There are a number of constants in my life presently, but throughout the entirety of my 31 years thus far in this life, one constant has always been there: Video games. While I indeed am a lover of other things such as professional wrestling, anime, music, sports, and much more, video games have always been an integral part of my life. I truly believe that without the many games I have played over the years, that I would not be the person I am today, and perhaps maybe not even alive to this day.
Through at least over 20 full years of playing games, few are games I call great, and even fewer I call legendary. There are many I call my favourites, but only one can be THE favourite. That game, is Final Fantasy X.
There are so many games that I’ve played throughout my entire life. Hell, there’s a ton of games within the Final Fantasy series alone. So what makes Final Fantasy X my favourite game of all-time? Well, let’s take a look…
Hello everyone, I’m Adam aka CSRadical and welcome to the Radical Recall. This podcast is going to be different from all the other shows that you can listen to me on. While shows like the anime-based Church of Weeb, the professional wrestling themed RWP, or especially the extremely random VCR Podcast I run with my friends Vish and Chris, the Radical Recall is a podcast designed as a polar opposite to all my other shows. It is scripted, so there will be no asides, no spur of the moment thoughts, and especially no stammering on my words or forgetting things, which is a real shame because I admittedly like the tone that’s set in those shows, mistakes included.
But with this show, I wanted to give myself an outlet that will really put my thoughts out there in a much more clear and concise manner. Every thought, every word has been typed out, rather than spat out as fast as my brain can work. This will allow me to take the time to ensure that I don’t miss anything important, as well as give me more time to look over a particular section of the topic at hand to make sure that I put my thoughts down in the best way possible.
So I hope you enjoy this first edition of the Recall. This show will more often than not be going back in time to look at things I’ve enjoyed over the years, but who knows, maybe the right hot button topic comes along and I can do a show here on it. The Recall also won’t be limited to video games, in fact the next one I’m planning on doing, if I can get it done in time, will be an episode on the TV space epic, The Expanse, which will be heading into its fourth season on December 13th. So stay tuned for more.
But I think I’ve rambled on for long enough here, so let’s get talking about my favourite game of all time, Final Fantasy X. And just a heads up, I’m talking about EVERYTHING to do with this game, so it should go without saying, but this is gonna be chock full of massive spoilers.
[This is my story…]
The first time I ever played a Final Fantasy game was the SNES classic Final Fantasy IV, or Final Fantasy II as it was known at the time here in the West. Because Squaresoft, which for those who don’t know is what Square Enix used to be known as before they merged with Enix, the makers of Dragon Quest, Star Ocean and other popular games before merging on April 1st of 2003. Hell of a merge on April Fools. But I played both Final Fantasy IV and VI during my time with the Super Nintendo, before moving onto the Nintendo 64. It would be a long time before I would play a Final Fantasy game again, as I never owned a PlayStation. So it wasn’t until my family finally upgraded to a PlayStation 2 that I had the chance to get back into the majority of Squaresoft’s catalogue.
Now at the time, I didn’t know that the PS2 was backwards compatible, so when I went down to my local Rogers Video, a movie and game rental store here in Canada, I gravitated to the PS2 section and there I saw Final Fantasy X. Now I had really fond memories of both IV and VI. In fact, while yes, Final Fantasy X is my favourite game of all-time, I actually say that FFVI is the best game of all-time. X is my favourite, but VI is to me the most well put together game I will ever play. You’re probably confused, shouldn’t my favourite game of all-time, also be the best one? Well to me, when I say FFX is my favourite game of all-time, it isn’t just about the quality of the game, it has more to do with all the positive memories that came with it.
When I got a PlayStation 2, it was right around the time my family moved away from the small village town we lived in my entire run through elementary school, leading up to Grade 8. Moving to a new town, I was free from all the bullies that had tormented me throughout Kindergarten to Grade 7, I finally had the chance to start anew. Sure, games like FFIV and VI were great, but they also came at a time where they served more as therapy than entertainment. FFX had the advantage of being the first game in the series I played with a mind clear from fear, from depression and sadness. And when that game is as fun, light-hearted and cheerful as it is at times, it was certainly a game that brought out the best in me. Sure, there’s some dark and sad stuff in there too, but when I look back at the time I spent with FFX, I remember far more of the fun stuff, than say a game like FFVI, where the first thing I remember is watching people fall to their deaths after Kefka splits the world apart. Literally.
