Final Fantasy X was Square’s big jump to the PS2 era. On top of giving their beloved series a graphical makeover, they also decided that it was the best time to rework some of the principles that defined their games up to that point. The result was a game that not only challenged conventions of its own series, but of JRPGs as well. The success paid off as well, with Final Fantasy X being one of the most popular entries in the franchise.
There are many reasons why the game is so beloved, and still popular today. The Sphere Grid system remains one of the most praised aspects of the game, changing how characters could evolve in a JRPG. There was also the soundtrack, which many regard as the best in the franchise (though that remains a bit more subjective). The point here is that there are tons of factors that lead to this game’s success. Square is still re-releasing the game to this day, with the HD remaster coming to Nintendo Switch next year.
However, Final Fantasy X is not a perfect game. In re-imagining some of their own genre conventions, Square did present a set of problems for themselves when developing the game. While it’s still an excellent entry in the franchise, it does have some issues that many fans ignore because of their deep love of the game.
Without further ado, we’re going to look over 25 issues with Final Fantasy X that fans seem to ignore.
Perhaps the most irritating part about getting the Celestial Weapons was that it required some tedious quests. In the Thunder Plains, there was a mechanic where you could dodge lightning bolts. If you dodge 200 in a row, then you’re rewarded with the item you need to power up Lulu’s Celestial Weapon. The problem was that the timing was so difficult to get right, and if you screwed up even once, you had to start all over. It was a nightmare.
On the topic of Celestial Weapons, they are all strong, each having great abilities to enhance their respective characters. However, it was later discovered that players could create weapons more effective than the Celestials. It’s surprising to know that after certain tedious quests like butterfly catching and lightning dodging, you’re rewarded with a weapon that isn’t the best the game has to offer. Granted, making a weapon that’s even better requires a lot of time, work, and dedication that most players don’t have.
Final Fantasy X was the first game in the series to have full voice acting. While it was certainly a worthy addition to the world, it was spotty in a lot of places. Tidus’s voice is often criticized as being “whiny and bratty” while Yuna occasionally has a soft and mousy voice that doesn’t fit her character. Some of the voice clips cut off too quickly, and not all characters were treated with the same level of quality in their voices.
Perhaps the most infamous scene in Final Fantasy X was when the party was leaving Luca. Yuna was dealing with a lot of heavy stuff regarding her pilgrimage and what that meant for her life afterward. Tidus, being the carefree goofball he is, decided to introduce her to the concept of laughing. The two then had an awkward and poorly-acted laughing fit that went down in gaming history. If you thought that the English version sounded weird, then go watch the Japanese version. It gets worse.
It’s impressive how well-designed the character models for the main cast were. It’s to the point where they all hold up in 2018. However, the same can’t be said for the NPCs in the game. Many of them have significantly less detail around them, leaving to some characters that look disturbing. Some have faces that look like they were painted on, and others have movements that are stiffer than petrified bark. While it wasn’t an uncommon thing to do in video games at the time, it was more noticeable in a game with good-looking characters.
With the airships in preceding Final Fantasy games opening up a whole new world of exploration, the hopes were high for what a new generation would allow for a new airship. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy X’s airship exists as little more than a glorified map. Players are presented a map of Spira, but they’re not allowed to fly across it or manually travel to new lands. All that’s required is selecting a destination and sitting through a brief loading screen. Even Final Fantasy VIII knew how to incorporate an airship.
The Sphere Grid is a revolutionary, yet controversial, mechanic in Final Fantasy X. One complaint that people have thrown out is that, once you get to the end game/post game, the characters have gone through their main paths. At that point, characters begin upgrading the same way. Once you’re finished with every character on the Sphere Grid, they all function identically to one another. It takes away the uniqueness of their stats and hurts any reason to have more than three characters in the party.
Blitz Ball isn’t the best mini-game in the Final Fantasy series. There isn’t a lot of control involved. Most of the game boils down to watching a cutscene happen and making decisions. Most of the time, winning or losing a match is entirely due to what the game decides. There are ways to upgrade your characters’ stats, but only alters with the odds. At the end of the day, the outcomes are still random. It doesn’t help that the games can go on for a long time either.
There are a few sections in Final Fantasy X where players have to go through certain temples and complete puzzles to acquire new aeons for Yuna to summon. Not only do these sections halt the progress of the game, they seem added without any thought. There isn’t anything gained by forcing a player to complete puzzles that have no bearing on the actual game. Getting an aeon could’ve been something as simple as a cutscene with chanting- there was plenty of that in the game anyway.
In one sentence, could you effectively explain how Sin works? How about the existence of Spira alongside Zanarkand at the start of the game? While the story has some serious high points, it’s quite confusing to follow. Some players didn’t fully grasp it until they played through it a few more times. While the rules of the universe are well-defined, as are the cultures that live in it, the major plot points are difficult to comprehend, especially on the first playthrough.
When Final Fantasy X opens, players meet Tidus in Zanarkand. After being swallowed by Sin, he awakens in Spira, only to find that his home had been in ruins for thousands of years. However, it turns out that it was actually a dream of the Fayth along with Tidus, who later disappears after the Fayth are put to rest. But then the Fayth are able to bring him back in the sequel game for some reason. The point of all this is that Tidus’s origin is every bit as difficult to comprehend as the game’s story.
