It’s been over fifteen years since I discovered the land of Spira as a kid. My first Sony console was the PlayStation 2, so I had never had the opportunity to play Final Fantasy titles before X. Final Fantasy X was my first experience with them. Playing FFX again feels so comfortable and nostalgic that it easily brings to mind all those late weekend nights in the dim glow of the TV next to the fireplace with my dog curled up under my chair, occasionally nudging my leg for attention. Final Fantasy X is a game that, for me, fits like a pair of gloves I thought I’d lost long ago.
“Listen to my story.” (Spoilers ahead)
The intro cinematic to Final Fantasy X is one of the most impressive and memorable in the series and I still get chills listening to the gritty, screaming electric guitar over those futuristic action sequences. Star Blitzball player, Tidus, is in the middle of a heated game when he catches a glance of a massive wave approaching the gorgeous, neon city of Zanarkand. Seconds later, it shatters the tournament coliseum around him in a massive tumult of water and pulse-weapon fire.
In a race to escape the crumbling city, Tidus manages to survive the tsunami on one of the suspended city roads and makes a mad dash for safety through the chaos of fleeing citizens and attacking fiends with the help of a long time family friend, Auron. Just when they are able to catch their breath, both are pulled into a horrific vortex in the sky, the maw of some kind of massive, monstrous creature.
Tidus awakens alone in the ruins of Zanarkand 1000 years in the future, which is something he begins to discover as he meets the people of Spira. How did this happen and can he even get back? These are the questions Tidus sets out to answer which end up tying his fate to that of Yuna, a determined, young Summoner on a quest to stop the attacks of Sin, the leviathan coincidentally that took Tidus from his home. Only Yuna initially believes his story and Tidus becomes one of Yuna’s faithful, fearless Guardians during her Pilgrimage across Spira.
Final Fantasy X is a story of hope and love, of tragedy and romance, courage and self-sacrifice, and a beautiful a coming of age tale for more than one character. To me FFX is the definition of an epic romance. Tidus and Yuna are the main characters, but each of the party members get some focus in turn. I’ve heard a lot of Final Fantasy fans will say Tidus is one of their least favorite protagonists because of how outspoken and immature he is. To the contrary, I actually like him a lot because he feels believable.
I think Tidus rubbed some players the wrong way because he was the fully voiced, non-self-insert protagonist. The poor guy got ripped from his home and dropped across space and time, all alone, no supplies, no support… I think he handles it rather well, considering. Honestly, Tidus is a breath of fresh air with his upbeat, can-do attitude, and his spunky, go with the flow optimism. He’s a pretty laid back guy in general, but a solid friend and fighter as needed. I much prefer him to the stoic, dark and edgy Final Fantasy protagonists in the older titles. They were boring.
Sure, Tidus has some adolescent rage in him, but who wouldn’t if their dad disappeared on them when they were not even 10 years old? If you had to live in the shadow of a famous father who abandoned you, you’d probably have a little bottled up anger too. Emotions are healthy and Tidus is full of them, both good and bad. I think it’s perfectly reasonable and realistic. He resolves much of his immaturity by the end of the story, if I recall (we’ll see). In the meantime he is eager to please and just so sincere. You gotta start somewhere. I like Tidus. So sue me!
Music and Memory
Isn’t it interesting how hearing even a few moments of a tune can recall such strong memories? To Zanarkand always brings to mind bittersweet heartache with a smile. When I saw the Distant Worlds tour when it visited my home city during college, I was in silent tears no later than the fourth measure of To Zanarkand. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. (I highly recommend Distant Worlds if it’s ever near where you live.)
As I replay Final Fantasy X, the soundtrack is hitting me like a truck. I remember all the tracks so clearly and the reorchestrated version is absolutely phenomenal! Full Feelsbus O-clock, man.
Final Fantasy X meant so much to me that I wanted to do a small series on it as I play through the HD Remaster on the Switch. There’s just too much to dig into that a single review wouldn’t do it justice. Look forward to more!
Thanks for reading.
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