It’s funny to talk about how light-hearted FFX is when the first sound you hear in the ringing of a very sad and somber piano piece. To this day, I will never understand why the designers led off with To Zanarkand, it just seemed so out of place to go from that song, to the peppy Prelude that leads you into our first moments with main character, Tidus. And another bit of criticism, the first Final Fantasy game with voice acting and they still let you customize the main character’s name?! So throughout the entire game, you’re never addressed by name, hell because of that, it took until Kingdom Hearts was released that I actually found out the pronunciation was Tidus, and not Tie-dus, a mistake I unknowingly made for years.
But in the grand scheme of things, they’re such small complaints, and by the time the game really got moving, I didn’t pay any mind to them. As soon as that opening cinematic starts and the badass Otherworld song plays, I was hooked. As ridiculous as that cutscene was, and believe me, we’ll get into blitzball later in the show, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by how crazy realistic that cutscene looked at the time, especially in the eyes of a 14 year-old boy. A side note, for the longest time, I thought the lyric was “Don’t you. Give up, Auron.” because right when the line “give up on it” is sung, Auron appears in that cutscene. I mean, why not put his name in the lyrics of a song specifically written for this game? Made sense to me.
[We called it “Sin”.]
Seeing Sin for the first time and fighting the Sinspawn introduced me to the biggest change that this game would bring to the Final Fantasy series. Normally, these games had the ATB, or Active Time Battle system. Everything ran on a timer, so if you took too long deciding your next course of action, enemies would attack. In FFX, we got the Conditional Turn-Based Battle, or CTB. Turns could take as long as you needed, so if you wanted to spend several minutes planning your next move, you could. Sure, it takes away a bit of the intensity, but it also allowed players like me to plan a little more than normal, as generally speaking I used to just spam fight and the most powerful abilities or magic spells, unless I need to use items the odd time.
As much as I love Spira, I was a little sad that we didn’t spend more time in Tidus’ home of Zanarkand. The architecture was just so damn gorgeous, I would’ve loved for the game to draw a little more out of the panic from Sin’s attack, but instead you fight a few Sinspawn and then get sucked up into Sin itself, which at the time really freaked me out, cause it looked like they were getting eaten alive. But Tidus and Auron get sucked up and transported to another world.
The reason this game carries so much positive memories for me has to do with a single character. Rikku to this very day is still one of my favourite female characters in gaming, and yes, pretty high on the waifu list, if we wanna go down that route. The first time I saw her, I probably thought the same thing a lot of you did. “IS SHE WEARING NOTHING BUT A BELT AS A THONG?!”. Even with the coloring of her bodysuit, a horny teenager can’t help but think it’s close enough to a shade of skin that it had to be just that. But enough about the over-sexualized body suit, let’s talk about Rikku!
In the little time we spend with her here, I’m already beyond interested in her. That soft voice, the smaller frame, her kind and caring heart, she sold me on her from the very beginning. Who knew that 10 hours or so later I’d have even more reasons to like her. Not to mention, the Al Bhed language was something I gravitated towards immediately as well. It was very clever of the design team to have a language that was just a mix of the letters. For example, ‘s’ was now replaced with ‘c’, thus creating a language that was so different and yet could be slowly brought back to regular English by collecting all the Al Bhed primers, which made the subtitles slowly convert the language back to proper English, so over the course of the game, you’d understand more and more of what was being said. And the dialect just sounded, so…right. I can still remember how to pronounce a few things. As the audio clip showed “Cunno” is “Sorry”, “Crid ib!” is “Shut up!”, and “Syopa Cusatyo” stands for “Maybe Someday”, which is a common phrase used when the fanfiction crew gets moving on a Tidus/Rikku pairing.
Again, much like the early moments in Zanarkand, this bit of the game was just too short. I was hoping to spend just a little more time with her, and as Sin attacked once more and sent me flying off that Al Bhed ship, I couldn’t help but want more. Sure, they got enough to move things forward, we established that Tidus was definitely not in a world with the same level of tech as the world he came from. We heard straight from Rikku’s mouth that Zanarkand has been in ruins for over a millennium, telling us that we aren’t in another world, but rather than future, after Sin’s destructive rampage of the entire world. But still, I wanted Rikku to stay in my party, and yet she left so soon.
Awakening once more at Besaid Island, somehow not dead cause of those blitzball lungs, even though it looked like his head was underwater the whole time, we get introduced to our next party member, Wakka, as well as blitzball being a thing still in this world as well. It’s even more curious because the ball retains its exact shape and design after over 1000 years, which is incredible, and admittedly quite unrealistic when you think about it. But with nothing else to do, Tidus naturally joins Wakka and his team, the Besaid Aurochs, who are the equivalent of any sports team you can think of that has sucked for more than a decade. I’ll let you fill in the blank. The Aurochs haven’t won a game in 23 years, which is just insane. Even the worst teams in every sport luck into a win. But 23 years?! Man, even the Toronto Maple Leafs can pull a win once in a while.