When you enter a battle in Final Fantasy X, the game tells you exactly which characters to use. If there a floating eye, a lizard, and a machina? Then use Tidus, Wakka, and Rikku to get the job done. The random enemy encounters don’t offer the opportunity for greater thought, considering they are all weak against specific characters. The boss battles do a much better job of allowing players to think through fights, but most could go through the random battles with their eyes shut.
Final Fantasy X has a decent method of progression through the Sphere Grid, ensuring that those who follow along will be balanced with the rest of the game. However, if players want to tackle some of the harder bosses in the post-game, then they’re going to need to do a lot of grinding. The grinding in Final Fantasy X is some of the most tedious in the series. It often gets to the point where it takes the fun out of the game because players are running around in one area for hours trying to find a certain monster.
The capture mechanic was interesting. In the Calm Lands, players were given weapons that could be used to capture, rather than kill, monsters. If they captured a certain amount, set, or type, then new, tougher monsters would be created for players to fight. However, capturing all the monsters was a tedious and frustrating process. Some monsters had low odds of appearing. Couple that with the need to capture 10 of them to complete the capturing side quest, players could easily search for days.
Creating unique weapons was one of the better features in Final Fantasy X, allowing players creative control over what their characters would do. However, if they wanted any of the better abilities, like Ribbon, that would necessitate them acquiring some rare items. However, these items don’t come easily, and would often send players through yet another grinding session in the hopes that they could get at least one of the items they needed. It was rewarding to have a character who couldn’t be hit with status effects, though.
With how precisely paced Final Fantasy X was alongside the Sphere Grid, it’s almost surprising that the post-game throws it all out the door. There are maybe one or two monsters you can defeat with end-game stats, but that’s about it. If players try to take on a Dark Aeon, they’ll lose before they even realize what happened. If they want to tackle some of the harder bosses, then it’s going to require a lot of grinding that becomes more tedious than fun.
A final boss should serve as a test for everything the player learned up until that point, like a final exam in many ways. However, the fight with Braska’s Final Aeon was underwhelming. Taking on the Jecht Aeon wasn’t all that difficult. Players who knew what they were doing were able to beat him in just a few minutes. When bosses like Seymour Flux and Yunalesca brought players to their wit’s end, it was surprising that the final boss was such a pushover in comparison.
Final Fantasy X does a good job of building its world, but there are almost never any points where players stop and think of how beautiful the environments look. The way the locations are designed, players go from point A to point B without being given much reason to stop and smell the flowers. In this way, Square doesn’t take advantage of the advanced hardware. There were some impressive locations and angles used in prior Final Fantasy games, but X wasn’t given the same treatment.
When Final Fantasy X was given an HD remaster, Square threw in the Dark Aeons and Penance, the secret final boss. Some players were familiar with these enemies, but others were not. The reason for this was that these secret foes were locked behind regular versions of the game, but versions in other countries had them. It seemed there was no point to locking the content with various regions, but Square did it anyway. Thankfully, they corrected their mistakes with the remaster.
When players first go through a story, there isn’t much desire to skip cutscenes. After all, a story-based game requires that they watch everything to understand what is going on. However, when they die from a boss and have to go through the same 5-minute cutscene each time, it starts to get annoying. One of the reasons Yunalesca was so frustrating was because there was an extremely long cutscene that players had to watch each time they died. It didn’t help that Yunalesca was infamous for being victorious either.
Tidus is the main character of Final Fantasy X, and many players thought that he was unlikeable. Where most protagonists of the series are hardened if not good-natured warriors, Tidus was a celebrity who acted quite childish. Often known for having daddy issues and whining about how it was “his story,” he seemed downright selfish in a lot of ways. Many people found themselves attaching to Auron or Wakka before the game was over, and we certainly don’t blame them.
Some of the character designs in Final Fantasy X are bizarre. Looking at Seymour, everything about his hair defies the laws of physics, and the open jacket is strange. Then there are the awkward shorts that Tidus wears throughout the whole game, with one leg longer than the other. Lulu’s design is also subject to a lot of criticism, being intentionally designed for a single purpose (those who have played the game know what we’re talking about). To be fair, weird character designs are a problem with the entire Final Fantasy series, but it’s very noticeable in X.
The way Final Fantasy X is designed is so precise that, if players threw it out of balance, it would break the progression system. Every encounter, every boss fight, and every location are placed where they are to help the characters grow appropriately. However, if players were to stay in one spot and grind just to get access to some better stats and abilities, the rest of the game becomes a cake walk. Players can rid themselves of the challenge of the game just by staying in one location for too long.
The Al Bhed are a group of people in Final Fantasy X who speak a different language. However, each letter corresponds to an English letter. Various Al Bhed Primers are hidden throughout Spira. If players collect one, a letter is deciphered for them in the dialogue. The problem is that there are so many to find that it’s not until near the end of the game when they can make heads or tails of what’s being said. By that point, there isn’t much point to having them.
Some monsters can be tough in random encounters, particularly in the later areas. Usually, with the right amount of strategy, they can be brought down just like all the rest. However, getting ambushed by one can unfairly lead to a game over. Imagine if a Malboro ambushes the party and uses its Bad Breath attack to render each character useless and crippled. When those ambushes happen, it can feel like getting unfairly juggled by an overpowered character in a fighting game.