Friday, 8 November 2013

Final Fantasy X: Nemesis

Over the last year, I've spent 108 hours in Final Fantasy X min/maxing my team to defeat "Nemesis", the insanely high-level optional superboss. This is something I rarely if ever do in these types of games. I've come close a few times, but this is the first time I can ever say I haven't just beaten a game: I've annihilated it.


The process, like most of these optional end-game bosses begins very slowly. Chipping away against certain enemies until they drop a thing, or a certain number of things to get a Weapon. But that weapon is better than anything you've been using, so now the process goes faster. Then you might need another item, but the monster who drops it is too powerful for you. So you "farm" fighting a different monster who drops a thing that, if you use it enough times makes you faster, or boosts your defense. And you do that enough times until you get more things, to get more better weapons, to take on harder bosses who drop better stuff.

While a game like this played normally is a consistent challenge/reward structure(with a few difficulty spikes now and then), the endgame content is a bit different. It reminds me of that mathematical equation where 1 + 1 = 2, then 1 + 2 = 3, then 2 + 3 = 5, and so on and so on... but if you were trying to reach 1,000. The pace begins very glacial, but the longer you go at it, the faster it is to get to the end.


The beautiful thing about Final Fantasy X however is that you can customize your weapons. You can practically build them from scratch if you have the right ingredients. And this game is infamous for the sheer ridiculousness of its' "Celestial Weapons", the supposed end-all, high-tier weapons your characters can get. If it's too much of a pain in the ass to get the legitimate Strongest Weapons, just make your own. It might take longer, and you need to know where to look, but it's do-able.

So instead of doing impossible bullshit like that stupid butterfly minigame, or dodging 200 lightning bolts in a row without pausing or failing once, I just made Lulu and Kihmari personalized weapons that fulfill the same basic purpose. Even with the same bonuses(give or take). Not only did this help me take down Nemesis, but it also turns the story's final boss fight into a laughably quick endeavour, where you only have to poke him with your shiny pointed stick once to see the end credits.

One can argue if any of this is "fun". Is it "fun" to just read GameFAQS and not figure it out on your own how to beat Nemesis? Is there any skill to that? Is that what's important? I'm tired of the bellyaching that games were better before you could just Google the answer to everything. Nothing robs the joy from an experience like being completely unable to finish it, especially when that experience was paid to not put up a huge roadblock to your entertainment.

I like to think hard work and determination can be rewarding, which I feel is the better term for this. I think it's rewarding to thoroughly conquer a game's most powerful enemy, even if it requires outside assistance and some personal ingenuity. And it gives me a new way to play through a game I'm already fond of. Granted, this is time I could spend working out or kissing girls or doing advanced calculus, or whatever it is I'm expected to do to be a "valuable member of society". But I'm less fond of society, and more fond of fighting pretend dragons.

I'm coming for you next, Yiazmat...



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