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Thread: Karifean replays Final Fantasy X

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Default Karifean replays Final Fantasy X


    So I've decided it's time to go back and replay my favorite Final Fantasy title; it's been over 5 years since I last replayed the game so I'm very much curious how it holds up nowadays. I've changed, games have changed, y'all have changed, so if you will, I invite you to follow along as I go through this game again and sort of blog about the kind of thoughts it brings up in me.

    I especially want to reach the people here that also really love the game, and I hope to incite discussion not just about the game itself, but its themes, its narrative, its character arcs. Of course even if you don't love the game but you're still interested in discussing the game in this light, you are more than welcome to follow along.

    Not sure if this is going to work out the way I hope, but I've been itching to replay the game anyways so even if this idea doesn't work out I'll play it the game to the end myself. In case you're wondering, the version I'm playing is the HD Remaster and I'm playing it on PC.

    So without further ado I'll be starting my replay and rambling incohesive commentary of Final Fantasy X. Hope you enjoy listening to the story of Tidus, and Yuna, once more.

  2. #2
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Alright, let's get this started.

    - We open on that iconic shot of the sword in Zanarkand Ruins. Beautiful landscape, beautiful music, it really sets an atmosphere right away.
    - And then the game immediately completely rips us out of it with that insanely jarring transition to Zanarkand, a futuristic city as opposed to solemn ruins. Also god this upbeat version of the FF Prelude. Talk about a complete 180 mood shift. Not that I'm calling this bad, no it's a pretty damn effective way of making Zanarkand immediately out to be the 'odd place' here.
    - Was surprised to see pretty much all the NPCs here having lines of dialogue for speaking to them twice. I'm learning new things about this game already.
    - Immediately we see Tidus as he flirts with girls, has everybody cheering for him, has kids looking up to him, gets envied for his cool floating house. People sucking up to him, offering him dinner, being super excited to be his pals or anything, it feels almost ridiculous how much he's living the high life.

    - Apart from Tidus' ridiculously high life we also get a lot of establishing Jecht's hovering influence over him here. He's constantly compared to Jecht, but doesn't stand in his shadow too much to be appreciated on his own merits. Jecht is doubtlessly the bigger celebrity and Tidus is pissed off at this, but it doesn't truly ruin things for him or anything. Especially had to gasp at the line in the image above, lol...
    - Otherworld is such a goddamn metal opening song. I kinda love how it plays again at the end of the game, but more on that then. Also Zanarkand is freaking HUGE. Makes sense to consider that it's essentially the whole world to its inhabitants.
    - I love this opening movie. It seamlessly transitions from a hype, violent and active sporting event to the destruction of the entire town without selling any part of it short.
    - Sin is consistently shown as a highly gravitational force as everything near it just gets sucked up towards it. There's a lore behind it sure but it's also just damn memorable and immediately conveys just how smurfing dangerous and destructive this thing is when structures and everything falls apart essentially just by being near it.
    - We run into Auron who seems like he could hardly care less about what's going on. Given he's an unsent I doubt he's physically capable of forming an emotional attachment to Zanarkand anymore, as the entire reason for his continued existence is, well, Tidus, and nothing else. Also interesting to note that while this scene definitely establishes Auron as a smurfing cool badass, it's really likely only because he understands exactly what's going on here. Down the line he does lose his cool on more than one occasion when things get out of hand.
    - This time stop scene seems oddly superfluous. It kinda foreshadows things and the fact that Zanarkand and this kid are smurfing weird I guess but it really doesn't do much. IDK maybe I'm just stupid, do tell me what you make of this scene.

