Party Scattering: Sin splits up the characters and sends them across Spira. Luckily, most of them are pretty close together, and it doesn't take too long for them to meet up again. Unluckily, Yuna was captured and taken away to a completely different city, and the player must do without her until the party can find her again.
Path of Inspiration: The Church of Yevon, an arguably grayer example of the trope. Ignoring Seymour, the leaders all mix some level of corruption with good intentions, believing that You Can't Fight Fate when it comes to Sin and that even a little drab of hope is better than utter futility.
Peninsula of Power Leveling: Though you have to unlock a lot of the battles in it by capturing fiends, the Monster Arena has nearly everything you need for your power-leveling needs to tackle the optional endgame content and combining many small tricks is practically a requirement for making the grind go much faster.
A trick with Don Tonberry involves equipping a party with Overdrive → AP enchantments and abusing the fiend's Karma attack on one victim to constantly hit it with a highly damaging attack. The damage that would become Overdrive meter is instead converted into AP to raise everyone's sphere levels to 99 in a matter of minutes, compared to around 30-40 battles in the game's toughest dungeon for the same result.
Using a Distill item or ability on Kottos can turn the 20 (40 if overkilled) Healing Springs it drops into Power, Mana, Speed, or Ability Spheres for activating stat/ability nodes on the Sphere Grid. Nearly all other enemies only drop one type of item, making Kottos the fastest source of activating spheres.
Certain fiends in the Monster Arena drop spheres that can convert empty nodes on the Grid Sphere into max level stat nodes. These are items that the player is only given a handful of throughout the story.
Many of the items in Bevelle and Home, for example. Watch for those Al Bhed Primers! Notably, one particular weapon in the Via Purifico can be permanently missable if you defeat Evrae Altana through methods other than spamming healing items; that's right, the easier way to defeat it is the more rewarding way.
Though it is zigzagged regarding the Al Bhed Primers. Al Bhed spheres, which can be found here and there throughout the world, can be used to give you every Primer that was found on other save files. If you have an old save file in which you did find every Primer, or happen to have a relative or friend who did find every Primer, you can still get the ones you missed on your own save file (or alternatively, get them extremely early in the game). If you have only one file though, you're out of luck.
Thanks to a bug, there's a piece of armor for Tidus with Magic Counter (a weapon ability) purchasable at the Calm Lands the first time you arrive and a random weapon that can drop from Geosgaeno with No Encounters (an armor ability) and can be lost if you don't obtain them the first time.
Averted with the Destruction Sphere in the Bevelle Cloister of Trials. Since it's impossible to return to this location in the game, the trial's solution forces you to use the Destruction Sphere to proceed, where it's optional in all other trials. This prevents one of Yuna's summons from becoming unobtainable.
Perpetual Storm: The Thunder Plains are a massive barren area covered by a constant thunderstorm. There's a minigame based around dodging lightning strikes; doing so two hundred times in a row earns you part of Lulu's Infinity +1 Sword.
Perspective Reversal: It's done subtly, but this is a major theme in the game. Early on Yuna, in line with her commitment as a summoner, feels that any sacrifice is worth making if it will bring the people of Spira even a little hope and happiness, while Tidus finds the prospect of giving up one's life to win only a temporary victory horrifying. As the plot moves along, Yuna, partially motivated by her conversations with Tidus, begins to question her beliefs, ultimately refusing to make a sacrifice that will only delay Sin's return rather than defeat it when asked to do so by Yunalesca. Tidus, on the other hand, comes to see the nobility of sacrifice from the actions of Yuna and her guardians, and when he learns that there is a way to permanently vanquish Sin, but that it will result in him dying as well, he willingly goes ahead with it and gives his own life. It becomes more obvious by the sequel, where Yuna is explicit about her change in attitude on the subject.
