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I'm playing through all of Final Fantasy, and everyone is invited (Playing Lightning Returns now)


Round and round I go
Staff member
You know what would have made Kimahri a more interesting and fun character? Giving him the ability to travel through locks on the sphere grid.

I'm sure the sphere grid is designed in a way that makes this not work so well. Maybe if he could only pass through level 1-3 locks or something, but even then, you'd need to make sure he can't access something absurd super early. The problem with Kimahri as designed is that you're all but guaranteed to have him retread someone else's section of the grid, making him "X but a few abilities behind." Letting him traipse across the grid with reckless abandon would allow to make a more hybrid character.
that or some more innate blue-mage-ness and being able to learn nodes other people unlocked without needing the spheres. Not sure how that would work mechanically but I think Kimahri's sphere grid stuff is great but just wish it would go even further.
You know what would have made Kimahri a more interesting and fun character? Giving him the ability to travel through locks on the sphere grid.

I'm sure the sphere grid is designed in a way that makes this not work so well. Maybe if he could only pass through level 1-3 locks or something, but even then, you'd need to make sure he can't access something absurd super early. The problem with Kimahri as designed is that you're all but guaranteed to have him retread someone else's section of the grid, making him "X but a few abilities behind." Letting him traipse across the grid with reckless abandon would allow to make a more hybrid character.

Yeah, he's really constrained by how few spheres there are to get rid of locks or nab abilities from other paths in the main game. You can instead make Kimahri "X but a few abilities ahead and better in every way" (like I described above by having him go Rikku-->Lulu), but it's unlikely to happen your first time through because it requires some meta-knowledge about how limited these spheres are and when/where you get them. It would definitely be cool if he has some limited ability to bypass locks to open up his build options on the standard grid without having to cut into your very short supply of rare spheres.


Very nice ideas, especially combined with them as a reinterpretation of Kimahris powers as a Blue Mage. I wished, the game explored his races ability to copy the moves of monsters, at least a little bit. Like, maybe they are still hunters (which seems fitting), and they are just very skilled at observing monsters. Generally, I wished the game explored his race a bit more.


On to the Thunder Planes! We see something, that people seem to latch onto, when talking about Rikku: That her defining trait, desprite being a genki girl, is being afraid of thunderbolts.

That this is a silly oversimplification is clear, I think. Her being afraid of thunderbolts is just a little bit of flavor for her. The main characteristics are simply not as on the nose. Stuff like her being versed well in technology, but also being more open to other cultures, unlike the other Al-Bhed, who treated Tidus like dirt, at the start. More on that at the end, when I take a look at all the characters.

Similarly, I don't care much for characters being reinterpreted as a general archetype. Sure, you can use that as a point of comparison, maybe looking at how a character developed, in comparison to another one (even from another game), but ending at "she is just the quirky, goofy one" falls very short of who this character actually is.

To be clear, there are archetypes in these games that are used as a basis. But I also think that the games do a good job at developing them in different ways. Just looking at them as archetypes simply doesn't do them justice.

Like, let's take Yuffie, Selphie and Rikku as an example here. Yuffie is lying for a long time, about what her motivation actually is. It takes a long time to get her become part of the party. She is also, beyond her cheeful demeanor, full of pent-up anger. The other two are never lying about their motivations (well, not to the player avatar, at least, and never with the intention of betraying them).

Selphies ideas are often really out-there, and seem like she is a bit braindead, while it is also clear, if you look closer, that she is pretty smart (which makes it feel like she is just having fun by suggesting nonsense, like jumping from the top of the desert prison to the bottom). She seems to play with that way more than either Yuffie or Rikku - unlike Yuffie, it's all in good spirit.

Rikku is a mechanical genius, or at least very competent. She does not care about the divide of Al-Bhed and Yevon devotes at all (unlike Yuffie, who is holding a very understandable grudge). She is also more adult than Yuffie, and doesn't make the goofy jokes that Selphie makes.

This is still just surface level. But I felt it sensible to take a look at why this archetype is kind-of nonsense to begin with. Well, onto the story again.

The Thunder Planes are a long road, basically a dungeon, with the added "difficulty" of having to dodge thunderbolts. Which doesn't really matter, as you don't lose HP, which seems really weird (it feels like a reinterpretation of damaging floor tiles). I do like the setup, and how this place has this infinte thunderstorm. I'm sure everyone here knows the real relevance of the thunderbolts. At some point, I will buy the steam version of FF X/X-2 and get all the achievements. But this is not that time, I'm playing the PS2 version (international, though).

Plus, we get some more, nice lore, about how someone calld Billigan set up these giant lightning rods (with machina, which feels very relevant, considering how every summoner is using them). It's similar to how we learn about Sir Mi'Hen, who founded the crusaders, if I'm not mistaken. I really love, how so many places have some additional lore in this world. Mei'Chen is a treasure (and pretty amazing, running through here - it's implied that the thunderbolts are actually really dangerous). There is also a bit more, about a former medium, Gandoph, who acted as a hero for Spira, and imprisoned cactors here, who were a big nuisance everywhere.

Shelinda gives us some relevant characterization, by spreading the news about the wedding, despite Yuna never officialy accepting the proposal. Again, I'm really impressed with her dedication, that she is making it through this dangerous place.

Soon, we are in the Macalania Woods. A really cool place, but I still feel this would look so much cooler, if they had used prerendered backgrounds. I got a bit tired of having basically two relatively long dungeons right after each other, even though we get character moments within them. Like, there is a bit of talk between Tidus and Auron, where they state that Yuna hides something, and wants to deal with it on her own.

I think I will now always get back to the part in FF VII, where we are in the desert prison of that game, and he tells us that he wants to deal with his problems alone. And Aerith just imitates him, making it clear what she thinks of that nonsense, as they are a group.

I actually find it more understandable with Barret. In VII, the characters were all loners, who took a long time to become a group that trusts each other. Here, the summoner and his guardians are a tight-knit group. We are already involved, no matter what crimes Yuna commits (as she is well aware of, she might have to do something to Seymour, that will get her into trouble), we are involved. But it's also a deep part of her character, how she wants everyone else to be happy, without a thought about herself. All she wants is to know that the rest of the world will be happy. It is a flaw, but it works really well.

Oh, we meet those weird musicians. Not much to say, except that I love them and their design, and how many races Spira seemingly has to offer.

Soon, we find a lake that contains the substance spheres are made of. There is also a filler boss, that was still a decently fun fight. A reinterpretation of Heins switching of weaknesses, that worked pretty well, I thought.

We also find the first Jecht sphere, one of multiple that Jecht left behind for Tidus to find. It's Jechts way of showing Tidus, that he actually DID care for him, and so his son would understand why he didn't come back home.

To be clear, I thought more about Tidus' parents, and god, they are both so bad. His mother never seemed to have cared for him, as mentioned (the scene where Jecht tells her to take care of Tidus is so awful, poor guy). And Jecht, while "just" incompetent, and not able to express his feelings, was still horribly inable to do his job as a father. I feel like I need to make this clear, after saying that I got more sympathy for him. His only way of interacting with Tidus was abusive nonsense, because he was incapable of showing his true feelings.

He did grow, while being on Spira, which is what surprised me. I became aware of his flaws, and, while probably still not able to do fair by Tidus, he at least tried. This doesn't change how awful he was. He never was a good father, and I'm not excusing his abuse. Just as a character, I think that development is relevant and interesting.

Also, I really love that we actually see the interactions between Auron (who was back then, too, all business), Jecht (who always tried to have a bit of fun) and Braska (who seemed like a very chill guy). It gives the whole thing a new dimensions. I guess they count as flashbacks, and are therefor bad, or something, but I feel like they add a lot.

It is certainly good for Tidus to see this, and learn from Auron, as it helps him to come to grips with the way his father treated him. It helped make Tidus see him in a new light, and how he became at least aware of his weaknesses.

Soon, we are at the next of Rins shops, where we meet Twamel again. He takes Yuna with him, to bring her to Seymour, but they are soon attacked by Al-Bhed. We help, of course, and to Twamels shock, Yuna fights with us.

I can see this battle be a problem, if you mainly used Aeons to fight against bosses, while I avoided that as much as possible. Generally, the Aeons felt like clutches, which broke the boss fights, and it was more interesting to fight them without your big glass cannons. There are exceptions, and sometimes I would still use them, but in general, I found the boss battles more interesting without them.

Here, there is a flying machine that stops magic and summons from working. Which really makes me wonder how long the Al-Bhed would need, until they would be able to just weaken Sin through technology alone - he is just a summon, after all. But then, we later learn that the Al-Bhed don't really know how the technology they use actually works, which is an interesting information (does that mean, they are just humans who split off from the regular Yevon devotees? Instead of a group that existed before the war?).

I suddenly get Fallout vibes.

Funnily enough, one of the Al-Bhed talks to Rikku during the battle. She finally tells Wakka what she is, and says to us, that this was her brother. Wakka gets annoying, and whines about how machina were the reason for Sin, and all that. It devolves into a typical argument of that kind - well, if it wasn't machina, what is responsible for Sin? You don't know? Well, it has to be Sin, then, obviously.

But Auron has no time for this nonsense, and even Lulu helps arguing against Wakka. And, in a really nice bit, tells Rikku that she has nothing to apologize for.

As I understand it, the scene where everyone rides on a bike is similar to the date in FF VII, with Lulu being the most likely one. We learn that way, that Wakka is the way he is, because his brother died while using machina to fight Sin. Which adds to the idea, that most people aren't as strict about the "no machina" rule, and religion in general. And that it's more this general idea, that Yevon is right, and that people just follow it, as it is the governing body of this world. And its words are law, no matter how dumb.

Also, the game clearly spells out, that people simply don't have time to even think about Sin. It's there, it's killing people, they are basically in a constant state of panic, unable to try for different solutions to their problem.

At the temple, we find more racism, as the priest there doesn't want Rikku to get in, due to her being an Al-Bhed. Auron easily shuts this down, as there is no rule to that effect, she just needs to be a guardian.

Yuna is already in the cloyster with Seymour, and we soon watch a sphere she kept with her since Guadosalam. Here Seymours father, Jyscal, talks about how his son gets closer to the darkness, that he might bring destruction to Spira. Oh, and it's already clear to him that he will soon be killed by Seymour.

So, I don't think we ever learn how, exactly, Jyscal treated his son. Unlike Jecht, he likely took time for Seymour, and made sure he became a great summoner, and a bridge between humans and guado. But it is possible, that he overdid it, and Seymour felt like he was pressured into being nothing more but a vehicle for this goal. But that's just guessing.

Like Jecht, Jyscal gave his true feelings away with a sphere. Not even to Seymour, though. He is, at least here, aware that he didn't protect Seymour from the harshness of the world. Considering that he is well respected, I wonder what that even means. As talked about before, open antagonism seems unlikely, I would expect the guado to be wiped out, then. Maybe the people still hated a child that was partly both guado and human.

