Review by Khmai_Knight88
"FFX: A story to remember"
This game came out over seven years ago and I still play it every now and then. In fact, I just beat the game for the 1575626 time only a few weeks ago. Okay, I was just exaggerating a little bit there but the point is, it's one of those games where you play it over and over because it's that good. In my top 10 list of best games ever, this game is definitely in there. Now onto the review...
It blew me away. At first, it looks/sounds simple with a group of people in weird outfits trying to stop a monster that looks like some oversized blue whale from destroying the world but it's much more than that obviously. There's love, hate, lies, secrets, and politics all mixed in to give gamers an emotional, deep and engrossing story to follow. The main character is Tidus, a naive and cheerful teenage boy who start the game playing Blitzball (futuristic underwater polo) and then witnessing an invasion by the monster known as Sin. Tidus, along with Auron (a badass with a mysterious past) is engulfed in some bright light that takes them to a world called Spira. From that point on, Tidus meets with an unforgettable group of cast that includes Yuna (the female lead), Wakka (guy with funny accent), Lulu (the hot girl), Kimhari (the silent one), and Rikku (who is somewhat childish) on a mission to rid Spira of Sin while trying to find his way back home to Zanarkand. It's not original but the plot twists and character development is what makes this game stand out from others. You'll care about each character and feel for them as you go through the game. There will be points where you'll laugh with them during the light-hearted moments or go aww at another point or maybe even shed a little tear somewhere. This is probably the main point why I like the story of X because it has a balance of light-hearted and serious moments throughout the game. All in all, one of the best stories ever told in a Final Fantasy game ever. I like to give kudos to the writers on this one.
-Graphics- 10/10 (when it was first released) 9/10 (7 years later)
For me, this was the best-looking game I had for the PS2 at the time and I couldn't believe how good looking this game was. To this day, the game still looks great but after seeing games like RE4 and the following installments of FF, it gets one point lowered. There are a few, minor negative things graphically such as characters walking as if they were robots and the voiceovers not matching the lip movments. The positive aspect outweighs the few negatives I have for the game. The locations such as Zanarkand, Besaid, the Moonflow to name a few, are some of the most beautiful sceneries that I have ever seen in a video game. The facial expressions on the characters, although not perfect, is still good with characters clearly expressing laughter, sadness, anger, etc. The FMVs are top notch and there are a lot of them in this game. The summon animation and their final attacks, looks stunning to say the least.
The biggest change in X is the leveling up system. Unlike the traditional exp. level up system, X uses a system called the sphere grid. It's a giant board with pre-determined stats and abilities for a character. The character that participate in a battle would gain ability points at the end of each battle and if they have enough, they would gain sphere levels which are used to make a move depending on how many levels you gain. For example, if you gain 3 sphere levels, you can move up to three nodes and gain whatever attributes you landed on. Before you can move, you'll need item spheres first which is obtain after a battle. Each character (except Kimahri) has their own attributes and abilities path to follow and once you're at the end, you are free to move on to other character's section of the grid to learn their stuff. Yeah, it sounds a little complicated at first but it's nothing to worry about since most people get it right after the tutorial.
The battle system of X is a bit different than past FF games before it. Instead of using the ATB (active time battle) here, X introduces the CTB (conditional time battle), which is where time only passes once a command is made for a character. That means you'll get more time to make your strategies since there is a small window on the right that tells you the order of turns for your party and enemies. Another new addition that some may or may not like is the ease of switching characters in your party during a battle. For example, if you start a battle at a disadvantage you can switch characters right away without losing a turn and that character can attack instantly. Despite the small differences, this is still the traditional turn-based battling with random encounters.
Another change in the battle system is the ability to control Aeons. (summoning monsters) The character Yuna, is the only character that has the ability to summon unfortunately but it's what makes her unique and a major part of the plot. There are a number of Aeons to summon although less in amount compared to previous games. The great thing about this feature is that you can grow and increase the Aeon's stats/abilities, making them an even more unstoppable force. Each Aeons, like the characters, have overdrives (limit breaks) that does a huge amount of damage to enemies and is something that is very pleasant to look at.
Weapon and armor customizations in this game are another change. Every weapon and armor comes with abilities and temporarily stat bonus. For example, the sword that Tidus holds on the cover is the brotherhood. It comes with a small percentage to boost strength as well as water-strike, which makes it a water-based sword. You would be out of luck to use that against monsters of water element so you'll have to customize in order to have the advantage. There are a lot of ways to customize but the downfall is that it has a limit of 4 abilities per weapon and armor only. It's different but I like it.
Throughout the adventure, you'll be traveling from one temple to another and there will be some Zelda-ish type puzzles for you to solve in order to advance to the chamber of the fayth. They are nice but are just too easy to do.
Well, that covers the main part of the gameplay.
The music in this game is composed by the great Nobuo Uematsu along with two other composers. If you're a FF fan and you don't know who he is, you should be ashamed of yourself. The man has delivered some of the best music in gaming and for X, he did not disappoint. The main theme, Suteki da ne, along with the Hymn of the Fayth and the Zanarkand tune are some of the best music that I have heard in the series. The voice acting in this game is very good despite the negative things people say about it. This is the first FF game to utilize voice acting and once I heard that it was to have voiceovers, I was ecstatic. I had faith in Square that they won't disappoint in that department and they didn't. The results came out to be one of the best voiceovers that I have heard in a game. The weakest link in the cast has to be Yuna's voice if I had to pick although I was never really bothered by her voice.
One word: Blitzball. It's more than just a mini-game and at a certain point, you'll be required to play it, as it moves the story forward. The way blitzball work is kind of like when you battle. You get all these numbers and statistics that I won't go through in detail here but it's a very enjoyable break from the main quest. It will take some time to understand fully but once you get it, you'll be playing on for hours for some nice prizes. As with other RPGs, X has its share of sidequests such as obtaining all the Aeons and the ultimate weapons of each character. And then there is this monster arena where it's kinda like Pokemon, where you go around to capture monsters and then battle their creations in the arena. Beware though; these monsters are some of the hardest fights in the game that even makes the final boss look like a pansy.
I spent at least 100 hours on one file every time I play but for some, it could take anywhere around 50-70 hours to beat while others may take much longer for the 100% completion.
I can conclude that this is perhaps one of the best purchases that I made on the PS2. FFX has it all: story, character development, beautiful music, good voice acting, solid gameplay and of course, impressive FMVs all in one disc. This FF is about as good as it gets and one that won't be forgotten.
Graphics: 10/10 (then) 9/10 (now)
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/09
Game Release: Final Fantasy X (US, 12/17/01)
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