My Travels of Spira, Pt. 1

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I knew this would happen.

 

From the moment I booted the game up, I knew I was about to take a huge dive. One of my good friends from high school that I spoke of in my previous article sent me a message saying he too had picked up the game. For a good 30 minutes, we were reminiscing about FFX back around 2002 when it was still fresh to us. It was also remotely ironic and amazing that even 10 years later we’re both older with our own daily lives, we giggled and ranted uncontrollably as if it was the cafeteria or a random class in high school all over again, almost as if time wasn’t even an issue. So I asked him if he too was going the Expert Sphrere Grid route; Indeed he did, and was impressed. As of now, I am roughly about 13 hours into the game.

 

Updated visuals was a treat based off of some of the comparisons that were made, but the first thing I happen to notice through my first 30 minutes was the slightly remastered soundtrack. Final Fantasy X has always had what I considered a unique soundtrack, ranging from the various villages and towns (Besaid Island, Kilika, Luca) to some of the battle tracks (Fight, Hurry, Otherworld) as well. To be completely honest, as of where I last left off in the game, I’m a bit 70/30 about the remastered OST. Mind you, I can’t say i’m on the fence on it due to nostalgia but for some songs, but some of their original counterparts had that sweet spot to its composition. I will admit, I’m definitely digging the remastered battle theme. 

 

Once I got the opportunity to use the Sphere Grid for first time, I zoomed it all the way out to see how far reaching this grid goes and I sat back in my chair to contemplate on it. What I had learned from before, is that the Expert Sphere Grid has less nodes (contains a ability or stat) than it’s Standard counterpart, but the biggest draw for being on Expert was the player being able to customize each character as they see fit. Knowing my mind, I was willing to come up with all sorts of crazy mixtures and concepts but decided on a different playthrough to experiment all over the place. The sphere grid wasn’t looking as intimidating as it once was years ago; If there was anything I learned, it’s mainly about ability and stat management across the whole grid. There will be plenty of empty nodes for you to fill in with a stat boosting sphere of your choice but also with the Clear Sphere, you can also clear any stat related node and open it up for a replacement.

 

The first few hours has been nothing but pure fun for me. It almost makes me feel young again as I used to sit and play this everyday after school or randomly on the weekends with friends. Without a doubt i’ll definitely write a few more of my experiences through Spira, explaining different things and going about the game with its other details here and there. Though I never got a chance to pick up the Remastered Soundtrack, going through this first playthrough will definitely add a sense of intrigue and different impressions on how the song was remastered for this title. Until then…

 

Back to Spira.

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A 10+ Year Love/Hate Relationship, Revisited

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This one has spanned a few years for me. A long time coming, I would almost want to say.

I’ve clocked in about a good 80 to 100 hours into Lightning Returns, which is about a equal amount of time I vested in Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2. I’ve also acquired the Platinum Trophy for all three titles in the series, yet I find myself still playing them even afterwards. This next title I’ve been politely holding out for has been on my mind ever since it was announced. I held out simply because I knew it would have guaranteed took my focus away from other games. For some reason, I’ve always had a different or unique type of relationship with Final Fantasy X. Not because it’s a bad game, thats far from the reason. It was because of Final Fantasy X, I learned that eventually Japan would get a version called Final Fantasy X: International. Before X had their International variation, the only other game before it that had the International release in Japan was FFVII, which mainly was our (North American) port of FFVII that included extras from the original release in Japan and a bonus disc known as the Perfect Guide.

FFX: International felt like a completely different game in some aspects with the addition of Expert Sphere Grid, New skills, the optional Dark Aeon battles, and other modifications of the combat system. I had a few friends in high school where we used to trade secrets, hints, and much more during break and class as we all played FFX together; It almost went into what we would call a friendly competition of seeing who can do what, who can beat who, and how. It wasn’t until almost a year or two later after International’s release that we found out about it, and we were like…..what? The ironic thing was, FFX: International came out barely a few months after it’s original in Japan, and we were mindblown at all that they added. Bitter? Not really. Angry? Why should we. Disappointed? I would say that was the word. Playstation 2 was not region free, so we had to have owned a Japanese PS2 or a modded one. I actually had a chance to play FFX: International a few years back but never had the chance to really start and finish it. One of my other friends told me about the details that mattered on how to progress in the game with Expert Grid, which truly left me even more sad that we never got this version….until recently.

FFX/FFX-2 HD Remaster is a blessing in disguise, for it’s giving me the opportunity to finally play through the version of the game that I missed out on years ago. Yesterday I booted the game up as soon as I got home, was able to select FFX or FFX-2 to begin my journey. I often thought about starting with X-2 for the sole fact that I actually enjoyed that game, despite the general feeling that it received during it’s release. I went against it, because the full FFX: International experience was 10 years in the waiting for me. Believe me, I feel the same way for Final Fantasy X-2 due to the variation known as International + Last Mission. I can go on and on about it sadly, but that can be for another day for another time.

 

As for now, it’s time to cherish this experience and indulge in the world of Spira once again.