Naturally, Tidus doesn’t stay still for long. Being introduced to the Temple of the Fayth in Besaid, he hears about a new summoner who hasn’t returned from her trial since entering the day before. So of course he barges in, despite being told not to, because y’know, why follow rules in a world you know nothing about yet? And this is where we’re introduced to the bulk of our team, in Kimahri, Lulu and of course, Yuna, who has yet to discover her love of hot pants. She had just passed her trial and unlocked the ability to summon Valefor, the first of many Aeons or summons in the game.
I relied so heavily on these in my first attempt to play through the game. In fact, here’s a crazy story. The first time I played this game, it was a 7-day rental, so naturally I was trying to breeze through this as fast as I could. In doing so, I didn’t really pay attention to everything, including the most important thing of all, the Sphere Grid. I thought the Sphere Level on the Party screen was my level. Yes, I didn’t pay attention to the fact I wasn’t learning new spells and abilities and my power wasn’t really increasing, I just thought that’s how hard the game was. So yes, you’re hearing that correctly, I played through the game without leveling up. Wanna know how far I got until I hit a wall? The Calm Lands golem boss. Yup, no joke.
My idiocy aside, I was curious about Yuna, while the other party members were kinda pushed to the background. Granted, Yuna had some side-bra going on and I wasn’t into older big-breasted women like Lulu, so again, that horny teenager went in one direction. By the way, Yuna in the game is 17, Rikku is 15 and Lulu? 22. Yep, reaaaaaaal old. Yuna though had that shyness that made me quite curious, while everyone else hadn’t really gotten my attention just yet. She kept me intrigued in the early part of the game before the story really took hold, as the first real big event wasn’t far away.
[This is my reality]
The first place you get to after Besaid is Kilika Island, or at least what’s left of it. This is the truly horrifying scene of the game. Kefka in FFVI destroying the world is halfway into the game. But this? First few hours. Sin absolutely massacres the island and you see several people being sucked into the air and to their deaths. You are also led to believe that there are at least three dead children, one of them a baby. Yeah, this game does have its dark moments.
During the travels, Yuna gets closer to Tidus, after seeing him do the Jecht Shot, a move by his old man and a name that she tells him is familiar to her, as Jecht was one of her father’s Guardians, thus making this mystery even more confusing. Not even that his father was her father’s Guardian, but that they defeated Sin, and it was still running rampant, presumably not even 20 years later. But at the very least, someone believes Tidus’ crazy story, while we’re too busy trying to make heads or tails of everything else.
Upon reaching Kilika we immediately get to the infamous Sending cutscene. It shows the true emotional power that the game can wield when it’s on, as Yuna gracefully dances as she sends all the dead to the afterlife while on a cascade of water, with fireflies, or pyreflies in this case, flying into the skies above.
But we don’t have too much time to dwell on sadness and sorrow. We also get introduced to Dona, another summoner, and the first girl we meet who has a real emphasis on showing her panties to everyone, and she won’t be the last. Yuna acquires Ifrit here as well, showing us that we’ll be getting our summons through various temples and that these temples would also be the puzzles of the game. Some which will be fine, and some which most certainly won’t, Macalania Temple! Stupid ice puzzle.
We then move onto Luca, where the big blitzball tournament takes place. We hear that Auron may be here as well as the introductions to the Maesters, who are essentially like multiple Popes in this world. There’s Mika, but let’s be honest, he doesn’t matter. The only one who truly matters is Seymour, who becomes the game’s “You’ll fight me multiple times throughout this game” boss. And boy oh boy was I happy to kick his face in several times. But the most important piece comes with the big blitzball game towards the end. Sure, the first match takes place without you, as you’re busy attending to a kidnapped Yuna via the Al Bhed, which of course got my motor running, thinking Rikku might be among them, but sadly she isn’t. A funny note, the Aurochs actually win this game without you, breaking their 23 year losing streak. So apparently you weren’t needed at all.
So at this point, I just want to take a moment to just gush about blitzball. I am not ashamed to say I probably spent 20 or so hours playing blitzball the first full run. To this day, I wish Square had made a separate blitzball game, just so I could go nuts playing that. I’m also upset because they turned it into a simulator in Final Fantasy X-2, but let’s keep the conversation to the original. The first game against Luca was really hard, to the point I was convinced it was a must-lose game, but I refused to let it be that way. Four tries and I finally managed to squeak out a win. Later down the road, blitzball was a game I brutally abused once I knew how to work it. Here’s what I would do. I recruited Ropp who has a ridiculous passing stat. I’d throw him in the corner of the opposing zone and let all their defenders go at him. I’d pass the ball to Tidus who’d be wide open and Sphere Shot for a goal every single time. If for whatever reason, Tidus got caught, I’d just Jecht Shot instead. Either way I’d win games 9-0 constantly, I was not the nicest guy when playing that minigame. But I loved every second of it and like I said, I wish this had been made into its own game…even if the game makes no scientific sense. Underwater handball/soccer hybrid without oxygen tanks. Sure, makes sense to me.
