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 may have been called 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 originally make me want to extend the rental period so it went back and I moved on.
Fast forward a few more years and 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. However, this one both my brother and me were hooked from the get-go. Blitzball looked like such an exciting sport (cross between football and basketball but underwater) the characters were interesting and different. The storyline was one of the most memorable games of that era and its 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 eventually I completed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very careful with the games I owned back then and the game became far too scratched to then be playable. I eventually 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, mainly because we still have the guide from way back when. It was weird going through the game while having someone watch and guide you through the different areas, but it certainly made it far easier than I remember. There was a point at Lake Macalania, where you fight a medium-sized 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 yet hiding areas that wouldn’t be so bad in the Western World. Also, the laughing sequences seemed a step too far, both for the capabilities of the system and 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 but easy to understand, and stats like agility make sense in this game. I’m playing the remastered version on the PS4 which allows you access to the Expert Sphere Grid which wasn’t available in its original release. Oh and that’s another plus point, the ‘levelling up’ system is far more interactive than other games, instead of just gaining stats when 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 so that even if you grind out heavily you can only progress through the grid once you get past certain key parts of the story. There are four levels of locks, and we currently are on level 2.
Graphically the game hasn’t suffered too much as time has passed. The new remasters have cleaned up the textures so there are no jagged edges and the main character models have been updated with more 3d features. However, this is jarring when you compare them to the normal NPCs who have not been updated at the same, their faces are lifeless and they don’t have moving eyes. The party members have also had something done to their eyes, they are just there, they move as eyes do and the colours are very bright which is very weird when they do not know where to put the pupils during scenes, this is an area they could have left alone…this is an example of less is more.
Watching the CGI scenes now makes you aware how far we have come from the early naughties as the CGI scenes are worse than games we are playing now. I love the CGI scenes in each game since they are an eye-opener on what the future holds for graphics.
That’s all for now, I’m waiting for a game from my rental service which I will be reviewing next week.
The question this time isn’t will I finish it…because I will. But will I 100% this time around? I can only hope.