Review by thesampleman

"What no gimmick tagline from me? I guess you know what that means, practically the perfect game."

I remember back in the day. I was not into RPG's at all and despised when each new one came out. Then I saw a preview for Final Fantasy X, and it totally blew me away. I put it on my list of games to buy even though it was a Final Fantasy game. I waited many months for the game to come out, and then it came out and I bought it right away. After playing through the game, I became hooked and replayed through it again and again. This is the game that got me really into RPG's in general and is in my opinion the second best Final Fantasy to ever be released (after 7 which I bought after 10). Now here are the reasons to back up that statement.

GRAPHICS

The game runs smoothly and has no known flaws in frame rate, which really impressed me. A game this beautiful, and on this console, has the occasional hiccups, frame rate wise. However, Final Fantasy X is one of the few game that does not have this problem. All the animations run smoothly and fluidly and I saw no real areas of problems in them. The collision detection is very well done for a RPG, because when you swing the sword the monster moves as if it is getting hit really badly. This also runs for your character, you will occasionally see your character kinda snap backwards with their head or something denoting that they got hit.

The character models are well done and expertly drawn. Each character has their own distinct look which also sums up their personality pretty well. Take for example Lulu. Lulu is in all black, but this sums up her moods and feelings at that point in her life. Whereas Wakka has hair that sort of sticks up and kinda lets you know that he is the goof ball type character in the game. The characters themselves move fluidly in battle and even can be seen sporting new equipment on their bodies such as the new sword you gave Tidus or doll you gave Lulu. The enemies are also done with great care. The enemies are drawn out very well and nicely detailed and animated. My best example of a good enemy design is the bombs. The grow and grow after you hit them until they grow on screen to gigantic proportions, and then they blow up. The boss monsters are huge and have a sense of scope. They are also highly detailed and animated.

The environments are nicely done as well. You do feel as if you are on a perilous journey as you go from the small village where you start the game all the way through gigantic cities. The environments are all very detailed and have a good color scheme to them. Each environment that you do go to is a joy to be in and a joy to explore, because this game has nooks and crannies all over the place.

The CG cut scenes are also very well done. They felt very real and lifelike, and allowed you to see more of the character in even more fluid situations. The CG scenes have no noticeable flaws within them and each is voice acted, a first for the series. The CG scenes are not forty minute epic movies such as those found in Xenosaga, but do provide you with enough information to let you become attached to characters and places that feel Sin's wrath.

SOUND

The sound is absolutely fantastic. This is the type of musical score that one can only dream about, especially if you are like me and hate annoying repetitive music. The musical score is very well done and you can tell who was music director on this. It had an epic feel to it but at certain instances, the music would get faster paced alerting you to danger or an upcoming boss battle. At other points it was calming and relaxing, and at other points somber and kind of sad. It really helped the game build the atmosphere for the next several hours of game play. Even in the menu screen the music is upbeat and makes you feel as if you have accomplished a great deed even though all you did was take out a bomb.

The voice acting is really good. They actors did a good job at sounding like their characters. I mean Auron with his low deep voice, that sort of sounds like a warning beacon for all monsters in a ten mile vicinity, to the spunky and cheerful voice of Rikku, each voice did a good job of establishing the character. I could never imagine Rikku without her cute little voice, or Kimarhi with his deep five word utterances. The voice acting is present all through the game and even NPC's have voices. The voice acting is even in the Al Bhed language which must have been hard to do, and those actors deserve kudos because that must have been a lot of work to talk like that and sound real.

The sound effects for the game are your typical RPG stuff. The thuds as you hit your enemies with your sword. You'll hear the lightning strikes later on in the game, and the screams of terrified people as Sin attacks. It is all in there and it is nothing you probably have not heard before in other RPG's. I mean the only standout sound effect for me was when you killed a fiend you'd hear this kind of whoosh sound and watch them dissolve away. Other than that nothing stuck out.

STORY

The story goes something like this. You father disappeared ten years ago, and are raised while deeply resenting your father. You are the star player for a blitzball team, as was your father before you. Then in the middle of a game a large monster attacks and after battling through the city, the monster itself attacks you. You are sucked up along with a family friend and transported to another place where you must discover why it did this to you and find a way to go home.

That was my pretty basic spoiler free story summary. Basically the plot of the game is very convoluted and at times confusing. You may not even know what the heck is going on at the beginning, but do not get discouraged because it will all make sense in the long run. There are plenty of twists and turns and many things in the story happen for a reason. That is the beauty with this game, I have not played anything quite like it and in my opinion is one of the best stories generated for the franchise in a long time.

CONTROLS

The controls are easy to learn and grasp. You will get helpful tutorials to help you with the battle system and the controls in general. This is a great thing for those new to RPG's or those new to the gaming scene. The controls are so easy to pick up and play with that even if you let several years go past and you pick up and play the game through again, it'll be second nature. Everything is placed well on the controller and the controls respond nicely. The only area in the controls that got to me was the frustration in the sphere grid screen. It can get confusing at times, but is always easily fixable once you learn what you are doing wrong. This game is one of the most responsive games control wise I have ever seen, and I am grateful for that. There are no issues here with the controls and it can be seen that a lot of time was spent on the control scheme.

GAME PLAY

My first area that I will focus in is the battles themselves. Each battle is a random battle that is triggered from the area you are in. Each battle is turn based and is in my opinion far more better in an RPG, then any other style. With the hack and slash RPG's, and the active time turn based type RPG's you get into this chaotic mess and sometimes find yourself at a strategic disadvantage caused by the chaos going on around you, which in turn leads to party members deaths and your own death. With the system that Final Fantasy X uses, it places strategy number one, and chaos a few pegs down. You will be planning moves against enemies and even switch in new members into battle to cast magic that only they learned, or summon. The possibilities are endless as to how you can play the game this way, whereas in the other two types you basically memorize two spells that seem to work and slash away.

The next area that I will concentrate in on is the sphere grid itself. This grid is how you level up in this game, and is a far more superior system then any RPG has ever used, period! You build up Ability Points for the defeat of monsters, this builds up until a point and then you get a sphere level, this is what allows you to move around the grid and learn new abilities, magic, etc. This system allows for custom characters and allows you build a character as much or as little as you see fit. This system allows you to have all seven characters be able at some point to be able to use powerful white magic or powerful dark magic, it is all up to you!

The final area that I will talk about is the etc. minor things that are worthy of mentioning. There is a side game that lets you play in a league of blitzball. You are even allowed to scout players in the game. Another cool feature in the game is the quest to find all the characters legendary weapons. It is a long and arduous task, but is completable. The other thing that I am going to mention is that the game is replayable. It has moderate replay value, if for the simple fact that you can find all the Al Bhed primers hidden all throughout Spira, you can hear what the heck they are really saying aboard the boat at the beginning and throughout the game. Otherwise, this game is so great that you will probably want to go through the game a few times to see what the heck you missed.

BUY/RENT

A must buy for any Playstation 2 owner that does not already own this gem. It really was a sparkling effort of true mastery by the folks out at Square, and is the high point of the franchise date. Any RPG fan or fans of games in general will be thrilled with this one.

THE RUNDOWN

GRAPHICS- 10/10 A beautiful game through and through!
SOUND- 10/10 Kimarhi... don't.... speak....much......
STORY- 10/10 The story twists so much you'll feel like a pretzel at the end!
CONTROL- 10/10 Responsive and easy to learn, a good combo!
GAME PLAY- 10/10 Auron+sphere grid= fun times, fun times.
BUY/RENT- BUY (Previous numbers sort of indicate something. Hmmm......)


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/28/07


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