Though Tidus is the narrator of the game, the standin for the player
, and the
only character you actually get to name (his name is never spoken in the
voice-acted dialogue), Tidus can be mighty hard to sympathize with
I think it's because while Final Fantasy X's writers told a great story on a
grand scale, they really blew the fine details. And while translator A. O.
Smith did a beautiful job in Final Fantasy XII, his work is less polished
here. In the beginning of the game, Tidus is perpetually whining, and James
Arnold Taylor goes ahead and makes it as annoying as he can. Remember when he
wakes up in the cave and says "I need food!" like it's some great revelation?
This is supposed to set him up for some character development that
unfortunately never really happens. He's supposed to mature and take charge, but
it's only through the prompting of Rikku ("Just now, you sounded like a
leader!") that we're told that this is supposedly what happened. In truth he
spends 90% of the game as either a whiner or just some sort of adolescent
The other major thing distracting from our sympathy for Tidus is the pacing of
the game. Instead of speeding up at the most critical moments, the game bogs
down in cinematics or else takes a break to let you go on some side-quests for
a while. This is bad enough in itself, but the effect it has on Tidus is to make
him appear a little bit slow. You see, the game has a big secret. Or at least
it thinks it does. All the other characters know it, and we know it too, ages
before Tidus does. When he finds out, breaks down, and can't choose between a
temper tantrum and getting all weepy, we don't want to share his grief, we
want to say "hey jackass, where have you been?".
So what's my point? I suppose it's that despite all of its flaws, I stand
behind my assertion that on that really big, majestic scale, the game does a
pretty good job. In fact, it's probably full of wonderful things you never
noticed before. So here's my suggestion.
If you haven't played the game, play it once, as a game, to beat it. Get it out
of your system.
Then play it again, and try to notice everything. Interrelations between the
characters. Hints in the dialogue that the translators thought would bring you
deeper into the story, but missed the first time. Patterns of power in the
world. Even the art.
Then play it a third time, to really appreciate the thing. Look beyond the
imperfections, beneath the surface, and straight into the creators' minds.
Imagine it as it would have been without the awkward moments and language
barriers. Say "wow".
Honestly I think this applies to any good game, movie, or book. Worth doing is
worth doing right, and to me that includes enjoying art. But I think Final
Fantasy X is especially deserving.