_hojo:the.FFX.grindJanuary 19, 2009
_to stay true to the name “Slaves to the Grind,” i wanted my first post to be about grinding. no, not the Clipse song. i originally was going to finish the 1,000,000 rose roll-up in WeKatamari and post something about that…but then i ended up getting back into Final Fantasy X and decided to finish what i had put off for so long and complete it.
_i am also apologizing ahead of time, as i’m going to go into a lot of boring details, and often times won’t bother to go into details on things that you wouldn’t understand if you haven’t played the game.
_so…what did i have left to complete by FFX file? just the Monster Arena and Overdrive charging modes (and also Omega Weapon, who i didn’t know i hadn’t beaten until i’d already beat Nemesis. i just happened to find out when grinding for Flee’s in the high encounter rate Omega Dungeon [which i’ll get to later] and Yuna killed him in one turn with a physical attack). of course, before REALLY tackling the Monster Arena, the OCD in me deemed it necessary to max out everybody’s stats on the Sphere Grid, which kind of ironically meant a lot of time in the Monster Arena. so, a couple million Gil and a couple hundred Clear Spheres on all of Rikku’s activated HP Sphere’s later (most of the Clear Spheres weren’t used on that, but it’s just to get the point across that i used a lot in the grand scheme), i was ready to abuse Don Tonberry and Overdrive->AP to get everybody around the Sphere Grid.
_after finally breaking everyone’s base stats, the next phase was breaking their armor, which meant Auto-Protect/Shell/Haste all-around. unfortunately, the only way to quickly get Chocobo Wings for Auto-Haste cost at least 250k in bribes and it takes at least 2 bribes to get enough to customize Auto-Haste. so i just gave it to 3 people and used them for the entire Arena (Lulu, Yuna and Auron, if you’re curious). about 25 hours of game time after picking FFX back up, i had beaten Nemesis.
_OCD then struck again. “i’ve gone this far…i might as well go around the Sphere Grid and clear all nodes that aren’t [Stat]+4, HP+300 or MP+40 and replace them with ones that are. and move everyone around the grid activating all the new spheres at the same time. say goodbye to 10 more hours…”Bye, hours!”
_Overdrives were next, which was considerably less fun than Arena battling and Sphere Grid management. off into the world i went, engaging in battles to preform repetitive tasks, like healing hundreds of time per battles, defending constantly to allow enemies to attack me so i could dodge them, standing around while poisoned, having status effects inflicted upon me over and over again, having party members be killed and other “fun” things. the real grinding had begun. from having to unlock methods i would’ve otherwise just assumed everyone had (Yuna still needs Slayer, what?) to figuring out what enemies helped me learn certain methods the fastest, to finding out what groups out of said enemies would even allow me to learn these methods, given that my characters all had maxed stats. after finishing all that, and finishing my Anti-Status Effects armor customization, i’d burned through another 10 hours. 45 hours later…i had finally Completed Final Fantasy X.
_or at least…i’d love to say i really had. you see, while i’ve been typing this, i’ve also been continuing with my grind-fest by spamming the X button and with the help of a rubber band. someone had the brilliant idea of having the Overdrive mode “Coward,” unlocked via escaping from battle. did they make it unlockable from running from a reasonable number of battles like…oh, maybe 100? after all, Ally unlocks via getting turns in battle and takes 600 turns at the most…more than 600 battles would just be silly. and it is silly. 3 characters take more than 900 escapes to learn Coward. Nine-fucking-hundred. what the hell were they thinking? as of this very moment, i’ve spent 10+ hours fleeing from battles. that more time than i spent on every other Overdrive method combined, and the entire clearing of the Sphere Grid. and only 3 of my characters have learned Coward. awesome. i’m looking at at least another 5 hours of this too.
_a quick summery of the last 5 paragraphs: RPG’s are the perfectionists nightmare.
_i feel this is as good a time as any to talk about my feelings on FFX itself, aside from all the grinding. [SPOILERFILLEDPARAGRAPHALERT] a common criticism of FFX i hear is the weakness of the story, often times generalized into the incredibly poignant comment “Tidus iz uh dream WTF that’s so dum.” while i admit, that particular plot twist was a rather…lame one, it allowed for so much more in the rest of the story. upon learning of his status as a dream of the fayth, and that he’d cease to exist upon the true destruction of Sin, when he chose to continue fighting for Spira at the cost of his own existence, he truly transformed into the true hero of the story. and when he started to fade at the end, and Yuna ran through him…it made for a fantastic and moving end to the game. so while the idea itself is a little dumb sounding, what it did for the rest of the story i feel made up for it. add to that the other “WTF” moments, like “WTF, Auron’s dead?” and “WTF, Jecht is Sin?” that i didn’t see coming, the incredible [especially for the time] amount of above-average voice acting, a great turn-based battle system that actually allows you to switch party members not only at any time on the world map, but on the fly in battle, along with each party member having a pretty well defined role in combat until you reach the end game, Square’s brilliant foresight in naming the final boss “Braska’s Final Aeon” to avoid spoilers in strategy guides…i think FFX is an underrated entry in the series.
_add to that the unintentional comedy that is Yuna’s VO, and Tidus’ teen angsty “I hate you wuhwuhwuh” during what supposed to be a powerful emotional moment before the final battle…yeah, i think FFX is pretty sweet =P