Final Fantasy X HD Remaster Review (PS4) – #MaybeinMarch


Released: December 18, 2001/December 26, 2013
Available on: PS4/Steam/Xbox One
Genre: JRPG
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix

You know those games that you play as a kid that you have fond memories of, but the game was just too hard for little young you that you just didn’t make it that far in? There are quite a handful of games that are like this for me and it seems that Love Your Backlog and Maybe in March set me on the path of finally going back, tackling those games, and finishing them. Two years ago, my #MaybeinMarch game was Resident Evil 4 and this year it’s Final Fantasy 10. Surprise!

If you haven’t read my post for #LoveYourBacklog, or just want a quick rundown, March is where you tackle one of your backlog games, preferably one that’s spent the most time in it, and write about it before March ends. I actually said last month that aiming for Final Fantasy 10 felt too high so I was going to do a different game, but I changed my mind. I was in the Final Fantasy 10 mood. After facing hardships during Yuna’s pilgrimage and dealing with getting sick in the middle of my playthrough, it’s time to dive right in.

A quick look into my past, but my dad got Final Fantasy 10 and of course that meant that I was able to play it. I was pretty young when I first played it, like I’d like to say I was 5 when I played it for the first time, and as you can guess I didn’t make it that far. Actually, playing this now showed that I at least saw Luca. I did play the beginning of the game a lot, evident that I still remembered everything that happened, as come on the cutscenes are so cool. The FMV cutscenes in particular have no right to be as cool as they were. Anyway, let’s finally get into the game.

Final Fantasy 10 has you play as Tidus, a famous Blitzball player from Zanarkand. You start out with him going to his game and it kinda, maybe, definitely got attacked right in the middle of his match. After trying to run away, running into cool guy Auron, and getting in a good couple fights to give you a taste on what you have in store, Zanarkand gets destroyed. And with it, Auron and Tidus gets sucked up into Sin and spat out somewhere in Spira. Tidus is spat out in a world that he knows nothing about, but he’s lucky enough to meet those that understand and don’t immediately dismiss him.

You soon learn that what attacked you is called Sin and it has been terrorizing Spira for a thousand years. There is only one known method that successfully defeats Sin, albeit temporarily as Sin does seem to come back. However, if it means bringing hope to Spira and bringing the Calm even briefly, it’s seen as worth it. With a whole religion centered around it, Sin can only be defeated by a Summoner summoning the Final Aeon. The Summoner needs training before this happens, however, so all Summoners that are determined to face Sin set out on a pilgrimage with their Guardian(s) to visit every temple, gain Aeons, and get the Final Aeon at the end right before facing Sin. Tidus actually comes along right when a certain Summoner is about to start her own pilgrimage. This Summoner is Yuna, who is actually the daughter of the last Summoner that beat Sin. Yuna is really sweet and despite knowing what will happen, she has taken up a lot more Guardians than normal and she asks Tidus to be one. Of course, Tidus does agree and you set off with Yuna’s group to help her along on her pilgrimage. It’s not going to be easy.

I really loved the story and the characters in Final Fantasy 10. I was able to dodge out of the way of spoilers so you can imagine how everything hit me. You can always sense that something unspoken is hanging over everyone, but Tidus and maybe even you can’t seem to put your finger on it. And man when you look back it seems so obvious. I loved the characters (I don’t get why a lot of people still hate Tidus), getting to know them, and hearing their history. Not to mention the interactions they have with each other that made me chuckle. Like Lulu instinctively telling Tidus information he wouldn’t know so he can be in the loop or Rikku and Tidus being on the same page and acting like cheerleaders. They even made the character that’s my least favorite out of the group, Kimahri, interesting. Kimahri may be last in all popularity polls, but man is it so satisfying when he speaks to you.

I also love how there are so many awkward interactions. This game nails awkward situations that you find yourself in when you’re still getting to know someone and it’s so endearing and cute. Like the famous laughing scene is so much better when you actually play the game and know the context. It also does a good job in developing the characters and building relationships organically and without you really noticing. Final Fantasy 10 does such a good job with how it writes the characters and the story. The only flaw it has is that there is an annoying alarm during one of the game’s very important twist reveal.

As you’re traveling through Spira, you will be attacked a lot by the various monsters, or fiends. If you ever played a RPG you’ll know the battle system. It’s basically the usual turn based combat where you can see the turn order and be able to do an action when it comes to one of your character’s turn. You can have the do a basic physical attack, use a skill or ability, flee, or even change out your equipment. Each character also has an Overdrive gauge that gets filled up depending on what mode you have set. The default is that it fills as you take damage, but characters will learn more as you battle more. Anyway, once it’s all the way filled, you can then unlease their Overdrive ability to do some damage. You can also switch characters out, and even better you don’t lose the turn when you do.

Considering you’ll have seven characters, there has to be a damn good reason to use them and there is. Aside from, well, there are some sections that characters get split up, each of them have their own specialty. Auron is basically the muscle of the group as he’ll probably be the one with the highest damage and his weapons have piercing. Wakka has high accuracy and excels at getting those pesky flying fiends. Tidus seems to be the all rounder as he has nice damage and nice buffs he can apply to everyone. Lulu is the black mage that can target elemental weaknesses with her magic. Rikku has the ability to steal items from enemies, use them to her advantage, and can easily defeat the Al Bhed mechs. Yuna is, of course, the healer, has protective buffs, can debuff, and can summon powerful Aeons (who has their own Overdrive gauges). And finally, Kimahri is basically in the middle, which is funny considering he starts in the middle of the sphere grid, as he can be built any way you want. While some of these guys fall off towards the end, they all do have their own specialties to make them helpful in battle.

