Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Final Fantasy X frustration

Below is an email I just sent to a friend of mine who is also a single player RPG votary (if you're not one, please don't waste your time reading any further). I wonder if any of those who've expressed some interest in my other game reviews have some reaction to this. I'm feeling pretty underwhelmed. Spoiler warning, of course.

---

Just beat FFX. That final dungeon/boss/ending sequence was a MAJOR letdown. I'm really disappointed. For some reason, I spent 30 minutes running around grabbing all of these items as spears jutted up at me for absolutely no reason at all, since I was launched into the final battle of the game immediately afterwards (after I'd grabbed I think 9, it stopped me and took me to Jecht).

Then Jecht appears, I summon Bahamut immediately, and I kill him in a single hit. He comes back again as "Braska's final aeon" which is an easy fight that takes maybe 20 minutes, only because I'm being overly cautious (using haste, mighty guard, pulling my entire party in and out even though my A-team is Kimahri, Yuna, and Tidus, etc). Jecht's strongest attack does about 3,000 to each of my characters. Tidus and Kimahri have just under 9,999, and Yuna has about 4,500. And after he uses that attack, he doesn't do anything for like 10 character turns on my side. And that's really his only attack besides petrify. Surely that's not it, I think, no way that could be the final boss.

So it kicks me into a scene where I have to kill my own aeons. Talk about loyalty. Wow, one Holy per aeon and it's dead. Then I 'fight' Yu Yevon, which isn't even a fight, because he can't kill you and anyway all your characters have auto-life.

Tidus and Auron both die/sent/whatever, and I guess Spira lives happily ever after, or something.

Awful, just awful. Terrible wrap up that leaves lots of questions still hanging in the air, like, uh, what the hell 'Sin' was in the first place, and why Tidus has to be sent into a big ocean in the middle of nowhere since he never even died. Apparently Mika, who has been dead for years, gets to live on though. Uh huh. What becomes of the temples, the other summoners, those who were 'sent', the rest of your party that isn't sent? What becomes of the Al Bhed? Cid drives the airship in a big sequence to get you to Sin, and then the ending doesn't even make reference to/show him or any of the other Al Bhed!? At all? Are you kidding me?

I might be too disgusted to try the bonus stuff, but since the battle system is so good, I'll probably play through.

That story was HORRIBLE though. One of the worst of the FF series, in my opinion.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

THAT was your A team? Lulu is better than Yuna except for grand summon and Waka packs more punch than Tidus. Auron is the heaviest hitter in the game - why did you use Kimari instead?

I am not the biggest fan of the story line either especially the end, which is NOT happily ever after, IMO. The story comes to an abprupt close too soon. The graphics are amazing though even today. Also did you get all the Braska spheres? They will fill you in more.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Grand Summon is not a minor exception. I haven't yet figured out how to get the Magus sisters, but Bahamut is plenty lethal. He gets close to 200,000 damage with overdrive. Additionally, summonable aeons are immune to most status effects, so when you know one is coming down the pike, a quick summon is a good way of avoiding it. But I agree, Lulu is a viable substitute for Yuna. Her defense (both physical and magic) are top of the line, and her evasion is high as well. Additionally, she has more HP. She's more durable. Not quite the magical prowess though, and Lulu's slower, which is the biggest argument in favor of Yuna.

Tidus is a bit stronger than Wakka now, although for most of the game Wakka was my power player (I put Tidus on Yuna's path as early as I was able to). Tidus is also faster, has better support magic, and has the single most valuable spell in the game, haste. Cheer is also quite useful. So is Sentinel in ensuring that Yuna doesn't get clocked. Other attributes are comparable, though Wakka is more durable.

Auron is simply too slow to be an asset. His lack of dexterity makes him too much of a liability. Hit an overdrive, and you're looking at three boss attacks before he's back up again. That's a death sentence for the Monster Arena in the Calm Lands. The most use I'm able to get out of him on a regular basis is to have him parry while equipped with a katana that has counterattack ability, since defensive recovery time is quicker. That nets him his action so that he can then be pulled.