We journey on the Mi’ihen Highroad, where the first real grindfest started for me. Now with Auron fully in my party, I started running my Tidus/Yuna/Auron trio and refused to use Chocobos, despite my need to hear that classic song. Along the way, we’d meet Rin and Rin’s Travel Agency and then soon the Chocobo Knights, specifically Lucil, another pantsless girl in this game. As we hit the Mushroom Rock Road, we get to another infamous moment in the game, Operation Mi’ihen, where you can decide a side character who lives or dies in Luzzu and Gatta as a plan by the Crusaders, who belong to the Yevon religion, team up with the Al Bhed who are the only people who use the banned machines, or machina. A religion banning technology, huh?
The plans fails and Sin kills another boatload of people. In my first playthrough, Luzzu was the one who died and would be on several occasions, because it actually takes real effort to have Gatta be the one who dies. You basically push for him to die, which generally you wouldn’t go out of your way to do. But I didn’t like him, so in later playthroughs, yeah he had to go.
This is where we see the game start to show its core messaging. Yevon, the religious presence in the game, takes zero blame for the mission failure, calling all the Crusaders who died heathens, no longer part of the faith. As the game progresses, it becomes very prevalent that the story is showing how corrupt religion is, taking shots at religion in our own world. Basically, by the time this game is over, you discover that not only the faith is corrupt, but in fact that their teachings and even their gods has been lying the whole time about what is truly going on with Sin, the summoners and their pilgrimage, everything. More on than later.
But for now, Tidus is resigned to the suffering that Sin is creating, that his father is creating, being told by Auron back at Luca that Sin was defeated by Jecht and Braska, and now Jecht has become Sin. Why? Again, more on the lies of the Pilgrimage later.
Thankfully, this moment is overshadowed by a massive return. At least for 14 year-old me.
On route to Djose Island on a Shoopuf, which I can only describe as a water elephant that is used as a riverboat, the crew run into this massive piece of machina, which they fight underwater. Upon defeating it, Tidus finds a familiar bodysuit-wearing person lying on the beach. Shooting up to her feet, Rikku proceeds to strip off said bodysuit, giving us some nice green shorts wearing booty shots for us, before taking off her…helmet? And showing us that perfect short hair she has. And this is where my eyes left Yuna for the rest of the game.
Speaking of eyes, we see Rikku’s eyes for the first time, which has this swirl in her pupils. So she’s got gorgeously unique eyes too, but she really didn’t need to sell me anymore on her. She joins the party, but there’s a bit of a snag. Wakka is quite racist when it comes to Al Bhed, so the truth about Rikku’s origins are kept quiet for the time being. I’d dump him in a heartbeat though if he tried to kick her out of my party…
But since my eyes were no longer on Yuna, it works out perfectly that douchebag Seymour has his on her. Heading to Guadosalam, his homeland, he invites the crew to his mansion, but mostly just to woo Yuna, showing her all these fancy visions and stuff before proposing to her, saying he’ll be her Zaon, the husband and Guardian of the first summoner to defeat Sin, Yunalesca. Oddly enough, that name being similar doesn’t actually end up meaning anything, seems Braska just liked Yuna, rather than Lesca for his daughter’s name. Yuna doesn’t respond to this proposal, but you get that feeling that it’s gonna happen, whether she wants it to, or not.
And just when you didn’t hate Seymour enough already, before leaving Guadosalam, you find out his father is an “unsent”, which is a ghost who remains after dying an unclean death. You know he killed his own father, but it’s not time for the game to reveal that yet. And to make things even stranger, during Yuna’s sending of him, Auron falls to his knees. First time around, I thought nothing of this and I have no idea why.
But again, the show goes back to being funny again. Hitting the Thunder Plains, literally a plains where lightning is always showering down…somehow…we find that Rikku isn’t exactly the biggest fan of it. Turns out when she was little, her brother tried to save her from a monster and used a Thunder spell to do so…but missed the monster and hit her instead. Poor girl, let’s not talk about how she’ll get hit with the spell several times throughout the game and can even learn the spell if you put her on Lulu’s sphere grid.
