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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 11 months 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 11 months ago
  3. Alex Donaldson

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

    #3 11 months 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 11 months 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 11 months 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 11 months ago
  7. brotherhoodofthewolf

    @Alex Donaldson in your opinion ;)

    #7 11 months 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 11 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]

  • Microsoft offers up more details on Spencer’s GDC 2015 talk

    Microsoft has provided more details on Cross-Buy functionality between Windows 10 and Xbox One as well as the Xbox Live SKU and other announcements made during Phil Spencer’s talk today. During the session, the head of Xbox shared “the next step” in the company’s plans for a unified platform across all Windows 10 devices which […]

  • Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer

    Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a Game of the Year Edition. inXile Entertainment announced the news on the PS Blog, noting the edition contains enhancements and improvements. The game has been ported to Unity 5, which was announced over the weekend, providing upgraded visual effects, “improved character models, upgraded environments, and Unity […]

  • Cross-Buy detailed for Windows 10 and Xbox One; Elite: Dangerous coming to Xbox One

    During Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s session at GDC 2015 today, it was announced Elite: Dangerous would release on Xbox One. Spencer also outlined cross-buy functionality across Windows 10 and Xbox One. Spencer’s talk started off with Frontier Developments announcing Elite: Dangerous for release this summer as a console debut on Xbox One, suggesting the Elite: […]

  • Longbeards Culture Pack available now for Total War: Attila

    The Longbeards Culture Pack is now available for Total War: Attila and it comes with three new playable factions. The Langobards, the Burgundians and the Alamans can be played in both single and multiplayer campaign modes as well as custom and multiplayer battles. A new feature called The Lay of Ybor is also included. It […]

  • Nvidia unveils Titan X as world’s “most advanced GPU” – video

    Nvidia revealed Titan X as “the world’s most advanced GPU” during Epic founder Tim Sweeney’s State of Unreal session a t GDC 2015 today. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage during the panel stating it contains “8 billion transistors,” and has 12GB of RAM. Pricing wasn’t announced, but it was rumored back in January […]

  • Steam sale discounts titles announced for SteamOS

    With many of the year’s most popular games heading to SteamOS, Valve has decided to host sale in celebration. Here’s a short list of titles on sale. The full list of PC, Linux, Mac and SteamOS discounts can be found through the link. The Banner Saga Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Batman: Arkham […]

  • PayDay 2 announced for SteamOS, celebrating with franchise sale

    PayDay 2 is coming to SteamOS, Overkill has announced. Still under development, a release date will be announced at a later date. “Making sure PAYDAY 2 is available on SteamOS felt like a no-brainer,” said Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze in the press release. “With PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition coming to the next generation […]

  • Magicka 2 has a release date and a crazy new trailer

    Magicka 2 has a release date for PC and the PlayStation 4, and Paradox Interactive has released a trailer featuring “Vlad’s latest lyrical triumph,” which is his rendition of the Game of Thrones theme. Magicka arrived on PC and PS4 May 26 and the game can be pre-ordered on PC beginning today, with PS4 pre-orders […]

  • Nintendo eShop schedule: Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone, others

    Nintendo has sent over a list of titles heading to the eShop in 2015. The schedule contains titles such as Affordable Space Adventures, Runbow, Swords & Soldiers 2, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Below a preliminary list of games scheduled to launch in the Nintendo eShop on […]

  • Week 8: Can you win the weekly VG247 GTA Online playlist? Play tonight at 8pm UK time!

    We’re hotdogging tonight. I don’t even know what that means. Eight weeks of ridiculous death. Such a brave, true milestone. We’re going to celebrate two entire months of playing weekly GTA Online playlists with VG247 readers with Hotdogging, a set of six jobs I named completely at random. This one ends with a straight-up border […]

  • Puzzle platformer Four Sided Fantasy coming to PC, consoles in early 2016

    Curve Digital and developer Logan Fieth’s studio Ludo Land are bringing puzzle platformer, Four Sided Fantasy, to PC all major consoles in early 2016. Ludo Land are developing the PC version, with Curve Digital handling the console and Vita versions. Four Sided Fantasy tasks players with venturing across “dreamlike levels” by controlling and manipulating the […]

  • Tropico 5 arrives on PS4 in April – video

    A release date for Tropico 5 on PlayStation 4 has been announced. This is the franchise’s first foray onto PlayStation consoles. It arrived in Europe on April 24 and in North America on April 28. A Limited Edition has also been announced, and it includes The Big Cheese DLC and the Bayo Del Olfato sandbox […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Limited Edition PS4 releasing in Asia

    A limited edition Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain PlayStation 4 system will be released in Asia. The system and its DualShock controller were designed in collaboration with Konami Digital Entertainment and targeted for the Asia region, per Gematsu. It will be released as part of PS4 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain […]

  • This video shows Sid Meier’s Starships being played on iPad

    Sid Meier’s Starships will be released on iPad alongside Mac and PC, and to give you an idea on how it plays on the tablet, a new video has been released. Watch below as Pete Murray and lead producer Stuart Zissu show off the iPad version. The 4X space-strategy releases on March 12.

