Tag Archives: japanese role-playing games

Chrono Trigger (DS)

Chrono Trigger was originally released in 1995, but has been re-released numerous times since.

One of the great hallmarks of the Japanese Role-Playing genre of video games is Chrono Trigger. The 1995 Super Nintendo game was crafted by a dream team of the era’s best RPG developers. Produced by Squaresoft, the title was a collaboration between Square and Yuji Horii, who at the time was best known as the creator of Dragon Quest. The designer for the title was Hironobu Sakaguchi who was credited as the father of Final Fantasy. For RPG fans in the 90s, Squaresoft working on an RPG that was essentially Dragon Quest + Final Fantasy was an RPG fan’s wet dream. How could it be get any better than that? Well, it did, because numerous other talented individuals worked on the title. Akira Toriyama handled (Dragon Quest, Dragon Ball) character designs and a young artist by the name of Tetsuya Takahashi was also part of the art department for the game. Composers Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu were onboard to provide the music while a trio of Final Fantasy vets, Akihiko Matsui, Takashi Tokita, Yoshinori Kitase, handled the directing duties. A lesser name at the time, Masato Kato (Xenogears, Final Fantasy VII), contributed as a writer on the project and would come to be the main architect of the Chrono Trigger story.

Needless to say, this was a huge project for Squaresoft and the Super Nintendo in the mid-90s and was the spiritual merger of Square and Enix years before that merger would become a reality. Unfortunately though, the game was almost too big and too late arriving in the first quarter of 1995 after the Japanese launch of Sony’s PlayStation and roughly 6 months before that console’s US release. Another obstacle to the game’s success was its price. In the US, the retail price of a new copy of Chrono Trigger was $80, a pretty massive sum of money for a single game that wasn’t part of an established franchise. RPG gamers, particularly in Japan, had reason to be excited for Chrono Trigger and were likely willing to pay such a price, but the casual gamer had no idea what this was and the JRPG subgenre was still finding its footing in the west. All of that is to say, it’s not particularly surprising that, despite largely strong review scores in gaming mags, the game didn’t sell vast quantities when initially released. The production run was likely modest, and many people simply missed it.

It’s easy to see a little Dragon Ball in Toriyama’s designs for Chrono Trigger.

In 1995, I didn’t quite miss Chrono Trigger, but I also didn’t get the full experience. The title was a rental for me, and even though SNES JRPGs aren’t as long as modern ones, a single rental still wasn’t enough time to experience everything the game had to offer. I distinctly remember getting to the point where the character Frog leaves the party, and I don’t believe I made it much farther. The game somewhat quickly came to be regarded as a missed classic. I think this was largely due to the explosion in interest in the genre following the release of Final Fantasy VII, but even a mere 2 years after the SNES release, the game was already hard to come by. Prices on the after-market were routinely $100 or more, and even though we should have still been used to higher priced games, it was hard to justify that kind of expense when brand new PlayStation titles were $50.

For many, their first introduction to Chrono Trigger would come from emulation. Emulators for 8 and 16 bit consoles were becoming popular and many used them as an alternative to paying exorbitant after-market prices for rare games. I know I gave Chrono Trigger another shot on an emulator, but I don’t recall making it very far. For me, there was always a logic hump to get over when it came to playing console games on the PC. I also lost interest because not long after that Squaresoft announced a PlayStation port of Chrono Trigger. The title would be released alongside Final Fantasy IV as Final Fantasy Chronicles in 2001 (ironically, quite late in the lifecycle of the original PlayStation). I was a day one buyer of the bundle and it was in that form that I finally completed a playthrough of Chrono Trigger. Unfortunately, the PSX version of the game wasn’t the best way to experience it. In porting the SNES game to the disc-based PSX a new problem was unleashed: load times. The loading was a necessary evil to enjoying the game as simply going from gameplay to the menu included a load of approximately 5 seconds. It may read as inconsequential in text, but in playing the game it’s annoying and monotonous. Still, it wasn’t all bad for the PSX version as it did include some flashy new animated segments from Toriyama’s Bird Studio and animated by Toei, who also animated Toriyama’s most famous franchise Dragon Ball.

Aside from availability, the big selling point of the PSX release were the new cutscenes.