At this point we know something’s really up with Yuna. A sphere dropped from Seymour’s father, Jyscal when she sent him to the afterlife and she continues to study the recording. Yuna announces at Rin’s Travel Agency there, while resting so Rikku can relax for a moment, that she intends to accept Seymour’s proposal. Auron suggest privately to Tidus that Yuna is planning something, but isn’t quite sure what that is.
We then hit the road to Macalania Temple, where after defeating a real pain of a machina boss that Rikku’s brother is running. Through that, the racist hears that Rikku is Al Bhed, and Wakka freaks out, only to have it fall on deaf ears. The party handles it well, giving him zero breathing room here, so he walks away from everyone, while you get the chance to ride on a machina with whoever in your party you have the most affection points with. This is a bit of a pain, because naturally I wanted to ride with Rikku and that’s really hard to do when she has far less time in your party than everyone else. First playthrough, it was Lulu, because of course it was, she had the most playing time. Second time around, you bet I grinded hard to make sure Rikku was going to be the one that time around. You can get some useful information from both women though if you get them, Lulu reveals Wakka’s hatred towards the Al Bhed stems from his brother dying in battle while wielding a machina weapon, thus Wakka believing he died because he was considered a heathen by God. Rikku reveals she’s Yuna’s cousin, which makes Yuna half Al Bhed. Oh boy, Wakka isn’t gonna like that one.
Cue the Macalania Temple and the ice puzzle that took me waaaaaaay too long to figure out the first time. So when completing that and being told I have to kill Seymour because he turns on us after Yuna accuses him of killing his father, I was already mad as it is, so I was more than happy to. But of course, religious fanatics are blind and a man close to Seymour prevents Yuna from sending him after we kill him and destroys the recording that proves Seymour killed his father. Cause y’know, religious folk have issues with facts and evidence. Again, game isn’t taking shots at religion or anything.
During their escape from Guado forces, they fall through an ice fissure and somehow end up on Sin, who’s just casually chilling under the frozen lake under the temple. Because y’know, gotta move the plot along. Somehow they all end up on Bikanel Island, the home of the Al Bhed, a desert land. In repelling a Guado attack on the Home of the Al Bhed, Tidus learns a crucial fact he was never told about Yuna’s pilgrimage. Rikku tells him that when the summoner defeats Sin by summoning the Final Aeon, they die in the process. Now this part is never properly explained. Does the energy required to summon the Final Aeon kill the summoner, or does that Aeon kill the summoner because its power is impossible to control? Does it even kill Sin? All these questions aren’t really answered ever, but hey, who said Japanese RPGs ever have to make complete sense the entire time?
Blah blah blah, you get an airship, Cid’s there, yay! Yuna gets captured to go marry Seymour in Bevelle and–wait, WHAT?! HE’S ALIVE?!!! Yeah, apparently Unsent Seymour’s just walking around no problem and still wants a bride to consumate the marriage with. Thankfully, the crew do their best Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson impressions and crash the wedding, and Yuna tries once more to send Seymour to the afterlife, but fails once again. The cutscene here is pretty badass, as all the party members grind down ropes, or cables, whatever you want to call them here, to get there. Not to mention the scene where Yuna fakes killing herself by falling off the ledge to the abyss below, only to summon Valefor and fly away. I still remember this particular scene fondly, it was a really cool cutscene.
However, they don’t escape and are sent to the prison of Via Purifico, but not before learning about the massive amount of lies that Yevon shows. They carry tons of machina in their biggest temple, betraying their own teachings, and we discover that Maester Mika is an unsent as well. So this religion doesn’t care about their own rules and can’t even go away in death. Like I said, this game really doesn’t portray religion in the kindest of lights. Through this dungeon, we learn that indeed the Pilgrimage is a useless effort, as Sin always comes back. We also learn Seymour’s true plans, after killing Maester Kinoc, the least important of the four Maesters, let’s be honest. Seymour intends to become Sin and destroy all life, thus ending the endless cycle that Sin has become. So classic villain trope, “I want to end all suffering by ending all life.”. We beat him a second time, but don’t send him for some reason?
Now here I intended to put the most infamous scene in the game, but since it’s basically just music and I don’t need one big fat copyright strike here, we’ll just talk about it and imagine Suteki da ne playing in the background, okay?
So Yuna is clearly shaken up at this point. Everything she believed, everything she thought has been an absolute lie. Yevon is not what it says it is, every person at the top there now wants her dead and they betrayed everything they’ve taught her and the rest of Spira. The only truth left for her is that she will die if she continues the Pilgrimage and she still intends to do so, even though she knows it won’t bring peace forever, but only for a short while. But she’s a broken mess at this point and decides to try and relieve this stress by…walking into a lake fully clothed?
