Defining Moments – Final Fantasy X

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I thought about a lot of things, like… where I was, what I’d got myself into. I started to feel… light-headed, and then, sleepy. …I think I had a dream – a dream of being alone. I wanted someone – anyone – beside me, so I didn’t have to feel alone anymore.

It’s isn’t unknown to role-playing game lovers that SquareSoft – as they were then known, prior to their merging with Enix – has made some of the best role-playing games to date.

What they’re so well known for, of course, is the ever-popular Final Fantasy series. And with that in mind, any fan of Final Fantasy knows that Square can be brutal when it comes to playing with players’ emotions. With the death of Aerith in Final Fantasy VII, and the child mages Palam and Porom turning themselves to stone to save their friends in Final Fantasy IV, players shouldn’t be surprised when things take a deathly turn for their favorite characters.

Final Fantasy X – which recently was remastered in to HD quality and re-released on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita – had the strongest story to date when it was originally released on the PlayStation 2 in July 2001. With some terrible voice acting, an unbalanced battle system, and highly linear gameplay, Final Fantasy X was easily overlooked and tossed to the side. But it wasn’t hard for anyone who did play FFX to admit that there was something about the game that made you want to play it.

You assume the role of Tidus, a young man who is a star player on the Zanarkand Bliztball team – a sport that kind of seems like water soccer. After a few minutes of introductory playing, you’re torn from your sports game by Sin: a huge something-or-other creature that basically swims around and breaks things for fun. After meeting up with Auron – Tidus’ mentor and his father’s old friend – you rush to fight Sin, only to have him completely destroy the city of Zanarkand. Tidus is then cast adrift into the vast expanse of the ocean.

A few days later. he find himself washed ashore on Spira, a lush land with a dark history. He quickly comes to learn of things that don’t quite make sense, and soon finds himself lost and confused. He learns that his sport of Blitzball is a national sport in Spira, and that Zanarkand was decimated 1000 years ago. Weird! He soon meets Yuna, and learns of aeons – and the summoners who can control them – asking for their aide in their trials and travels, all in an effort to make it to their Final Summoning.

 

In FFX, the player really comes to love the characters. Tidus has a goal and a purpose: he wants to surpass the skills of his father, Jecht, and make him proud. He continues to keep Auron close by and travel with him, listening to him every step of the way. He meets the Al Bhed girl, Rikku, who is more than a little silly and a very vibrant character. There’s even Lulu, who at times can be a little moody.

Tidus makes quick friends with Wakka – the captain of the Besaid Aurochs Bliztball team – and starts to get closer and closer to Yuna, the only person who truly believes that he is from Zanarkand. Yuna claims that when she was a child, a man named Jecht told her the same story that Tidus had. Tidus tries to tell her that Jecht disappeared from Zanarkand ten years ago, and Yuna informs him that was the day that Jecht arrived in Spira.

After about 14 hours of gameplay, you’ll grow to love these characters. Yuna and Tidus develop one of the most innocent and pure love connections possible – despite everything going on around them. They are even given one of the longest make-out sessions in cinematic video game history.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Final Fantasy game without some sort of end-game plot twist; and Final Fantasy X doesn’t disappoint.

You never really see it coming, and it’s okay if you cried when it happened – we did. After the team decides that it’s time to defeat the Final Aeon and stop Yu Yevon – the creator of Sin – once and for all, they make a move to invade the hulk of Sin’s body. Of course Seymour, Yuna’s personal antagonist throughout the game, tries to stop them; but after making short work of him and allowing Yuna to send him off, you finally come to find the Final Aeon, Sin. You stand face to face with no other then Jecht himself. Tidus’ father tells him he’s proud of him, then transforms in to the Final Aeon.

This is where the game takes a dramatically sad turn in the story, and creates the basis for our defining moment. The Zanarkand fayths, which are souls that are trapped inside of a statue that can be summoned as aeons, are freed from Yu Yevon’s control. Yuna sends the fayth, only to falter as Auron begins to fade in to pyreflies. He had been a fayth of Zanarkand, and reassures Yuna that it’s alright, to continue the sending, and allow him to rest.

After Yuna sends the aeons and Auron off, she turns around to see Tidus, who quickly tells her he has to go and apologizes for not being able to show her Zanarkand. He walks away from the group. Yuna runs after him, only to phase completely through him and fall to the ground. When she finally stands up, she speaks – though what she says is different in the American version then in the Japanese. In the Japanese version, Yuna simply thanks him; in the American version, she tells him that she loves him. From there, after a fading hug from Tidus, the game winds down, allowing you to dry your tears.

Coming to learn that Tidus was a dream of Zanarkand was a tough pill to swallow; it would be for anyone. To learn that the main love story of FFX could never really be, and that Yuna was in love with someone that was a citizen of dream version of Zanarkand– tugs at the heart-strings.

There are many theories about the ending of Final Fantasy X, and there have been many arguments over what really happens to Tidus. Of course, playing through Final Fantasy X-2 clears up a lot of the questions; but it can still be a very difficult story arc to understand. But that doesn’t make the truth of Tidus’ existence any less sorrowful.

If you haven’t played Final Fantasy X, it’s worth a shot. If you can overlook the sometimes shoddy voice acting, and troublesome battle system, the story really does make the game worth your while.

Heather Williams

Heather Williams

Writer
Chasing anything shiny in MMOs and falling off cliffs, Heather travels from Korriban to Azeroth on a regular basis. She spends her days playing games, plotting the downfall of the Republic, and drinking way too much coffee. 
Heather Williams

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