Playthrough: Springtime for Spira

The Starlight Megaphone is pleased(?) to present Springtime for Spira: A Final Fantasy X playthrough.

Final Fantasy X Original Box Art

When Final Fantasy X was released on the PlayStation 2, angels wept. Satan, seated on his throne of pain, cracked his knuckles whilst laughing with ghoulish glee. This, he knew, was an auspicious day. Unsuspecting Final Fantasy fans would soon suffer through more than forty hours of unpalatable bilge. This gave the Lord of Darkness reason for celebration. Yet, even he did not know the fullness of Final Fantasy X‘s terrible nature. Now, years later, we seek to relive those painful experiences as expiation for our sins. So, join us, readers, as we undergo the horrendous, grinding, awful, merciless purgatory that is Final Fantasy X.

In this, the final, we will be focusing on completing the game. Post your comments on the ridiculous storyline, the dated graphics, the lacklustre soundtrack, the solid battle system, and the utterly abysmal voice acting. Is the script totally crap? (Yes.) Is the internal coherence wholly absent? (Yes.) Is the game a fetid waste of time–a miserable excuse for a budget expenditure which never should have been? (Yes.) You be the judge–as long as your judgement complies with our own unbiased, objective view of this rank turd of a game.

Four weeks of unskippable cutscenes. Four weeks of a spastic main character who has a combination of Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s, and Schizophrenia. Four weeks of stilted voice acting. Four weeks of stiffly-moving models with soulless eyes wildly gesticulating. Four weeks of long, theatrical pauses punctuated by frequent, jarring, bizzarely-located, hyperactive camera angle changes. Four weeks of nonsensical plot. Four weeks of pseudo-philosophical, pseudo-emotional, pseudo-important piffle. Four weeks of Final Fantasy X.

Week 1: Reach Guadosalam
Week 2: Reach Home
Week 3: Reach the Calm Lands
Week 4: Finish the Game!

Tidus: Listen to my story. This… may be our last chance.

It is a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.


  1. This is a pretty bad port though…

    I already wish that we’d skipped this and gone straight to X-2.

  2. I’d like to remind you gentlemen that this port was farmed out to a Chinese third party. Just like XIV was before Square had to spend years fixing it.

  3. XIV was developed in-house by people from the FFXI development team. The rumours about it being developed in China were just that–rumours (and untrue ones, no less). There was a small Chinese team responsible for Chinese localisation, but that was all.

    I expect SN knows who is responsible for every aspect of the FFX port and original. It is his favourite game EVER, after all.

    I cannot imagine how someone can prefer this fucking atrocity over FFXIII. It has a worse battle system, worse storyline, worse VA, worse graphics, worse music, worse script, worse premise, and worse characters, Snow and Auron excepted.

  4. Huh, and so it was. Misinformation abound on the internet, pity I fell for that one.

    I’ve never played X or X-2 and do not intend to.

  5. This game was just a fucking insult and that’s all it will ever be to me. It’s not “so bad it’s funny” or anything worthwhile. Maybe I’d play it again if they made Tidus the villain instead of the main character, also got rid of every other character, threw out all of the cutscenes and words both written and voice acted, and basically made an entirely different game. I know that fans of FFX have their reasons and I don’t mean to attack anyone’s sensibilities for liking something which I hate.

  6. It’s too bad. Spira was a pretty cool idea for a world, one which I would have loved to explore if there was a good game around it.

  7. I cannot imagine how someone can prefer this fucking atrocity over FFXIII. It has a better battle system, worse storyline, worse VA, worse graphics, better music, better script, worse premise, and better characters.

  8. @SN: Are you not playing FFX?

    That you are seriously arguing that FFX has a better battle system and better script than FFXIII demonstrates either that nostalgia and distance have clouded your memories of FFX, or that you are irredeemably and hopelessly pants-on-head potatofied.

  9. I will be picking up this game probably tomorrow. So lets see if my memories of playing this game near release hold up (accounting for the new sphere grid, of course).

    What I recall was a lot of vitriol about the game’s linearity, and much less so about its voice acting. Understandable given the time in which it released, I suppose. The battle system was praised, the way the Summons worked was also considered a very fun change. And throughout all the criticism I avoided it on day-one. Until I figured “let me just give it a shot, maybe it’s ok.” And so I did. And so, too, did I feel. Ok. The game, aside from a frustrating maze-like last dungeon, was pretty “ok”. I recall a soundtrack with some standout tracks, I recall hunting down all the optional Aeons being fun.

    Now lets see how I feel some ten years later.