Tidus tries his best to comfort her, fully clothed as well. Even at 14, I knew right away that this scene was going to be drawn in a totally different light. I mean come on, of course I knew about hentai and doujinshi, the internet existed. He tries to get her to quit the Pilgrimage, or y’know, quite simply, use her head, but she still refuses, saying that even if she’ll die and the peace is short, it’s still peace and worth it to her. But she cries, so Tidus comes up with the perfect plan to soothe her pain…MAKE OUT SESSION!!! Or at least, a really terrible CG kiss anyways. It hasn’t aged well.
So! As I’m typing this out, I’m coming to the realization that other than one specific clip towards the end, I honestly can’t think of another audio clip to insert here. From this point in the game onward, it’s all pure information, not a lot of super memorable moments. The fun also starts to end here and it’s getting serious. So you’re not crazy in that there aren’t many more audio clips in between me speaking here, it’s just…pretty heavy from here on out.
So here’s all the complicated information we get, all the way from Mount Gagazet to pretty much the final fights with Sin. After defeating Seymour a third time and escaping a Yuna Sending again, we find out what’s really going on with Tidus, Sin, basically everything. None of this is really in order of how the game reveals it, from here on out, I’m just going to explain this whole thing as best I can.
So during the time of Tidus’ Zanarkand there was a war going on between Zanarkand and Bevelle. Zanarkand was a summoner nation, while Bevelle relied on machina. This war is more explained in Final Fantasy X-2, but the gist is that Zanarkand was losing and was doomed to fall. Enter Yu Yevon, a summoner with a vision to save the nation. He convinces the remaining living people of Zanarkand to become fayth, these crystalized people we see towards the end of the game. They act as conduits for a massive summoning, that includes the dream version of Zanarkand that we see with Tidus. So actually, Tidus, Jecht and all the people we’ve seen in that Zanarkand don’t even truly exist, they’re just dreams put into this fake Zanarkand by the fayth. The only reason the two exist is because Sin touched them and allowed them to be real, so long as Sin exists, mind you. At this point is where the game is where the first cutscene that To Zanarkand plays and Tidus tells you that “this is his story”.
So Sin was created by Yu Yevon as the ultimate aeon that would keep this dream Zanarkand from being found, thus preserving Zanarkand in some way, even in defeat from Bevelle. However, Sin had one more objective…to ensure no civilization ever reaches the level of technology that the Machina War took place in, thus explaining why machina was banned in the Yevon teachings. So a bit of a shot at how our reliance on technology only creates more weapons of war. However, this creation couldn’t be controlled by Yu Yevon, so Sin eventually just attacked everything, including the real Zanarkand, thus bringing Spira to where it stands today.
Yevon’s daughter, Yunalesca, yes that Yunalesca, would devise the first plan to defeat sin, being the first to summon the Final Aeon and killing Sin, as well as her in the process. But she became an unsent and decided to act as the creator of the Final Aeon, as we discover Yuna can’t actually summon the Final Aeon, Yunalesca is the only one who can. Her defeat of Sin, did create a time of peace for the world, but Sin would return and destroyed all the machina using civilizations again, thus creating the teachings that put machina on the ban list. From here on, you had all the various Pilgrimages, having summoner after summoner defeat Sin, die and become a High Summoner, bringing a time of peace before a new Sin returns. The Yevon teachings were devised to give Spira hope, but knew that Sin would never be truly defeated.
This current edition of Sin, being Tidus’ father Jecht, uses the last bit of awareness he has while as Sin, to go to the Dream Zanarkand and bring Tidus into the real world Spira. Jecht had accidentally been touched by Sin when he went out to sea, training to make a return to blitzball after going through a slump. Through his journey guarding Braska, Yuna’s father, he becomes the Final Aeon and thus decides to bring Tidus in, hoping he can be the one to end the cycle.
When reaching Zanarkand, the crew meet Yunalesca to make the Final Summoning, only for Yuna to refuse, as she doesn’t want to sacrifice any of her friends to become the Final Aeon, and soon, Sin. Yunalesca tries to kill them to keep the tradition alive and fails, finally fading away to the afterlife after over a millennium of being an unsent. We also learn at this time that Auron has been an unsent all along, Yunalesca killing him after he lashed out at her when Braska and Jecht were lost during the Final Summoning.
Luring Sin for a final showdown, they enter Sin’s insides and fight their way through, because of course a monster’s innards has a perfectly designed dungeon filled with monsters and treasure chests. Inside they fight Seymour one final time, don’t ask me how he got there, and Yuna finally sends him. I was still holding out for one final battle with him. Part of me genuinely thought he’d turn into the final boss.
