This is not only one of my favorite games for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) but it is also my favorite of the Final Fantasy games so far. I also have to admit it is my first Final Fantasy game and you never forget your first. 😉
The game follows the narration of the protagonist known as Tidus. Tidus lives in the hyper-advanced city of Zanarkand and follows in his father’s footsteps as a star Blitzball player. Life is pretty sweet for Tidus with all the groupies and fans. At the start of the game, we find our protagonist playing in the Blitzball championship. That’s when disaster strikes as during the game a giant creature attacks Zanarkand and a mysterious man in red saves Tidus. This man is later revealed to be Auron a friend of Tidus’s father who then sends Tidus through a portal created by the enormous beast.
Tidus later wakes up on a beach on a tiny island named Besaid, but when he asks the locals how to get back to Zanarkand they seem to think he is sick. He later finds out that the Zanarkand they knew of was destroyed by a creature called Sin……. 1000 years ago.
Tidus meets a young Summoner named Yuna who plans to make a pilgrimage to the ruins of Zanarkand and agrees to accompany her on her journey. Together he travels with her guardians, Wakka the Blitzball Player, Lulu the Magician, and Kimahri of the Ronzo Tribe. They are later joined by Auron who has mysteriously appeared in Spira and Rikku of the Al Bhed. Together they embark on a journey to Zanarkand stopping at all the temples along the way to gain the powers of the Aeons to stop sin. As they journey they will unravel the secrets of Yevon, the Aeons, Sin, the Final Summoning, the disappearance of Tidus’s Father and of Spira itself. Theirs will be a journey of both laughter and sorrow till the climatic and unexpected end.
So there is a lot I like about this game. My favorite thing by far is the Aeons and their Summoning animations. They are pretty sweet as are their overdrive attacks and the power of the Aeons are key to winning against many of this game’s boss monsters. It is creepy though when you learn that they are the essence of dead people in Statues but it still doesn’t make them any less cool. 🙂
But you can’t forget the characters. There are seven playable characters and each battle consists of a three character team. You can switch out characters during battle so there are no worries if your team isn’t the most effective against a certain type of enemy, just swap a character out for one who can exploit that enemy’s weakness. 🙂
Now a lot of you who played other FF games but haven’t gotten to this one yet are probably asking yourselves, what about the class systems? Well, the beauty is the combined many of the job classes into each of the seven characters. This is how they broke it down:
Yuna: Summoner and White Mage
Wakka: Imitates Ranged attack classes with some aspects of Knights
Lulu: Black Mage and Time Mage
Kimahri: Lancer and Blue Mage
Auron: Samurai and Knight
Rikku: Thief and Chemist
You can also teach character skills other characters have learned but depending on their class build that could be ill-advised. Don’t let that discourage you though. I have had good success in mingling the skill sets of Lulu and Yuna.
The score of this game is also equally amazing as are the visuals. As you can see above there are some excellent CG scenes throughout the entire game. And the Score composed by Nobuo Uematsu is to die for. I especially enjoyed the Orchestral version of Suteki da Ne (How Wonderful is It?)
Now, of course, there is the downside to this game but it’s a fair trade-off. Besides having to play 2 rounds of pain in the ass Blitzball which I never got the hang of, the system for leveling up is a little overwhelming at first. Yes, you do gain levels but instead of automatic stat increases and skill additions, you get points. You then have to use these points and spheres gained in battle to move along the Sphere Grid (depicted below) and gain stat increases and learn the new skills along the way that will make life easier as you come up against stronger bosses and opponents.
All in all though, the great aspects of this game outweigh the few crappy parts. I have enjoyed playing it time and time again and it will always be my favorite game among the Final Fantasy Franchise. I fell in love a long time ago with the story and the music and the characters. The world of Spira is beautiful and enjoyable to explore and you’ll never want to finish playing. I guarantee you will enjoy it if you are the discerning gamer. 🙂
While this game was originally on the PS2 there is an HD Remaster for the PS4. Either are good, it’s the same plot in either game. The PS4 version, however, comes bundled with the sequel which sadly was not as good as the original so keep that in mind when you are deciding which format you want to play in.
Happy Gaming!!! 🙂