As we learn later, he was also forced to be the summoner who would basically kill his mother, by turning her into an aeon (and what a horrifying one it is, so I guess the way they appear has to do with the summoner who first called them). Which probably broke him, as he was horribly unhappy about doing it (as would be everyone, he was just a small kid). So, maybe it's the mother who was essentially absent to kill Sin, and the father was the one who neglected the son. Not quite the same, but the game clearly draws paralels between Seymour and Tidus.

Also, it seems like most people don't even know that Seymour fought Sin, and lost. A guy in a side room tells us, that he could have become a summoner, but decided to become a maester instead. Interesting.

Also, also, Anima is basically a final summon, supposed to kill Sin, which explains why it is so powerful, but also why it wasn't enough - Anima doesn't seem quite powerful enough.

Inside, Yuna is already praying, and is shocked to find us here. Seymour is also shocked - but only, because he doesn't get why him killing his father was so bad. Which already shows us, that he has gone batshit at some point. I get it, death is a release for him, but still.

The boss fight is pretty cool, if not particularly hard. You just have to get that you have to steal the potions from his guards. There is also the nice added action for Wakka, Tidus and Yuna, to talk to Seymour, to strengthen their stats by quite a bit.

Against Anima, in the second phase, Tidus asks Yuna to summon Shiva. I still love her overdrive, the snap is pretty awesome. I guess it is made that way, to show us how far Yuna has come. Anima seemed so incredibly strong, when Seymour used it first. And here, Shiva can defeat it, if we do it right.

After the fight, Twamel and two guards come in, and Wakka just now realizes what he just did. Yuna can't send Seymour, as we are chased away. And with that, we are branded traitors, of course. Also, Twamel doesn't even care what Seymour did, destroying the sphere that proves it. What a jerk.

We flee for some time, have a boss battle against a Wendigo, and fall through the ice. Which is a good enough place to stop. Let's give Wakka some time to take in what he just did.


Last time, we killed Seymour, and fell below the ice, due to an angry Wendigo.

Down there, the group collects itself, with Kimahri cheering up Rikku and Tidus lecturing Auron, which is fun to see. Wakka is still a bit broken, after having killed a high member of his religion.

The one who most surprised me here, though, was Lulu. She never strikes me as being too much of a religious person. But she still thinks, that they all need to repent for their sins.

This isn't really about the religion as an institution of faith. More about the ruling system of this world, where everyone, no matter how devout, thinks that there is a clear hierarchical structure in this world. And low people like our group simply aren't allowed to challenge the higher class in such a way.

Or maybe, it's simply that she has problems with killing someone. Hmm, I find it hard to say. I don't think we killed another human being at this point, except for the other Guado who are just part of killing Seymour. Which would be sensible. Maybe, when she talks about repenting for their sins, she just means that she wants to pay for the crime they did.

I mean, even though it was self defence, they still went so far as to kill another person. In a world, where I assume that people are in such a bad place, while put down by Yevon and Sin, that there might not be much actual crime, especially murder? Sounds naive, but it at least seems that way, a bit. So, especially with law abiding people like Lulu, this has to come as a big shock, even if she doesn't let on as much as Wakka.

They all want to go to Bevelle, with Yuna as the main productive force: She wants to talk to Mika, about the problem with Seymour.

We do hear the song of the Fayth, which Jecht also sang. And, indeed, Sin appears, who seemingly wanted his son to listen to it. It also seems, that Jecht wants to die. And with Tidus promising to find a way, things happen. And Tidus finds himself, alone, in the Bikanel Desert.

We find ourselves alone with Tidus, after waking up from being unconscious, and find ourselves in a fight against a Zuu. I got very strongly reminded of Cecil, after the ship wreck incident. It's a very cool reference in a new way, even though it is lesser version, considering how shortly you are on your own. Because in the first fight, Lulu and Auron show up to help. Which, of course, reminded me of FF IXs sequence, where Zidane gets help from his friends. Again, I really like the reference, and generally the way of doing this, but it's not as effective as in the other game.

As we will not get Yuna back that soon, we pick up a lot of Al-Bhed medicine, making Rikku in a pretty useful Healer. These things heal 1000 HP for all party members, and even a few status ailments. They are pretty great, for this part of the game.

We are close to the home of the Al-Bhed, and Rikku will lead us.

Honestly, the whole desert feels like a first draft of what would be that open place in FF XIII. After being on a linear path, with not much space to go from let to right, this place is pretty open. I actually leveled up quite a bit, while looking through the whole place. It is still not very big, and over soon, but still - we are out of our comfort zone, not part of the community anymore (not as we used to be, at least) and suddenly, we get more freedom in how we move around. Like, I guess it's part of the reason why that one chapter in XIII opened up so much, to show us that we are not in that extremely controlled world anymore. And it's similar here, too. This is the place of the Al-Bhed, who are free from the rules of Yevon, and therefore the rest of the world. We also sacrifice comfort, which is represented by this being a desert. XIII will do this better, but it is a nice first effort, and symbolically, it already works very well.

Also, considering the next mainline game, that's not an MMO, takes place in an open desert, I can't help but think that the idea was born here. I might be wrong, I know that games got developed next to each other, and stuff like that, but I still want to look for things that carry over from one game to the next.

When we finally arrive at the Al-Bhed home, the place is under heavy attack, by monsters and guado. One of the people here tell us, that it's an attack from Yevon. Which, why didn't they do this a long time ago? Are they just getting more extreme? Because you could always just throw monsters at non-believers, and no one would even know about it.

Right, I forgot, Cid only recently created this place, after the Al-Bhed had been scattered all over the world, for a long time. Because before then, the island of the Al-Bhed had been destroyed (I think I can guess who did that).

We also meet the Cid of the game here, Rikkus father. He asks for help, and tells us that the Guado wanted (and got) Yuna.

The place itself is awfully ugly, and reminded me of Midgar, of all places. Or maybe the Empires city in FF VI, whose name I forgot. Just metal everywhere, no plants or anything nice or colorful. Which is sensible, they are in the desert and probably don't have much. Still, can't help but be reminded of these horrifying places that were designed to crush life. A sign that context matters a whole lot, I guess, especially because it is a place where life is saved, or at least where people try to. Because we find Isaah and Donna here.

The Al-Bhed here died, trying to protect them. They might mean well, but still, it was a kidnapping. And taking the freedom of summoners away is, of course, awful. In the end, it is the decision of the summoners to risk their live here. Not to say that Yevon is not at fault here, just saying, saving the lifes of summoners will not be of much help. They will be, at best, horribly unhappy.

It is finally revealed here, that summoners die at the end of the pilgrimage. I wonder how that feels the first time you learn it. Because knowing it, there is an emotional punch there, but I assume it would be much heavier otherwise.

And, despite the Al-Bhed meaning well, they still are a part of keeping the world in the state it is. Not through a fault of their own, while kidnapping is not ok at all, they try to find different ways of dealing with Sin (and honestly, I feel like it would be just a question of time until they got it right).

I already compared the summoners to SOLDIERS of FF VII, people who are made up to be this giant heroes, but don't mean anything to Shinra in the end, except as pawns. Just look at Zack. With the summoners, it's not any different, and that thought will always pain me. The contrast is just so brutal, from these people everyone looks up to, to teenagers who are just used for the awful churches goals.

With Cid found, he introduces us to an airship that has not been flown in 1000 years. Which, really? I'll just accept, that it isn't falling apart, whatever. The interesting part here: The Al-Bhed don't know how this technology they use actually works. I wonder, where there Al-Bhed before the war, or is this just a group that split away from the Yevon devouts? Because if it is the first, they would probably have kept the knowledge of technology alive, I guess.

Also, I wrote down that I think that Yevon has control over Sin. No idea, why I got that thought here, but I still feel like it's true, even aside from the mindless thing that is Yu Yevon. Sin never attacks the city where they play Blitzball, and they DO attack cities that become too big. Except for Bevelle. Huh.

Oh, the Al-Bhed blow up their home, to take down a lot of Guado and Yevon soldiers. And, while flying away, they sing the hymn.

On board, Donna seems done. Apparently, summoners aren't forgiven, when they give up the pilgrimage. Reminds me a bit of how some people look at women, heroes when being a mother, but hating them when they don't fulfil their "duty", or whatever.

Soon, Rikkus brother finds Yuna. We see her on the screen, in a wedding dress, together with Kinok and Seymour, who will soon marry her. So, he is still alive. Which means, that we have to attack Bevelle, where we are greeted by Eyvre.

It's an interesting fight (the first where you can move the ship closer or farther away), that I remember having a bit of trouble with in other playthroughs. Like, I needed a second try, most times. Not this time, though. I wonder, if exploring the desert gave me an edge here.

I also wondered here, whose soul became this thing. Especially with it guarding Bevelle. But then, Yevon seems to have some control over fiends, so that might not be a surprise. Still, what exactly does make souls transform into which creature? Do multiple souls create stronger fiends?

There is a cool scene, where everyone slides on rope onto the platform where the marriage is held. And here, I get confused, and assume that Bevelle was a bit rushed.

The start is fine. We come here, kill a bunch of guards until we are close to Yuna. Where we are surrounded, Kinoc points a gun at us, and we have to stop. Sure, what happens here is still symbolic. And Yuna has a cool moment, where she was absolutely prepared, and had a plan - to send Seymour here and now, showing it to the world, that he is an Unsent.

Really, Yuna is pretty badass. It's not good, that she tries to do it alone, but she is super competent, and active.

Which also means that us appearing was a big fault, because now Kinoc forces her to stop, by threatening to kill us. So, we are forced to see her get kissed, which is one of the grossest scenes in all of Final Fantasy, and I'm sure we could have done without it.

Kinoc wants to shoot us anyway, but Yuna makes him stop, by threatening to kill herself, by jumping of the high place we are at. But when we get close to her, she jumps anyway, summons Valefor. Also, Rikku throws a smoke bomb, and we flee.

I guess, the point was to buy us some time to get away from gunpoint, so we could get away? And Yuna used the chance to fly away too? Clumsy, but I can see how this might work.

We find another cloyster of trials. Not much to say about this one, except that we finally get Bahamut. Tidus breaks the tabu, and just goes inside, seeing Yuna pray there.


I think I'll leave it there. Next time, we probably get to the end of Kimahris short arc.
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the room is full of ghosts
The first time I played this, I missed the save point before the cloister and had to do the boss fight (which gave me a lot of trouble), the Bevelle sequence, the cloister, and a few cutscenes after in one sitting.


That sounds pretty stressful. And long. Stuff like this makes me look at guides from time to time, so I am sure that I don't miss a savepoint, and not have to redo a ton of stuff.


Last time, Yuna got the faith from Bevelle, our last regular summon. Due to being split up before, Tidus broke the tabu of not entering the room with the faith, where Yuna prays to the faith in there. The interesting part was, that Kimahri helped him open the door. He never seemed to much into the faith anyway, wo he is probably over it, by now. As is everyone but Wakka, I guess (and maybe Lulu, due to something I will talk about later, which might also be just a bug).