  10. The FFX battle system is vastly preferable to me. FFXIII’s battle system is conceptually brilliant in the way that is serves as a compromise between gamers that want a command based battle system and gamers that want an action based battle system, but it is a compromise that I don’t find to be particularly enjoyable. It certainly isn’t a battle system that I find to be unpleasant, but it also isn’t one that I find to be particularly compelling, and not a battle system that I would ever choose for a game. I vastly prefer FFX’s refined turn-based system, or even most of the ATB based battle systems [with the exception of IX, because it’s way too slow].

    As for script, XIII’s is one of the most unpleasant that I’ve ever encountered in a game that hasn’t had issues with the correct expression of the English language [Legend of Dragoon for instance]. FFXIII is famous for its obnoxious script, which isn’t to say that FFX’s doesn’t have its issues, but XIII’s is just mindnumbingly bad. We have discussed XIII’s story previously, and the way that it’s actually surprisingly decent when removed from its presentation – but sadly, XIII’s script does a lot to muddy my appreciation of the game’s story, as it’s presented in the muddiest and most mundane way possible [when at all].

  11. I believe both FFX and FFXIII have notably bad scripts but in distinctly different ways.

    I think FFXIII is bad because it’s essentially the first draft of a script. The draft in which all dialogue should just be blatant expressions of intent. The actions and arcs of these characters make sense to me, and even Snow – who is the very worst – is consistent as a character, it’s just that his character is a naive, annoying, unintelligent jackass. This sort of script writing assumes the consumer is an idiot and also takes away from the effect of the message because everybody is just waiting for their turn to say what their motivation is in that scene. The characters don’t feel like characters because they do not build genuine relationships with each other and they do not speak in any way reflecting the complexity of the human psyche, and so their arcs become meaningless. They are a collection of different high school essays that happen to level up.

    I think FFX is bad because it tries to jump to the last draft of the script without understanding what it should take to arrive there. It attempts to have subtle interactions that hint at deeper characters and relationships, but the harder you look, the less is there. This is where I think FFX fans get confused. I think because of the concept of the story and because of the obvious INTENT of the characters, smart players can start to project more complexity onto the cast. Of course if one envisions a scenario in which they find out that someone they love who they’ve been traveling with is on the journey to sacrifice themselves, then one can find much to sympathize with that situation. It is a set-up with a lot of potential for emotional depth and nuance. But the game does not provide any of this. I do not believe that Yuna and Tidus have reason to love each other, even accepting the fact that I personally don’t like either of them. I don’t like Aerith much at all, but I believe that she and Cloud had a connection, and that part of that connection was tied into and became somewhat indistinguishable from their connection to Zack. Hell, it even makes sense that Squall and Rinoa like each other and I HATE those guys. The characters in FFX represent empty scenarios because the characters are ultimately empty, and therefore it becomes easy to project (or remember projections of) deeper complexity. That is not good writing.

    So I don’t have a lot of respect for either script in pretty different ways. Also, I can’t really decide between empty or undeveloped characters either, the first obsessed with surface traits and being cool without understanding the inner workings and the second obsessed with starting thematic points which are actually pretty cool but having no idea how to develop the ideas into real breathing characters. Fuck both those games.

    Also, both games make their characters utterly void of any sexuality. (yes, both games have kissing cutscenes, but that just makes this fact extra awkward) Games are generally bad with this anyway, but it’s just hard to take a character seriously when there’s no sense that they’re a sexual being. Sex doesn’t even have to be mentioned to make this obvious.

    Because it’s not like VII and IX handled it expertly, but at least the leads were conceivably sexual beings with hormones and flesh and being capable of attraction.

  12. I agree with Ethos’ appraisal. Surprisingly adept description of the issue.

    However, the game which is more appreciably written (in terms of form, style, etc.) must then become the one for me which trumps the other. FFXIII may have characters declaiming at each other–like Shakespearean soliliquies–but this is far preferable to characters who say things that don’t make sense, who wildly gesticulate whilst saying things that don’t make sense, who believe things that don’t make sense, who continually try to motivate each other with things that don’t make sense, and whose development as characters doesn’t make sense. It is character development because the characters need to develop for the purpose of the plot–not because they actually develop.

    One can buy, entirely, the relationship between Snow, Lightning, and Serah, as overwrought as its presentation may be, because the characters actually do involve themselves, demonstrably, in the things that make such a relationship believeable. One can’t say anything like this about Tidus. He falls in love with Yuna because he must for the sake of the plot. I know this because I am in Bevelle now. I remember the first time people started intimating that Tidus liked Yuna back on Besaid. I remember when she first mentioned that she couldn’t marry whom she really loved, after Guadosalam. And yet, there is NOTHING in the script, nothing that is done, which makes these feelings plausible. Is it love at first sight (and, yet, without any outward signs of it except for a few, tiny moments of ordinary friendship)? No, it is just implausible, forced nonsense, like the rest of the script–which also doesn’t make one whit of sense.

