Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Backlog Assault: Final Fantasy X

In the last few years I've built up a pretty crazy gaming backlog. This year, I've decided it's high time I do something about it. Join me as I begin to regret more than ever all those impulse Steam buys and 99 cent PS2 bargains:

Title: Final Fantasy X
Platform: PS2

06 August 2010
From: eBay
Price: €11.02

21 February 2011
Final Game Time: 61:47
Price/Hour: €0.18

Backloggery Dump:
  • 02/02/11 - I'm back in Luca after rescuing Yuna from the Al Bhed.
  • 03/02/11 - On my way to Djose Temple now.
  • 05/02/11 - I'm making my way through Macalania Woods, and getting lost at every turn thanks to the constant random battles. *grumble*
  • 07/02/11 - Welp, so much for Home... On to Bevelle!
  • 09/02/11 - I'm done with Bevelle. Looks like I'm going back into the damn woods now.
  • 10/02/11 - After a gruelling trek up, down and back up Mt. Gagazet, I'm finally on my way to Zanarkand.
  • 15/02/11 - Taking care of some sidequests before I head for Sin.
  • 17/02/11 - Looks like I'll be taking on some Dark Aeons to finish off two of the sidequests I'm doing. I foresee this going badly...
  • 18/02/11 - Holy shit, those dark Aeons don't fuck around! :D I've decided to go get my ass kicked in the Omega Ruins instead now.
  • 21/02/11 - Beat the final boss tonight, then went back to rip Omega Weapon a new one. Final time: 61:47

Nearly 62 of FFX hours in three weeks - I think it's fair to say I enjoyed my stay in Spira. :D The battle system's plays it pretty safe here, but it's a damn solid game, helped along by a reasonably engaging story, characters who're still likeable despite reams of dodgy dialogue (and terrible delivery in Yuna's case) and an interesting backdrop in Spira itself.

I guess the big innovation in the game is the Sphere Grid, a way of levelling up by traversing a board game-like grid, and activating attribute and skill nodes when you get close enough to them. It adds a interesting level of strategy to the levelling up process - Do you stick to the route that's been obviously laid out for a particular character, sensibly activating every node on the way or do veer way off the prescribed path, teaching your strongest attacker a bunch of healing spells or making a beeline for Ultima with one of your magic users? If you're willing to grind enough, you can customize your characters quite a bit, though you can definitely end up screwing yourself in the process if you're not careful.

After spending the last few months playing games on the 360, the graphics did take a bit of getting used to, but they do actually hold up pretty well, especially the facial detail on the characters and the cutscenes, which are still pretty damn spectacular.

If I were to nitpick, the temple puzzle-solving segments are a real drag, especially when combined with the slightly stiff movement of your character and the fixed camera angles, but overall, FFX was a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining experience. So much so, that even after nearly 62 hours, I'm still craving some more Final Fantasy. Hm, let me see what else I can dig out of the old backlog...

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