FFX Thoughts on Replay

There’s this thing about replaying an old game where you suddenly notice everything that was wrong with it originally that you didn’t notice the first time (or overlooked) because at the time it was amazingly gorgeous and the story was fresh. But when you know the plot, every plot twist, and the graphics no longer hold up, even after being remastered, the actual game has to stand on its own. While FFX is still a reasonably fun game some of its flaws are definitely more irritating this time around.

Originally I played this game on the PS2 and its one of the few PS2 games I completed (at least twice all the way through). It really was a beautiful game. And, in fairness, the remastered PC version still has absolutely beautiful cut scenes, and then there’s everything else.

I’ve stopped playing this in full screen mode for two reasons. One, it looks even more hideous when it is spread across the entire monitor. Two, despite providing a function to skip some cut scenes, it never lets you skip the ones you need to. You know, like the ones right before a fight with Seymour that is so much harder than every other fight you’ve had that you are pretty unprepared for it and end up dying over and over. Which means sitting through that cheesy dialogue in the cut scene over and over.

There was a reasonably easy solution to this. Stop plunging into the fight until I did some grinding and levelled my characters up but this brings out the other issue I’ve encountered with the game. The enemies you fight as you move around the world are ridiculously easy. And then the boss fights are ridiculously difficult compared. We get that a boss is supposed to be challenging but when he can instantly K.O 5 out of 7 of your characters with one attack it really doesn’t leave you many options on attack formations. Hence the grinding to get the other characters to a point where they might be all wobbly but at least they won’t keel over from a single hit.

But this breaks the narrative. Utterly and completely. We’re heading to Zanarkand to get the final Aeon, etc, etc, so sure we’ll waste some time running up and down a mountain fighting low level enemies that we can mostly defeat in one hit just to unlock one more health sphere in the sphere grid. That makes sense.

Anyway, after finally getting through that battle and moving on the issue becomes that now my characters are even more ridiculously overpowered when facing random encounters which makes them kind of pointless. The version I’m playing has the ability to turn these off, or if you are grinding up the frequency so you don’t have to walk so far, but you don’t get any experience if you turn them off and if you aren’t grinding why on earth would you want a random encounter every other step.

I still love the story of FFX and enjoy watching the characters grow, but the game itself hinders the progression of the story at times, unnecessarily so, and that takes a bit of the fun out of it. I’d still recommend FFX as one of the better Final Fantasy games (of course I’ve only ever completed two of them, I usually drop them at the mid-way point because I just get bored), but as a game itself I’m not sure it has lasting appeal. That said, I’m not through the replay yet and hopefully I’ll reach the end within a couple of months and can think about my final thoughts on this game.

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Karandi James.