The PlayStation release was a flawed one, but not so flawed that it could sap all joy from Chrono Trigger. Still, I have wanted to replay the game for years now, but was reluctant to return to that PSX port even though I still own it. And ever since 2008, there really has been no need to as that is when Square-Enix released what many consider to be the definitive version of Chrono Trigger on the Nintendo DS. The DS version kept the good parts of the PSX port but returned the functionality of the SNES version. It also contained improvements in the form of a refined translation and display mode tailored to the DS which basically removed all visual clutter from the main screen and moved it to the bottom one. It also made the game portable, and really the only sacrifice one has to make is the loss of being able to easily play the game on a television. When the DS version came out it slipped under my radar. I was likely just too preoccupied with whatever I was playing at home to grab it. Only recently did I finally rectify that, though similar to the SNES version back in the late 90s, my procrastinating did hurt me in the wallet to some degree though not as badly as it would have in 2000.

My desire to play Chrono Trigger in 2021 stems from the fact that most of my experience with the game was in an inferior form 20 years ago. Since then, the game’s reputation has only managed to grow and many now regard it as the greatest RPG of all-time. The RPG podcast Axe of the Blood God even did a March Madness style bracket for its listeners to vote on that resulted in Chrono Trigger besting the likes of Final Fantasy VII, Skyrim, and The Witcher 3 to be crowned the best ever. Now, one RPG podcast is hardly the final say on any single game, but I found it telling that a subscription-based userbase for an RPG podcast would still settle on Chrono Trigger as one would imagine anyone paying to listen to an RPG podcast is quite likely a diehard RPG enthusiast. And I personally had no real qualms with the result myself as I personally hold Chrono Trigger in very high regard and the end result made me realize that I just need to experience it again for myself.

The DS version really declutters the main screen by moving all of the informative graphics to the bottom screen.

If you’ve read this far and have no idea just what Chrono Trigger is allow me to explain. It’s a pretty traditional JRPG from the 90s. As the player, you control and manage a party of up to 3 characters with more in reserve as you go from town to town in the game talking to non-player characters to find information on where to go. Traveling from these towns to the next destination unfolds over a world map; a zoomed out view of the game’s world where characters can traverse miles in seconds. Upon entering hostile areas, the player will encounter enemies which triggers a battle sequence. Unlike its peers, Chrono Trigger’s transition from exploration to battle is entirely seamless. There’s no change to the art style, no loading of a new screen, the characters just simply pull out their weapons and commence fighting. In battle, characters can attack, use magic, use items, or flee when it’s their turn. Turns are determined by the character’s underlying speed score which affects how quickly their action meter fills. For RPG veterans, they know this as Square’s Active Time Battle System first implemented in Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger makes no real changes to it. Where Chrono Trigger does distinguish itself from Final Fantasy is in the removal of random encounters on the map as enemies will now appear on screen before a battle begins. The other distinguishing trait is in the Tech system, which I’ll get to shortly. For the most part though, the game plays like any other JRPG. When the battle is over, character’s gain experience which contribute to them leveling-up and seeing their base stats improve. They also gain ability points which are applied automatically to their magic and skills and will eventually result in them learning a new ability. Characters can also be outfitted with a weapon and three forms of armor that enhance their native abilities and are gradually replaced overtime as better equipment becomes available.

What sets the wheels in motion is essentially a misunderstanding and an overzealous Chancellor.

That all is pretty conventional, but Chrono Trigger changes this up a bit with its emphasis on time and its Tech system. The word tech is essentially a synonym for magic in other games, though the game doesn’t consider all techs “magic.” They’re the abilities characters learn as they get stronger and the only way to learn a new tech is for a character to participate in combat, which is different from earning experience towards leveling up as inactive characters will still earn experience. Techs come in various forms, some are simply strong physical attacks, others are elemental spells like Water and Fire, and some are support abilities like healing and buffs. Each character has their own unique techs to learn and they basically shape how that character should be used. Some are naturally more physical fighters with the character Ayla in particular lacking a magic attack. Some are magic attackers, some are more of a support character, and a few try to blend both. That part is pretty standard, the part where Chrono Trigger introduces a new wrinkle is in the form of dual and triple techs. Each character will eventually learn a tech that’s compatible with another character. This starts off slowly, but by the end of the game basically every character has a tech that works with another. Learning them is simply a matter of the two characters participating in battle together when they both know the tech needed to create the dual tech. Like standard techs, they take on various forms and can be healing or attacking in nature. Some allow the non-magic users like the previously mentioned Ayla to add an elemental component to an attack, but mostly they’re just high impact moves as the damage output is greater than the sum of its parts. The same is true for triple techs which just incorporate all three active characters.

