When I finally decided to replay Final Fantasy X (FFX) this year, it was with the nostalgic memory of a young kid who remembered spending hours and hours grinding away at Blizball, dodging lightning bolts and falling in love with a cast of characters that would end up being my favourite in the long-running Japanese series. When I booted up FFX on the PS4, I did not think of the Chocobo race at all.
That was my first mistake.
As I played, reveling in all the cool things that I’d loved so much about the game – Lulu’s ridiculous belt dress, Yuna’s kindness, Tidus being a goddamn himbo, etc – I quickly realized that much like how I was as a kid, I wanted to try and complete as much as possible. This obviously meant that I needed to grind and grab the Celestial items – very powerful weapons that could make you do damage over 9999, among other things – just so I could feel some sense of pride. I started thinking this plan at the start of my playthrough, so I didn’t think too much about it.
Until I got to the Calm Lands. For most folks, I’d say that the Calm Lands is somewhat like the mid-point. It’s near the start of when the game just pretty much goes ‘eh, do what you want for a bit!’ and leaves you to it. You’ve got your Monster Arena to fill, your lightning bolts to dodge, your Blitzball tournaments to win, and, of course, your Chocobo training. To say you’ve got a lot to do is probably an understatement.
Regardless, I trudged on to the Chocobo training, because hell, anything was easier than trying to get Lulu’s weapon by dodging lightning for 100 times, right? That’s what past Aimee thought too, but as we’ve established many times before, past Aimee is a fool.
One of the main things infuriating about the Chocobo race is that you first need to go through four other things before you can play it. First you’ve got to teach the Chocobo to go forward, left, right, and then avoid some seagulls that seemingly sprout from the ground and do their best to rob you of your eyes. If that was all I had to do in order to get the Sun Sigil for Tidus’ Celestial Weapon, I wouldn’t have complained once. But no, Square Enix wants me and you – but particularly me – to suffer.
How? In order to get the Sun Sigil, you have to score 0.0.0 on the Chocobo Race. To do that, you need to not hit the birds at all, and get at least 13 balloons – which knock 3 seconds off your timer. It may sound simple, but you also need to make sure you’re in front of the Chocobo teacher, otherwise they’ll steal your balloons and leave you with very little to work with. And, if that isn’t enough to make you want to throw yourself into the nearest scorpion pit, the controls are so janky that you’ll need to press the left and right button with the power of God two seconds before you actually need to move.
As you may have guessed already, I do not fuck with the Chocobo Race in FFX. After spending over four hours on it, and only getting to the 0.2 mark, my good faith for the minigames in this game have quickly been ground into dust. If someone gave me three buttons and told me that two of them would erase an embarrassing memory from my brain, whilst the other would just purge the Chocobo Race from existence, then that damn minigame would be gone.
I’ve looked online for a number of different guides, which all round up to well-meaning but borderline condescending statements of ‘git gud.’ I do not want to git gud, however. I just want to get Tidus’ stupid Sun Sigil so I can get some serotonin in this hell year. Is that too much to ask?!
F*** the Chocobo Race. I’m off to dodge some lightning.