Point of No Return: The game's final point of no return is inside Sin, at a capsule called The Tower of the Dead. Getting too close will take the guardians into the tower's nucleus, an area that had a brief cameo following Operation Mi'hen, at which the POTN is crossed. They are required to complete a crystal-catching minigame before proceeding to Jecht's location, which is the void that Tidus wound up in after the game's opening battles.
Post-Mortem Conversion: In life, Braska was a thorn in the side of the Church who reached out to (and married and had a daughter with one of) the Al Bhed. After his death, they try to turn him into a hero of the Church and make sure that everyone forgets about his true feelings and actions.
Auron:[after seeing a statue of Braska in a temple] So you're a champion of Yevon now, Braska?
Powered by a Forsaken Child: Each summoned aeon is powered by a person willingly encased in crystal specific for that purpose. If you look carefully at temple wall decorations, you could see the body of the sacrificed Summoner. It's hard to notice the protruding parts of the entombed human body unless you look carefully. Somebody put real◊ care◊ and◊ artistic◊ vision◊ into◊ those◊, which is morbid beyond belief when looked at in this context. Considering Spira's death-obsessed culture, this may count as a form of memento mori.
It's stated that their souls are contained in the statues, not their physical bodies. Presumably, the statues are representations of transition between fayth and aeon (for example, Bahamut's fayth is a child, while the statue depicts a muscular man; Shiva's statue is a half-naked woman, while her fayth is a fully-clothed nun).
Puzzle Boss: One of Sin's forms will cause a game over if you can't beat him before his Overdrive gauge fills up. The key to victory is to look at his long list of invulnerabilities, and work out what isn't on it.
Practical Taunt: Tidus's Provoke skill, if successful, makes an enemy attack him only, with its most basic attacks, or even drive down the enemy's accuracy. It sounds like a spell, but it's performed through a rude gesture and sometimes a verbal taunt. "Hey, hey, hey!" If the other characters learn this skill, they each have their own corresponding gestures.
Prayer Pose: Subverted. The prayer pose to the big religion, Yevon, is an elaborate version of the one described above. Thing is, it's actually a corruption of the prayer for Victory from a city destroyed a thousand years ago.
Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: The cast try, but only Auron gets it right, and boy does he get it right. For example, when coming into battle with wounded allies and facing two giant metal humanoids with three-story swords, what does he say? "I foresee no difficulty."
Quality over Quantity: Invoked in-universe by Dona. She berates Yuna for choosing a large number of Guardians (AKA the rest of the cast) over one quality one. She even says "Quantity over quality, what were you thinking?" (She herself only has her lover, Barthello). And in the end, it's averted, because Yuna not only beats Dona to Zanarkand, but ends up saving the world for good.
Rage Against the Mentor: Averted with Auron, who tells Tidus a little bit more than he is willing to hear each time he asks, only holding back things for the next time he asks.
Braska: A fallen Summoner, a man from Zanarkand, and a warrior monk, doomed to obscurity for refusing the hand of the priest's daughter. What a delightful irony it would be if we defeated Sin!
Randomized Damage Attack: Wakka's Attack Reels overdrive deals as many hits as the number you line up in a quick slot reels Mini-Game. This can add up to quite a bit or be barely anything at all depending on the player's reflexes.
Although the blitzball tutorial specifically notes that there is some deviation when it calculates the chance of successful passes/shots/etc., you seem to get the low end of the stick unusually often...
Placement of the balloons in the Catcher Chocobo minigame determines whether success is even possible. If you don't get 4 out of the initial 5, you have a lot to make up, and if the game put most of the balloons right in the path of where birds spawn, you might as well put down the controller and wait until next time.
Using the Magus Sisters and Yojimbo. There are ways to massage the results in your favor, but it's never certain.
The PS4 version of the HD release strangely didn't have one. Square Enix had to patch one in.