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood announced as standalone prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a standalone prequel to The New Order, will release May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game takes pace in 1946, and and players take on the role of B.J. Blazkowicz as he embarks on a two-part mission in Bavaria. Part one, Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves, […]

  • Observer Mode coming soon to Evolve as a free update

    Observer Mode will be released for Evolve as a free update for all platforms, 2K and Turtle Rock have announced. The community feature was designed to give Evolve players the ability to observe and add commentary as well as livestream, allowing a sixth user to “passively enter a custom game” with the ability to switch […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes and PS4 top Media Create charts in Japan

    The PlayStation 3 and PS4 skus for Dragon Quest Heroes were the top sellers on the Media Create charts in Japan, moving a combined 594,749 units. Elsewhere on the chart, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was in third place with 39,751 units moved, and last week’s top seller, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, […]

  • Watch Hideo Kojima answer lots of your burning Phantom Pain questions

    What’s better than learning the official release date of MGS5: The Phantom pain? Hideo Kojima talking more about it, of course! Hideo Kojima has decided to answer a few fan questions about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, to help boost everyone’s hype to insane levels. He talks about the game’s story, his relief […]

  • MGS5: The Phantom Pain Day 1 and Collector’s Edition revealed

    Konami has officially revealed the release date of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain alongside the game’s Day 1 and Collector’s Edition. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will release September 1, worldwide, as previously leaked. It will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The PC Steam […]

  • EU Club Nintendo: Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack back in stock

    Club Nintendo members in Europe can once again pick up The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack. For 3000 Stars, members of the program will receive the double-CD soundtrack which features 89 tracks with liner notes from Ryo Nagamatsu and 12 sheet music excerpts. It also comes with 16 Milk Bar Musician pieces. […]

  • HTC apologises over “confusing” Half-Life VR comments

    HTC has misspoke when it talked about Half-Life coming to VR headset Vive. HTC chairwoman Cher Wang has apologised over the comments she made yesterday about the possibility of Half-Life coming to Vive, the VR headset it’s manufacturing with the help of Valve. Sources close to Valve, have indicated to the BBC that the developer […]

  • What do Heists and Daily Objectives tell us about the future of GTA Online?

    Daily Objectives could be more important to GTA Online than Heists. These theories and more, from a giddy Matt Martin. Yesterday Rockstar dropped a bombshell. Not only is it releasing Heists next week – the mythical 4-player missions for GTA Online – but it’s also going to be introducing daily challenges and more modes to […]

  • Breaking down Hardline Premium, is it worth it?

    Having been announced just a few days ago, the Premium service for Battlefield Hardline has been a topic of constant debate among the Battlefield community. Many look at Hardline as a Battlefield off-shoot that will just tide everyone over until Battlefront comes out in the fall. EA has other plans however, announcing a $50 Premium […]

  • Watch Dogs sold more than GTA 5 and FIFA 15 in Australia in 2014

    Watch Dogs outsold GTA 5, and FIFA 15, at retail in Australia last year. According to data obtained by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) from the NPD Group Australia, last year’s year retail sales charts look a bit different in Australia. The top-selling game was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, followed by Watch […]

  • Watch PC footage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from GDC 2015

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a new gameplay video available that shows a bit of action from the PC version. The video below was captured from Nvidia’s GDC conference live-stream. Developer CD Projekt RED was on hand to show off The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s graphical prowess running on a PC. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • Dying Light: Hard Mode and Ultimate Survivor Bundle out March 10

    Dying Light’s second DLC drop, the Ultimate Survivor Bundle, and the free Hard Mode, have been given a solid release date alongside a new trailer. Dying Light developer Techland has confirmed that the Ultimate Survivor Bundle, the game’s second DLC drop, will release March 10. The DLC is part of the season pass, but will […]

  • Exploration puzzler Ether One is coming to PlayStation 4

    Ether One, the first-person exploration game that puts you in the minds of other people to help change events of their past is coming to PlayStation 4 this year. Ether One is coming to PlayStation 4 this year, developer White Paper Games announced at GDC 2015. A retail version will also be available alongside the […]