Final Fantasy X
Release Date: December 17, 2001 (NA)
Platform Played On: PS2
2018 Placement: Unranked
What It Is:
The 10th game in the Final Fantasy franchise, the first Final Fantasy on the PS2, and the first to get a numbered sequel in X-2. Like previous Final Fantasies, it’s an RPG that relies on turn-based combat and an involved story that takes place over many hours of gameplay. It changes up the formula a little bit in a few ways, though, to the point that it has my favorite combat system of all the Final Fantasies. First, your entire party is readily available at any time and you can switch them out in combat whenever you want, thereby making it truly feel like a party on an adventure and not forcing you to sideline characters. In addition they remove the ATB/time systems in battle in favor of a global turn order where you can see both the enemy and your next turns. This ends up giving you time to think and also adds a layer of strategy to the battle.
Final Fantasy X also has the Sphere Grid, which is one of the most complicated skill trees for leveling in Final Fantasy history but also a personal favorite of mine just because. It’s no materia or Magicite, and the Zodiac boards improve upon its general idea, but it’s a visually neat system even if it ends up being complex for complexity’s sake.
Why It’s Important To Me:
There are three mainline Final Fantasies that are in a league of their own (and will all show up later on this list) and that’s not really debatable. But I waver back and forth between the fourth best and it really depends on my mood. Last time I did this list, I’d just gotten off revisiting FFXII through Zodiac Age and was on a high off of its job system, characters, and story. But this time around I’m appreciating FFX due to it’s characters, story (and ending!), combat, and music. It also features Seymour who has the absolute wildest hair for any villain in any media ever created.
Final Fantasy was a series I grew up with and so the series always has a special place in my heart. X in particular I remember strongly because it was my first PS2 game (technically I had it and Metal Gear Solid 2 at the same time, but they were the two games I got with my PS2 back in 2001.) I still remember being wowed by the improved visuals in CGI cut-scenes and listen to voice-acting for the first time in a Final Fantasy game. Even if some of the dialogue is very cheesy and some scenes are so bad they’re good, I still love it for being one of the two games that made me go wow at the possibilities on the PS2.
My Strongest Memory:
It’s a needlessly complicated mini-game that’s included as a diversion but I played the shit out of Blitzball when I originally played the game. I loved the game itself, the different techniques you could use, and how you could recruit and set up your team. It’s probably the mini-game I spent the most time in out of all Final Fantasies (yes, including Triple Triad).
Even now, I’ve recently started a new playthrough of FFX on my PS4 and what I’m looking forward to the most is unlocking Blitzball so I can mess around in it. Story? Pfft, gimme that large water sphere where I can swim around, confuse the enemy team and fire the Jecht Shot to burn some defenders.
Why It’s #96:
It’s been a long time since I played Final Fantasy X and a lot of my memories about the game itself are faded. I totally forgot about how nonsensical and awful the intro sequence is (but it came rushing back to me as I replayed it) but I do remember thinking the same thing back in 2001 and the game comes together once the story takes off and you have a full party. The strongest feelings I have for the game are about it’s combat tweaks and Blitzball, though, and those two things aren’t enough to carry it higher on the list. It IS the fourth-best mainline Final Fantasy, though, at least until I start thinking about Final Fantasy XII again.