    I can get that people might have liked FFX when it came out and when they were young and their feelings had all complexity of a light switch, but if you are a thinking, feeling adult, and you still think that FFX is a better representation of character or feeling than FFXIII, something is seriously wrong with your worldview. Maybe FFXIII is full of speechifying, but that speechifying does something, and represents something of the complexity of human nature which FFX’s nonsense cannot. It is the comparison of a statue of a man to a cartoon drawing of a man. Neither approaches the real, but one does a much better job than the other.

  13. Normally I wouldn’t post in a playthrough that I am not playing. I have to because something caught my attention .

    I played FFXIII and I can only say that I did not have any kind of enjoyment playing that game, in fact I have FFXIII-2 but I dont feel like playing the game (I did not finish XIII), but with FFX I remember having fun playing it ( I begun playing rpgs around 1998, my english was crappy before that, and no pal versions were available in Argentina).

    I can only say that I do not care if a game is (or feel) real or not, I only care if the game brings me enjoyment in anyway, plus the battle system never was something that had a weight in the fun I had with any game.

    Yes, I prefer FFX over FFXIII any day of the week. And why I am not playing the playthrough? because Skyrim xD .

    And by the way, this week podcast is by far my favorite of this month, yes it has nothing to do with this playthrough, but I had to say it and I am feeling pretty darn lazy right now :P

  14. @Ferchu: XIII and XIII-2 are different as are X and X-2. Refusing the latter because you didn’t care for the former doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. They are different games. X-2 is a much better game than X, although the writing is still terrible.

    I ‘enjoyed’ FFX when I bought it–enough that I played through it three times in succession. But I was a lot younger when FFX came out. I don’t judge a game today by how I felt when I played it originally; nor do I approach a game today uncritically just because I liked it originally.

    When I replay through a game now, it gets the same treatment that any game would get–whether that game is FFXIII, FFX, FFVII, WoW, FFXIV, Disgaea 5, Portal, Super Mario 3D World, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Journey, Flower, Deadly Towers, Puppeteer, Valkyria Chronicles, The Last Story, or Fable.

    I don’t say, “Well, I liked this when I came out, so I’m going to look past its flaws and laud it to the skies,” or, “I’m going to minimise or look past its faults, and magnify its successes.” That is intellectually dishonest behaviour.

    Instead, I say, “I have grown a lot, and I have a much better understanding of what makes for a sophisticated and complex presentation. Let us see what those mature expectations make of this game.” And then, I play the game with the same critical eye that I use when reading a text or conducting my research.

    I’m sorry(?) if the result of that approach is that FFX doesn’t stand up as well as does FFXIII. That’s life, I suppose. FFXIII is a later work in a maturer medium; it is to be expected that its story/script/presentation would (if only by default) surpass that of FFX. But I’m not here to please fanboys of what is, quite honestly, a terrible game, so I have no problem saying that FFX isn’t as good as FFXIII. It isn’t as good on gameplay principles (n.b. I have now spent 25+ hours with the expert sphere grid, and what it gives with one hand, it takes away with the other), and it isn’t as good on literary principles. It’s poor overall (but still better than the exquisitely awful FFVIII).

    I did not enjoy FFXIII when it came out, and I did enjoy FFX when it came out. A few years later, approaching both with critical distance, I can say that FFX is neither as good nor as enjoyable for a critical adult as FFXIII. Does that mean that FFXIII is a masterpiece of literary prose? No, of course not. But FFXIII is certainly better than FFX in every regard.

    Of course, if you are the sort of person who watches cartoons and considers them a perfectly acceptable venue for the delivery of plot and character, then you will find satisfaction in almost anything. For the more discerning palette, my comments will suffice.

  15. @Ferchu – It is absolutely fine to enjoy or prefer whatever you’d like! I enjoy the original Kingdom Hearts even as I replay it and find that a lot of the level design is absolutely abysmal. Also the gummy ship. Wow, there’s a lot of shitty design in that game. Still though, love it. Have many fond memories of enjoying it. There is no argument for what somebody prefers, because they prefer it and that is the end of it. The argument has arisen because claims have been made about something being better than something else.

  16. Or, basically what Caspius just said.

    “I don’t say, “Well, I liked this when I came out, so I’m going to look past its flaws and laud it to the skies,” or, “I’m going to minimise or look past its faults, and magnify its successes.” That is intellectually dishonest behaviour.”