Others I've talked to dog on Kimahri, too. I don't know why. Ronso rage is the best overdrive (with the exception of Grand Summon) for mighty guard alone. Lancet essentially gives him infinite MP, and I've customized him to have haste and several breaks as well. His speed is middling--good enough to get by, unlike Auron, who is the only character stronger than he is, and piercing comes standard on virtually all of his spears.

Yeah, I will get the spheres. I'll probably have to resort to a walkthrough to find all of the bonus material, but I absolutely love the battle system, so I don't think I'll be able to pass up playing the circuits out of the game.

As for the story, I'll attempt a review that reflects on the irritation I felt at the end of the game. Thinking about it more, I see the Tidus/Yuna tragedy as a metaphor for my (and other nuts like myself) love of rpging.

Rick said...

I didn't much like Final Fantasy, but I knew a cute girl who liked that series, so I played X in order to have an excuse to make conversation with her.

FFX was pretty much an incoherent sequence of meaningless images, devoid of plot.

However, in the final analysis, I got to joke with a cute girl about how disappointing it was and why Tidus gave his father a high-five at the end. Moral of the story: if you're not playing it to impress chicks, there's no point to Final Fantasy X.

I started two of the NDS Final Fantasy titles, but I got bored rapidly and have yet to return to them...

Audacious Epigone said...

Rick,

Wow, you played through the entire game to impress a girl? I have to be pretty tight lipped about my rpging if I'm going to impress most girls!

I'm not a big fan of the story. There are too many holes and the metaphysical underpinnings are incoherent.

However, I'm going to be spending quite a bit more time on it. I really like the battle system. I'm going to try to clean up at the monster arena, which looks like it's going to be hard as hell, but I've some ideas.

mwc said...

I can understand your frustration at the end of the game, and I agree that the orb/spear sequence is pointlessly annoying. I think you're being unfair to the story, though.

Final Fantasy X tinkers with the same technology vs. environment theme that you found so interesting in FFVII, but in a way it serves as a rebuttal to the central ethos of that story. Whereas FFVII was about the destructive potential of technology, FFX is about the destructive potential of spirituality. Although the people of Spira abhor technology and embrace their religion, it was actually their prophet who consigned them to this fate. Sin and the church are the same thing -- a ruthless and destructive shell hiding a corrupt core.

A more general critique is embodied by Tidus and Yuna. As the game begins, Yuna adheres suicidally to the perspective that she has a duty to die for others, while Tidus has lived a life of (physical) ease and is very selfish. Yuna embodies the ideal of religion. Tidus represents the endpoint of the technological society. Neither of them comes across as particularly worthy of existing: Tidus is too whiny, Yuna too weak. Only through exposure to one another and growth towards each other do they become people worth knowing. Giving up your life is only admirable if your life is a thing you value. Tidus' sacrifice can be admired because we understand that he loves living, loves himself; this could not have been said of Yuna. The point seems to be that living at either extreme is destructive, that a balance must be struck.

In light of these themes, the real main boss of the game is Yunalesca; the choice to fight her symbolizes the Spirans' rejection of the poisonous influence of their religion, and Tidus' decision to put others before himself. Everything that follows, for all that it appears to fit the standard RPG pattern of a very difficult final dungeon and bosses, is properly viewed as denouement or an epilogue.

The remainder of the ending after Tidus dies is ambivalent, but it would be deeply unsatisfying if it were just some happily-ever-after thing. The world of Spira was practically a wreck when the story began, and now, with the Al Bhed homeless, the Guado decapitated, and the world's only unifying authority in ruins, it's too much to ask for anything more than hope, which is all the ending offers.

Audacious Epigone said...

MWC,

Great thoughts. I'm working on my FF10 review now, and I was referencing what I'd written here when I noticed your commentary (I apologize for somehow missing it previously, not that it does much good to say now that this thread is dead). I've since found the ending to be rewarding in a painful way, which I will flush out in the review.