Review by wexenhex

"One Of The Worst FF Games This Fan Has Played..."

Okay, so I remember this being the first game I bought for my PS2. I enjoyed all the past incarnations of the serious (FF6 being my fav.), so I was excited, and all my friends who liked the games told me to get it.
Seems like a no-brainer, right??
WRONG!!
It seems like everyone is being blinded by the fact that the game says Final Fantasy on the case. How could Final Fantasy, the most applauded, praised, epic, story-driven Japanese RPG series in the world be BAD?
Well, ill tell you how...

GRAPHICS:
There is not much to say. They looked pretty good when it first came out, but are starting to show their age. I still enjoyed the art style, which can be beautiful at times.

MUSIC:
While not as good as past installments, it still has some truly beautiful pieces, such as the main theme, and the neato heavy-metal song when Sin attacks the city.

The ONLY parts of the game that don't have major flaws.

STORY:
Mmmkay, so the game is, of course, story driven. I mean, come ON, it's a FINAL FANTASY game. You can expect diverse characters, situations, and plot-twists. However, while the story is GOOD, it is definitely not up to par with past games. For the most part, the voice acting (a first for the series, ill give them credit for that.) ranges from decent to horrible. I did just fine in the past without these noises over my words. They also dampen the personality of the characters themselves, who I would normally be very interested in. It doesn't help that they talk ALL THE TIME. But they HAVE TO. It's a FINAL FANTASY game. The story itself can be contrived, derivative and unremarkable at times, but its enjoyable, and even sometimes beautiful and I am sure it was hard making such great stories game after game.

One thing that has, however, recently started to bug me with this series after playing others is that there is not really many side-quests or side-stories. Normally there will be something to find or do here and there, but its miniscule, and this game is SO single-story driven, that basically the only big thing you can do is FOLLOW THE STORY. It also has a dampening on the...

GAMEPLAY:
Well, to start off, I need to point out that I guess Squeenix decided to take any teeny-weeny bit of exploring and openness they had in their games and throw it in the trash. After playing RPG games like Dragon Quest, Ultima, and especially The Elder Scrolls, this game feels much more like a movie than an actual RPG; or even GAME for that matter. There is no more World Map, which used to give me a feeling of being part of a larger world to explore. Instead, you are forced down linear, one-path environments that just LOOK big until you get to the next plot element. In between, you will have your usual random encounters with baddies. Even when you get the airship, there is nothing much else to do. And the RPG-common “dungeons” are just huge “put-this-thingy-here-to-get that-other-thingy” puzzle rooms with NO enemies. That is just STUPID.

For the core fighting, nothing has really changed. It's still turn-based, albeit with minor differences, and has admittingly interesting monsters. However, what truly destroys this otherwise tried and true system is how you “level up”. Instead of gaining experience points and levels, you gain skill points and spheres, which you can then use on the “Sphere Grid”, which is basically more or less a board game. The more points you can spend with a character, the more spaces you can move. Certain spaces have skills, such as an attack or a spell, and some are locked and you have to find a key in the game to progress. The problem with this system lies in the fact that, no longer is there just the “magic-user” or the “fighter”. If you use the grid right, you can have uber-characters that have all the skills. Also, if you use it WRONG (which is very easy to do), and if you just go thru this game and its story like normal, you can be SCREWED in the later parts of the game, and you might have to start the ENTIRE game over from scratch (granted, some past games had this problem, but it was minor, and only because you didn't spend the time to level up). Sure, the game tries to counter this by having weapons only certain characters can use, and starting all characters at different areas of the sphere grid. Regardless, I give props to Squeenix for trying something new, but its flawed and broken and just amounts to a frustrating experience.

OVERALL:
I think there might have been some points I missed, but I think I covered enough to tell what bugged me and brought the entire experience down for me. This installment in the popular series is flawed and over-hyped. I think the only reason why it has become so revered is because it says Final Fantasy, people are willing to look past or want to ignore the fact that it simply might not be as good as other games out on the market, or past games in the series in general.

Also, while I have not played it, FFX-2 sounds like a horrible idea, and an attempt for Squeenix to just cash in on the series.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 07/09/08

Game Release: Final Fantasy X (Greatest Hits) (US, 12/31/03)


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