A long time ago, when these games first came out I played Final Fantasy X. I got kind of sick of it fairly quickly it felt more like a cynical attempt to sell guides than a real game with its narrow set of workable tactics and each enemy feeling like a mini puzzle-boss. I gave up fairly quickly. In fact, I gave up on Final Fantasy as a whole for the longest time.
With the release of the remastered version I thought it was time to give it another chance as this is a game beloved by many whose opinions I respect.
I was wrong. I shouldn’t have given it another chance, I think I was right the first time. The sphere grid is tedious, the world isn’t very interesting. The characters tiresome. Tidus is simply excruciating and Yuna isn’t a great deal better. Kimahri talk no good. The fun of not understanding Al Bhed.
Fortunately the remastered version on the PC does come with built-in cheats, so at least I could see what was on offer story-wise. This didn’t really make me like the games either, but I did very much enjoy the ending of X. Not in the sarcastic glad it’s over way, I just thought it was very good. X-2 made lots of improvements to the system and initially I liked it quite a bit more. Rikku, a character I expected to dislike, really grew on me in X-2 – I didn’t really understand the addition of Paine, as she seemed v Lulu-alike.
Killing off the atrocious sphere grid was a welcome subtraction from FFX, whilst I liked the versatility of the sphere grid, the actual levelling interface was dull, repetitive and glacially slow. I also appreciated the lighter more fun post-Sin Spira. Sadly, the game soon became mired in tedium as endless series of mostly unrelated side-quests become the main quest. Although saying that, it was refreshing just how much of the game was truly optional. An interesting experiment inexplicably dressed up in hot-pants.
I did learn where FFXIII came from though. I was surprised at the many structural similarities. Paradigms are sets of dresspheres. The linear progression of the original, with a sequel with the ability to travel to different bits at will. The afore-mentioned sidequests. The levelling system in 13 is a strange combination of X and X-2 – the tedium of manually moving between nodes is now automatic, but you pick the job to improve in. Even the sequels map – X-2 isn’t about Tidus, and XIII-2 isn’t about Lightning.
I was actually surprised how much I disliked my time with X and, to a lesser extent X-2. I sort of expected them to win me over considering how other people talk about them, but it felt more like this was just a prototype of XIII which everyone else seems to hate despite it being roughly parallel to the highly regarded X.
I’ll have to simply continue to not get the praise for X and the inverse for XIII.