Final Fantasy X – A Modern Review into the Classic


Final Fantasy has been a constant companion throughout my life, shaping my love for RPGs and storytelling. When my brother first bought his PS2, he also bought the Japanese release of Final Fantasy X. Eventually he beat the game but I never made it past the initial introduction. After more than 20 years, now as a full grown adult, I’ve decided to actually check the game out to see what the hype was all about.


Final Fantasy X follows the journey of Tidus, a blitzball player from the futuristic city of Zanarkand, who finds himself transported to the mysterious world of Spira. Alongside Yuna, a summoner on a pilgrimage to defeat the monstrous entity known as Sin, Tidus and a diverse group of companions must navigate a world marked by its own customs, beliefs, and conflicts. As they delve deeper into their quest, secrets about Sin, the nature of their world, and Tidus’ own origins are gradually revealed.

The positives

From the outset, FFX was starkly different from the previous games. Mechanics wise, the sphere grid system is an interesting way of leveling up your characters. Want some more HP? Invest in HP. Need more mana? Invest in mana. In other words, the game ditching the traditional leveling system found in previous games was really one of the better decisions they could take. It basically meant that I had a lot of control on how my characters were gonna be. Sure, it’s nowhere as drastic as FFI, FFIII, OR FFV in character customisation, but here, they retain their fighting style, their personality etc. For my first playthrough, I opted for the standard simple sphere grid over the expert sphere grid as the latter gave me a bit too much customisation, which is actually a good thing if I want to do another playthrough of this game in the future. Furthermore, the ability to use all of your characters by swapping them in and out during a battle was a genius gameplay decision. We’ve had 9 mainline titles not including a bunch of spinoffs before this one and it bogs my mind why they didn’t think of this earlier.

Now for the storytelling, I’m not going to comment much of the plot since I’m not sure I understood all of it, but suffice to say, it’s memorable especially when I got to the end. It is not earth shattering but the characters are fun enough and they each fit an archetype. You have the feisty main protagonist, Tidus, his romantic interest, Yuna the summoner, Auron the old wise man, Kimahri the non-human sidekick, Rikku the thief, Lulu the magic user, Lulu and finally, the retired blitzball player Wakka. They each fit their role pretty well, especially when it came to the battles. Some characters were naturally better at defeating a kind of enemy than another which had me constantly swapping my party members.

As for the soundtrack, absolutely 0 complaints here. Nobuo Uematsu does another great job at delivering really memorable tunes. I really don’t want to look them up to remember their names, but the one that plays in the intro and in the ending cutscene, along with the battle theme are all really well done, and can evoke some strong emotions.

Many people have also complained about the linearity of the game. From my point of view, I found no issue with it. The story of FFX is really about a journey that takes our protagonists from X to Y. As such, going fully linear was the right choice.

The negatives

However, despite these strengths, FFX was not without its flaws.

The remaster version I bought on Steam totally messed up Yuna and Tidus’ face. I had to install a mod that restored original PS2 faces back in the game. Since I played it on my steamdeck, it wasn’t a straightforward process.

Also, the lack of a new game plus really bogs my mind. For a game that has missables, and that many side quests, would it have been too much for them to code a new game plus feature? Sure, I could mod these back in the game, but at this point I would rather not to. I just want to play a game, not waste time modding it.

The Cloister of Trials, while an interesting concept, became tedious and repetitive as the game progressed. These puzzle-based segments often felt like an interruption to the main narrative flow rather than an engaging challenge.

Another nitpick, there’s a battle against the boss Seymour that really messed me up. I don’t think it’s fair to have a boss that can kill all of your party members in one swoop. It’s cheap and it’s not fun. Many people complain about games being too easy today. As someone who grew up on the NES, I disagree. There’s proper hard, and there’s bullshit hard. That boss had no business being this hard, since it was such a jump in difficulty from the previous area of the game.

The sidequests

Because I had such a bad experience with the sidequests in FF9, i’ve decided to ignore them nearly entirely for the main story. I might go back to the game at some point to finish all the sidequests, but that won’t be for now. The blitzball minigame is actually very reminiscent of Tecmo’s Captain Tsubasa game series which I’ve already written about here. If I ever revisit FFX, I’d definitely play it properly and fully, and I believe it’s a game on its own that needs its own review.  Going forward with the Final Fantasy games I’ve yet to play, I’ve decided to finish the main story of each game and ignore all the sidequests. I still have FFX-2, FFXIII, FFXV, FFVII Rebirth and Crisis Core, FFXVI to play, so I can’t afford to waste too much time on one single game. As they say, time is money.

Final thoughts

Final Fantasy X remains a standout title in the franchise. The story, while linear, is emotionally resonant and tackles themes of sacrifice, faith, and destiny in a way that few games do. The relationship between Tidus and Yuna, along with the development of the supporting characters, provides a decent narrative experience.

The game’s climax and ending are particularly memorable, leaving a lasting impact that few games manage to achieve. The revelations about Tidus’ true nature and his fate are handled with a level of maturity and depth that is commendable that wasn’t really seen at a time when video games were still considered a childish hobby.

In conclusion, Final Fantasy X is a game that any fan of the series should experience. It has its flaws, but its strengths far outweigh them. The emotional aspects of the story, the flawless battle system, and the usual amazing soundtrack makes it a journey worth taking. If it weren’t for these remaster issues and the sidequests which don’t seem all that great (other than Blitzball), this FF entry would easily deserve a perfect score.

Anyway, that’s it for my Final Fantasy X review, be sure to check out SugiG’s mod list if you’re looking to enhance your FFX experience like I did.