    Precisely this. It is this relatively recent mindset for me that has made me scared to replay some of my favourite games. It finds that some games collapse (Kingdom Hearts, FFX, Tales of Symphonia) some games are better than I originally thought (Thousand Year Door, Wind Waker) and some are approximately the same with some things better and some things worse than I originally thought (FFIX, Majora’s Mask). It makes me go back to Flower and note that some things that I considered minor annoyances at the time actually hinder what’s best about the game from a design standpoint, and while I would still argue for it overall, there are plenty of flaws I can point to that I would have tried to explain away originally.

  17. @Ethos: I played Kingdom Hearts in 2008 and I have to say that I also had enjoyment from that game, I liked the plot more than KH2 story line. The gummy ship levels were better in KH2, I played those levels many times xD .

    @Caspius: I dont know, I just dont have interest in playing FFXIII-2 right now, I heard from some friends of mine that was good. Maybe I prefer X more than you because the flaws of the game really dont bother me that much . Is not like I am ignoring something it just doesn’t bother me. I think I played FFX again a year ago or maybe 2 years ago and I was having fun .

    Man, I dont watch many cartoons, strangly I find them most boring lately :/ (except southpark but I dont know if that qualifies as a cartoon).

    I think we had different experiences when talking about FFXIII, I was expecting something different :/ .

    Isn’t the plot of FFXIII-2 and FFXIII related? o.O .I gave up in FFXIII about 3/4 of the game (I think) and I got FFXIII and FXIII-2 together .

    The opinions about FFX don’t bother me, reading them is actually really interesting in what other people think about an experience that for some reason was very different for me ( I was laughing when you talked about FFX in the podcast xD ). I just felt the need to say how I experienced the game. Maybe my post was felt like a fanboy post? I don’t think your view about the game is wrong, because the game didn’t give you the same enjoyment that others games did give you, like lost Odyssey. Can you believe my xbox 360 died on me about 1/4 of the game ? I was so angry back then -.-

  18. I couldn’t get the games on release( FFXIII and FFXIII-2), the games are REALLY expensive in Argentina because the currency exchange. My god I played FFX in 2005 xD

  19. Although, speaking of cartoons, Avatar: The Last Airbender does a significantly better job with story and character than most things I’ve seen this decade.

  20. I dont watch american cartoons since He-man and G.I.Joe so I dont know much about that cartoon but I believe a movie (for Avatar: the last airbender) was made?

  21. I think second playthroughs of certain games, especially titles in long established series, are important. We often get wrapped up in the hype for a new game and it can cause our opinion of the game to be swayed one way or another depending on how elated or disappointed we are with the final product.

    One example of this is easy to relive, go back and listen to The Megaphones Ahoy! Podcast leading up to and during the site’s playthrough of FFXIII. The staff at the time (as were many of the readers) were excited for a new FF game, but that excitement quickly turned to disappointment because FFXIII was not what people expected.

    For me, my first experience with the FF series came in the form of FFVIII. At the time, it was only my second RPG (Super Mario RPG was the first) and I had been listening to my friends rave about it and FFVII for a long time. Age, inexperience with the genre, and the hype I had built up in my mind for the game definitely swayed my opinion of FFVIII. I absolutely loved it at the time and it does hold a bit of nostalgia with me but I also understand why it has such a (deservedly) low rank on the all-time list of FF games.

  22. @Ferchu – Yes, and apparently it is the polar opposite of the show, made with absolutely zero understanding of the core concepts that made it good by the insufferable hack M. Night Shyamalan.

    @Gyme – Agreed. Especially because games tend to be so long and incorporate so many elements.

  23. Am I the only person going along? I’m in Bevelle already. Where’s everyone else?

  24. I’m at the part where you get the Mystic that can enchant and transmogrify your equipment. I just got a bunch of new equipment because the Loot 2.0 patch is awesome

  25. You are REQUIRED to participate in Staff Playthroughs, and DIABLO is not FINAL FANTASY X, Gyme!

  26. So, in comparing the old version to a walkthrough of the new version of FFX, I’m noticing some things (that may or may not have already been brought up here) that aren’t in the remake’s favor. Like load times… Also some enemy textures are worse(?). Not sure why either of these things would be present in the remake, it’s not like this is a graphically intensive game or a game that wasn’t on a disc previously. Silliness.

  27. Week three! Your goal: get to the CALM LANDS! (I’ve been there already.)

    Notes: The Calm Lands are huge, but unpleasantly huge because of random battles. This is a sign of how FFXIII has changed my impression of things: Pulse is amazingly and brilliantly huge, because I can see monsters and choose to avoid them, if I wish. It also doesn’t look as empty and featureless as the Calm Lands does.

    Is anyone even playing anymore? I’m on Mt. Gagazet, preparing to finish the game.

  29. I am sure EVERYONE is playing the game but since the enjoyment is so off the scale, they don’t have time to post… words :D

Comments are closed.