Inside, Auron does comment on the fact that the faith are imprisoned in stone, waiting for summoners. He at least is clearly on the side, that this, too, is a bad act by Yevon, abusing the believe of strong people. The dead should be allowed to rest. It's very similar, I think, to how summoners are used for the scheme of the church, except that their abuse ends with their life. The faith are stuck in this situation forever. Sure, they decided this of their own accord. But they are also tired, and are caught in this, for all eternity, as it seems to them.

Outside, we meet Kinoc, who arrests us and puts us on trial. In there, we meet Kerc Ronso, who will judge us. I'm still surprised to see a Ronso here. They seem to be outsiders, living even outside of the, uh, "cultured" part of the world. He also doesn't seem complicit with everything, as we will learn here.

He at least gives Yuna a chance to explain herself. She accuses Seymour to be the traitor here. As always, he doesn't think he did anything wrong, and we learn that Mika, too, is an Unsent. Kerc and the others know that, though, and they don't seem to care that Seymour killed his father.

On the contrary, all they care about is that their super-important work is done. But the point of everything is, that this stupid church actually thinks they are in the right, doing a good thing. They honestly think, that Sin can never be defeated. So, all they can think of is the whole system with the summoners, so the people have at least some hope, and a bit of peace during the Calm.

This was surprising to me. Sure, there is abuse of power, but I remembered that being all of it. That they, deep down, honestly think that they are doing the right thing, and that they aren't just the power-hungry church, was a big, positive surprise for me.

Still, no one cares that Seymour is a monster, and we find Auron and Tidus in a hanging cage. I couldn't help but laugh, when Tidus points out the "spiral of death", that's going on here. I mean, this series isn't very subtle, at least with its main story, but the names Spira and Sin are really on the nose. It's fine, just found that funny.

The death sentence is really weird, and I don't get it. Some of us, luckily the three people who can swim (and therefore breath under water, I guess?) are thrown into a giant pool thing. Where monsters live, sure, but it also leads outside.

The others are put in a place that ALSO leads outside. Interesting here is, that we start with Yuna (again putting the spotlight on her for a bit, and we collect Auron, Kimahri and Lulu as we go through this giant prison(?) room. At the end, we face another summoner, called by Seymour to get rid of the prisoners.

This final part is interesting - I like that we see that summoners might have to do a bit of different work (probably only if they want to), being called to kill someone. It's Isaah, in this case, who doesn't seem too happy about this, but still will fulfill his duty. He knows that it's wrong - his brothers aren't here, with him. And with our new Aeon, Bahamut, but also all the others, we defeat him pretty easily. Still, and even with the fact that summoner battles are rather boring, I like that we HAVE to do one here. It also indicates, that the summoned beasts don't are not really in much control. Elsewise, they would probably have a problem fighting against another summoner. That they don't are is hard to imagine, considering how they volunteered to be trapped in stone for this.

Aside from this, the dungeon parts are both really boring. They also don't make much sense from a story standpoint. Why are there two separate death sentence versions? Why not just execute them by a Maester? Why not drop them into the depth, from the hanging cages? I'm not going to call the developers lazy (these games take a ton of time, it looks good (not just for its time, I think) and it has voice acting - they achieved a lot), but I think they ran out of time here. This part feels undercooked (everyone just meets up here), and the part with the wedding also seems a bit wonky, from a story perspective.

I guess thematically, it might have been interesting to have just Yuna in that prison part, showing how far she has come. Except that she always could hold her own - remember how she nearly escaped on her own, when kidnapped the first time by Al-Bhed? And Bahamut makes every battle a one-shot affair.

Before exiting this awful place, we meet Seymour, Kinoc, and some guards. Except that Kinoc is dead. Seymour killed him, because Kinoc was afraid his enemies, or something. It's pretty nonsensical stuff, but we get Seymours true intentions - he wants to kill everyone, so that the suffering will end for good. That's the reason, why he wants to become Sin.

I feel like I should have something to say about this, but it seems so boring. The idea, that we can end suffering, simply by killing everyone was interesting the first time I encountered it. But by now, it seems rather shallow. Except that it seems like a fitting counterpoint to our goal. Like us, Seymour wants to actually end the eternal suffering. I guess, he actually sees himself as a hero?

Part of it is probably also, that Seymour couldn't deal with the expectations of his father and his people. An interesting contrast to Yuna, more proactive probably. Both wanted to save this world, but she needed someone from the outside world to give her the idea to not do what everyone did, in the first place. Seymour, too, is an outsider in some way, with the teachings of Yevon not as entranched. So he could think of a fresh perspective.

As will Tidus. But he has friends, people he cares about, so his solution is not to kill everyone.

I do like the parallels between these three, and how they deal differently with the situation they are in.

We fight him again, of course. And we see, that Seymour seemingly learned how to use the power of souls for strengthening himself. Which Yevon probably knows how to do in general, I guess they created monsters like Evrae intentionally. This is just more of that. Would be nice, to have Yuna learn something of that kind.

Kimahri actually has a nice scene, where he wants to sacrifice himself, so that the rest can flee. Also interesting, that it's the first time Auron doesn't get his wish, to actually flee without Kimahri. Everyone else agrees to fight together against Seymour. And Auron follows, finally, too.

The battle is pretty interesting. First, we can only use summons for one turn (which might be the case in the first Seymour fight too, maybe?), as Seymour will just banish them. Considering what Sin is, shouldn't we be able to banish it too, that way? But I guess it is made in a special way, that only Yunalesca knows?

Also, there is this mean move where Seymour can turn people to stone, and his monster friend can then shatter that person, robbing us of a party member. I actually had a lot of luck, as a stoned person was not immediately attacked by that thing.

He also uses Ultima. Which is strong. There are some difficulties to the battle, but nothing too bad.

Unfortunately, the developers forgot to give us at least some explanation why Yuna doesn't banish him here after the battle. We just skip to the Makalania Woods. As mentioned, likely there was no time left here.

Yuna wants to be alone, but everyone understands now, that Tidus is special to her. So they send him, to talk to Yuna. Kimahri is watching her, though, from afar.

Right, this is the first time since they were separated before the desert, where they can talk in peace. And Tidus tells her, that he now knows everything, and apologizes. Yuna is a bit broken, as she expected everyone to help her, be on her side, that the church would not become their enemy. This is a play on the Chosen One trope, where it is expected that everything would be, well, not great, but easier than it would be. And only when they start to fulful their duty, do they get hurt again and again by the real world.

I'm sure everyone knows the scene that follows. I liked it, but even I can't act like this is just a platonic thing at this point. Oh well.

I had to laugh when the camera went to Kimahri, who watched them swim around, grins, and leaves. He should have gone a bit earlier.

The next morning, we continue to the Calm Lands. Similar to the desert, just explicit this time, it's a big space that is supposed to contrast with the linearity of the rest of the game. Here, it's also clear that the place is supposed to be much bigger, taking days to traverse, instead of the ten minutes. Together with the monster arena and the minigames, this feels a lot like a prototype of that part in XIII.

The story actually acknowledges that, telling us that many summoners give up their pilgrimage here. We get a bit of backstory for Lulu, when a former summoner whom she guarded meets up with her, giving us news. We are supposed to be the killers of Kinoc, instead of Seymour, and are to be killed at sight. Also, Kerc Ronso left Yevon, after Kinoc died.

Like Kimahri, Lulu should have gotten a bit more time for her story. Like, we could have at least met up with this guy, so he wouldn't just feel like an exposition machine. I don't think we even learn, why he gave up his pilgrimage, but it was here, so...

I'm not even quite sure why summoners give up here. It was once a battleground, when Sin was the first time defeated, and then for every other fight against Sin. Maybe the weight of their expectation crushed them? Maybe that they are away from society, feeling too alone here?

Oh, after forever, we can finally play Blitzball again. Considering what a big part this game is for some people, this seems like a long time, where we can't participate in this minigame. For good story reasons, sure, but still, it's strange.

We meet Belgemene here again, the one who challenged Yuna to summoner duels. She doesn't care that we are branded as traitors. She thinks, that summoners are just there to defeat Sin, not as puppets for Yevon. So, she doesn't care about Yevon at all.

After the Calm Lands, before Mount Gagazet, we meet Guados who let us fight a stone golem. It's clearly a filler, but was always a challenging fight for me. The other two times, I had to look up how to beat it - using Provoke, so it only attacked Tidus, an ability I had never used the rest of the game.

I'm a bit proud, that I beat him this time without that trick. It was a challenging battle, but pretty doable on the whole.

After this, we enter the mountain, meeting the Ronso who live here. They are supposed to protect the mountain against traitors like us. Yuna points out, that Kerc turned his back to Yevon like she did, which works. But we still have Kimahris schoolyard level bullies to deal with. It's the fight, where I always get all his rages. There isn't much to it. He was hotheaded in his youth, and got his horn broken off by one of them. And is mocked, since then. Until now, where he proved his worth.

There really isn't much to it, and I guess it would be more extensive, if there had been more time. The way it is, Kimahri really doesn't get the time he deserves, and due to his personality, he can't even get the little moments that Lulu gets. At least there is some cute backstory, but he should have gotten more.

Gagazet is clearly coded as a dangerous place, being a snowy mountain, where we find a few graves of other summoners. It's fitting, as we meet Seymour again at the top.

I'm not the only one who has always had trouble with this form. The other two times, I get here, die horribly, grind everyone up to overdrives (including Aeons), get maximum protection against zombification, and then use the Aeons every time, when a big killer attack comes. As mentioned, I'm not the only one, this seems to be a big roadblock for many people.

I'm happy to say, that I defeated him the first time, now. Not giving everyone overdrives either, just used what was available, and I had no zombie protection either. I did nearly die, when he did his big attack, and I used the fact that he can be poisoned (only in the middle of the battle, though, forgot about it before), and I think I slowed one part of him to stop his rhythm. Oh, and he can be silenced for one round. I really like this battle system, and that you can experiment with status ailments against bosses, if you need them.

I haven't talked about things that are new for a long, long time. But here, the damage limit is broken the first time, when Bahamut does his overdrive. It had to happen at some point.

Again, a challenging fight, but doable. I guess a got a bit better, in the last ten years since I played this game.

I did find it funny, when he fell down after defeat, and Tidus yelled "And stay there!". Yeah, I thought exactly the same thing. What a jerk.


Well, that's enough for this time. Next, we meet Yunalesca, and I will find out if there is a clever bit of storytelling going on in her fight, or if I just encountered a really great bug.
iconic fight, love the way ffx utilizes zombie status (and yes, that major bosses can be hit with status effects) so much. Pretty sure the first time I handled that fight I went with the approach of giving everyone and all the summons their overdrives. Was more fun to deal with alternate solutions, gives you a lot to juggle with so being able to find strategy is rewarding.

And I don't think about it much, but i do sort of wish the game had more about failed summoner journeys. We see and hear from previous guardians and the like, but I think they could do it in a way that'd give more weight to Yuna's resilience. Could be forgetting on that stance too, but it's an interesting part of the world building that is both ever-present and somehow understated


Round and round I go
Staff member
Yeah, there's a strong case to be made that Gagazet Seymour is the game's hardest mandatory battle. There are more powerful bosses, sure, but you've got a lot more opportunity to be proportionally stronger by then.