    - Auron may be a badass but my favorite part about him is his sarcasm. "I hope you know how to use it." I can see how he could be a sort of friend/guardian to Tidus, given the guy is absolutely more motivated to action by challenges, rather than praises, which remains how Auron essentially interacts with Tidus throughout the game. Also the sword from Auron being from Jecht makes me wonder if Sin just spat it out lol. Either way it makes clear that Tidus does not despise his father as much as it may seem at first.
    - The difference in battle poses fits the two of them so well. Tidus is an athletic hyperactive sports pro so he keeps constantly in a rhythm while Auron remains in a rather relaxed but ready for a big swing at any time.
    - We get a rudimentary introduction to some components of the battle system, the turn order, targeting, priority targets, techs, and overdrives. The overdrive minigames are pretty nicely conveyed without any sort of grandiose tutorial IMO. In general the system is so intuitive you need almost no text splats explaining anything at all.
    - Save spheres recover you completely in this game. I guess compared to the older games it just means you get to save gil on tents and the developers can be sure you won't go into a boss fight with a hellishly beaten up party and die to the first round of attacks. Would be curious though if other more old school players had some other feelings about this change.
    - Auron appears to know everything but really he probably doesn't know a lot himself outside of grasping the fact that Jecht wants to take Tidus to Spira. And really that's all he needs to know.
    - As they get sucked up, Auron says the cryptic lines of how this is Tidus' story and this is where it all begins. Makes me really wonder what Tidus' life in Zanarkand must have looked like to Auron. He goes into it a little bit in an endgame conversation I recall, but I don't remember fully, so I'll have to check then. In any case it ties into Final Fantasy X's larger theme surrounding the point of Jecht and Tidus' existence and life.
    - We get a preview of the final area of the game and a hints towards the connection between Jecht and Sin before the scene fades out with Tidus' endgame narration, speaking of him having a 'dream of being all alone'. He did just have his entire world falling apart in front of him, but it also feels almost poignant considering how he eventually comes to feel far less alone in Spira as compared to Zanarkand overall.

    Well, hope you enjoyed this little segment. Next time we complete the transition from the futuristic luxurious world to the one plagued by suffering for a millenium.

  3. #3
    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    - Total atmospheric shift now, finding ourselves in stone ruins. Maybe at first it seems we haven't been blasted off too far but the constructions we find are such a far cry from the futuristic cityscape we were just in.
    - Collecting the primers to be able to understand Al Bhed was a pretty neat idea IMO. It adds a bit of replay value to the game while keeping things very simple overall nonetheless. Maybe it takes you out a bit that the language is literally just a cipher, but eh, it's obviously just a convenient representation and I feel it does its purpose well.
    - Tidus definitely has his athleticism emphasized here, he can fight underwater pretty seamlessly and can outswim a giant sea monster thanks to his agility. Gameplay-wise the fights aren't threatening at all of course and it's also just setting up a later optional revisit to fight this guy again.
    - Tidus' first real challenge outside of Spira is to simply survive, with his biggest enemies being simple hunger and cold. Pretty down to earth challenge in a JRPG lol. Maybe they could've made something more involved out of it in therms of gameplay, but that'd have taken the entire game in a different direction so I'm fine with the way they did it. Just showing basically Tidus' utter helplessness. He's not a badass here, he's vulnerable, inexperienced as smurf and living in a world he never had to before.
    - Come to think of it, Spira and food is really weird. We don't really see any edible wildlife or vegetation at all. I guess it just 'does exist, but off camera', whatever. Maybe they eat chocobos.
    - Some pretty decent treasure chests hidden barely off camera here btw.

