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My Final Fantasy History
Okay, so it wasn’t the first Final Fantasy, but it was the first one I had completed. Go back a few years to the Playstation One era of video games. I was in our local Blockbuster (It was Choices back then) and I picked up Final Fantasy IX. The problem with rentals back then is you only had the game for a specific period. This differed from game to game and went from 2 days up to 7 days so not very long at all. I didn’t get very far in those 7 days. And it didn’t make me want to extend the rental period so it went back and I moved on.
Final Fantasy X
Fast forward a few more years. I picked up Final Fantasy X, I can’t remember the exact details on how I got a copy, if it was brand new or even what year. My brother and I both fell in love with this one right away. Blitzball seemed like such a fascinating sport, combining football and basketball underwater. The characters were interesting and different, too.
The storyline was one of the most memorable games of that era and it’s one I could go back to again and again. It took a while to complete the game, having to resort to buying a game guide (£12.99 for a full-colour guide!) and I completed it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very careful with the games I owned back then. The game became far too scratched to then be playable. I rented Final Fantasy X-2 which was nice to be back in the world of Spira. It wasn’t as good as the first game but it held up, but there was soo much fan service, it was cringy.
Back to the present day. I have managed to convince the fiancee to go through this game together. Because we still have the guide from way back when. It was strange going through the game with a co-pilot. But it made it far easier than I remember. There was a point at Lake Macalania. Where you fight a large Machina (machine/robot), where I struggled when I was younger. Which we managed to destroy in a very short time with no trouble at all.
One thing my fiancee pointed out was the fashion sense. The clothing for most of the female characters was very revealing. Also, the laughing sequences seemed a step too far, both for the capabilities of the system and the audio. Sometimes the voice was out of sync with the mouth movements, which can be very off-putting.
It’s a game I hate to pick faults out of, but I know they are there. The game is not perfect, but for its time and even now it still holds up well. The music in the remastered version is beautiful, but the original score was also well done. I would recommend this title to anyone who wants to dip their toes into JRPGs.
The turn-based system is both intricate and easy to understand. Stats like agility make sense in this game. I’m playing the remastered version on the PS4. Which gives you access to the Expert Sphere Grid. This wasn’t available in its original release.
The ‘levelling up’ system is far more interactive than other games. Instead of gaining stats as you level up. You move your character around a sphere grid to unlock stat changes or abilities. The sphere grid has a built-in lock system. Which limits the strength of your party. Once you progress far enough, the whole grid opens up. Allowing characters to learn each other’s abilities.
The graphics haven’t suffered too much as time has passed. The new remasters have cleaned up the textures so there are no jagged edges. The main character models have improved. But, this is jarring when you compare them to other NPCs. Which has not received the same treatment. The party members have also had something done to their eyes. The eyes are now detailed and the pupils move.
Watching the CGI scenes now makes you aware of how far we have come. From the early naughties as the CGI scenes are worse than the games, we are playing now. I love the CGI scenes in each game since they are an eye-opener to what the future holds for graphics.
If you play any Final Fantasy game, I cannot recommend this one enough. The characters, the level-up system, the music all work well and this will always be my favourite
To see a review of another of the series click here.
Final Fantasy X is available on PC*, PS4 and Xbox One