And I don't think about it much, but i do sort of wish the game had more about failed summoner journeys. We see and hear from previous guardians and the like, but I think they could do it in a way that'd give more weight to Yuna's resilience. Could be forgetting on that stance too, but it's an interesting part of the world building that is both ever-present and somehow understated
Well, there are Donna and Isaah, who get to states where they can't go on. Also Seymour, of course, but his case is an anomalie in every way. And there are the two summoners who Lulu guarded, but one of them is only shown in a side story, and the other one should have been visited in Bevelle, but we didn't (again, I'm sure that was a problem with a lack of time).

But yeah, none of them go really into much detail. It would really have been interesting to meet a summoner who gave up, years prior to this, and tells us about how their live, and the oppinions of the people on them, had changed after they gave up. The game implies, that failed summoners are shamed, looked down upon. I'd have liked to learn more about that.


After the Seymour fight, we find one of the weirdest places in the whole of Spira: A wall, with bodies stuck on it. And there is a big spiral, going into the sky.

You know, I really like the FF goes, at some point, always to wild places, and shows me insane stuff like that. Stuff that is weird, even compared to the standards of what we are generally seeing in these games.

And then I get reminded of that weird wall of eyes in FF IX, where Zidane is weirded out, but Garnet is just "they are just eyes, come on".

But Yuna tells us, that these are all faith. And someone is summoning them. Tidus understands, that there is someting that is connected to him (he mentions, that this is his story), and he touches the wall. Which brings him back to Zanarkand. Of course.

Here, we finally learn another truth, by the creepy kid: This place, the full Zanarkand, and Tidus, are a dream. Nothing more. The kid is a faith, and considering it has this weird wheel on his clothes, the one that Bahamut also uses, it seems clear that we are talking to Bahamut here.

I really like something about this. Bahamut hasn't been a character since...well, FF IV I think? And even than, he at least feels like he has way more personality here. Dunno, something about him as an NPC who talks to you, again and again, is neat.

We learn about the war between Zanarkand and Bevelle, with Bevelle using machina, something Zanarkand never had. The summoners were easily defeated, and some of them, as faith, kept Zanarkand alive, in some way, as a dream.

Tidus mentioned, that Zanarkand is a city that never sleeps. Which is an interesting statement, considering what we just learned.

There are some things that I don't quite get here. If Bevelle is the one to use machina, and Zanarkand is the one with summoners, how is it that, with Bevelle on the winning side, we live in a world where machina are not accepted? I do know, that Zanarkand houses Yu Yevon, who creates Sin, so I get that Zanarkand, in the end, wins, kind of. But did Sin then attack everything and everyone? Was Yu Yevon just angry at the whole world, for fighting and killing each other? Which makes it weird, that he transformed into a giant monster that killed people. Was he a jerk like Seymour, trying to destroy everything?

And then, Yunalesca had to come from Zanarkand, right? They are the ones with the summoners, so again, why did the church develop in Bevelle? Bevelle is the technocracy, as I get it, should it not be them who are destroyed?

There is also the theme of magic (in the form of summoning) against technology, and the game saying that technology won. But there is not much else said about it, it seems, so I don't think there is any commentary, or much to draw from this.

Anyway, Bahamut tells Tidus, that the faith are tired of dreaming. They want to wake up, and that's why they tried to send Jecht and Tidus, to end their sleep.

With the series always being about the search for infinite live will make you into a monster, about how things have to end, and being stuck, just so you can live forever, isn't something that will be healthy for anyone - it was never this direct and explicit with the idea, that death is preferable to eternal life. The ones who stay around, become monsters. Literally, like Seymour, who becomes more monstrous in each form. Or Kinoc, who doesn't care that a ton of crusaders die, if only the church stays in power.

By the way, I know that Kinoc was once a better person, friends with Auron. I wished the game gave us a bit more on that, aside from that one flashback. But I guess it is enough, it works fine, after all.

But this game here argues explicitely, that death, dying, is a good thing. Not in the stupid way, that everybody will be wiped out now, but in the way that things simply have to end, just so they can develop. That standing still is just another form of death.

The dungeon that follows isn't really interesting. There is a swim section with annoying monsters and a few weird trials. Nothing interesting. The boss is a fine challenge, but not too hard.

Auron tells us, that back then, his resolve weakened, as he got here. He was sure, that he could sacrifice his friend. But getting to the end, he wasn't anymore.

And that was his story. It ended there, and he knows it. This isn't about him, it's about the younger generation. It's like a bit of a change to the regular formula, of the mentor dying. He already died, years ago, and now can still help.

At this point, Tidus shows the sphere he picked up, after Yuna lost it. It is a goodbye from her, which she created at the place with the Chocobo Eater. It was this, what she did, when looking into the sunset. It's a really sweet moment, when the camera moves slowly over places and people, and she talking about why everyone her is important to her. I also feel like the voice actress did a really good job, of making the whole thing sound natural.

So, Yuna expects her story to end soon. Instead, we finally get to the point where Tidus started to tell the story, at the very start of the game.

I guess, he told it to the others. Which seems really shitty, considering how he starts with "Listen to my story", and than tells them everything they went through, just from his perspective. Maybe he focused on his perspective, and it probably didn't take more than an hour, but still. Acting like this is all about him, when it is all their story, has to make the others feel like he is a giant egomaniac. I mean, Wakka and Lulu know that it is mainly Yunas story, but I would think it would make them angry, that he acts like it is actually all about him.

I guess the point is, that he finally realizes that it ISN'T about him, in the end. That it's the story of them all, as a group.

Still, I love that part, them all sitting at the campfire, while waiting for the last part. Some thinking, that Yuna will die. Some not knowing how to prevent it.

When going forward, there is no battle music in the regular fights. It gives this place a special, interesting feeling.

Further inside, pyreflies are flying around, this place seeming to be like the Farplane. It is also clearly a former Blitzball stadium. We see the memories of other summoners, one of them being little Seymour, who had to turn his mother into a final Aeon. Except, that it didn't work. It is clear now: Seymour died here, as a little child.

Not to excuse anything he did, but having to basically turn your mother into a monster, and then dying horribly to another monster, has to feel really horrible, and probably leaves you traumatized for the rests of you, uh, un-live. It also tells us something about how the forms of the Aeons come to be. Anima is horrifying, a creature in chains, which is probably how Seymour feels here, or felt how his mother might have felt.

We also find Braska, and Jecht has Tidus' position: He doesn't have to do this, there has to be another way. Another point for him and Tidus being not that different from each other.

There is a last cloyster of trials, followed by a boss fight. I actually had quite a bit of trouble with this one, due to his insane speed and countering of nearly everything. Unlike Seymours third form, I died here one time.

Soon, we meet Lady Yunalesca. She wants Yuna to chose, who she wants to turn into the Final Summon. We also get an explanation, about how it only has to be a strong bond, no matter if between lovers or friends. She was the first summoner who did this, and I guess the only one who knows how to create such a strong summon to defeat Sin. Her Final Summon was her husband.

As always, she talks about how death is the great gift to the summoner, except when it comes to zombies who don't want to die. Some special people have to live forever, I guess, the rules don't count for them.

We get another memory of Braska, where Auron is now the one thinking, that there has to be another way, but with Braska thinking this is the only one. And Jecht agreeing. I think, at this point Jecht already has a plan. Of becoming Sin, and giving the world a chance through his son.

It is clear, that Yunalesca really thinks that this is the only thing they can do. Yu Yevon will just take over the next Sin, keeping the cycle going, as Yu Yevon can't die.

But it also becomes clear now, that repentance will achieve nothing. Sin will come back, it has nothing to do with using machina, and it never had. People are just kept in the dark. Which, I guess, is part of Yevons design, as Yunalesca doesn't think that people can achieve the necessary purity, to not abuse machina for another war.

In the end, it is also about power, not just about this being the only thing that can be done, at all. There is something here, and I appreciate that Yevon is not just awful, but it is still empty. It is all a lie, and the teachings are all empty, all just there to keep power over the people of Spira.

I find it interesting, how even Lulu is shocked by this. I always forget that, in the end, she is a believer, just not as hardcore as Wakka. But she always did believe in the teachings. Except knowing now, that it is all nonsense.

We see a memory of Auron, how he attacked Yunalesca. I think the first time, I didn't get that it was here, that he died.

Knowing all this, Yuna isn't ready to go on. She would have sacrificed herself, but knowing that it is, in the end, all for nothing.

Yunalesca interprets this as Yuna throwing hope away. As Yunalesca herself can't imagine any other hope for this world. No fresh ideas, just this awful way for all of eternity, with the people in power never changing, to give the possibility of change, as they are here for all eternity.

There are screen distortions here, I wonder if this is supposed to show the final break of the believe in Yevon.

I talked about a possible bug last time. Because, when Wakka and Lulu attack Yunalesca here (and it's only these two, who do this), they turn around. Like, Wakkas ball gets thrown into the camera, then somehow flying into the other direction, hitting Yunalesca.

Is this only on my version? Then it's a bug. But it also works wonderfully, because these two are the ones who are hurt most by this revelation. I assume, they just can't look at Yunalesca, when attacking her, because they revered her so much, up to this point. If it's a bug, it's a really cool one.

I know that this is another fight that a lot of people have trouble with. I guess part of it is, that you will very likely die, if you don't know that you should leave at least one person in zombie status. I find it to be a bit of a mean trick, especially with the long cutscenes, and you very likely dying at least one time. I never had that problem, as, first time I played, I looked up future bosses before fighting them, the first time. I mean, not all of them, but I know that I learned something about her before fighting her. I don't think I ever died against her, because she isn't that fast, you have, most of the time, enough time to heal, and maybe just revive someone. Or just use an Aeon (I killed her with a Bahamut overdrive anyway).

Before stopping here, one more thought: Considering how the Final Summon is created to be stronger than Sin, as that would be necessary to defeat it, and Yu Yevon taking over the new Aeon, this means that Sin becomes stronger, each incarnation, right?


That's all for now. I guess next time, we will end the dream of the faith.


Round and round I go
Staff member
I never caught that Seymour died as a child. If true, that means unsent keep growing... Actually, since Auron has clearly aged, I suppose that makes sense.


I mean, the game never explicitely says that he dies here. But he got the Final Summon, so I assumed he also fought Sin, and due to no one knowing him as one who defeated it, him dying seems like what would probably have happened.

It IS weird, that they keep aging afterwards, that's true. Yunalesca clearly doesn't. Maybe it's something they have control over, to a certain degree, or it changes together with their mental state.


Last time, we killed a 1000 year old zombie lady. And won.

Out of the place where we fought Yunalesca, the pyreflies disappear. I feel like there is something to say about that, but I fail to make a sensible connection to what we just achieved. I still find it an interesting detail.