    - Tidus' dream shows us a bit more about his relationship to Auron. They really seem more like essentially 'friends' than foster parent and child, with Auron being a source of emotional stability and support for Tidus but not raising him or anything. And it's fine, I mean, Tidus doesn't have anyone else really, despite being a celebrity. Auron is the closest thing to a friend he had, and they got a good match in temperament seeing as how Auron plays very well into Tidus' own drive to challenge and overcome himself. It may seem in poor taste to see Auron criticizing Tidus over a mistake like this, and it may be something Tidus doesn't even need said himself, but I don't think it's something toxic or bad for him either. It's the kind of thing Jecht would've said to him so I can see it being kinda comforting even.
    - Is it just me or does the Bahamut fayth literally self-insert itself into Tidus' recollection and comment on it from the *present* perspective? This is so weird.
    - First actual battle of the game, Klikk! If you've already played the game several times I'd say try to challenge yourself to beat him without using any Potions. It's very much possible if you manipulate the CTB to your advantage.
    - And in comes best girl Rikku~ immediately adding Stealing and Using to combat and making it feel natural right away.
    - Honestly this encounter makes me think a lot. Obviously Zanarkand doesn't think of itself as the entire world with nothing existing outside of it, otherwise Tidus would be completely freaked out by the very existence of a place and people out here. But Zanarkandians also seem not alarmed at all by the fact that, well, they have no place to go outside their city. Far as the lore is concerned you can fanwank that maybe the fayth and summoner don't let these kinds of thoughts even build in their minds to prevent the illusion from breaking but well. Let's just say it makes more sense in terms of themes than actual plot.
    - The Al Bhed, being the persecuted and understandably distrusting people they are, immediately think to kill Tidus out of fear. Rikku speaks out and has his life spared. Have I mentioned she's best girl yet? She's been on screen for less than five minutes and has saved our hero's life *twice*.
    - Tidus still has clear trouble mentally grasping the idea that HIS LIFE IS IN DANGER. He's so used to his biggest trouble being people being rough with him at best that his reactions seem really weird and out of place for someone who just almost had his neck sliced by these people.
    - This scene is pretty stupid, ngl. Why do they bother with the whole charades thing to try to communicate with Tidus when Rikku can literally understand what he's saying? Not the writers' best moment.
    - Still Tidus at least isn't entitled enough to expect to be taken care of while contributing nothing himself. He's fine with working to earn his keep. Something I'd imagine isn't something the inhabitants of Zanarkand need to worry about much at all in general.
    - Why the hell is Rikku the one who gives you the Sphere Grid tutorial. This is just weird, game. I'll talk more about the sphere grid later, for now I'll just mention I picked the Expert Sphere Grid and IMO it's the sphere grid anyone who isn't completely new to FFX should go for every time.
    - It seems rather irresponsible of the Al Bhed to let this complete stranger help out with salvaging something as important and massive as an airship, but at the same time they're kind of in a bind I'd imagine. Al Bhed aren't fighters, they're machinists at best and while Rikku has the magic ability of lighting and throwing hand grenades underwater, I'd imagine not all Al Bhed are blessed with that ability. Tidus is the only one on the ship who can actually fight underwater. It's believable enough that Rikku could convince the others of it, especially if she offers to keep him under her supervision (as she does come along with you).
    - Apparently if you use the Pincer Formation in this fight you lose the boss drop. Kinda weird, but yeah not like you need it or anything. What is weird is that you frankly gain more HP if you defend than use the special command, so the special command is really utterly superfluous and could've been cut to sort of teach you the importance of defending, but what do I know.
    - Tidus clearly expects better treatment now that he helped out. It also really shows his very aggressive temperament, contrasting with Yuna's more anxious one later on.
    - Fortunately for him best girl is still here to help him out, leading to our first actual relaxed scene of the game where Tidus and Rikku just get to know each other a bit. And while we see Tidus' emotions portrayed very bombstically, especially knowing how much the Al Bhed are hated at large you can tell how much Rikku too lets down her guard around him, even catching herself and remembering that this man may very well hate her people.
    - Then things turn weird as Tidus' reality of course is alien to the people of Spira. I do wonder if Rikku recognizes Auron's name, but it's understandable enough if she doesn't. Either way, Tidus not only feels crazy saying all of this, but now has these feelings reinforced heavily, man I feel bad for him here.
    - Okay I know I've been doing this a lot but Rikku is seriously the best here, how can people not love her. Not only is she consistently taking actions of her own, showing kindness to a man she hardly knows WHILE pursuing her own people's best interests as well, she is now also completely ready and willing to take responsibility for him as she realizes he has nowhere to go. Her offer of taking him to Luca is entirely selfless and legit only wanting the best for *him*. She wouldn't leave him out to die somewhere and is very much willing to use her standing and whatever influence she has to do good. And she is all of this in spite of being part of a horribly outcast and discriminated group of people and having likely faced a ton of undue hatred her entire life long. She doesn't have to care and she could be forgiven for being very untrusting and guarded towards him. But she keeps a good heart throughout. Far beyond a generic genki girl she's just a really good person, and this playthrough has already reinforced my stance on her being my favorite FF character overall.


    - Tidus was an isekai protagonist before it was cool.
    - And then Sin shows up again to crash all of our plans and probably giving these Al Bhed the fright of their life. Makes me wonder if Jecht came back worried his son might be out unsafe somewhere and deliberately came back to bring him to a safer place - i.e. Besaid.
    - It was a short time, and hard to say how necessary/unnecessary it was to the narrative overall, but the introduction to the Al Bhed is nice and it does give us a sense of just how lost Tidus is in Spira when he has no one to rely on and no place to go, so I think it plays a fairly important part in showing the urgency of his fundamental situation. If Tidus had washed up at Besaid right away we wouldn't have really felt a sense of danger for his base survival, I think.