The Tech system is certainly flashy which helps cover up its lack of depth. Very little player input is required to learn them and it becomes more about balancing risk vs reward. Especially early in the game when the speed of the characters is both slower and more varied. Dual and triple techs are only usable when all of the characters involved have full action gauges so waiting on slower characters means there are moments when characters aren’t doing anything. Towards the end of the game it’s less of an issue as you will likely have access to multiple characters that have maxed out or near maxed out speed. The only added wrinkle is there is one, optional, character that has no dual techs and only a few, hidden, triple techs. Deciding whether or not to utilize that character can be tricky because you’re losing the ability to combine attacks. That character is also entirely offensive in nature which means someone else is going to have to be the healer in the party and usually that character is weaker and not the best choice for dual-teching. By the end of the game though, it’s again rendered somewhat moot as there is at least one character capable of healing that also can dish out plenty of damage.

I know they don’t make any sense, but I do miss the World Map that was prevalent in every JRPG in the 90s.

The main focus of the game’s plot and design revolves around the ability to travel through time. The game begins with the main character, default name Crono, encountering a runaway which leads to the main character getting into a rather sticky situation. It’s not particularly unique for the genre, but it will result in the player getting sent 400 years into the past. As you progress through the game more periods become available. They’re accessible via permanent warps in certain areas and they’ll take you to the future and even further into the past. A key component of advancing the plot involves traveling to the future to obtain something only available there and then going back in time to change something in a later period. Even though you’re essentially playing with the time stream the whole game, it’s still a linear experience for the vast majority of the game. Only towards the end does it open up a bit, as do many of its peers, when the player gains access to a vehicle that both flies and functions as a time machine removing the need to backtrack to specific warp points.

The game is certainly still fun after more than 25 years. The game cycles characters through early on which keeps things fresh and exciting. Level-ups occur at a brisk enough pace and new abilities are added at a suitable pace as well which can become addicting. Seeing each era available in the game also provides incentive to keep going, it’s once you’ve seen them all that the game starts to lose a little steam. Players will naturally gravitate towards a preferred trio only really swapping characters out to make sure abilities aren’t neglected. It’s helpful that you can swap at will, though saving the game is still relegated to the world map and designated save points. By the end of the game, a tedium will start to set in as it becomes apparent that Chrono Trigger’s lack of random encounters doesn’t mean all confrontation is avoidable. Rather it would be more appropriate to describe Chrono Trigger as a game of scripted encounters. Many enemies are onscreen, but completely unavoidable. This becomes annoying in traversing to the various time warps as many will always feature battles in certain spots, even when the party is far beyond the enemy’s talents. One optional string of quests late in the game involves going back and forth between a dinosaur village in two time periods that is just a constant string of fetch quests and backtracking. You will come to know all of the encounters in your way as you battle through them again and again. You may even come to miss random encounters as at least they had some variety as opposed to these scripted ones which never change.

The seamless transitions from exploring to battle are pretty neat, though the non-random encounters aspect of the game has been oversold.

Where the game has not suffered though in the ensuing years rests in its presentation. Toriyama’s digitized character designs are still as charming as ever and the inclusion of the anime cutscenes serve as a reminder of what these sprites represent. The script is mostly light-hearted with plenty of moments of humor. I don’t think anything in this game made me laugh out loud, but it was something I definitely enjoyed for the most part. The score is also a strength, even on tiny DS speakers, though I do feel like it’s missing a signature track similar to how Final Fantasy back in the 90s had its victory theme. The world design is enjoyable though with eras of typical fantasy fare, but also there’s the variety inherent in the future world and prehistory period. The future is quite impressive given the sheer amount of clutter forced into each area. It could have become too messy and busy to look at, but instead remains impressive after all of these years. Certainly, if you’re more of a modern gamer and something like the PlayStation 3 was your first console you may not appreciate the visuals as much as someone who started gaming in the 70s or 80s, but hopefully most will still find them pleasant enough.

