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"They talk about how it'll be nice to sleep somewhere other than the Little Jack, and Vyse bitches about the old, loud engine on the ship. Of course this means that Drachma shows up just in time to hear him say that, which only serves to make the old guy bitchier. Great, Vyse. Drachma tells Vyse that if he doesn't like his Little Jack, he can just shove it. Okay, that came out wrong. Let's move on."
     -Jeanne, Skies of Arcadia Part 4




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Final Fantasy X : Part 1
By Jeanne
Posted 02.13.02
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
So this is the first Final Fantasy for the Playstation 2. More importantly, it's the first Final Fantasy released since I began working on Videogame Recaps. There's all sorts of new crap in this one, like voice acting and facial expressions, but I won't get into all that. Instead, I'm going to make one comment.

There is no overworld map. Take the next two seconds to get over that. Done? Good.

Now let's get into this fabulous game.

A sad little piano solo plays as we fade in on a sunset. There's a pile of weapons on a little hill. There's a ball and a sword, and it looks like the sword is sticking into the ball. I don't think that's good for the ball. There's also a fancy rod, which undoubtedly belongs to the studly hero. Yeah right. There's also little sparkly fireflies flying around.

A bunch of depressed looking people - and some humanoid lion guy - are sitting around a campfire, with a bunch of ruins in the background. Sad music + sad people = sad scene. I think I'd be a little bit sadder....if I knew what the hell was going on.

A pretty young bleached blond guy in a really wanky pair of leather overalls approaches a young woman in a kimono-type outfit. I think we have our leads. Wanky Overalls puts his gloved hand on Kimono Girl's shoulder. She looks sad, but she doesn't say anything like "Get your hands off of me, you fucking pervert!!" so that must mean that she's in love with him.

I suddenly realize that I've entered the game somewhere in the middle. And I'm confused. Wanky Overalls climbs the hill behind the campsite for the next ten minutes. Then we get to see a closeup on his face for the next five. Square is trying to show off the whole facial expression engine here, but the dude just ends up looking like a gelfling. I predict that in five years, we're going to look back at this game and laugh at how bad the expressions were. I may just be pessimistic, but remember - I, too, played Final Fantasy VII.

Wanky Overalls starts talking in a wanky voiceover. "Listen to my story," he wanks. "This....may be our last chance." There's subtitles, but I added the little ellipses there to demonstrate the long pauses in some of the lines. And trust me, there are a lot of them.

And that.......was the beginning. I give credit to Square for trying something besides the usual obnoxiously flamboyant opening sequence. However, I take points away for being completely confused. I'm sure they will explain it all later. They always do. Oh wait, no they don't.

By the way, make sure you choose new game when you first turn on the game. Otherwise, if you just wait at the opening screen, you have to watch that intro twice. Learn from my mistake.

Why, Square, why?
 

The next part fades in on a very technological-looking city full of scantily clad, badly motion-captured people. A porno version of the prelude theme (aka the crystal theme) plays in the background. Some guy runs in with his ass right in the camera. I will admit that the asses look better than in any of the Playstation games, but damn. I really did not want to see that. Of course, it's just the first of many ass shots in the game, so let's all be prepared.

 
Again I ask: why?

Everyone runs off, and a young hooded child materializes from thin air and follows them. Okay. Then, we get yet another ass shot (Current Ass Shot Count (CASC): 2), and this time it's Wanky Overalls from the opening scene. Hooray or something. It looks like he's on the deck of a ship and all the scantily clad people from before are waiting for him. They all get excited and wave at him, including a girl wearing a postage stamp-sized pair of shorts. I would get all feminist on the skimpy clothes thing, but there is also some guy with pants low enough that you can practically see his buttcrack. So at least there is some equality, even though I would have been better off never having experienced any of it.