    But now, we finally reach Spira proper. Join me next time, when we are fully hit by how incredibly different Spira is to the world Tidus grew up in!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karifean View Post
    - As they get sucked up, Auron says the cryptic lines of how this is Tidus' story and this is where it all begins. Makes me really wonder what Tidus' life in Zanarkand must have looked like to Auron. He goes into it a little bit in an endgame conversation I recall, but I don't remember fully, so I'll have to check then. In any case it ties into Final Fantasy X's larger theme surrounding the point of Jecht and Tidus' existence and life.
    I always viewed the cryptic lines as a kind of stoic attempt to get Tidus to do something. He's lived a pretty great life playing blitzball, being famous, and nailing groupies. Although Auron has little control of the situation (it's Tidus' story, not Auron's), I think he is trying to make sure Tidus takes the upcoming seriously. good thread btw

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Gashtacular View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Karifean View Post
    - As they get sucked up, Auron says the cryptic lines of how this is Tidus' story and this is where it all begins. Makes me really wonder what Tidus' life in Zanarkand must have looked like to Auron. He goes into it a little bit in an endgame conversation I recall, but I don't remember fully, so I'll have to check then. In any case it ties into Final Fantasy X's larger theme surrounding the point of Jecht and Tidus' existence and life.
    I always viewed the cryptic lines as a kind of stoic attempt to get Tidus to do something. He's lived a pretty great life playing blitzball, being famous, and nailing groupies. Although Auron has little control of the situation (it's Tidus' story, not Auron's), I think he is trying to make sure Tidus takes the upcoming seriously. good thread btw
    Thanks! I'll try to do an update a day, I've played ahead a little bit but been taking notes and been sorta trying to digest it all by thinking about it more after.

    Regarding your point yeah I agree, I think Auron probably doesn't have a very positive view to the "free of suffering" kind of life Tidus lives, and doesn't view it as really "living life", which is why he says it all begins here; at the very least a life that he'd have a story to tell about instead of a life of pure luxury above needs or wants.

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Ahaha... yeah I remember when I thought to make a post daily, that plan fell through rather immediately didn't it. I apologize; I do hope to still continue this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karifean View Post
    Immediately we see Tidus as he flirts with girls, has everybody cheering for him, has kids looking up to him, gets envied for his cool floating house. People sucking up to him, offering him dinner, being super excited to be his pals or anything, it feels almost ridiculous how much he's living the high life.
    Reading this now is quite sad- knowing what the rest of Tidus' life is going to be like very soon. We are watching his last moments of glory and fame. In Spira, he's a nobody, doesn't know trout about anything, gets schooled/scolded/smacked around by people around him. And of course is surrounded by death and destruction. It's quite a reversal that makes his character arc all the more interesting. So these intro scenes in Zanarkand very much make me want to reach in and tell him "Enjoy this moment while you can!!"

    Quote Originally Posted by karifean
    It was a short time, and hard to say how necessary/unnecessary it was to the narrative overall, but the introduction to the Al Bhed is nice and it does give us a sense of just how lost Tidus is in Spira when he has no one to rely on and no place to go, so I think it plays a fairly important part in showing the urgency of his fundamental situation. If Tidus had washed up at Besaid right away we wouldn't have really felt a sense of danger for his base survival, I think.
    Agreed. X probably has my favorite beginning of any game. You get an immediate sense of how big, how dangerous, and how foreign the world is. Your rescuers are literally speaking a foreign language and start off wanting to kill you. I like that this all happens at night, too. Square really managed to create an amazing atmosphere with this game that was just unspeakably memorable for many players. Many of these early scenes give me goosebumps thinking back to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karifean View Post
    - Was surprised to see pretty much all the NPCs here having lines of dialogue for speaking to them twice. I'm learning new things about this game already.
    OT, but is this uncommon in the franchise? I ask because as someone who started with X, I was surprised to discover I, VI and XII all had mostly one-liner NPCs. At first I chalked it up to the games being old, but when I saw even the newer XII had mostly one-line NPCs I was surprised. Definitely took me out of the moment the first few times it happened because it immediately reminded me that I was in a video game... In X, I wasn't even that big into talking to every NPC and uncovering every bit of dialog, but it definitely made a huge difference that just under the surface there were all those lines available if I did. Made the world seem so real and I realize I def took that feeling for granted.
    Chief Tobli hash gone ballishtic?

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