Reality Ensues: Wakka enlists Tidus, a star Blitzball Player, in the upcoming Blitzball tournament, so that the Besaid Aurouchs can break their 10 -year losing streak. Naturally being a top player, you'd expect the actual Blitzball game to be easy sailing, right? Wrong. Wakka's team is still considered to be the worst team of all time in Spira, and even someone as talented as Tidus cannot carry the game all by himself against the Luca Goers, a considerably stronger and more competent team. Unless the player themselves knows how to play Blitzball, obtain's Tidus' Jecht Shot technique, and also have a little luck on their side, the Besaid Aurouchs are simply going to lose the tournament yet again.
Recognizable by Sound: In Final Fantasy X-2 (and to a lesser extent X), Tidus' whistle. (Though in X, the one time it occurs, Tidus is reacting to Yuna whistling in a crowd, even though it was Tidus who taught her to do it.)
Recurring Boss: Seymour. You'll fight this boss a grand total of four times, each time with a new mechanic to the battle.
Recurring Riff: The tunes from the Hymn of the Fayth, "To Zanarkand", and "Suteki Da Ne" show up in a lot of the background music.
Recurring Traveller: A couple of people, including the merchant O'aka (replaced later in the game by his brother Wantz), the wandering scholar Maechen, the priestess Shelinda (who becomes the de facto leader of Yevon after Mika disappears), and other summoners going on their own pilgrimages.
Redundant Rescue: Early on, Tidus, Lulu, and Kimahri race to save Yuna from the Al Bhed Psyches, but after a series of enemy encounters, a few cutscenes and a boss fight, the hatch on the ship opens... and out walks Yuna, unharmed, with a would-be captor sliding to the ground. The party actually Facepalmwhile the victory fanfare plays.
Lulu: I hope you hurt them. Yuna: A little.
Regional Bonus: In the American version, Anima's Limit Break cannot exceed 99,999 damage. In the PAL and International versions (the latter of which is the default version of the Remaster), each of the sixteen hits from the attack's animation can do up to 99,999 damage, leading to a grand total of 1,599,984 damage.
Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Averted. You can remove the entire front half of Sin if you want to, he won't die until you defeat Yu Yevon. He does, apparently, become immobile after this, however.
Replay Mode: The game allows you to replay cutscenes in Luca.
Rescue Arc: Between the first and second fights against Seymour acts as one for Yuna; she gets kidnapped before that too, but this instance lasts at least five hours of the game, and the game's reveal happens in this time.
Resignations Not Accepted: Both played straight and subverted. When Maester Wen Kinoc voices his disagreement over Maester Jyscal Guado's murder, he is shown the error of his ways though doesn't leave the church, as his soul was not Sent. Later, Maester Kelk Ronso is made aware of the truth behind the Unsent Maesters and is allowed to return home unimpeded though it is implied Seymour strikes him down of his own accord when he storms Mount Gagazet.
The Reveal: There are plenty of reveals in this world of stagnant tradition and ancient dogma, but three stand out as plot-pivotal. Each of them are personal to Tidus, and each is handled differently.
Guardians become Final Aeons, who become Sin after destroying it. Early in the game, Auron flat-out tells Tidus that Jecht became Sin. Tidus keeps this to himself though, and Auron never mentions the first part, so the pieces don't get put together until the end.
High summoners die when they summon their Final Aeon against Sin. Everybody knows this except Tidus the outworlder, and nobody has the nerve to tell him.
Tidus is a product of the dreaming of the Fayths, and will cease to exist when they are freed. Tidus alone learns this, and keeps it a secret so the party will finish their quest.
There are also three dealing with the backstory:
Yu Yevon is Sin's summoner, the great hero and former king of Zanarkand, but he is unable to stop acting on instinct.
The Fayth are the Aeons, and also the power source of the summoning of Sin and Dream Zanarkand.
The Yevon religion was formed by Bevelle, who wanted to stop Sin, and its teachings are a combination of Sin's primary objectives and Yunalesca's temporary solution to destroying Sin.
Revenant Zombie: This is what Unsent, the souls of those who have died but remain tied to the world of the living by some powerful emotional bond or task they have yet to achieve, essentially are. Some, such as Auron and Belgemine, are benevolent. Others, such as Seymour and Yunalesca, much less so.
