FF10: Haven't played, but from videos magic isn't that great. It may be usable for the main game, but physical attacks scale better, and unlike in FF6, physical attacks will reach the damage cap first. Furthermore, if you have a way to break the damage limit, physical attacks can reach the new damage limit, but it appears spells can't. (Result: Offensive magic is completely useless in most Dark Aeon fights.)
Break Damage Limit applies globally, including spells too. Summons get Break Damage Limit according to their associated character having their "ultimate" weapon. (The main casters' ultimate weapons also scale with MP for their damage source rather than strength for their physical damage.). Spells are quite useful in X, even through the end, though, you're right, Dark Aeon + Penance fights. But almost nothing in the game is useful in them -- they're just badly done all around. I really wish the FFX Remaster would let you turn them off [but still played the otherwise improved "international" version], because they hurt the game and make me not want to replay it again. (They break backtracking, such as preventing you from returning to Besaid Island after a certain point, until you can defeat Dark Valefor.)
Status ailments also rule the game in X, though most of the best ones are applied from sources other than magic. I think(?) heals can go over 9,999 with Break Damage Limit, too.
Honestly, the Dark Aeons should have been better designed. Here are some things I would have done differently, that would have helped at least some:
* Get rid of the Celestial Weapons' ability to ignore defense. This would allow bosses to be designed to be more vulnerable to magic than physical attacks. As a side effect, it would have the side effect of making the mini-games optional for post-game content.
* Make elements actually matter. Attacks that appear to be elemental should have that element, and the Dark Aeons should have the expected elemental weaknesses.
* Get rid of the idea that bosses should be immune to all bad status. This would make status ailments, at least some of them, a possible strategy here. (Of course, not all statuses should work and perhaps some bosses might have ways of dealing with them, but it might be interesting if, say, you could put Penance's arms to sleep.) (By the way, I'm thinking of making another topic about this issue. The game I'm playing right now, Final Fantasy 3 remake, doesn't allow status ailments to work on bosses (and they rarely work otherwise); classic FF3 doesn't allow them either (though they work well in random battles), while Final Fantasy 5 does.)
* Also, maybe physical attacks and spells should use more similar formulas. In FF10, physical attacks scale based off Str ^ 3, with spells using Int ^2; maybe the exponent should be the same. (Also, while we're at it, healing spells are Int ^ 1; that should be made to scale better. Curaga may be able to break 9999 with BDL, but not by much.)
By the way, if you can get Break HP Limit and over 9999 HP (even if only temporarily), apparently Dark Valefor becomes easier because he can't break the damage limit. I hear that Bravely Default (a game on my list of 3DS games to emulate once I'm comfortable doing so, which I'm not yet) allows your HP to break 9999, but doesn't let enemies do more than 9999 damage, giving a similar effect there.
Earlier Elder Scrolls are much better for magic. You can even create your own spells!
Would it be fun it Witcher 4 main character was magic user? You could create own spells and stuff. I suppose something new for gameplay? Player could create own gameplay, that sounds fun to me. After second thought it might be too HC, they would need to give presets.
What do you mean by HC?
(Also, and I don't remember if I mentioned it before in this topic, I would like to see a turn-based RPG (preferably party-based) with spell creation.)