I gain control of Wanky Overalls, and boy am I just thrilled. First, he talks to a group of kids who excitedly ask him to sign a big studded blue and white ball. Now I get to name Wanky. His default name is Tidus. Just a side note - in the Japanese version his name is pronounced "Tee-duh". So I don't know if the 's' is supposed to be silent, or if I just don't care. I, on the other hand, pronounce it "Tide-us". Therefore, a very close variation is "Tightass", and thus, he has his new name.

So Tightass is some big star of something or other, and everyone wants a piece of him. He's a big dork. He tries to be all cool and crap, and he's pretty full of himself. People like that just make me laugh. At them, not with them.

Some barely dressed girls, including the one in the postage stamp-sized shorts, flirt with Tightass. He's all into that, and says "Oh, if I score a goal...I'll do this" - stupid gesture with his hands in the air - "That will mean it was for you, okay?" The girls go into a fit of giggling. I stick my finger down my throat. I hate jocks.

Blitzball is a cult.
 

The group of kids shriek "Teach us how to blitz!" Tightass tries to blow them off saying "Maybe tonight....um....well...." and then Mysterious Disappearing Kid from earlier says "You can't tonight." Tightass looks at him, doesn't seem to think there's anything odd about some weirdo kid managing his schedule for him, and tells the kids he'll teach them tomorrow. Pedophile. The kids do this weird hand-gesture-bowing thing, which you'll need to remember because it shows up later. Many, many times.

There's a panoramic view of the city, which is all futuristic and dark, and a bunch of the buildings have water cascading over them. Tightass walks all alone along what looks like a freeway without cars. He stops to look at a giant billboard with some red-headbanded guy on it. I would think Tightass was gay, but it's his dad, Jecht. You're not supposed to know this yet. Tightass really needs to close that shirt so I don't have to look at his chest all the time. I mean, it's a decent chest, but to have it hanging out all the time destroys the mystery.

Tightass makes a dismissive sound at the billboard because he has issues with his dad. Who, as we learn from a mysterious voiceover, died ten years ago. The voice goes on and on about how everyone was sad when Jecht died because he was a huge blitzball star. It turns out that the random voiceover guy is the blitzball announcer at the stadium where Tightass is headed for the big game, and he's just reminiscing in order to give us some exposition. The Exposition Announcer also informs us that Tightass plays for the same team as Jecht did, the Zanarkand Abes. What the hell kind of name is that for a team? Is their logo some tall, bearded guy with a stovepipe hat? Well, the team the Abes are playing against is called the Duggles, and that just makes me think Harry Potter. The Abes and the Duggles. That's just.....dumb.

Incidentally, the Exposition Announcer sounds eerily like another character that we haven't met yet...but will soon.

Exposition Announcer is all in a tizzy about seeing Tightass play because he became the team's star player in the last year and Jecht's his dad and crap. Anyway, we get it. Tightass is a superstar.

I wonder why he's wandering around the streets when he's supposed to be in the game. He gets mobbed at the stadium, then runs through the door. Then we have our first FMV of the game. Tightass suddenly looks Japanese. As in very, very different from his normal gameplay look. Whoops, game designers. I mean, don't get all politically correct on me, people. I'm not saying he shouldn't look Asian, I'm just saying they should have matched up the character designs between regular gameplay and FMVs. For the love of God, they have the technology!

 
The answer: Tightass's unit. The question: What do I never want to see in this much detail?

So this big heavy metal song plays in the background while there's all this impressive footage of blitzball. Blitzball is a sport of some kind, played inside a huge sphere of water (get used to spheres - they are everywhere). After a big electrical flash of light where we, for some reason, see too much detail of Tightass's unit through his overalls, the camera pans over the city and we see a much less disturbing sight. A guy in a red robe and sunglasses is standing on a beam, high up over the water (the city seems to be constructed in the middle of the ocean). He is holding a jug of what I believe is sake. That would be more interesting than a jug of water, anyhow.

A giant tidal wave approaches the city, and red robe guy looks like he's toasting it with his big ol' sake jug. This all has significance. Deep and powerful significance. Okay, I tried to make it all sound cool and epic. Leave me alone.

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