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100 hours in; Final Fantasy X - Destructoid




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100 hours in is a segment where I re-review a game after i've put in a ton of time into it. This lends itself easily to online games, rpg's and fighting games, because those games usually demand that vast play time. These are reviews less of the game itself, but how it holds up after the investment of your precious minutes, and an overall look of if it's worth playing for a long time.

Ah Final fantasy, a series many gamers, along with myself, hold close to their chests. "Furies are cool! you just don't understand them!" one gamer cries, "It's about story, and how you progress with you character!" exclaims another, "Vaan isn't gay, he just dresses odd!" laments another.

The series is old, is new, is staple, and is trailblazing all at the same time. Each iteration attempts to re-define the previous, by implementing new mechanics and improving on gameplay, and while some iterations may do so and fail, yet some may triumph to a select audience, every gamer seems to have their favorite number, in the Final fantasy series.

And while Twelve may be my favorite, and I still plan to fully flesh out that game one day, FF10 stands uniquely at the top of my Final fantasy pile, as the first, and the most played of all. The only question behind this is...why?

Community
Nope, community doesn't stand in only online games, from the dawn of the forum, nerds have gathered round to talk about taking out about how to combine items for Rikku's mix overdrive, or which monsters to capture for the monster arena. Forums are still alight with this game, although, obviously, due to 4 numbered installations (I'm including x-2 in that), and the imminent arrival of yet another 2, they have simmered down quite a bit. There are plenty of people still on the gamefaqs boards, for example, and I'm sure many people here, in fact i know a few of you, love the game as much, if not more then i do. The final fantasy community is a particular bunch. Picking a favorite number well outcast you against the other 13 numbered iterations, but it well also cast a light on all there is to that number. Wanna know how to get the sphere shot 2 for Tidus in the blitz ball (way more then mini)mini game? People well tell you

Now, all that being said, the community, in my experience, is extremely elitist and negative. It's one of the hard to penetrate markets in terms of community. But that's the internet for ya.


Reason

Reason enough?

Unfortunately, the reward per hour is pretty poor in ff10, akin to most RPG's i would say. You need to put in a ton of time, just to beat the game, at least 30-50 hours. Next to that, it takes another 50 hours to get your ultimate weapons. That's not to say that it's boring. No, it's just niche. I remember going to the Thunder plains the first time, getting hit by lightning dozens of times, then finding out i had to dodge it 100 times in a row for Lu Lu's onion knight doll.(Her ultimate weapon). I remember just thinking about what a insurmountably task that seemed like. Now, if I load up my file, her little onion knight runs up to any enemy, and does 99,999 dmg per attack. It's hilarious, its awesome, the reward is sweet, but the amount of effort and time involved in just that one task, a good 20 hours of grinding and a good hour or two of solid 'press x just before you get hit by lightning'.

If that sounds the least bit interesting to you, then you'd probably love this game. It is filled with a ton of low reward, high time...'event's' for lack of a better word. But because of this, not allot of people have them, and it really heightens that feeling of, "hell yeah, i did that, and my friends can't even kill seymour without stealing potions from his guards.

Like all Rpg's, FFX, is one of the most, pure and traditional, meaning it hits all the rpg highlights and lowlights. However, the level system is scraped for the (much much much much more superior) sphere grid system. What the system gives you in terms of reason is 2 key things.

1.
It gives you this fast satisfaction of gaining levels. In a standard rpg, lets say... Pokemon, it may take hours, essentially an entire play session of that game, to gain one level. FFX avoids this heavy grind in a sense, by giving players tons of sphere levels(used to upgrade stats in the sphere grid) all the time. Even as you progress with the game, it doesn't stop, 99 sphere levels in a few hours is entirely possible in the omega ruins. It's a quick instant sense of satisfaction, and a gives a quick reason to keep fighting enemies.
2.
The sphere grid system, lets you customize each of your characters as what ever you'd like. Sure it's not necessarily a blank canvas, as Lulu is always going to be a blackmage, and Kimarhi is best suited for meele at the start, however, halfway into the game, you'll unlock other peoples grids with every character. So essentially, you can make Lulu a warrior, Tidus a healer, and Rikku a blackmage. Although it's not quite, do what ever you want, as you do have to follow a set path to get from one section of the grid to the other, It is great that the option is presented to you, and it helps personalize your experience, so you can prove to your friend, Lulu is the best melee character in the game!



Promise and support
Promise and support with a type of game like this, single player, off-line, rpg, and oldschool, so no DLC, im sure SE isn't going to be cranking out a batch of ff10 side quests for you to install on your ps2, any time in the next bagillion years, however, the game does have the paper-guide's, and Im sure phoning SE, they'd be more then happy to help you...and man that is a run-on sentence if I've ever seen one....


The ugly truth

I think the ugly truth of FFX comes down to the voice acting. It was SE's first numbered ff game that had it, and you can tell it hasn't age'd very well. After a while into the game, you'll get the infamous laugh scene, and ...well just watch, words cannot explain....

Yeah...about that....

Age'd is a good way to pinpoint all the negatives about this game. It's battle system is old school, but that's not it (infact that's one of my favorite things about the game), its just the controls, the level design, the character's, it's a old game, and it's starting to show it's age.

Oh, and random battles, yeah....those fucking suck.


Fantastic enemy design has always been a part of the ff series, FFX is no different

Conclusion
FFX is one of the best ff games. It's not as amazing as 9, not as new and fresh as 12, but it finds a comfortable middle ground, and plays things safe, and properly. You won't be shocked by anything in the game, and at the same time, you'll never get bored. Your never seeing the same thing for too long, and there's plenty of mix-up to keep up the pace, albeit sometimes poorly executed mix-up. FFX is one of those ps2 games that is worth loading in your backwards compatible ps3, or finding at EB for 10 bucks.

The 100 hour mark is going to hardly be a goal, the 300 or even 400 hour mark well be the true testament to the game, which resides on one thing, the monster arena. The monster arena, is derived from 3 things really, 1 exploring to find new monsters, 2 capturing them to create new monsters in the arena, and 3, fighting them. It is a great way to suck up hours after you've unlocked everyone's ultimate weapon, and stat boosts for them.

There is really so much to the 'after-game' in ff10, that 100 hours in, you'll still have plenty of things to .

If it's the summer drought for you, as it is me, going back to play some of these old games can be a blast. Nostalgia is a beatiful thing. If it's new territory, still, give it a whirl. It's a rpg classic, and what faults it has, are minimal compared to the overall experience. You may not end up sinking 100 hours into it, but it's worth the one play through.

Result: MUST PLAY
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