite a few dirty fanfics. Whatever a person might think of that, the important part is, it made the connection between summoner and summon deep enough that people noticed it as a connection.

    Seymour: He’s astoundingly creepy. A thought: how much creepier would it have been if Seymour was female throughout everything he did? Maybe that’s just me. I don’t think this would’ve gone over well though, and for good reason. It would’ve been taken as suggesting lesbianism is bad, and that’s not something anyone with a heart wants people to think. Overall, as he was presented, Seymour felt to me at the time like a Sephiroth mock-up.

    And that’s my long spiel. Hopefully some day we get a real FFX-2 out of Squeenix, something that treats the world of FFX with the respect it deserves and understands who these characters really are instead of being some fangame where the director forces his own wet dreams onto the franchise.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Alex Donaldson

    It’s got nothing on 9, but this is still a very special game indeed.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. eTitan

    @Alex Donaldson

    I think it’s mostly depending on which game was your first to be honest :) I love them both, FFX was my first though so it has a special place in my heart ;D

    #4 1 year ago
  5. CharlesLupula

    I wonder how many of those dirty fanfics were written by Salarta.

    Anybody read the scary RE slash fiction he wrote that Michael directed me to once? Yikes.

    Anyway, this is my favorite of the FF series, despite the bullshit that is Blitzball. I love the story it tells. I love that it has a racist religious fanatic as a heroic character (seriously…Wakka is like someone’s well-meaning but incredibly ignorant uncle). I love the music (although I still think XIII and XIII-2 have better music).

    The only two negatives I can give about the game is that the last boss is ridiculously easy and Blitzball. I cannot express how much I hate it. I remember when I first played and you have to play the game in Luca, I remember vowing to just quit FFX altogether if I had to play Bltizball long enough to win.

    That said, I love X and I love X-2 (and I gleefully rub it in the faces of the sad little fanboys who were sad that their waifu was disgraced somehow…not that I’m talking about anyone in particular). I very much hope the audio drama leads to X-3 on PS4. I also hope that if that gets made, Rikku keeps the look she had in X-2 and Paine shows up for the ride, even if it’s a more serious, darker story than X-2 was.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. salarta

    @eTitan That’s a pretty good rule of thumb. I noticed when talking with a lot of fans of certain franchises that more often than not, they’ll site the very first game they ever played in the franchise as the “best” one.

    My theory is that these people are associating just finding out about series concepts for the first time with quality itself, which is why you can have a lot of cases where people tout the worst entries in a series as being the best, or where they claim older stuff is terrible just because it doesn’t conform to what they think it should be based on their first exposure.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. brotherhoodofthewolf

    @Alex Donaldson in your opinion ;)

    #7 1 year ago
  8. ManuOtaku

    Final fantasy x was my first final fantasy game, so i cannot speak about it without nostalgia and bias. I did Like xii, but not as much. Lets not get into Xiii, lets say Iam dissapointed, hope the new ones embrace their former shape alas Bravery Default.

    #8 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]