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Final Fantasy X
Don't look to others for knowledge, this is your story.
The Battle System
Battles in Final Fantasy X are not fought in real time, they consist of a complex system of turns. However, once you understand the system, you can plan your actions carefully in advance. When the party's turn comes up, the battle will be waiting for you to input your next command. You cannot pause the game during battles, but if you do not input a command when it's the party's turn, the battle will not continue and the enemy won't attack since it's not the enemy's turn. This is basically the same as pausing the game, only your total playing time will continue.
The Battle Screen
Here, you'll see a screenshot of the battle screen when it's the turn of one of your characters, and you are planning what to do next. I've placed 7 marks on the picture and the description of those marks will be below the picture.
Each character has a different set of commands based on his or her Abilities. Every character has the Attack Ability, but some party members do not have the Strength to cause a decent amount of damage with his or her weapon. The Skills command opens a menu of combat skills available to the character. Characters can learn these skills using the Sphere Grid. The Special command opens a menu of special techniques that are usually learned by only one character, or until the other characters break free from their sectors of the Sphere Grid. Refer to the Ability List for a description of all the Command Abilities.
If a character possesses the White Magic or Black Magic command, that character can cast spells. White Magic is used primarily to heal and protect the party, whereas Black Magic is used to attack and damage the enemy. Mainly all the magical spells consume MP. You can cast most spells at only one character or enemy, but some will affect the whole group at once. Refer to the White and Black Magic Abilities sections for more info. The Item command enables the character to use potions or medicines on himself or others. You can damage enemies afflicted with the Zombie Status Effect by using curative items like Potions or Phoenix Downs. To see all items, refer to the Items Lists section.
Use your right directional button or move the left analog stick to the right, to access the subcommand window. This menu enables character to change their equipment during battle, or attempt to escape from battle. If you are fighting an elemental enemy, use the Weapon command to equip a weapon that strikes with the opposite element to inflict more damage. Similarly, if your character keeps getting put to sleep, then use the Armor command to equip armor bearing the Sleep Ward or Sleepproof Auto-Ability. The Escape command allows one character to run from battle. Keep in mind, however, that this option doesn't always work. Also, you cannot escape from boss fights. You can also use Tidus' Flee Ability to have your entire party escape from enemies. This command works more reliably than Escape, but doesn't allow you to escape boss battles.
Trigger commands usually occur only in key boss fights and involve changing the party's formation, manipulating nearby objects or even talking to the foe. When the Trigger Command becomes available, you'll see the word Trigger Command appear above the Command Menu. Press the left directional button or move the left analog stick to the left to access this menu. This is the same menu as where the Overdrives will appear.
Example of a Trigger Command: When Tidus is picked up by the Al Bhed when he first wakes up in Spira, they take him to their Salvage Ship and he needs to investigate an old Airship in the sea with Rikku. There, they come across the octopus enemy, Tros. When the enemy moves to the other side of the pillar, Rikku and Tidus are unable to attack and the Trigger Command enables an option to 'Stand By' and regain some HP. A little later, the Trigger Command enables the option to pincer attack, so to attack the enemy from two sides.
Another example of the Trigger Command: When fighting Evrae on the Airship, just before going to Bevelle, the party moves on deck the Airship to fight. However, when the Dragon-like enemy gets too far from the Airship, you can only attack him with distant attacks, like Wakka's Blitzball or Lulu's Black Magic. The Trigger Command 'Move In' appears to get closer to Evrae to fight normally. Also, when the battle gets too dangerous, you can ask Cid to move the Airship away from Evrae.
Sometimes the best maneuver is not to take any action at all. For example, if an enemy launches a powerful attack every other round and is about to do it again, use the Defend command by pressing . Rather than attack or cast spells, the character will guard against attacks until his or her next turn comes up. While defending, characters take half damage from physical attacks. However, spells will inflict the same damage even when the character is defending.
The CTB Window
The turn sequence of all who participate in battle is shown in the CTB Window. CTB stands for Conditional Turnbased Battle and MonA refers to Monster A. Use and to navigate through the CTB Window. This window is an invaluable resource for planning your strategy against fiends, because you can see exactly when their attack is coming. You can also refer to this window to determine how and when to heal or cure your characters.
The turn sequence always assumes that all participants will select Attack as their next Command. Since this is actually rarely the case, the sequence changes constantly. Different actions require different amounts of recovery time, and will thus have varied effects on the order of turns displayed in the CTB Window. To preview how your actions will affect the turn sequence, just select the command you want to use and select the target of your action without confirming, so without actually executing the action, then check the CTB Window. Luckily, Abilities such as Haste can be used to ensure that a character gets more frequent turns.
Of course, you can battle without exploiting elemental characteristics. However, a thorough study of the elements and their effects will make you more effective on the battlefield. There are four elements: Fire, Water, Ice and Lightning. Fire and Ice are opposed, and so are Water and Lightning. It means that a Fire elemental enemy is usually immune to fire attacks or even absorbs it, but it's weakness is Ice.
In the game, you'll find tables to depict your opponents' elemental characteristics. The four elements are shown using colours, while the abbreviations indicate how an opponent will react to the element in question. The following table is an example of how it's been used in the game. First, the four elements are named and underneath the table, another table will be there to explain it.
You may find that a weapon's ability may combine more than one elemental characteristic. If this is the case, then the element that inflicts the greatest damage on your opponent will automatically take precedence, while the weaker elements are rendered redundant. Check the damage sequence in the table above.
Example with the picture shown above: the Ice attack will only inflict 50% damage on your opponent (see the white bulb), and the opponent will absorb any Fire attacks (see the red bulb). If you attack using a weapon with both the Fire and Ice elemental characteristics, Ice would have the more powerful effect (1/2), and will therefore take precedence. The other elemental attacks would deal normal damage.
The Fifth Element
The Switch Menu
You re not limited to Abilities or shortcomings of the characters who begin a fight. On any character's turn, press to access the Switch menu. This menu will display all of the characters who are not currently involved in battle. Select one of them and press to bring him or her into battle. The character can act immediately, so no turns will be lost.
It's important to start battles off with the right party members whenever possible. To set your battle formation before a fight, enter the Main menu and select Formation. Then change positions of the characters and set your frontline into the top three slots.
Overkill appears when you defeat an enemy with more force than in required. Usually, this increases the amount of AP and items the party receives after battle. On certain rare occasions, it decreases the number of items received.
When a character's HP is reduced to 0, the character is considered KO'd (knocked out). If your entire front line gets KO'd, the game will end. However, as long as one character survives or flees the battle, the game continues. Revive the fallen by using a Phoenix Down or Mega Phoenix if more than one party member is down. The White Magic spells Life and Full-Life can also revive KO'd party members.
Winning battles will earn you Ability Points (AP). Each enemy is worth a predetermined amount of AP. This amount generally increases when an Overkill occurs. After acquiring enough AP, a character will gain a Sphere Level. These Sphere Levels will enable a character to move one step on the Sphere Grid. This will enable the character to activate nearby Nodes to raise Attributes and learn more Abilities. So basically: fighting makes your party stronger and better! But this is probably common knowledge for Final Fantasy. Refer to the Sphere Grid section for more info on this.
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