FFX vs FFXII: Play This One First

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One of the longest-going debates in the Final Fantasy franchise is which game is better: FFX or FFXII?

There are a lot of amazing moments to unpack in each game, and although FFXII is newer, and more visually appealing in-game, that doesn’t mean it’s better overall. 

Which game is the best of the two and why? Which one is objectively the better game? Which one is more enjoyable? 

To better answer it, the following post has been created with an in-depth comparison. Let’s take a look:

About FFX

FFX tells the story of Tidus, a talented blitzball player, who journeys with a young summoner named Yuna on a quest to save the world of Spira from an endless cycle of destruction wrought by the colossal menace Sin.

The game features exciting turn-based battles and introduces the sphere grid system of character progression. 

You manually build the stats and abilities of characters by inserting orbs into a massive grid. It’s a very simple system to use, but it gives you greater control over how your party develops than many of the older games.


In FFXII, the world of Ivalice is at war. The small kingdom of Dalmasca has been conquered by the Archadian Empire, leaving Princess Ashe the one and only heir to the throne. Meanwhile, Vaan, a street urchin, and orphan, dreams of flying freely in the skies.

The two will join forces with friends, pirates, and warriors to form a resistance, find a way to restore Dalmasca to its former glory, and maybe even save the world.

FFXII’s biggest innovations were in the critically-acclaimed Gambit system, which allows players to set the behaviors of your party to an incredibly precise degree, enabling them to act automatically in battle.

The Zodiac Age edition of the game is available on most platforms. This expands the options further, with even more gambits and the ability to give characters a second job in combat. It also features improved HD visuals, a remastered soundtrack, and the ability to speed up time.

FFX vs FFXII: Storyline

Final Fantasy thrives on the story. That’s what makes them so epic and memorable. In terms of storyline and character development, I think that FFX is stronger than FFXII.

Tidus was the main character in FFX and the story ultimately revolved around him. You would get a sense of story accomplishment by the time our characters reached high levels.

In FFXII Vaan’s case, it seems that although you control him when wandering the streets of different cities, he doesn’t have much in terms of a part in the overall storyline. Ashe or Balthier have more prominent parts than Vaan’s who tend just to be in the background. FFXII lacks a good story and it feels like Vaan isn’t involved in any way but is only “tagging” along. Also, FFXII’s story revolves around a lot of political stuff and fetch missions. Instead of the evil guy trying to conquer the world, there’s a political struggle.

FFX vs FFXII: Characters

  • Character/ boss design: I felt like the character design in FFXII was a bit too generic and wasn’t varied like it was in FFX. In FFX, bosses were more tied to the plot and felt more important. Nobody really stands out in FFXII
  • Visual design: One thing FFX does really well is to provide a load of variety in the areas you visit. For me, FFXII is generally more pleasing and smoother to the eye.
  • Environment design: The environments in FFXII were spectacular, specifically in the towns. It just felt like there was always a lot going on and the energy was pretty incredible. FFX has more unique and creative designs that lacked redundancy like FFXII.
  • Graphics: Without a doubt, graphics obviously goes to FFXII. It is several years newer, so I think this is kind of obvious.

FFX vs FFXII: Gameplay

In terms of gameplay, with graphics and the improved battle system, FFXII stands miles ahead of FFX. FFXII series leaves the PS2 with a visual bang. It has a far more advanced battle system instead of FFXs run of the mill TBM system. The ADB(Active Dimension Battle) system in FFXII is really a lot better than a turn-based battle style.

  • Combat Depth: Well, opinions are opinions, I just think the battle system in FFX was the deepest and definitely the most strategic.
  • Variety in combat: Well, I’d give this one to FFX considering the amount of playable fighting characters.
  • Fun factor: FFX boasts some really cool things like the Chocobos, Blitzball, and the Monster Arena. Yes, dodging lightning was stupid, but FFX offered a wealth of fun alternatives. I also had endless customizing weapons and aeons.
  • Controls and Camera: FFXII offers a rotatable camera whereas FFX did not.
  • Weapon variety: FFX has countless hours of fun customizing your own weapons from scratch, deciding you didn’t like your current weapon, and starting over.
  • Speed/ flow of combat: FFX was definitely slower, but that doesn’t make it any lesser!
  • Learning Curve: This depends on the learner. FFX was probably a bit more complicated than FFXII. I think a large part of FFXII’s appeal is its ease of use and accessibility. However, for some gamers, FFXII was harder to get used to.
  • Length of the main story: The length of the main story is about the same. FFXII’s main story was not very well linked to itself.
  • Repetition: I found FFXII was more repetitive. FFX had a constant flow and you rarely had to repeat trivial tasks. 

FFX vs FFXII: Music and soundtrack

FFX’s music was well received overall. The music of FFXII has come a long way over the years and it’s quite astonishing.

  • Sound Effects: I would say FFX, considering FFXII wasn’t memorable enough for me to even recall any particular sound effects.
  • Battle Themes: The battle theme for FFX was probably one of my favorite in the series, but considering the absolutely gorgeous music used in the Seymour fight… wow. Yeah, I preferred X.
  • Boss Music: Neither game had particularly great boss music.
  • Voice Acting: Voice acting is much better in FFXII. FFX had good voice acting in some areas like Wakka’s VA, but was mostly average.

FFX vs FFXII: Presentation

  • Cutscene direction: I definitely felt FFX was better in this area. A few key scenes that speak out to me are the ending and a select few CGI sequences such as Zanarkand and The Spring.
  • Storyline: Hands down goes to FFX. The storyline was a lot better and I felt a real connection to the characters. I liked how Tidus was constantly developing. A huge reason why I liked Tidus so much, I simply identified with him more than any other FF character. I also preferred the somber tone and more mature feeling that FFX offered. The FFX ending was one of the most beautiful scenes in any video game ever.
  • Menu design: Ties….they were similar.

What should I play first? FFX or FFXII?

The actual ‘correct’ answer, of course, is any of them. After all, both FFX and FFXII acts as a standalone adventure with their own distinct world, characters and even gameplay mechanics. There really isn’t a wrong or right place to start.

Play FFX first if 

  • You want to play one of the most popular and successful games in the series. 
  • You want a battle system that’s fast-paced, turn-based and tactical

Play FFXII first if 

  • You want your fantasy to be full of large scale and full of political intrigue and pirates.
  • You’d like to be able to control and experiment with your party’s AI.
  • You want a seamless world with no separation between exploration and combat

Which is better: FFX or FFXII?

Well, both FFX and FFXII are overall great games. They are incredible for not only the new gamers but also for experienced ones. In my opinion, if you’re not a FF veteran and have little experience with console RPGs, FFX will probably be better.

FFX in my opinion is a lot better in the storyline and character development department while again FFX is better in gameplay. With that being said, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that FFX has one of the best endings in the series. 

They are both good games for different reasons and both have their fair shares of haters and lovers. What makes it noteworthy is both are still considered among the best video games of all time.

Although, being honest, FFX will always be my favorite game of all time.


Miranda Lemons headshot

I’m Miranda Lemons, here to share with you my love of turn-based JRPGs with friendship-based storylines and Jungian themes that help us become closer to each other and to ourselves. My YouTube streams promote a late-night talk vibe that makes life feel more meaningful after each stream.