And this takes me to my final thoughts and how I view Chrono Trigger as both a product of its time and something that is inherently timeless. Which is to ask, is Chrono Trigger worthy of being viewed as the best RPG ever? I find it hard to argue that it is. I can certainly see how someone who first played it in the 90s can form an attachment to it. It has a terrific team behind it, looks great, sounds great, and it’s just different enough from a Final Fantasy or a Dragon Quest to feel unique. And if you’re into time travel then you really have a recipe for a terrific gaming experience. Where I think it comes up short though is largely in its systems. There’s almost zero customization available to the player as each character has a defined role. Actually, if anything, their roles aren’t defined quite enough as it’s not hard at all to just pick 3 favorites and stick with them. Especially towards the end of the game when all techs have been learned and you can just spam the best dual and triple techs to get past just about every encounter. Enemies basically have just two tricks, they’re either susceptible to physical attacks or magic ones, and not much else. All of the challenge is found in the first 10 hours or so when you’re forced to adapt on the fly, but come the end of the game when it should be getting harder it’s actually getting easier. The final dungeon is almost painfully boring as it’s very linear and offers little or no challenge. I just powered through with the team of Crono, Ayla, and Frog and never had to turn to another character. And I didn’t do any grinding (which is actually another feather in the game’s cap) and was around level 50 come the end. I wasn’t having a bad time with the game or anything like that, but I was certainly ready for it to be over and was reminded why I never embarked on a New Game+ back on the PSX version.

The game boasts an enjoyable cast of characters, though main character Crono is basically just a cipher for the player.

That’s not to say that Chrono Trigger isn’t a competent RPG or an enjoyable experience in 2021. It very much is, and I think a lot of people fell in love with the game because it is so accessible and the presentation is rather flashy for a game form 1995. It’s just not the deep, RPG, experience some might prefer in the genre. I think there’s still a debate over whether or not it’s even the best SNES RPG available. Final Fantasy VI is quite epic in scope with a touch more depth, while Final Fantasy V is very much a systems-focused RPG experience at the expense of story and presentation. In looking at the offerings in the console generation to follow, I still think highly of Final Fantasy VII and I’m also a big proponent for the game’s sequel, Chrono Cross. Then you have games like Suikoden II, Tactics Ogre, Xenogears, and more and I’m reminded that the late 90s and early 2000s really were the golden age of the RPG, the JRPG in particular. And I’m left to honestly wonder if this game can compete with the likes of Skyrim and The Witcher. Those modern titles offer something almost completely different in terms of gameplay, but if I was in one of those annoying scenarios that literally never happen and I had to pick just one RPG to play forever am I picking Chrono Trigger? Am I even considering it? I don’t think so. There is a New Game+ option once the game is over and there are extra endings to uncover, but like the systems, they’re more style than substance. I probably will play through this again since I have the DS version now, but I’m not currently itching to so it may be awhile.

One thing I am certain about in my replay of Chrono Trigger is that the DS version is indeed the way to go. I love making this a portable experience and even though you can’t save at will, at least a DS can be placed into sleep mode to hold your progress. The new display is superior to what came before it with the menu shortcuts on the bottom and the gameplay on the top. I enjoy having the cutscenes even if they don’t add a ton they’re still enjoyable to look at. And from what I can tell, the new translation is superior to what I remember, though admittedly it has been a long time since I looked at the original. The added DS specific content is kind of worthless though. You get a battle arena and a new dungeon that’s just more tedious than anything, but if you’re not tapped out on the game’s combat by the end it’s there. It’s also entirely optional and adding this new content to the game did nothing to harm what had already been created. If you liked Chrono Trigger before, you’ll still like it now. And if you’ve ever enjoyed a classic JRPG, you’ll probably like this as well. It moves at a good clip and it’s very approachable. I would just caution first-time players to not come into it expecting the greatest RPG known to man because that’s an impossible standard for any game to live up to.


Final Fantasy X HD Remaster

Final-Fantasy-X-X-2-HD-Remaster-1Over the years I’ve talked a lot about Final Fantasy but I’ve never posted a game review for any of the numeric titles in the long-running series. Well that ends today as I post my thoughts on the somewhat recently released Final Fantasy X HD Remaster.

One opinion I have stated on more than one occasion here is my affinity for Final Fantasy X, the Playstation 2 RPG released back in 2001. I consider X the last great Final Fantasy game to be released while some want to lump it in with the lesser received post Final Fantasy VII games. Some of these games have been a bit underwhelming while some of the criticism is likely born from the series’ rise in popularity. Prior to VII, Final Fantasy was a niche title with a small but devoted following. Once a bandwagon becomes crowded, the older fans tend to shun the new ones. It happens all of the time within the music industry and video games are no stranger to it as well. Final Fantasy X though took what made the series so great and made some noteworthy improvements to the tried-and-true formula. It took chances too, by eliminating the world map and adding spoken dialogue for the first time in the series. The game was a commercial and critical success even if it’s not often cited as one of the best Final Fantasy games in the series. And since it’s a PS2 game, upgrading the visuals to high definition and re-releasing it makes sense and the world is better for it!