Instead Yu Yevon is the final boss. After defeating Jecht in his Final Aeon form and burying the hatchet with his son and disappearing forever, Yevon appears and starts possessing all of Yuna’s aeons, one by one, as his only instinct left is to possess any aeon he can come into contact with. Once all the aeons have been killed, Yevon is left alone and is defeated by the crew.
And this is where we reach our ending. Sin and Yevon are gone, which means the fayth have been released to the afterlife and Dream Zanarkand is no more. Auron requests Yuna send him and does, and Tidus is on the verge of disappearing. Yuna refuses to let him go and the most heartbreaking moment in the game takes place when she runs to hug him and goes right through him, falling to the ground. He hugs her as best he can before leaping off the ship, disappearing forever…unless you unlocked the special ending in FFX-2. But the Eternal Calm has come and the game is over.
To quickly sum up X-2, basically Yuna and Rikku go through massive costume changes, Yuna in hot pants, Rikku a bikini, and they go on a Charlie’s Angels style adventure that has them looking for a man named Shuyin that they see in a recording that looks a lot like Tidus. Through all this, they find out about a weapon underneath Bevelle called Vegnagun that was going to end the Machina War 1000 years ago, but was never used. Shuyin is a man who died during the Machina Wars trying to prevent his lover Lenne from entering the war as a summoner. He tried to sneak into Bevelle and use Vegnagun, but she somehow followed him and stopped him, eventually being caught and both were shot and killed. But because she never told him that she loved him, he became hateful and though not an unsent for reason, he existed in the world, trying to possess people so he could use Vegnagun this time to destroy Spira for not learning from the lessons of the Machina War. He’s defeated and then things get weird.
So if you complete the game with more than 75% of everything being done, the fayth have “found Tidus’ pyreflies” and send him back to the real world if Yuna wishes so. Of course she’d say yes. Here’s the confusing part. We’re led to believe that Tidus isn’t a real person, he’s just a dream character created by the fayth who devised the image of the Dream Zanarkand world that was created by Yu Yevon along with Sin. So how is Tidus, presumably to not even be a real person over 1000 years ago, able to be found by his pyreflies that shouldn’t exist? Needless to say, I think this ending was merely created to have the series end on a truly happy note, having Tidus return to Yuna. At the time when I played it, it was a really happy ending, but in retrospect, there’s a lot of confusion about how it’s even possible.
But there you have it, that’s Final Fantasy X, at least in story form. There’s so many things I can still talk about beyond the story, but since this show is running quite long as it is, allow me to just rattle off a bunch of things in succession here.
The music in this game is incredible. To this day, it’s the only video game soundtrack I’ve ever purchased on its own. Not a special bonus item in a game package, no, I bought this CD at a the only nerd culture store my small town ever had, called The Outer Reaches. We had game stores, trading card stores, board game stores, but never truly a store that had everything, especially anime and manga. This store had one new copy of the soundtrack and it was more expensive than a regular CD. But I bit the bullet and got it, because I had never owned video game music before. At the time, soundtracks weren’t a given with games, there weren’t the crazy number of special editions we see today. So you bet I wanted that copy.
There’s so many songs I can name here. As I typed this all out, I listened to the entire soundtrack on Spotify, since Square finally understands the internet and put all their soundtracks on there. As I’m typing this specific sentence, ironically enough the Ending Theme is playing, and I truly forgot until this very moment how beautiful this specific song is. The oboe parts specifically really do a number on my heart. But aside from that and other songs I mentioned earlier like To Zanarkand and Otherworld, the themes that really stick out to me are the following.
Besaid is a wonderfully soothing song. Spira Unplugged just makes me want to break out a guitar and play it every time I hear it. Luca is a really chill tune. Both The Splendid Performance and Blitz Off are great tracks that immediately bring all the great memories I had of playing blitzball. Auron’s Theme and Rikku’s Theme stand out as the better character themes, Auron’s being super cool and Rikku’s being so damn happy. Lastly, Seymour’s Theme is quite possibly the best single use boss battle theme in any game I’ve ever played. Like I said, this soundtrack is absolutely incredible, my personal favourite in the series, and second all-time, behind Chrono Cross, which just isn’t far, considering all the great guitar music Yasunori Mitsuda created for that game.
Over time, the characters in this game have really grown on me. I really didn’t like Lulu at all when I first played through and over the years, I’ve really liked her over time. She’s still no Rikku, but she’s not the “old woman” that 14 year old me hated the first time around. Kimahri’s always been the stoic, yet funny at random moments character, and Wakka was always the cheerful one, well…least until the racism came out. I’ve gone through Auron and Rikku, the one real weird one left is Yuna.
