Penance is the most powerful optional superboss in the PAL, International, and HD Remaster versions of Final Fantasy X, located in the Calm Lands, but fought on the deck of the airship alongside Left Arm and Right Arm. Penance is released after the Dark Aeons, who are also powerful optional bosses, have been defeated.
In the Japanese, French, Italian, and German versions of the game, Penance was known as "Der Richter", which translates from German as "The Judge", fitting as it is considered the "last resort" of Yevon's attempt to subdue Yuna and her guardians for good, since the Dark Aeons failed. In the Spanish version the boss is called "Verdugo Final", which can be translated as "Final Executioner".
Penance boasts 12,000,000 HP, high stats, absorbs elemental damage and has powerful attacks, making it what might be considered the most dangerous boss in the game. Penance is accompanied by its two arms, Left Arm and Right Arm, which act independently with similarly powerful abilities, with 500,000 HP each. The arms regenerate a few rounds after defeat.
Penance has two stages, with the second starting after he loses three million HP. In the first stage, his main attack will be Obliteration, which is a group physical attack that inflicts Slow. With maximum Defense and by using Protect and other defenses, the damage can be reduced to a mere 6,000 HP, and Slow can be protected against with Auto Haste. In the second stage Penance will begin using Immolation, which is a single-target physical attack that also drains all the MP from the victim and causes Armor Break and Mental Break. The damage can be reduced to about 4,500 using various protections, however the Breaks cannot be blocked.
Penance's ultimate attack is Judgement Day, which hits all party members for 99,999 HP and 999 MP. Penance requires both his arms active to perform this move. Unlike Dark Yojimbo's Zanmato, it will not cancel Auto-Life, but the arms will get turns after reviving and are likely to finish the party off before they get a chance to move. There is a secret counter for Judgement Day and Penance uses it when the counter reaches 19. The counter increases by one every time the party inflicts damage on him, and by one every time he uses Immolation.
Penance is imbued with Auto-Protect while in the first form, and with his high defenses, ordinary weapons will barely make a dent. Only the Celestial Weapons, which ignore all defenses, will be useful against him. Penance gains Haste upon entering the second form, but this only lasts for one turn. It can be removed by Dispel, but this is not necessary due to it only lasting one turn.
The arms will do most of the damage during the battle. It is possible to prevent the arms from ever getting a turn. Both have powerful physical attacks, with the right arm able to petrify and instantly shatter a character, and the left will dispel any positive statuses. The right arm will use Calamity which inflicts Poison, Silence, Darkness, Curse, and Full Break, and can also use Mighty Guard, which can heal Penance for over 100,000 HP a turn. The left arm uses Slowga, and also Mega-Graviton, which causes Darkness, Silence, Sleep, Doom, and deals magical fractional damage that will remove 75% of the characters' maximum HP and can kill the target. It is twice as powerful as Dark Anima's Mega-Graviton.
The arms will drop Dark Matter, or rarely, Master Sphere, after each defeat, and even if the battle is fled from the player receives the rewards, making it sometimes more useful to farm Penance for the valuable items. Unlike most enemies, the arms do not give extra rewards for an overkill; the body however, does give extra.
Any party members can be used, but Rikku is recommended because of her Mixes. The recommended armor consists of Auto-Haste, Auto-Protect, Auto-Potion, and Defense +20%. To use the recommended armor, a large supply of X-Potions is required for Auto-Potion and the party must not have any supply of Potions and Hi-Potions. An alternate armor is Break HP Limit, Auto-Haste, Auto-Protect, and Auto-Regen.
The alternate armor is functionally equivalent to the recommended armor, but it enables Penance to be defeated faster because it uses Auto-Regen to heal instead of Auto-Potion. However, the alternate armor requires 99,999 HP to use effectively. Ribbon is not necessary, as with the correct strategy the player can prevent the arms from attacking and the only status effects inflicted by the main body are Slow, which is blocked by Auto-Haste, and Armor Break, which cannot be blocked.
Quick Hit, Use, Cheer, and Dispel are useful commands. Useful items are Three Stars to allow the party to attack without using MP, Stamina Tonics to double the characters' HP, and a Purifying Salt to remove Penance's Haste upon entering the second form.
The party can use Rikku's Overdrive to reduce the damage of Penance's attacks. Mixing two Healing Springs to produce Ultra NulAll has the same effect as five Cheers, which can reduce the damage of Penance's attacks to below 9,999 because the party will take 1/3 less damage. If it is required to heal over 9,999 HP, a Healing Spring and Map can be mixed to produce Super Elixir which fully heals the party's HP and MP. To heal the party for 9,999 HP, the items Healing Water or Megalixir can be used.
In Penance's first form the body only attacks with Obliteration which deals around 23,000 HP to the whole party, but the effect can be halved with Protect and further reduced by Cheer or Ultra NulAll so it does less than 9,999 damage. With the right strategy, the arms won't get a turn to attack at all. As soon as the battle starts the party should kill one of the arms, because if the party kills both in the same turn, then both will also revive in the same turn, meaning the party won't have enough turns to kill both arms after they regenerate. By killing one arm off instantly the player can ensure the arms won't regenerate together.
As soon as possible, a Three Stars should be used to reduce the MP cost to zero. Additionally, Ultra NulAll or at least four Cheers should be used to reduce the damage of Penance's attacks. The most effective strategy isn't to kill the arms as soon as possible, but to kill them right before their turn so they take longer to revive giving the party more time to attack the body. An arm is killed in six hits, so the best strategy is to start out by hitting an arm five times (with Quick Hit) leaving it in position where it can be killed at any time. After both arms have been hit five times the party can start attacking the body until the arms are about to get a turn, at which point the party should kill the arms. The party should never allow the arms to get a turn.
After taking 3,000,000 HP damage, Penance's tail will fall off and it will enter its second form. In its second form Penance's only attack will be Immolation, which deals enormous HP and MP damage to one target and also inflicts Armor Break. It is necessary to use the White Magic, Dispel, to remove the Armor Break status from the victim of the attack. Otherwise, the character will be killed if he or she is hit again. On the plus side, since Immolation only hits one party member at a time, counterattacks work, so Tidus, Auron, Wakka and Kimahri can remove a significant portion of Penance's health through counterattacks.
During Penance's second form the party should continue on with the same strategy as in the first form, except to use a Purifying Salt to remove Penance's Haste status and Dispel to remove Armor Break from the victims of Immolation.
As with any other enemy, Penance can also be killed instantly with Yojimbo's Zanmato.
- Main article: A Contest of Aeons
"A Contest of Aeons" is played during the battle with Penance. This is the same theme used for the fight with the aeons possessed by Yu Yevon.
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession.
- Penance is the only enemy in Final Fantasy X that has never been defeated in a No Sphere Grid challenge without the use of Zanmato.
- The arms take twice as long to regenerate if killed via Doom.
- In the HD Remaster and the International versions, overkilling the body will also cause an Overkill pop up to appear on any arms that are present.
- Though not directly named, in the game data files an arm dying is called Atrophy, and them reappearing is called Regeneration.
- In the International and HD Remaster versions, Mega-Graviton is instead called Tera-Graviton.