A composite shot featuring the original game merged with the HD version.

A composite shot featuring the original game merged with the HD version.

For those who missed out when the game debuted over ten years ago, Final Fantasy X is a pretty familiar experience for those who played any of the nine previous titles in the series. Players maneuver a character amongst towns, dungeons, and open areas to get from one place to another. Players can interact and speak with other characters while non-interactive moments move the story along. In battle, characters take turns attacking, stealing, casting spells, or defending in an effort to win the fight. A menu screen is used to outfit characters with weapons and armor to boost their stats and make them more formidable foes or to tailor their character for a certain approach. Where X departed from past games was with just about everything else. Some changes, like the new Conditional Turn-Based Battle, are subtle but different enough to leave an impression. In many of the previous games, each character had a meter that would fill gradually during battle before an action could be taken. This was dubbed the Active Time Battle System by developer Squaresoft. The Conditional Turn-Based Battle creates a list of both enemies and player characters determining the order of battle. The list can be altered by certain spells, actions, and effects but overall it creates a more tactical experience, which is enhanced further with the ability to swap characters in and out of battle on the fly. The removal of the world map was a change that felt big at the time but played much smaller. Removing the world map just meant that each area of the game world was integrated seamlessly with one another. The world map had really only existed in prior games as a technological limitation or as a trick to make the game feel bigger than it is. When it was first announced that Final Fantasy X would not include a world map scenario it seemed scary, almost unthinkable, but it ended up being a change for the better.

The main cast.

The main cast.

A much bigger change for Final Fantasy X’s gameplay is the Sphere Grid. Just about every Final Fantasy game has its own unique way of evolving the characters throughout the game to make them better suited for combat. In the original game it was all based on experience points and each character had its own special class be it warrior or black mage. Final Fantasy III and V both made use of what was termed the Job System where the player was free to assign a character’s class making it possible to have a party of all black mages if one so desired. Other additions over the years were the Espers in Final Fantasy VI which allowed characters to learn spells and abilities while being paired with a unique creature, VII had the materia system which was dependent on amassing a bunch of materia and weapons with ample space to use it, and so on. Final Fantasy X’s Sphere Grid was perhaps the most radical departure from the other games. Characters no longer earned experience points, something that was common to all prior Final Fantasy games, and instead earn sphere points. Once a character gains enough sphere points, he gains a sphere level. One sphere level can then be spent to move the character one space on the Sphere Grid. The grid itself is outfitted with several nodes that can be activated with special spheres collected during battle. These nodes can have anything from a point of strength to a spell like Flare. All character evolution takes place on the Sphere Grid. It’s the only way to improve a character’s base stats, like strength, defense, magic, and so on, as well as hit points and abilities. No spells or special moves need to be acquired by beating a special boss or finding it as a prize in some mini game, it’s all right there on the Sphere Grid for you to see from the start. Of course, acquiring a spell like Ultima is going to take lots of time and many sphere levels to get there, but you’re free to plot your own course. The Sphere Grid in the original game starts each character in their own section, and while you’re free to do with them as you please, the game clearly intends for Lulu to be a black mage, Rikku a thief, and so on.

It may not be PS3 quality, but the game is far from an eyesore.

It may not be PS3 quality, but the game is far from an eyesore.

For the international edition of Final Fantasy X, some additional content was added and this HD remaster includes all of it. The Sphere Grid from the original game is present, but if you wish, you can opt to use the expert grid. This grid starts every character right in the center freeing them up to pursue whatever abilities they wish. In general, a balanced attack is preferred and most anybody who plays this game is going to take a character like Lulu down the black mage path, but I found there was more opportunity to diversify with this version of the grid than before. I was able to have Yuna, the summoner/white mage of the group, bounce between the white and black mage paths giving her some punch in battle she didn’t have when I played the game for the first time. Khimari, the blue mage of the original game, was basically my version of the red mage from III and V as I was able to grant him white and black magic while keeping his base stats high enough to make him a suitable physical attacker early on. Like the red mage of prior games, he would eventually outgrow his usefulness but for the early part of the game he was a frequent contributor.

