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Square Sucked Out The Fun in its Mini-games

ice_blue (Phong)

SPOILERS FOR: Final Fantasy X

There is only so much time and effort a person can devote to a single game, and if I expend a lot of my time and effort into something, the pros better outweight the cons. I'm really referring to FFX. Most of the mini-games were tediuous and/or time-consuming, and the benefits for all the effort put into those mini-games are not at all worth it.

Let me start with the Chocobo races. The initial races in the Calm Lands are short and fairly easy, yet also fairly forgettable. They only serve one purpose of unlocking the true race. That of course, would be the obstacle course with the balloons, and the flying birds that come at you completely from out of nowhere! It's not good enough to just beat the Chocobo trainer, no, the player has to win in under 0 seconds. Yes, that's right, the play must finish under 0 seconds in order to obtain something that is even remotely worthwhile.

The other Chocobo race located at Realm's Temple is just as difficult. Well, winning itself isn't so difficult, but how you win is the true challenge. I'm not sure if it is even humanly possible to win this mini-game with all five chests opened without cheating. And if I knew the methods to cheat, I would have implemented them, without a doubt.

Then there is the impossible lightning dodging mini-game. It's not suffice to dodge 200 lightning bolts, no, the player has to dodge 200 of them, consecutively! That's just absurd, and laborious! However, it was for a complete collection of the ultimate weapons did I try numerous times at this mini-game, and failed miserably. What is even worse if the player is unlucky enough to not have a monster drop a weapon or armor with the "No Encounter" ability.

And how can I forget the Butterfly game? Oh, it's such super fun! Not! It's just another tedious time-challenge game. It's difficult enough to avoid the red butterflies, but the player must also go into combat costing the player to lose some valuable time. If the player even goes into one battle, he might as well start all over because it would take a miracle for him to finish the course.

Some of the mini-games are not difficult at all. The challenge however is through in the time the player must invest into them. To obtain Auron's ultimate weapon, the player must not only defeat every type of monster in the game, but he must capture it using only a specific set of weapons which are incredibly weak. They have only two ability slots, and one is already occupied. The player misses out on a lot of other bonuses from using those particular weapons. Why couldn't Square just allow the user to add the "Capture" abilty to any of the character's weapons? By doing so, the player can kill two birds with one stone: capture monsters, and level up his characters.

Wakka's blitzball at first seemed intimidating with all its rules. After learning it, however, winning was remarkably easy once Tidus learns the Jecht Shot which almost guarantees a goal. But each match is long, at least 10-15 minutes, and winning one match yields no fruit. The player must win a series of matches, or a tournament in order to be awarded a prize, and the prize may be completely useless. One possible prize is 1 Dark Matter, and one by itself is practically useless. How productive is it to try to win 100 tournaments just to win 100 Dark Matter? It's not very practical at all!

Rikku's Cactuar Catching game isn't so bad. It is just boring having to walk back and forth, back and forth in the desert. Furthermore, each "round" was repitive. The only really easy game was Yuna's "Poke-mon" style battles against another summoner in the game. This would make sense, since she is the central character, and the most power one. But that isn't good enough!

I may come off sounding like I hate FFX, but it is quite the contrary. I actually love this game. I just feel the mini-games added little value or enjoyment to my all overall experience. The ends do not justify the means. The mini-games are too laborious. They are set up for the player to fail, and simply, to increase the time the player takes to complete the game.

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