Of course, each battle will grant your teammates experience, or AP (Ability Points). However, only the teammates that did something in the battle will get AP (ah when EXP sharing wasn’t a thing). It can be annoying when you’re trying to equally level everyone up and having to switch everyone in and out for each battle. Leveling up in FFX isn’t like other JRPGs. It’s a really unique way of leveling up in a way that you’re not necessarily leveling up. Instead of getting stat increases each level up, you instead move on a Sphere Grid. Everyone has their own section on the (Standard) Sphere Grid and with each Sphere Level a character has, that character can move one node. If they’re on a node that has, or is right by, a node that is a stat or ability node, you can then use a sphere that corresponds with the node to activate it. Once it activates, that character then gains whatever stat or ability it had. You can’t run amok willy nilly though, as some nodes are locked and you need to have a key sphere to clear it. Once I got used to it, it turned out to be really interesting and I did end up liking it. Sure you can get into points where you can’t activate nodes, or sticky situations when you forget to take a little sphere grid stroll, but it does offer a lot of customization. Especially when you finish a character’s grid section and get ready to go into another character’s section.

I tried not to think about messing up any of the characters, though I’m a bit convinced I messed up Kimahri. If you’re someone that’ll do minimum grinding, you will most likely be on everyone’s (minus Kimarhi) main path even at the end game anyway; but even then there are a bunch of advice online if you’re not sure what’s the best for everyone. Just don’t go on the Expert sphere grid, especially on your first playthrough, unless you know what you’re doing.

Aside from that, you can’t forget your equipment as it can be the final piece in finally getting you past a boss you’re stuck on. Every character has their own weapon and armor that they can equip and each of them have auto-abilities. These auto-abilities can be as simple as increasing a stat by a small amount or giving it an element or status effect when attacking to warding off status effects or giving that character a counterattack. Early on, you also unlock the ability to customize equipment that has empty slots to put on auto-abilities that you want, but it does require you to have the necessary items to create it (and from what I can tell, it doesn’t tell you how much of an item you need). Your equipment can actually really help you out, so it’s best to change your equipment to give you the most advantage in the area you’re currently in or the boss you’re trying to defeat. This same system is also used for upgrading Yuna’s Aeons.

There are quite a bit of optional side content that you can do, though it seems it’s not quite liked in the fanbase. The most infamous one is Blitzball, which is available to you fairly early on. You always hear how horrible the Blitzball minigame is and I was always confused as I remembered liking it as a kid. However, when I got to that point in the game I was faced with reality. Either younger-me made it more exciting through my crazy imagination or I was just watching my dad play it, but it was boring. Not only is the tutorial putting me to sleep, but you can do nothing if your team doesn’t have the ball, it’s hard to understand how to play, and the introduction match is a terrible way to introduce it. Not to mention the 10-ish minutes it takes for each match feels like an hour. So yeah, I was yet another person that never returned to Blitzball.

The majority of the other side content is made available when you’re basically at the end of the game. I haven’t went too much into them, as others do recommend doing them after finishing the game, but there’s a lot. There’s training Chocobos; the Monster Arena that tasks you to capturing fiends and where you can fight powerful fiends; finding all the Al Bhed Primers and Jecht’s spheres; a bunch of optional areas you can visit when the airship fully becomes available; you can get optional Aeons; and you can aim to get everyone’s ultimate weapon and get all sigils and crests to fully power them up. It’s quite a lot and considering you’ll be powered up, or have to be powered up to complete them, through completing them it’s probably best to leave them for last so the final boss isn’t unsatisfying to fight against.

The soundtrack, which I kept on the original rather than on the remix, is just as good as I remember and thought it would be. The voice acting is also good here. Not great, but good. For the most part everyone does a good job, but there are a lot of points where lines are weirdly spoken, or even sounds like they were just two different sessions put together, and the voice actors really needed another go at it. I also did notice at points where characters lost their accent. I do wonder if part of it was to try and match it to the Japanese lip sync, but I’m not too sure as I noticed it a lot with wide shots or shots that you won’t be able to see the mouths as well.

I heard that Final Fantasy 10 is beatable without (much) grinding and so far, that’s been correct. Though, I am stuck on the last boss before you fight Sin. I’ve been getting closer with each try at least, but having to watch three cutscenes is really killing it for me. It at least makes me feel a bit better that it’s still a hard boss for those that did grind.

Update: I just completed Final Fantasy 10 (that ending man) and technically you can beat the game with minimum grinding, but it’s going to be hard. Like stuck on Yunalesca for days hard and the final area is hard as hell also. I at least recommend getting Anima if you can (achieved through getting all the destruction sphere treasures in each Closter of Trials) and Yojimbo (achieved through completing an optional dungeon and having enough gil to recruit him). Yojimbo is your best bet if you missed a treasure, as you’ll have to defeat a superboss to go back into most of the temples. Nonetheless, I don’t regret it as it was really rewarding when I finally brought down the final boss.

I’m so happy that I ended up playing Final Fantasy 10 this month. I can’t be the only one that gets a little nervous when revisting things from my childhood as you always have the risk of finding it cringey or not being into it anymore. Like keeping the last memory of something happy. I can safely say that FFX still holds up really well. Aside from some voice lines being a bit bad and annoying aspects; the story is great, the characters are a delight, the leveling system was unique, and the combat was enjoyable. It’s also a plus knowing why certain characters didn’t appear in 10-2. This is still a fantastic game that I definitely recommend picking up and experiencing yourself.

Final Fantasy 10 is officially my favorite Final Fantasy game.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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