Red Shirt: Generic Al Bheds have a tendency of dying en masse at points in the game
And it can be used to two-hit kill an undead boss in the Via Purifico!
And if it wasn't enough, you can zombify your opponents for this purpose, including the final bosses.
One boss in particular uses this tactic against you; zombifying your entire party in one turn and then casting Full-Life the next. Here's hoping you have enough turns to remove the status effect (or just kill one or two of your party members outright) to avoid making the Full-Life a Total Party Kill.
Rewatch Bonus: A lot of things will stand out to you playing the game a second time.
With enough Al Bhed primers to understand them properly, you can eavesdrop on the various Al Bhed you meet throughout the game, especially the ones with Rikku at the start of the game. Doing so makes it more clear what they're talking about and that you were missing encoded Foreshadowing in it.
The Reveal of what happens at the end of the pilgrimage adds a lot of hidden meanings and double-talk to conversations, especially when Yuna and Tidus talk about it.
Sin being Jecht goes to explain who Auron was talking to at the end of the introductory sequence.
Knowing what Seymour wants to do and that Lord Zaon became Yunalesca's Final Aeon and the first reincarnation of Sin for it puts Seymour's marriage proposal to Yuna in a new light.
The little kid in the blue hoodie that makes his appearances in Tidus' Zanarkand is quite more significant than he appears.
Rock Beats Laser: Valefor, the first aeon acquired in the game, has Out of Range status and, like every aeon, is immune to all status effects. This turns its battle against the dangerous Demonolith enemy in the Omega Ruins Bonus Dungeon into a No Holds Barred Beat Down, because Demonolith can't reach it with physical attacks, and can't use its counterattack or Breath attack. (Unfortunately, it takes many slow, looping hits to kill one, making it a very boring battle).
Ronin: The Samurai Auron, who has all of the traditional ronin festoonery, down to the sake bottle hanging on his belt.
Rousing Speech: Auron has one at a critical moment: "Now! This is it! Now is the time to choose! Die and be free of pain, or live and fight your sorrow! Now is the time to shape your stories! Your fate is in your hands!"
Rule of Symbolism: Right before Yunalesca, you see the past form of Auron fall to his knees in despair. If you take notice, he puts himself into the pose used for a person committing seppuku. When the current Auron stands behind him with his sword (acting the part of the kaishakunin, or second person in the ritual) and slashes through his younger self's head, he is in a sense killing off his past and what he saw as his greatest failure.
Runaway Bride: Perhaps slightly too late, as the ceremony had technically finished, but Yuna makes her escape, proving she never loved or could love her partner by angrily wiping her mouth after their kiss, and throwing herself from the edge of the tower.
Same Story, Different Names: Of writer Kazushige Nojima's first game Bahamut Lagoon: With Yuna standing in for Yoyo, Seymour for Sauzer, The Fayth for the Dragonites, and Yu Yevon for Alexander. FFX Bahamut, meanwhile, stands in for... Lagoon Bahamut.
Straw Nihilist: Seymour wants to become the next Sin and kill many people in order to end their suffering as Spira is a place with a lot of suffering. Also tells Yuna's party he will end their meaningless existence in his last boss fight
Scenery Gorn: A few examples, the most notable of which is the Zanarkand Ruins, a hauntingly beautiful landscape of collapsed domes, towers, and highways swirling with pyreflies. The mood is enhanced by the melancholy background music, "Someday the Dream Will End", which continues to play both in battle and on the map. As the final destination of Yuna's pilgrimage, it's suitably forlorn, given that it is the place she expects to trade her life for a chance to defeat Sin.
Scenery Porn: It's almost impossible not to be awe-struck with some of the backgrounds. The Farplane and pyreflies are especially noticeable. While the scenes in the Farplane take place on a barren stoney platform, it was shortly shown as actually being covered with flowers in a large landscape with a sunset, rainbows, and beautiful waterfalls. X-2 has a character wondering if the Farplane is creepily pretty... or pretty creepy.
