Lightning Dodging, the Luca Goers, HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA HA! I call Final Fantasy X my favorite game for many reasons, but it’s not without nitpicks. FFX has issues that are worse for me than mere nitpicks. Let me list the things that bother me the most about my favorite game.
This will contain spoilers since many gripes are with the narrative.
#10 – Missable Cutscenes
Several great cutscenes with powerful emotions are missable. Even worse, these are accidentally missable. It’s one thing to hide Seymour’s backstory behind an unlockable scene, but totally another to hide the scene where Wakka learns the truth about his brother leaving. Or how Lulu feels about Chappu’s death. Even the affection-based cutscenes with Rikku add dimensions to her character yet are easily missed because you only just got her in your party. I want everyone to see these to make sure they form the best opinions on the game.
#9 – Forced Random Encounters for most of the game
While it was a technical limitation back in 2001, random encounters are annoying. They interrupt your movement and make you forget your goals. They change how willing you are to go out of your way for chests or NPCs. If you go out of your way, you could even overlevel accidentally and make the game too easy.
Unfortunately, random encounters may deter people from backtracking through the game. Several NPCs change dialog to reflect their thoughts on recent events in the story, such as Operation Mi’ihen and Yuna’s wedding. For example, when you reach Macalania, you can go back to Besaid to find new dialog everywhere you’ve been, plus collect Auron’s Spheres.
(It’s worth noting that I don’t mind the game’s narrow walkways thanks to Random Encounters. It’s a pain to travel through the wider zones in the game like Thunder Plains and Calm Lands to go back and forth. At least Mi’ihen/Moonflow is just a straight walk north, no missing chests, no extra encounters.)
#8 – Kimahri’s character development
While I like Kimahri’s character progression on the sphere grid, his story is missing something. It’s unclear what Kimahri learns in his battle. It seems to me like he just beat up some bullies that beat him up when he was younger. Gaining the respect of the Ronsos is a positive thing to come from his battle, but maybe we should see why he lost respect in the first place.
Now, I’m happy that Kimahri gained respect, but why should “Ronso deal with Ronso problems” as a rule apply to bullies? Maybe I do not understand their culture enough, but still, I’d like to see more backstory for this to help me understand it. Kimahri could be a pretty good character relating to breaking tradition and going against cultural norms since he left the mountain to protect Yuna.
#7 – Yuna hiding Jyscal’s sphere from her guardians
Please, Yuna, why did you do this? It doesn’t grow her character in any way that’s relevant anytime later. There’s no reason she chooses to do this that fits into her character. What did she think she could even tell Seymour? The only thing I can piece together is that Dona told her that she relies on her guardians too much. Maybe she took that to heart?
#6 – Tidus and Yuna’s remastered character models/expressions are worse than the PS2
Yuna’s expressions, in particular, are messed up, and I can’t stand it. Especially in the scene before Yunalesca, which is her defining character growth scene. Tidus’s black eyeshadow doesn’t look good either. True, the PS2’s animations/lip syncs/expressions was far from perfect, but pretty good for 2001.
#5 – Seymour’s Character Arc
I love Seymour, or at least, the idea behind him, but the game presented him HORRIBLY, especially near the end of the game. To set things straight, he’s under the impression that the spiral of death in Spira is unavoidable (like most people). He believes there would be less suffering in Spira if everyone would accept death rather than fight against it. Look at Operation Mi’ihen. So many people died. The people left suffered greatly. The crusaders and the Al Bhed were trying to end the spiral of death but just became part of it.
Seymour wants to end the spiral of death, too, but in a messed-up way. He wants to become Sin to murder everyone, so there’s no more suffering. While this comes from a place of logic, Seymour doesn’t understand that he should not judge whether someone lives or dies. That should be something they decide for themselves. I believe if he knew that there was a way to defeat Sin permanently, he would’ve done that; maybe he would’ve even helped us fight Yu Yevon?
I’d want him to woo Yuna more to make it less creepy when he asks her to marry him. I want to SEE him kill the Ronso and Kinoc. I want him to explain what he wanted without maniacal laughing. I kind of want him to become Sin for an arc of the game or almost. I want him to learn that life is too precious to be extinguished, even if it’s full of suffering.