Outside of the temple, we are greeted by Sin, asking Tidus to find a way. Tidus promises, and the monster goes away.

You know, Sin seems pretty calm, at least while we, as Tidus, are here. I would expect it to be a more constant threat, the way people talk about it, that you might wake up one day, find it closing in to your location, and probably die.

Considering how Sin acts, I guess Jecht still has a lot of control. Not all of it, but it isn't as horrible as I would have imagined.

Anyway, Cid is here, waiting for us. On board, we try to think of what we could do now, as we still have no answer. Two ideas pop up - that Mika might know something, as there might be an answer inside Yevons teachings still, and that Tidus' bond with Jecht might be part of the solution. Rikku, additionally, suggests the hymn, as a way to calm Sin down. I like this part, the way it was brought up way earlier, and Rikku thinks of it now.

This is the point, where we get control of the airship. Not completely, there is no way to really fly on our own, but we can enter locations and generally decide where to go. Sure, it's a bit restricted, but the linear path forward is, in the sense of before, over. We can go to any play we have been, immediately. Which is really fitting, considering even Wakka and Lulu have now finally given up on the teachings of Yevon. The game, as well as the characters, gained freedom.

I had an urge to do all the side content, as I did years ago (well, I got the ultimate weapons before quitting the absurd grind to defeat the dark aeons). But at some point, I will buy the steam version, and get achievements for these insanities. So, not now, but at some point.

First, though, we go back to Bevelle. We still aren't welcome, until Shelinda arrives, and tells us that we are no traitors. As always, I'm happy to meet her, even though she is still into the idea that it's the Al-Bhed. All the time. Look, I get that she is problematic, but I really like Shelinda.

It's actually funny, she is now captain of the guard because there is chaos in the church. Wouldn't expect her to be in any position of power, the game clearly tells us that Yevon is kind-of done.

So, we soon meet Mika, who is all about how we have doomed Spira, and gives us the same nonsense as Yunalesca. And he, like her, mentions Yu-Yevon. We learn, that he is the one who uses Sin in every incarnation as perfect armor, being invincible and willing to destroy the world.

With all that is wrong with people like Yunalesca and Mika, it becomes clear again, that he does at least somewhat believe in that awful system Yevon created. Because when learning that there will be no more Final Aeon, he can't see a point in his continued existence, and actually dies.

Again, I find this part really fascinating. Even the people in power, in the abusive position, believe their own lies, that what they do is right. And I still can't help but comparing it to how, in FF VII, Shinra might have developed over time. That, after two or three generations after Rufus, they would have believed that it is them, and only them, who can give the people the energy they desperately need. Also, probably all the planet except for Midgar would probably be a deadly hellhole, with Midgar being save as a technological marvel. And we get something like a clean-air-tax, or whatever.

Ok, back to FF X. The creepy boy, also very likely being Bahamut, asks Yuna and Tidus to come to his room. He also suggests using the hymn, to calm Sin down, and talks about Yu-Yevon, who has to die for this world to move on. Fitting with the theme, we learn that Yu-Yevon was once a powerful summoner. At this point, he is just summoning, nothing more. Again, someone who has achieved eternal life, but without any sense to it, as he isn't even really living anymore. He just exists. Eterntal Life, again, as more of a curse, a "be careful what you wish for" thing.

Man, I thought of Xande so often, while writing about this game. Not really a fit, as their situations were way different, but I think III was the last time an FF really got into the theme so much.

Bahamut promises to help in the fight, asking Yuna to summon him and the other Aeons. After explaining, that Yu-Yevon will just merge with each new Aeon, continuing to be invincible himself. Tidus also learns, that this will make the faith finally wake up. Their dream, then, will end.

We do something, that I really love: Shelinda will make sure that the whole of Spira will sing the hymn. Always delighted, when music saves the world. Also, it is about the whole world helping along, which I think was a thing in IV? It's great.

And soon, we fight Sin. It's a multi-part fight, which is surprisingly easy, still. I mean, there is a lot of stuff to do, but we are strong enough to not be in real danger, with all the different parts we attack. Two weak spots, and two times an arm falls off, which is pretty insane, considering how much we damaged this monster.

By the way, I also like the hymn as an idea, because it makes sense. It's not an arbitrary, magical power-up, we use the mind of the person behind the monster, to give him strong melancholy feelings, so he is not really able to defend himself anymore. Really neat.

On Sin, we do another boss fight, after which the monster falls into the ocean, seemingly, actually defeated. Except not, of course, but that we won this battle is great enough. Soon, it spreads wings and gets up again, waiting for Tidus now. One last fight - the one fight, where there is a turn limit, and then Sin will destroy you (basically a version of the Demon Wall boss from FF IV). I think I just won, only one or two turns left, before I would have died.

Inside, we first meet Seymour. One last battle - an interesting one, and I nearly die one time, but he isn't really much of a challenge, after you get the trick of the battle, and take your time. It really feels a bit, like a play on Sephiroth, who I was always reminded of, in some way, when Seymour was around. Both had bad dads (this is a thing with this series, isn't it?), both worked as elite people for the evil organisation, both betrayed it at some point. Except that Seymour simply isn't the main bad guy here. The situation is more complicated, the system is stronger here. He never really had a chance, after fighting Sin on his own.

Finally, Yuna sends him. Was about time, what a jerk.

The final dungeon is incredibly boring. It looks lame, there is nothing to it, except for weird things that I don't understand. Like, there is a place where items appear randomly, and you need to get a bunch of them, and some are really good, but essentially they are random? After Memoria, this is a really, really lame, final dungeon. But I get it, they ran out of time. Oh, well.

Also, my mind was blown when I reached the item limit. Because there is one, and I reached it, which I imagined to be impossible. Crazy.

Thankfully, the dungeon is also pretty short, and soon we get to a Blitzball stadium. Which is, of course, the perfect place to fight Jecht.

There is some really awkward talking between Tidus and Jecht, who both are unable to communicate with each other in a healthy way. It is an interesting part, because the story is, aside from everything else, about a meetup between a father who left his son alone.

Tidus finally can tell his father, that he hates him. Finally able to be honest to him, and show how hurt he is. Jecht, showing some maturity, accepts it. He knows, that he was a bad father.

He does warn us, that he nearly can't hear the hymn anymore, and will soon lose himself completely. I guess he gives up, when he lets himself fall into the lava, and transforms into his final summon form. So, I guess that giant whale thing is the shell that Sin always has, no matter how the final summon looks?

This fight was still hard. Very hard. I died the first time, not realising that there would be a second part (granted, that's my fault), and using up Tidus' talks at the start of the battle.

If you don't remember, there are two pagodas which will, every time they act, heal Jecht and increase his overdrive meter. Additionally, Jecht will, of course, attack on his own. And they are all FAST. Which always was my problem. Jecht is loaded up so fast, it's insane, I hardly had time to do anything, between having to heal and defend against his attacks. With one being a swipe, that slows down your characters, which doesn't help.

There is a low chance of slowing the pagodas, and I did manage to slow one down. Not enough, it's still way too fast. Additionally, the healing they do is not trivial.

Honestly, the only reason I won was Yunas Holy and Lulus Hades Magic Ultima (so casting it two times in a row). These spells were the only ones that did any usable damage, all physical attackers were basically useless, as the pagodas would heal so, so much.

Also used some summons, I think, to survive the overdrive when it came up. I don't remember it too closely.

Definitely still the hardest battle, for me. Someone who only made it to the end of each characters way on the sphere grid. Sure, there are ways to break the game, get overpowered abilities, and so on. But if you just go through the game, having the characters where the game expects them to be, it's a hard-as-hell fight (if you don't abuse Quick Hit, that's the one that slows monsters down, right?). Too hard, I think, considering that all my physical attackers were completely useless.

It really seems, like this fight is badly balanced. It is either absurdly hard, or way too easy, it seems. But yeah, if one wants a challenging fight here, it is - if you don't do sidequests. Which makes sense, I think. Thinking back, I remember Ultimecia as being a really challenging boss, so I guess Jecht isn't alone. But I am surprised, that these later final bosses are so much harder than the ones from earlier games.

In any case, Tidus did what he said he would: Punch his old man in the face.

After the battle, Yu-Yevon leaves Baskas Final Aeon, leaving Jechts body behind. He and Tidus are still jerks to each other, Jecht mocking, Tidus telling him he hates him. And then, he is gone. Time for the last part. But before, Jecht tells his son that he is proud of him. And Tidus says, he is proud to have Jecht as his father. It's nice to get this bit, before it all ends.

Probably surprising no one, I really like this final part. That we can't die, and it only be a thematic relevant battle, after the hell that was Braskas Final Aeon, is great. That we have to fight the beings that helped us so much on our journey is fascinating and somewhat brutal. It's especially painful for Yuna, who has a special bond with all of them.

But it's not just a sacrifice by them. They want to die. It's what they actually crave, which makes Seymours idea of killing everyone and everything now all the more chilling. It's a broken version of what is sensible, simplification because of someone who can't deal with the complications of the real world. And wants to make everyone else suffer, because of his weakness.

I'm not quite sure what we actually accomplish here. Is the implication, that Yu-Yevon gets weakened, every time we defeat one of his shells? Maybe because he kind-of dies, and has to regenerate? Or that he has to summon, in some way, again, every time?

Anyway, after the Aeons are gone, only Yu-Yevon remains. Another battle that we can't lose. But not entirely trivial, it's a puzzle, because he gets healed all the time. I wonder if you can get to this battle, without doing a challenge, where you don't have the proper means of defeating him?

In any case, it's over. We see the statues of the Faith finally turn to stone, as does the creepy wall of bodies. And Yuna does a final, ritual dance. Auron finally goes, satisfied with this being the end. Sin explodes and disappears, and all the Aeons dissolve.

And when the stream disappears, Tidus starts to dissolve, too. I feel like I should say something interesting, but all I can say is, that I did feel her pain for a moment. She suddenly loses someone she loves, and has spent a lot of time with. She also tells him, that she loves him. Maybe the only case, where I found an interesting difference in German, where she just thanked him. No idea if the German version is another direct translation from the Japanese one, that would be my main guess.

In any case, he walks into the sky, and disappears. It's not quite over with that, as we see Yuna give a speech about the future.

Normally, I would talk about how I imagine the future of Spira to look, or at least complain that we don't learn about it. But we do - this is the first game to get a direct sequel. Which will be the next game I will play for this project.

Partly, it works so well with XI being an MMO, and me still having a JRPG to play instead. But also, it is a really interesting case, where a world is explored once more, and developed upon. Plus, XIIIs battle system really takes the one from X-2 as a stepping stone, which on its own makes it very relevant for seeing the development of the series, even if that point fell on the wayside of this project, at some point.

Anyway, that's it for now. As always, there will be a last post, and then a bit of a break, possibly, before I get to X-2. No idea if I will stick to one single playthrough, or two, or something else. We'll see. And then, there are only two more left. I still have the same PC as at the start, which can't play XIII-2 and -3 decently, and therefore it's probably also too weak for the PC version of XV. Still haven't played that, a shame.