Schizo Tech: Probably the most thoroughly explained example in the entire series. Advanced technology/machina like that used by the Al Bhed are outlawed by Yevon's teachings, as the technology is more or less the same of that of the allegedly-corrupt and decadent civilization of Zanarkand. The restrictions on robots and More Dakkado not apply to the religious authorities, however.
Secret Path: To a minor extent, the paths in Kilika Forest that allow you to bypass Ochu, Lord of the Woods.
No sphere grid. Since the grid is a substitute for experience levels as well as how characters obtain new powers, this effectively works out to a Low-Level Run.
Winning the first (and only plot-mandatory) Blitzball game. The other team are insufferable jerks that that repeatedly rub in your face that your team is the worst in the league, making you hunger to humiliate them. Unfortunately, they're basically correct — it's meant to be a Hopeless Boss Fight, but can be won if you're prepared to reload a lot.
You can avoid a great deal of reloading, however, by abusing the AI. If you lose the coinflip for who gets the starting ball, reload, because the opposing team will simply give themselves a goal. If you win it, immediately set your control style to manual so you directly control your team movements, hide behind your own goalie and constantly do very short passes between your team members — the AI gets very confused and won't intercept you. The passing accrues EXP for those involved, allowing you to get Tidus to Level 3 and thus be able to Sphere Shot in the second round before Wakka comes out and score the only goal of the game.
Senseless Sacrifice: This is what Tidus thinks summoners giving their lives to defeat Sin only to have it return is. The Maesters of Yevon and Yunalesca confirm that he's right.
Serious Business: The Spira-wide devotion to Blitzball is a justified case of this since, as Yuna points out, the game is really the only way people have to take their mind off of Sin. That said, the Al Bhed Psyches kidnapping Yuna just to win a game would probably be considered taking it too far. Although it's more of a case of killing two birds with one stone when you find out they were already kidnapping Summoners to save them from themselves.
Shipper on Deck: Auron, with Yuna and Tidus, since they are the children of his two friends. Inverted by Lulu, who specifically tells Tidus not to fall in love with Yuna, unsurprisingly given her backstory.
Shipshape Shipwreck: The Fahrenheit, an airship that has spent the last thousand years on the ocean floor, was almost entirely intact and only really needed a good scrub.
Shoot the Fuel Tank: In the opening tutorial section of Zanarkand, Auron suggests attacking a fuel tanker. After a few well-placed sword strikes, the tanker splits, falls off the overpass, and explodes mid-air.
The name of Cid's airship, Fahrenheit, is a reference to an airship in Bahamut Lagoon, an older Squaresoft title. This is continued in Final Fantasy X-2 with another airship named the Celsius.
The puzzle room in Zanarkand Ruins uses Tetris pieces in a really bizarre way.
One of the optional Aeons is Yojimbo, whose summoning animation is quite similar to a scene from Sanjuro, complete with falling sakura petals. He also comes with a few shout-outs to Lone Wolf and Cub, starting with how both he and the protagonist of Lone Wolf, Ittō Ogami, are assassins who'll take any job for the right price. Secondly, there's Yojimbo's canine companion, Daigoro, who may both serve as a reference to the manga's title on top of sharing names with Ittō's son. Finally, there's Yojimbo's strongest technique, Zanmato, which is likely a shout-out to one of Ittō's own Signature Moves: Sui'ō-ryū Zanbatō.
"They say Seymour went to Macarena Temple." "Macalania Temple." "Aye!"
The BGM "Hopeless Desire" bears more than a passing resemblance to "Greensleeves".
One of the earlier bosses is an octopus-like creature named Tros.
Anima bears a resemblance to Eva-01, in both form and origin. The Evas and the Summon Spirits also resemble each other: a human sacrifices themselves to place their soul into a powerful biological weapon. Except in FFX, men can do it too.
