Ok. I’ve played a bunch of FFX, reached the Calm Lands which is about… three fifths to two thirds of the game. I think i have enough on my plate to say something about this game.
This is the sort of game that i’ve been playing since my early life, i think i first bought it on 2003 or 2004 or something and i’ve always had that copy with me. I’ve played this game more times than i can remember, never really beating it because i used to be very bad at JPRGs. Only once did i reach the final boss and i didn’t manage to beat it back then. That said, this time it’s been a lot easier. Turns out the game is a lot easier if you don’t flee any fight and make an effort to use all characters in all fights. To give some perspective, my first fight with Seymor went like this: grand summon Shiva, use overdrive for 9999 damage (first time i used it), enter the second phase of the boss, build back overdrive and end the second phase again with 9999 damage, Shiva dies for the third phase but hasting everyone let me finish the third phase in less than three boss turns. It was that easy.
Anyway. The game is a pleasure to revisit, even if these are all very familiar views. But a fresh revisit after all these years has let me see a couple more things. One thing i hadn’t noticed before is that Spira, geologically speaking, seems very similar to Japan. You start in the south with tropical beaches, you end just beyond snowy mountains in what seems to be a vertical climb up the latitude of the continent. That’s to be expected though and probably more to do with the more eastern influences of the game. But i’ve noticed other things too, like how considerably early this game feels in its use of 3D. It’s obvious that this game was their first attempt at predominantly 3D game world, and sometimes you notice that there is more fidelity than the game seems to know what to do with. This is particularly noticeable in the animations of the characters. Facial expressions are not very common, they’re sparsely focused on and the animation is primarily the full body kind of very expressive and theatrical movement. XII, for example, is a game that feels decades ahead in this matter, with a lot more nuance and subtlety in the animation. That said i do recall facial animations being very expensive back then, so this is likely to be a mixture of inexperience and technical limitations. Otherwise, as it pertains to the world and the art in general, this is an extremely accomplished game. There’s a super strong sense of image and culture spread throughout the game with particular emphasis on the religious iconography and typography. The main character designs are ok for the most part, if noticeably more extravagant than the rest of the world and that discrepancy is more harmful than not. Lulu stands out as particularly uninspired or ill achieved (the game seems almost to hide some animation emphasis on her breasts, which feels very divisive). Otherwise, i think the characters are fairly ok.
A lot to be said about the characters too. They feel very much like young characters put in a situation that’s way too adult for them to handle (as is typical of japanese video games and anime), but i think for the most part you’re able to perceive the adult side of the story fairly easily and with frequency. The themes of the game are very transparent and i don’t think anything goes unmentioned, whereas i feel other FF games tend to be more coy and shy about some of their themes. This game is literally about the tyranny of religion, inheriting the arrogance of out descendants (Spira dealing with Sin being the result of its wars, Tidus accepting his father and accepting that he has to kill him), and selflessness (dozens of examples), and all of that is something the characters visibly and audibly deal with.
I think i’ll have more to say eventually, but to end this bit i must say that i truly adore this game. It’s been a constant presence in my life and i’m glad to finally have the chance to finally finish it.