Which all means, that I'm nearing the end of the project. Probably a bit over two years. We will see.


Round and round I go
Staff member
if you don't abuse Quick Hit, that's the one that slows monsters down, right?
Quick Hit is exactly what it sounds like, no more or less. But it's very quick, meaning you get several turns to an enemy's one, even without haste.

When you first learn it, it's not worth using: it's only as strong as your regular attack, and it has an MP cost that's prohibitive to Tidus at that point. It's only late in the game that it becomes effective, because your damage hits the cap and becomes limited by how often you can act.


Staff member
Congrats on finishing! It was a bit of shock when you jumped from Bevelle to the final dungeon. I'm used to several hours of sidequests dividing the two sections. X's 11th Hour can be lengthy, especially if you're wasting your time racing chocobos. It's interesting what excising that section does to the pace of the game, and to the difficulty of the final boss. I wonder if SE was thinking that if a player had a hard time with the Final Aeon, they would back out and explore the side content some more.

In complete agreement about the final dungeon. The city section with all the strange geometric architecture is pretty neat, but I struggle to find anything else compelling about its design. What is with that item gathering mini-game right before the last boss? Extremely bizarre. I do dig the FF8 reference hidden on the back of Demonoliths tho.
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Staff member
The fossils of extremely popular and well remembered FF8 boss Elvoret are imbedded in the back of the 'lith.


R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
I liked FFX so much that I did a second playthrough almost immediately, doing everything except beating the last tier of Arena bosses and the Dark Aeons. Playing VI and X was a nice change after starting the series with XIII and XV. Not terrible games, but ones with major development problems that greatly effected the finished work.

I was super bummed that the battle system change in X-2 was so severe that I was practically repelled from the game. I have to imagine X was a lot of people’s first experience with series, with it being the debut FF on PS2. Why would Square change the tactical, take your time approach of X to X-2’s ATB with auto-Haste? It had to have been a rude shock to other people, right?


Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
It's no doubt a shock to people who started Final Fantasy on PS2, but for those who started on PlayStation or SNES...well honestly it can still be too fast for me and I grew up with those ATB games.
She also tells him, that she loves him. Maybe the only case, where I found an interesting difference in German, where she just thanked him. No idea if the German version is another direct translation from the Japanese one, that would be my main guess.

Yes, your assumption here is absolutely right. In Japanese she just says "thank you" ("arigatou"). It's true that in translations your job can often be to make subtext clearer, but in this case it goes way too far, in my opinion. I think it's best for her feelings to come across in the voice work, while having the text of the line itself be restrained, maintaining the tension in navigating her public and private personas.


The fossils of extremely popular and well remembered FF8 boss Elvoret are imbedded in the back of the 'lith.


I didn't know that! That's awesome. Thanks for pointing it out. I like how the author of the text asks them to make the horns stand out.

I was super bummed that the battle system change in X-2 was so severe that I was practically repelled from the game. I have to imagine X was a lot of people’s first experience with series, with it being the debut FF on PS2. Why would Square change the tactical, take your time approach of X to X-2’s ATB with auto-Haste? It had to have been a rude shock to other people, right?

Yeah, I really can't deal that well with the insanely fast battle system of X-2. It was the reason why I needed three tries, before finally making it through that game, despite enjoying the rest of it.

The decision to go from something slow and systematical to this rush is probably part of making the whole game as distinct as possible from the prequel. Shocking people was, I imagine, part of the idea. Please consider how X was an extremely linear game, where the whole point was to break out of the status quo, that made the world into basically an undead shell, not living and developing, but also not dead. And now, with Sin gone, the world can finally develop, and the people are free from the church and the constant fear of death. X-2 is about all the possibilities that this offers, showing us how characters changed, but also that now there are simply options. Like the option to go wherever we want, do whichever mission seems fun, and choose from a bunch of different jobs. Spira is in constant change now, which is reflected by the way you can constantly change your jobs, and jump around from place to place on the world. Yuna specifically is in an absolute rush, finally experiencing real joy and fun, and a bombardment of positive and negative emotions. The battle system reflects that. Feeling driven during every second of a battle is likely supposed to make you feel like Yuna, who is also driven to new adventures at every second.

Well, I should save some of this for my playthrough.

Yes, your assumption here is absolutely right. In Japanese she just says "thank you" ("arigatou"). It's true that in translations your job can often be to make subtext clearer, but in this case it goes way too far, in my opinion. I think it's best for her feelings to come across in the voice work, while having the text of the line itself be restrained, maintaining the tension in navigating her public and private personas.

Ah, that means the German version really was a new, direct translation. Interesting. Most of the time, it fit pretty well (even though the German version felt a bit clumsier at times), but this part really stood out. And I agree, I prefer the simple "thank you", which is just so fitting for Yuna, at this point. Also, maybe a contrast to her constant apologies? Just a random idea.

Thanks for clearing that up.


What's Shenmue?
Congrats on the finish! I fell out of sync with the thread, which stopped me from commenting, but I've enjoyed reading the posts as I caught up. Looking forward to your final thoughts, as usual.

The next morning, we continue to the Calm Lands. Similar to the desert, just explicit this time, it's a big space that is supposed to contrast with the linearity of the rest of the game. Here, it's also clear that the place is supposed to be much bigger, taking days to traverse, instead of the ten minutes. Together with the monster arena and the minigames, this feels a lot like a prototype of that part in XIII.
This is a really good observation. Given how much XIII owes to X (and X-2), I absolutely buy that the idea here evolved into Gran Pulse.

If you don't remember, there are two pagodas which will, every time they act, heal Jecht and increase his overdrive meter. Additionally, Jecht will, of course, attack on his own. And they are all FAST. Which always was my problem. Jecht is loaded up so fast, it's insane, I hardly had time to do anything, between having to heal and defend against his attacks. With one being a swipe, that slows down your characters, which doesn't help.
The thing about the Yu Pagodas that really screwed me over is that not only do they revive themselves after a few turns, but they revive with HP equal to the damage you dealt to defeat it. So unless you are careful with your attacks, their HP gradually increases until they just can't be defeated fast enough. The way I got around it was making Lulu strong enough that she always hit the damage cap with a single Ultima cast — being able to consistently hit the same number effectively negating the issue. Nobody else ever seems to mention this as a complication, though, so maybe it was just me (or maybe everyone else was already strong enough to put that strategy into action the first go).


Mellotron enthusiast
Inside, we first meet Seymour. One last battle - an interesting one, and I nearly die one time, but he isn't really much of a challenge, after you get the trick of the battle, and take your time.

Shoutout to this fight for having one of the best battle themes in the entire series, aptly titled "Fight with Seymour":

The remastered arrangement is good, and there have been others since, but for whatever reason none of them replicate the choir wall at the opening of the original, which to me is one of the most important parts!


The thing about the Yu Pagodas that really screwed me over is that not only do they revive themselves after a few turns, but they revive with HP equal to the damage you dealt to defeat it. So unless you are careful with your attacks, their HP gradually increases until they just can't be defeated fast enough. The way I got around it was making Lulu strong enough that she always hit the damage cap with a single Ultima cast — being able to consistently hit the same number effectively negating the issue. Nobody else ever seems to mention this as a complication, though, so maybe it was just me (or maybe everyone else was already strong enough to put that strategy into action the first go).
Oh, I didn't know that. Explains why they got more and more HP, especially after I blasted them with Bahamut. ^^
So, you're certainly not the only one. I mean, my main problem was how fast they were resurrected, but that played into the whole thing too.

But as an added detail about how weird the fight is balanced: The other two times I got to Braskas Final Aeon, I hadn't even gotten to Ultima or Holy, I guess I skipped a few random battles here and there. This just made it completely impossible to get anything done. Also, getting turned to stone was a big problem, as it meant even more time spent on healing, or often not even having the chance, before someone would get smashed to pieces.

My solution was to kill floating eyeball monsters, I think in the ruins of Zanarkand. They sometimes drop an item that you can use to add stone proof (that's the one that guarantees that your character doesn't get turned to stone, right?) to a piece of armor. Both times, after being done with that grind, I always was strong enough to win without too much difficulty. Which sounds weird to me, now, because I can't imagine these handful of level-ups giving me the edge in that fight. Still, the balancing here seems to be really weird and specific.

Shoutout to this fight for having one of the best battle themes in the entire series, aptly titled "Fight with Seymour":

The remastered arrangement is good, and there have been others since, but for whatever reason none of them replicate the choir wall at the opening of the original, which to me is one of the most important parts!
Thanks, that's a really great song. I remember it from Theatrythm, probably grinded some stuff to unlock a character.


So, FF X. It is basically as I remembered it: Favourite battle system of the series, great bosses, well done world building, good characters. There were some surprises - Tidus didn't work for me that well, this time, Yuna worked super good for me, the similarities of these two and Seymour never stuck out to me as much as this time. And, despite me really liking the game, it didn't work for me as well as I would have thought.

But more on this later, let's talk about the characters first.


I like Tidus. Always have. He can be obnoxious - there is the one scene on the ship, where he steals the camera from someone, he gets onto the boxes to tell everyone that his team will win the tournament, stuff like that. But this never seemed that bad to me. This time, it was also clear that someone like him, a person who ignored rules (maybe too much), was essential for Yuna and the world on the whole. He has to be a jerk, because the rules of this world are absurd, and just there to keep it in a forever going circle, all focused on death and stagnation. He has to be hadstrong to go over all this nonsense.

What actually got on my nerve a bit was him basically being a JRPG hero - to my surprise, the whole "we will find a way, let's just force it without a plan" mainly annoyed me. And honestly, it felt a bit lacking, compared to the rest of the character work that has been done in this game. Still, it does feel earnest and real, fitting with his character. I can live with that.

Also, I'm not talking about him and Rikku assuming they will work something out about Yuna dying. There was no way of them stopping Yuna from continuing, and no real information, so that worked fine.

I found his daddy issues pretty interesting and well done. Not much to be said about this, that I didn't say already, though. It does feel a bit, like his story and the story of the others are two distinct ones. Except that the game, quite effectively, tied these two storylines together, by making Tidus' focus being the thing that breaks the cycle.

And yet, I don't find myself drawn that much to Tidus (similar to how I feel about the game as a whole). He wasn't as effective to me as Terra or Cloud, surprisingly even Bartz. And I don't have any explanation for it, aside from the idea that early PS2 graphics simply don't work for me as well as the ones from earlier games. Which might be a shallow reason, but it is the only one I can think of here.

Still, I consider him a fine protagonist, someone I enjoyed spending time with, on the whole.

Having him be the Time Mage of the group feels weirdly appropriate, considering he is a sports guy, and seemingly a fast one, considering is physical build. Strange though, thinking that a Time Mage is a protagonist. But then, the game cheated a bit by making him actually physically useful.


So, Yuna is basically the second protagonist of this game. I still feel that you could actually make her the main character without too much work. Even while keeping Tidus, and explaining stuff to him. But yeah, you would lose a bunch of things. Would need work in the details, but it really feels like her and Tidus are a protagonist-pair, and I wished there were more situations where you played as her. Maybe let us see her before the marriage, exploring Bevelle a bit? Or split the party up a few more times, with switching between her and Tidus as the main character.