I really, really don’t like Yuna, at least not until she loosens up by the time they get to Yunalesca. Granted, I know exactly why and it’s kind of not fair to her. Because of my own personal history with relationships, my view of religious following girls is not that great, so when I saw how devoted and quite honestly, blind, Yuna was to the teachings of Yevon, I couldn’t help but dislike her a little bit, because she reminded me of a girl who told me I couldn’t date her because I didn’t love God like she did. So it’s why when I say I like Yuna, I always make sure to refer to her as X-2 Yuna.
Similarly, when I refer to which Rikku I like, I refer to X Rikku. This honestly has nothing to do with anything she’s like in X-2, I just hate the outfit she wears and especially her hair. It’s just a little too much, I loved her in the simplicity that was her short hair, pink top, green shorts, THAT’S IT!
Other smaller things I remember range from the pain in the ass fight with Yojimbo, but that was worth it, he was a cool aeon. Speaking of cool aeons, imagine my shock when after going on GameFAQs after starting my second run, that you could actually get Anima, the aeon Seymour summons at one point, as your own summon! Yeah…Anima was creepy and yet so damn cool. I remember some of the cool weapons, specifically Tidus with the Brotherhood, the sword Wakka gives to him that apparently his brother Chappu used. I love the look of that sword.
Lastly, the most fun I ever had with this game when replaying it, was screwing with the Sphere Grid, y’know when I actually learned how to use it. There is nothing more enjoyable than having Lulu fighting with a Moogle doll, after putting her through Auron’s grid with a Teleport Sphere and having that tiny doll deal 9999 damage to bosses.
[You Big Meanie…]
I have finished this game six separate times. All of them were not quick clears, all six times were over 80+ hours, doing all the quests and collections I could. The last time I beat this game was around four years ago when I got the remastered copy for PS Vita, which I played on my PS TV, cause I don’t really like handheld gaming much. And every single time I finish it, I have quite the smile on my face.
It’s my ultimate nostalgia. You know after typing this all out and now reading it into this microphone for the show, I realized how many things I’d forgotten over the years, while refreshing the entire story to me. I’ve also proven to myself why I consider this game my favourite, but not the best of all time. When I really think about it, man this game’s second half is a confusing mess of a story. Dreams, fayth, final summons, Sin being reborn, all these things are not story elements a first timer is going to get. Hell, even today having a much better understanding of it all, it’s still a little rough. But what always gets me past it, is the memories from the first half especially. Blitzball, Rikku, Kimahri trying smile, Tidus’ really weird laugh, the Shoopuf driver’s ridiculous accent. Y’know, “riiiiiiiide ze shoopuf?”. And to come at a time where I was so ready to relax and enjoy a game without the fear of shutting my console off, to go to bed and wake up to hell at school the next day, the game really had all the time in the world to truly carve a piece into my mind for all eternity.
And well…I suppose the hot springs scene in FFX-2 also has a place for a different reason. Yuna at least, I don’t know what the hell Rikku was wearing in that scene. Like I said, FFX Rikku only.
Thank you so much for checking out this show. It has been a blast for me to go through this wave of nostalgia, listening to the music, remembering all the moments, all that jazz. This was a hell of a project for me to take on, considering the time constraints I have.
The reason my podcasts generally are unedited and unscripted and the videos aren’t some crazy edited video with tons of footage is not because I’m lazy, but because I don’t have enough time to pull it off regularly. The video is obviously still the same here as any other show, but audio-wise, this has been a much different project. A full script, which I spent six hours writing out, being recorded and edited to be as perfect as possible. No flubbing of words, no struggling to think of information, just one fluent show. I still enjoy the realism of my other shows, because it’s literally just me talking, but this, this is a different beast, one that I wanted to do, to prove that I could do something like this.
So I hope you enjoyed this show and hopefully there will be a second episode. If you’re watching this on YouTube, please like the video if you enjoyed it, subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already and leave a comment below about what you thought about the show, I’d really appreciate any sort of criticism. If you’re listening to this on an audio platform, if you have the ability to rate the show, please do so, otherwise if you want to reach me, you can hit me up on Twitter at CSRadical, or e-mail me at email@example.com. Lastly, if you’re interested in other podcasts I do, there’s the Radical Wrestling Podcast, and the anime themed Church of Weeb, which are uploaded on the same channel as this show. There’s also the VCR Podcast, a show I do with a couple friends, which is available on anchor.fm/vcrpodcast, or on my YouTube channel, CSRadical, where all my shows are featured.
This has been the first episode of the Radical Recall, I’m CSRadical. Thanks for stopping by.