Another big change for X was with the summons. Squaresoft seemed to always be searching for a way to make the summon magic more interactive. Once VII arrived with the Playstation it meant the summons could be more of a spectacle as full-motion video sequences captured the awesome power of Bahamut and did so with gusto. For X, Square opted to let the players control the summoned beasts, dubbed aeons, directly. They’re fully integrated into the plot of the game and only Yuna can summon one at a time. When she does, the rest of the party vacates the battlefield and the aeon takes over. Their overdrive meter fills rapidly (X’s version of the limit break) and once full they can unleash the mega attacks we’re used to seeing. Outside of battle, a special item allows the player to improve the base stats of the aeons or even teach them new spells and abilities. They’re limited in their usefulness, but at the very least they make good cannon fodder against enemies that have devastating special attacks as once an aeon dies in battle they’re just replaced by the battle party.

My journey through Spira was much as I remembered it. The HD upscaling is welcome though it does not disguise the fact that this is a PS2 game. SquareEnix apparently re-did the faces of Tidus and Yuna to make them more expressive but they’re still a little wooden by today’s standards. The game is only noticeably better looking when compared directly with the PS2 game. Otherwise, it’s bright and colorful setting is still mostly pleasing to the eye. The game really only shows its age with the limited animations. There’s a sequence where the characters ride snow mobiles and it’s painfully obvious that the game could not handle animated hair, aside from a ponytail or something, so Tidus’ hairstyle remains frozen in place while he zips along. You’ll also see the same character models used over and over among non-player characters and enemies. The audio is quite nice though and the game’s musical score is fitting for a Final Fantasy title. The voice acting was somewhat maligned the first time around, but I found no obvious faults with it then or now. The poor lip-syncing is still an issue and can be distracting, though I found it never took me out of a scene completely.

The game's stoyline has room for cheer and also for more emotionally weighty moments.

The game’s stoyline has room for cheer and also for more emotionally weighty moments.

Final Fantasy X HD was released for the PS3 and the Vita with the two platforms supporting cross-save functionality but not cross-buy. As such, I only purchased the game for the Vita, and it’s been a great experience taking Final Fantasy X on the go. The load times have been the only detraction. I do not know what the situation is like on the PS3, but on the Vita there’s a delay of a couple seconds going from the field to the menu as well as when going from one screen to another. It took some getting used to and I still don’t understand why the Vita’s load times aren’t better considering the medium is flash-based. I got used to the load times, but it’s still annoying. There’s also no soft reset function that I could find which stinks because there are multiple screens to navigate just to get to the game. One area of the game that wasn’t as good as I remembered was Blitz Ball, the underwater sport that’s a popular mini game. It’s still fun, but it’s so painfully easy and you have to play hours of it to acquire some special items for Wakka. They’re totally optional, but who is going to pass on getting Wakka’s best weapon?

Other than the new Sphere Grid, the other additions of the international version of the game are less impactful but still welcome. The most obvious is the addition of the Dark Aeons, optional boss battles that spring up very late in the game. These represent a new challenge for veteran players. Defeating them is purely for pride as there’s nothing of importance gained from toppling them. Beating all of them will likely mean maxing out the base stats of most of the characters in your party, which means lots and lots of level grinding. I had every intention of beating them, which is one reason why this post took nearly three months for me to get to, but eventually I just got too bored. I beat some of the easiest ones, one of which I had to beat to regain access to one of the game’s towns, but never attempted the toughest. There’s really not that much strategy to beating them, it’s more an investment of time crafting armor and weapons that best suit the confrontation, but it’s cool that it’s there. Another addition is the Eternal Calm, which is basically an epilogue. It’s a fifteen minute movie meant to serve as the bridge between this game and its direct sequel, but it’s pretty unnecessary. I watched it once, and I’ll probably never watch it again, as the early parts of Final Fantasy X-2 do a good enough job of bridging the two games.

Plot-wise, I enjoyed Final Fantasy X just as much this time around as I did in 2001. It’s likable cast of characters are charming and portrayed well. The game actually feels pretty quick even though it will take most players 40 hours to beat the main plot (defeating all of the optional bosses will likely take over 100) and I attribute that to the game’s exceptional pacing. I very much enjoy the fact that the game has its own distinct look. It’s not a medieval or steam punk setting but more of an asian one with a lot of subtropical climates as well. I find it kind of funny that this was the first Final Fantasy game to have asian-looking characters considering they were all made in Japan, as opposed to a european look. Mostly, this is just a really well-executed Final Fantasy title and I had a great time with it. And since it comes bundled with a copy of Final Fantasy X-2, my adventure in Spira is not over yet. Look for a post on that game in another two to three months.


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