When you think about it, you can't help but notice some similarities between FFX's ending and FFVI's ending — In both games, the source of power of the protagonists disappear at the end of the game: In FFVI, magic and Espers disappear from the world; in FFX, Fayth and Aeons disappear. In both games, these phenomenons happen when the party is on an airship. Terra is directely linked to Espers, being a demi-Esper herself; as for Tidus, he's a creation of the Fayth, and is only able to exist because of them. Both are affected by the post-game events. Terra managed to survive the change, losing her Esper half. Tidus, on the other hand, completely fades out of existence...
Speaking of similarities, the plan to enter Sin from the airship and stop it from inside brings to mind the plan to the stop the Giant of Babil from Final Fantasy IV. In both games, Cid personally braves through the giants' assaults to get the party inside with their airships. Tidus' group aims to blow a new hole instead of going through the mouth, though.
When Kimahri tells Tidus that worrying will only make Yuna more determined, Tidus sarcastically replies "Don't worry, be happy?"
High Summoner Gandof is undoubtedly a reference to Gandalf.
Isaaru and his guardians, who are his younger brothers.
Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer: There are many, many mini-games to distract your attention from the main story, many of which must be played to access the ultimate weapons for each character. It's not uncommon for players to spend more time on these than on completing the main plot itself.
The winged eye symbol of church of Yevon. It's actually Yu Yevon's family crest.
The Boss Corridors leading to Seymour are always dotted with his signature staves.
Single-Use Shield: The "Nul Element" spells (NulBlaze, NulFrost, etc.) which can absorb one attack from the matching element (regardless of strength) when cast. The highest version, "NulAll", combines all four elemental shields.
Sole Entertainment Option: This constitutes a rather bizarre example, as it makes the entertainment, blitzball, very integral to the plot.
So Near, Yet So Far: Defeating Sin is the entire goal of the game, and if it were possible at the beginning, your party would do it with no hesitation. Instead, though, they must go on a Pilgrimage for the Final Aeon, the only thing that can defeat Sin. Then it turns out that they, themselves are potentially the Final Aeon. The point of the Pilgrimage was to create powerful emotional bonds that will allow the chosen sacrifice to become an exceptionally powerful Aeon upon their death. It also turns out that defeating Sin in this method doesn't really solve anything, so our heroes reject it and search for another means.
Sticky Fingers: Entirely up to the player, but Rikku's personal talent is thievery. Sticky Fingers is also the name of a Customisation option, which increases your chances of successfully stealing an item. Can also be combined with Master Thief, allowing you to steal Rare items more often than not. If you want the best equipment, you're going to want to embrace your own Sticky Fingers.
Supporting Protagonist: For all of Auron's repeated claims that this is Tidus's story, in reality the storyline almost totally revolves around Yuna. All the party members are defined by their relationship to her, the impetus of the storyline is her pilgrimage to Zanarkand, and she's the only character who undergoes any significant Character Development during the course of the story. The Reveal late on about Tidus's true nature also makes it clear that Jecht and the Fayth never intended for him to stop Sin directly, just to increase the chances that Yuna would be successful in doing so.
Suppressed History: there is massive suppression of Spira's history by Yevon's priests. Summoners typically don't know much about the Final Summon (to the point where they are surprised when Yunalesca asks them to "choose a hero"), the war between the Al Bhed and Yevon, they don't really know why machina is forbidden (beyond false teachings that it is somehow responsible for Sin), and they certainly don't know that the Final Summon itself is what continues the cycle of Sin. Instead, the people of Yevon are fed propaganda, and the Al Bhed have a noticeable gap where there's many things they only half-understand, including their own technology.
At one point, your party is split up. As you collect each member, you'll notice that random encounters give a lot of healing items (particularly Al Bhed Potions, which are effectively a full party heal). You'll also notice Yuna (the single dedicated healer) is the last one left to find after you get Rikku (the only one who can use Al Bhed Potion). Guess who you won't be seeing for a while...