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January 11, 2002

Final Fantasy Distractions

Everything you do in Final Fantasy X is building towards a final confrontation with the Uber-boss monster, Sin. One of the infrequent but recurring activities is acquiring Aeons (read: big monsters that fight for your team). If you don't get the Aeons, there are probably going to be battles which you won't be able to win; certainly the 'final' battle will be lost (I'm guessing).

So how do you get Aeons? Your Summoner, named Yuna, a pseudo-religious figure, must visit a temple of Yevon and pray for purification. What this ultimately boils down to in terms of gameplay is that your player-character, Tidus, has to solve a puzzle room to get to the area where the Aeon will be granted.

I've gone through this once before, and have two Aeons (the first was one Yuna had to start with). So last night Kelly and I were sitting downstairs playing the Temple of Djose scenario. Kelly wanted to solve the puzzle. She played and played, asked questions, tried everything she could think of, and eventually the clock ran out on her and it was bedtime.

After I put everyone else to bed, I went back down and noodled for something like thirty minutes on variations to the 'puzzle'. Finally I struck on the sequence of actions which let me progress to the temple chambers, and we got our Aeon.

My complaint with this puzzle is that it is more of an obstruction than a puzzle. I'm sure when the programmers and designers were working out this puzzle, it had a model in their mind. They probably thought the various glowing glyphs and patterns sent out clear messages that the logical game-playing mind would use to construct the solution. And it is true that most every part of the puzzle room played a role in solving the puzzle. But, and this is a big but, none of that is obvious to the neophyte player.

To prove the point, the following morning before going to work, I described to Kelly what sequence of moves I made to 'open' the puzzle. It took me two minutes, and I enumerated something like ten steps. When I was done, Kelly and I were both laughing our fool heads off.

I'm really tempted to write a walkthrough on just this one puzzle for Gamefaqs.com just to document how arbitrary it really is.

Still, I'm still playing...

Posted by dpwakefield at January 11, 2002 09:51 AM