Unlike Tidus, Yuna just worked for me. Granted, despite her having a more outgoing personality when you take away all that pressure (as seen in X-2), I think she is, in the end, still soft-spoken and somewhat introverted (dunno, I don't remember X-2 that well in that regard). No wonder, that I emphasize more with her than a loudmouth like Tidus. To be clear, I still like her in X-2.

I enjoyed learning about her being in a mirrored version of the one from Tidus, standing in the shadow of her father, except that she likes him, and wants to be like him. Which gives her a different set of problems, and I enjoyed seeing daddy issues dealt with in different ways in this game. I still feel like they picked up the topic from IX, where it also was relevant, but way less the center of the story.

Having her be a White Mage / Summoner works well enough, though it means that both her abilities aren't really suited for random encounters (healing being better done out of battle). I generally give her black magic, which makes her very powerful, but with the classical sphere grid, it wasn't easy enough to do so, I guess.

The summons are a bit weird. I feel like the way they are done here is the way they kind-of should work, maybe? Like, not just appearing, blasting the enemies, and disapearing, but staying and fighting with the party. Well, I guess that actually would solve the problem, if I kept the party, because fighting with only one character is rather boring. I didn't really know what to do with them, as using them felt a bit like cheating. I only used them in very specific cases, where I needed a meat shield, but even then I feel like I failed the actualy challenge. Which is fine, I just feel like there would be a light challenge run, where you never summon anything.


I remember his arc being done a bit better (I feel like you would need a bit of time in his head, or maybe a calm talk with him, or something?), but I still think he is a pretty well done character. You certainly need someone like him, who really buys into the religious indoctrination. Especially in combination with him being, aside from that, a nice person (his hate of Al-Bheds are counted under religious indoctrination).

Thinking about it, I feel like the way he thinks of Al-Bhed could have used a bit more focus. But then, he is clearly positioned as wrong in so many ways, so it's maybe less "this bad person is actually good", and more "this decent guy has awful parts to him".

It there even a difference? It feels like I defend really awful behaviour, and I generally expect people to think about awful stuff, like hating people, just because they are too lazy to think for themselves. And it feels the game makes it a bit too easy for Wakka. He is nearly never called out on his bullshit, or not enough, the game just makes apologies for it, like it isn't his fault.

What this comes down to is, that I think that he is, while interesting, a very problematic person that the game isn't quite equipped to work with.

I'm not quite sure which role he feels, in battles. I guess a bit Black Mage (or maybe Green Mage, I think in FFTA2, these were the ones with the status magic) plus Archer? I never got his really good overdrives, but he still was a very useful member of the party.


Unfortunately, I don't have too much to say about her. I still enjoyed her, whenever she had something to say. I liked that, depsite her being clearly very smart and not falling into the trap of judging others, just because they are different (that she doesn't like strangers is a different thing). And still feeling subservient to the church, when it really comes to it. She doesn't care about the teachings, for her, Yevon is just the governing body of this world, and she doesn't seem to care too much about the small details (like not using machina).

I wished we got more for her to do, though. Her role is nice and important, but doesn't do her justice. And I know, from looking it up, that we learn a bit more about her if we do a side quest. Which might be fair, I guess. But the game should have really given you a way to explore Bevelle. Partly, because it is clearly a giant city, far bigger than anything else on this world. But partly also because I would have liked a short storyline with her and the summoner she guarded before.

In battle, she simply is the Black Mage. Not much to say, except that she was simply the strongest character in my party, for everything that wasn't just one-shotted by someone. Especially with bosses, she was very useful for most of the time, and got really strong with Ultima and Hades Magic.


My thoughts are similar to the ones I have on Lulu, just more so. Due to his personality, he doesn't even get scenes like Lulu does, where he makes interesting comments on things, or explains something. Even his substory is less interesting than the one from Lulu, even though with more time and work, it might have been more interesting. The way it is, there is just not that much to him.

There is, of course, his close relationship with Yuna. And the game does a good job at showing how much they mean to each other, and how their relationship works. But, aside from learning the basics, we don't get too much of that here (and, granted, this might also be me, because I might overlook stuff that falls outside of typical storytelling). I assume he and Yuna have quite a lot shared memories of them alone, which we simply are not privy to, which hurts at least my ability to get something out of him being there.

I do love his design. No surprise, he is a cat-like character, and blue is a cool color.

In battle, he works as a Blue Mage. We already got into the details of how this works in this game, and how it could have worked better. I still used him, but, in the end, I don't think I would have missed him in battle, had I not had him. Which is fine, but simply sticks out in a game like this, where most characters have a specific niche that lets them kill specific monsters in a single hit.


I feel a bit reminded of Yang, from FF IV. Aurons story is, kind-of, already told. And I don't think he has much of an arc here, aside, maybe, from respecting Tidus a bit more, as time went on. The problem is, that he already knows what we actually have to do (aside from the very details, I mean, but he doesn't learn anything really new from the original journey).

There would have been a space for that. He is very much all-business, and you could have make him lightening up a bit. I don't think the game did that, though, he is mainly used as a guide and wise man. You know, the mentor who teaches you and dies at some point, to motivate the hero. Except that he is already dead. Might have been interesting, to let you lose him, but unlike FF VII, this would really hurt you, due to certain enemies needing his attacks and abilities.

I do remember always finding him really cool, but realized that he is also pretty much a jerk, towards anything that doesn't concern the pilgrimage. As I said, here would have been an opportunity to give him an arc, but there has already not been enough time to really work out the arcs of Lulu and Kimahri. But then, not every character needs an arc. He fills out his role fine.

And it's fitting that, being dead and all, there is no more development. Death and a stop to development is strongly correlated in this game, so this actually works really well. Also, considering that the dead are only alive because they have a specific thing they want to keep achieving, it would probably be silly to have him change. I guess.

I think he is a samurai? Dunno, is there a class that normally ignores defense?


I already talked about her not simply being a copy of Yuffie and Selphie, and pretty much her own character. A quite enjoyable one, too, I think. She is smart and capable, which might not always appear that way, with her being so young and her having a bit of a goofy way. But due to the world being as it is, she isn't nearly as positive as she would be, without the constant worry.

Like, she seems clearly like a technical nerd, who finds it fun to tinker with things. But I would imagine her to be someone who is always cheerful and optimistic, and that isn't a given here, of course. Just talks about how grim this world is.

I do love, that she is that technical...maybe not genius, but that she is really competent with machinery, and how that is put into her being a chemist. Not really the same, but works fine together.

I feel like I should be able to talk about more, and maybe it's just that I have written for some time now, but nothing else comes to mind. I certainly enjoyed her presence, and how she and Tidus felt like they would be best friends, in other circumstances.

Having her being a thief and a chemist works pretty well. In such a situation, if you would need ingredients for your specialty, if makes sense to learn how to steal the things you need. Still, while stealing a lot, I just don't like chemists much. I'm not motivated to experiment with abilities that offer so many combinations. In V, I could just use one hour to try everything out. Here, there seem way more options to exist. Plus, that she can not do that all the time made experimentation even less interesting for me.


Similar to Yuna, I enjoyed him for being a different interpretation of a kid with shitty parents. This time, the worst thing happens, and he becomes a monster.

As mentioned a few times, this guy feels like a new interpretation of Sephiroth. Like, what if Sephiroth tried to be the bad guy, destroy the planet, all that stuff, but failed, because he was actually the less interesting threat. I still think that's the case in VII, and that Shinra is the main villain, so making clear here that it's about Yevon, and how it hurts the people of this world, was a nice move.

As mentioned, I find it interesting that the game pretty much from the start makes clear that there is something wrong with him. With a bit of experience with the genre, I think it's not hard to guess that he will be a major antagonist.

Due to him trying to actually get out of the cycle that Yevon created, you might few him, aside from Tidus and Yuna, as a third protagonist, just one gone wrong. He isn't the stand-in for Yevon, except maybe as the logical endpoint, to finally creating something that will destroy the whole world. That stand-in would be Yu-Yevon, or maybe Yunalesca, which means FF X turns the situation around a bit. Like, in IX, we have Queen Brahne as the antagonist, until Kuja shows up, and takes over. Here, Yevon is the antagonist, Seymour tries to take over, and fails. And honestly, I don't think he would have ever gotten through, defeating Yu Yevon to take over Sin.

Which makes me question how relevant to the game he actually is. Sure, there is the whole subplot of him wanting to marry Yuna. But that one isn't essential, right? The game could have played the pilgrimage straight, just going from summon to summon, until we defeat Yunalesca. So, Seymour is just flavour, I think, just a face to hate, so Yevon isn't just a faceless entity. Even though he is more of a third party.

Still, Seymour could be excised from the game. You could still have Yevon make the situation harder for us through Kinoc (which might give Auron a bit more to do), not as someone to fight against, but as someone who realizes that we are a problem, and tries to use his political and religious power to stop us.

The World

Spira is an excellent world. The world of FF VII was a real character, who participated in the game, and still, this is a stronger world, I feel. You have more races, a unifying, cultural force and I feel like everything is more connected.

The idea of people clinging to life, and in some cases simply staying is really interesting. I kind of wished, that there were an explanation for this, like it had to do with the existence of Zanarkand, maybe? I don't think this is a thing in X-2 anymore, and it does feel like a weird anomaly, so I guess my headcanon is that the Unsent, or sending in general, are somehow connected to Sin. There are no summoners anymore, who can send people, in X-2, right?

I love the idea of having a carrot with Blitzball, giving the people something positive to think about (or rather, making them forget the important problems) and another carrot with the summoners, for the long term. Blitzball especially seems like such a clever idea. Like, they finally found a way to really incorporate the minigame into the story, and it was done in a pretty clever.

I was positively surprised, that Yevon isn't just a powerhungry, horrible body of monsters, like Shinra was. They actually do believe that they are doing something good, even though it is incredibly wrong-headed. I kind-of get it, no one can think of a way to defeat Sin, and the only reason we can do it is because Jecht and Tidus worked, kind-of, together. As believable as monsters like Rufus are, I appreciate the more layered interpretation of an antagonistic ruler.

The world has a nice amount of History, which lends quite some weight to its feeling, and why it is the, I think, best FF world up to now. Mae-Chen is one of my favourite NPCs for a reason.


Considering how long the yearning for infinite life has been a theme of FF, I'm quite surprised that it took so long to explore it in so much detail. And look how a whole world that would never really die look like.

I felt, again and again, reminded of FF III, and how Xande didn't want to die. And how it turned him into a monster.

But here, the game explores up close. The answer is, that infinite live doesn't differ much from being an undead, or at least the artificial creation would turn out that way. The search for something unreachable would make you inhuman. The same happened with Yu Yevon, who would have lived forever, but just as a mindless monster. Seymour, of course, was on the way to get there too, as we experienced.