#4 – The Sphere Grid’s annoying usability issues
You know how much I love the Sphere Grid from a progression perspective. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly complicated for the casual player and doesn’t respect your time well. It takes 4 seconds to move to a node and activate the nodes around it. That’s insane, considering there are more than 700 nodes.
While keeping the current game design, there really should be ways to move your character along the path while auto-activating every node they come across. That would be great. Maybe even a way to auto-level to a specific position on the grid, so you don’t even have to open a menu until you reach that position. Even snappier animations would be a welcome change and could save you half the time.
#3 – The End-Game has terrible pacing and strategy
- The dark aeon placements were not well thought out.
They block you from Besaid and Macalania’s temples. So if you want to get Anima, you better get those destruction spheres your first time through the trials!
- Each character becomes fundamentally the same besides the overdrives, which are wildly unbalanced. Wakka and Rikku are by far the most valuable characters to fight the super bosses (with Tidus not far behind) because the others don’t have multi-hit overdrives that can do >100k damage in a turn.
How to fix it? Well, I’d tackle it by making the overdrives for the others more competitive or even unique. Yuna still has a place because of Aeons, so that’s okay. If Kimahri had some way to learn end-game Ronso Rages that compete with Mix or upgrade the ones he has, that could be cool. Lulu’s Fury should do more rotations with Flare/Ultima to compete with Wakka’s 12 hits (magic should be more useful in general too). Auron’s Tornado should do more hits, probably replacing Attack Reels. If status ailments were meaningful in bosses, maybe you could use Wakka for that more?
Ideally, I’d want every character to be helpful in a super boss to take advantage of the character switching mechanic, which is a main gimmick of the game. But, that brings up another issue that would need to be changed too:
- The super bosses are insanely powerful until you max out the sphere grid, but then they become mere time sinks.
Couple of issues here. The strategies required for the super bosses are mostly the same. Once you have the proper armor to prepare against status ailments and heal correctly, it’s just using the best attacks, setup buffs, and repeat until it’s dead (which Penance will take at least 40 repetitive minutes without Zanmato).
Physical attacks are the best way to kill anything besides the Jumbo Flan. Magic should be more viable. Maybe trigger commands used elsewhere in the game could be used to make more battles unique?
Monster arena bosses will rarely pose a threat after maxing the grid. Plus, it’s hard to know when you’re ready to fight the dark aeons. If you max out, most of them will become easy. But without any Don Tonberry leveling, you’ll struggle a lot.
- See the sphere grid’s usability issues. In a perfect game, you’ll spend more than 10 hours maxing the sphere grid with everyone.
#2 – Mini-Games for Celestial Weapons
Catcher Chocobo is awful. First of all, how are you supposed to know you need less than 0.0 seconds to get the Sun Sigil? Then, a lot of the initial setups for balloons will not allow you to win. The controls are horrible since it’s auto-moving and finicky. It’s just bad.
Lightning Dodging is just repetitive. 200 in a row is unfair and not accessible. Asking you to sit down for 14 minutes to press X at the right time every 5 seconds is maddening. Three times tends to be a reasonable limit when you have to do the same thing in a row. Two hundred times is insane. Plus, you don’t know the Sigil is even a reward. You also don’t know how high you have to go to get rewards. Maybe if it wasn’t consecutive, it’d be better.
Butterfly Catching and Cactuar chasing are annoying, but I won’t dwell on this anymore. Except for Blitzball. That takes forever… (Which, yeah, I hate how luck-based BB is in general, especially the first match with the Luca Goers.)
#1 – Unskippable Cutscenes
I won’t beat this dead horse around, but with 11 hours of scenes, they should be skippable. I understand that the way they coded it makes skipping scenes complicated since even the modding community had trouble. But, it should’ve been coded better in the first place, knowing that repeating important scenes before bosses if you game over will lower emotional impact. (An instant retry option would be excellent).
So, with all this, don’t worry. I’ll still play this game every year for as long as I live.