Aside from that, there is a strong theme of bad parentage, which I talked already a lot during my writeups. Jecht, at least, apologized for what he did. And granted, Yunas father wasn't bad, he just did his job, a horrible one. Yevon is to blame for that. But generally, we look at how parents can burden their children.

Another theme that came back was the use of technology, its abuse and how it would effect the world. No surprise there, the series critizises the overuse of technology often enough. Here, we simply see how the world falls apart. But it's good to see that it is also not just "technology is bad", that it simply is more complicated.

Unfortunately, nothing more interesting than these obvious ones comes to mind. Maybe later, if an idea appears.


Well, I really wanted to try it out, but after the first match took forever, and I didn't really get how it worked, and why I couldn't do the Jecht Shot, my motivation immediately plummeted. I appreciate how they included the minigame here, but I wished they had just included a new card game. But I also can see how it would be hard to, once more, create one with new rules. Also, for the purposes of Yevon, there is clearly something flashy necessary.

So, can't say anything remotely interesting about this game. It's there, I'm glad people have and had fun with it, but it certainly didn't work for me. Honestly, the main problem is the time. One match is just way too long.


So, this was FF X. I enjoyed playing it, but I had a harder time reading it, interpreting it, than some other games. I feel like my readings are all very much surface level, more than usual (it's fine, this isn't fishing for compliments), but partly, I feel like this is due to the game using text instead of subtext for a lot of things.

Which might be another reason, why it didn't work as much for me as I assumed. Still more than VI (still sad that I don't really vibe with that anymore), but it's one I will take more time to revisit. Still, I think it's a great game, and probably a very good one to start with the series, considering how easy the game can be, and how fast you can grind yourself up, if anything is too hard. You have simply a lot of options, if only to load everyone up with overdrives.

Well, that's it for now. I already took quite a break, so I'll probably not take too long to start with FF X-2. Which should be a quite different experience, both playing and writing about it.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting. It's very much appreciated, I'm happy someone reads my thoughts.


Round and round I go
Staff member
As mentioned a few times, this guy feels like a new interpretation of Sephiroth. Like, what if Sephiroth tried to be the bad guy, destroy the planet, all that stuff, but failed, because he was actually the less interesting threat. I still think that's the case in VII, and that Shinra is the main villain, so making clear here that it's about Yevon, and how it hurts the people of this world, was a nice move.
Shinra isn't really the main villain past disc 1. If the game has a human villain other than Sephiroth, it's Hojo, who is a Shinra employee but has no real allegiance to Shinra: they're a means to his ends. Hojo doesn't do too much during the game, but he precipitates everything that happens. Outside of general Shinra malfeasance, everything bad that happens can be traced back to Hojo.

Your only other real choice for primary antagonist is Jenova, but Sephiroth is controlling Jenova throughout the game, so that choice ends up simplifying back to Sephiroth.
I think I feel pretty similarly about X on the whole. It's not my favorite cup of tea but it's DAMN well-made. The most interesting things that stuck with me the most about it were definitely things like Tidus and Jecht's relationship, especially because of how it resonated with my childhood. The technology messaging I think I still prefer most in FFVII but the way X puts it on the other side of the Yevon coin was very interesting.

I'm one of the people that actively loves the Blitzball minigame but even then it has ways it tries to wear out its welcome. It's a shame it doesn't play out just a little faster. If it were made a little later I'm sure they could've cut down a lot on the animation transitions that really bog it down every time an action is made.


Shinra isn't really the main villain past disc 1. If the game has a human villain other than Sephiroth, it's Hojo, who is a Shinra employee but has no real allegiance to Shinra: they're a means to his ends. Hojo doesn't do too much during the game, but he precipitates everything that happens. Outside of general Shinra malfeasance, everything bad that happens can be traced back to Hojo.

Your only other real choice for primary antagonist is Jenova, but Sephiroth is controlling Jenova throughout the game, so that choice ends up simplifying back to Sephiroth.
You're right, of course, Sephiroth is clearly set up as the antagonist there. Something got mixed up there in my head.


What happens, after the world is saved? When the big threat is dealt with, when the dominant organization fell apart, when the heroes have done their job?

This is always an interesting question, one that came to mind especially with FF VII, to me. I imagine, even after the world is saved, the situation won't be pretty. And I was looking forward to FF X-2, to experience a take on that idea. Considering that Spira is a very well done setting, it works pretty well for such an exploration.

I tried playing X-2 three times. The first time was probably around 2009, quite some time after playing X. I gave up in chapter 1, when I fought against the whole Leblanc group, and they just kept stalling my actions, due to the weird way the ATB works here. I also was underpowered, because I was not interested in random battles, and was therefore severely underpowered.

The second time, I got further, maybe chapter 2? It was in 2013, I think, this time immediately after playing X a second time. Something didn't work for me, here. I think I made it to chapter 3, but only because I remember the weird massage scene, at the end of chapter 2. Also, that I felt underpowered, due to, again, not doing many random battles (getting an instant flee ability that always works in random battles tended to do that to me). I remember trying Lady Luck, being frustrated, because I guess I didn't read the name correctly. But I also remember feeling the other jobs being lacking.

The third time, shortly after the pandemic started, I actually made it through. I think, this time I actually did everything, visit every location and walking through places with only random encounters, like Mi'hen Highroad. Which made me way stronger, and probably overpowered. I had some fun with it, but don't remember much more about it. The only things stuck were the big concert in the middle, that Yuna gave, and that I found the final boss to be a difficulty spike.


I'm sure we all know, how this game starts, and how it seems to have turned people off the game immediately. Rikku is recognizable immediately, we get some new character in Paine and then Yuna does a concert and we fight her. Which isn't true, of course, but I think this video was shown before the game was released, and people disliked how Yuna had changed? Vague memories about that.

The contrast is, of course, striking. After the somber, calm game that is X, we get one with a cheering crowd in the same world. With one of the main characters from the first game, one who was always reserved and shy, seemingly having fun in front of a big crowd.

First, it seems like there is some intentional reference to the start of X, with Tidus also being cheered on by a big crowd. Not sure if there is more to that, though.

But more relevant, I don't think the break with Yunas character is as strong as people think it is. At the very end of X, she gave a speech in front of a big crowd. And over the course of the game, she clearly developed a stronger sense of self, became more selfassured, and just got stronger. Honestly, the only thing different here seems that she seems to have fun. And even if that is Leblanc and not Yuna, I can easily see Yuna singing and dancing in front of a crowd.

I played through chapter 1 already, and while she still is a bit reserved, she also can stand up for herself, and simply do stuff that are fun to her, no matter what others think. It still takes her some work, but after two years, I can buy that change without a problem.

The contrast to the first game is, of course, pretty sharp. Instead of a linear path that gives nearly no leeway for exploration, and where you have to do nearly everything, you get to pick and choose from all the different locations. You can just follow the storyline, but you can also do everything. Or look somewhere, and decide that it's not fun (I probably won't bother with the rival companies in the Calm Lands, or the weirdo whose father wants me to find a girlfriend for.

The game even tells us, that we are supposed to write our own story. X didn't even let us play our story, it made it explicitely clear that most of what happened, had already happened - we only followed the story of someone, with no actual power. Now, the world is free, it is open, the pressure on Yuna is gone in every sense. Yuna can choose, we can choose. And it's not the story of someone else anymore. It's our own story.

The battle system, as mentioned already in some earlier posts, also shows that. It is not calm and methodical, it is as fast as a quasi-turn based system probably can be. When fighting my first battles, I was completely overwhelmed. Switching to Wait-Mode and turning the speed all the way down changed it enough, though, to make me feel capable of dealing with it.

X has a reputation of having your characters pretty much on a set path. Even the international version only gives you a bit more leeway. Which, of course, plays into the theme of that game, of predetermination, and how you can only move away from it, when you are strong enough. Here, you just do whatever you like. There are no real negative consequences, you get stronger all the time, no matter the job. And for now, the game was easy enough that, if you just grow in levels at all, you will get through it. I wished you got even more dress spheres at the beginning, but it's fine, you get quite some choice.

BTW, this is the version that originally came out in Europe. So there are some jobs missing, that later versions added, like the Festivalist (I think that's how it's called?).

Aside from gameplay and story, we simply get a very contrasting mood. The last game was about a duty that got thrust upon you, and that you had to fulfill. A world, where everything was in a permanent, unchanging state. Here, the world changes at a fast pace, and Yuna gets to have fun.

It's specifically fun, that this game is about. Yeah, you still have to save the world, but it is not crushing you while doing so, and it's not Yunas duty. It's her choice, it is while she does whatever she likes, and it's while she is enjoying herself. In X, she wanted her journey to be filled with laughter. She got her wish.

There is not much of a story happening, in chapter 1. It's mainly worldbuilding, showing us how the world has changed. Mainly, people still get buy and are simply more free then before. We have the Youth League and New Yevon, who are presented as the contrasting factions who will determine how the world will move forward. More on that later, but for now, there is a bit of a feeling that New Yevon stands for being stuck in the past and the Youth League for moving forward. But this is just a very early impression, and will change, I am sure. There are also side factions, like the Al-Bhed machinists and the Leblanc syndicate.

Still, nothing feels weighty at the moment. We are just experiencing singular adventures in an open world. Because of that, I feel reminded of the NES games. Sure, there the structure was linear, but the adventures you had were generally independant of each other. In that regard, this feels a bit like a spiritual successor of I and especially III.

As mentioned, the theme of the game is to have fun (and live life at its fullest). And it works - I can't remember which FF was the last, to give me this much, simple joy. I played through most of chapter 1 on Sunday alone, for over nine hours, doing all aside from the story missions. Doing all kinds of different things, plus leveling up my characters is a thrill, and I just want to keep going. I would have spent hours in the dessert, but unfortunately, progress happens automatically, by opening up new chapters.

I love how we get to find out what Yuna does, while Rikku and Paine are dealing with Leblanc in the intro, she tells us that the battle at the end was the easy part, and then we learn that all she had to do was put on a goofy costume and give balloons to people.

I do enjoy that minigame, whose name I forgot. You know, the one with the coins. It's over decently fast, it includes calculating a bit, I have fun with it. I might have played this in X, if it was the main minigame and a bit extended.

Regarding the main story, you steal a sphere from a temple, and then decide to donate it. Either to New Yevon or the Youth League. I choose the Youth League, because Yevon, New or Old, has no place in this world, after what they have done. But I get why they are still here, and why people still follow them. But, as mentioned, more on that later. Still, they will not get any help from me, as long as I have the choice.

I'm not the biggest fan of WRPGs, due to them not only being open, but also without focus (or at least not as much as I prefer), offering you way too many choices and possibilities. I highly prefer this here, what I assume is the japanese version of an open-world JRPG. You still can do whatever you want, ignoring stuff that bores or annoys you. But if you decide to do side content, it's clearly marked and offered, you don't have to search for everything yourself. I like that.

Well, that's enough for this time. Next, I'll probably talk a bit more about the different places of Spira, and the missions. Or not. We'll see.