Review by kimfrankz

"The Never Ending Fantasy"

Here it is--FINAL FANTASY X

Another installment in the Final Fantasy series has come yet again, this time it's for the Playstation 2. For gamers who already played past titles, they probably know what they're getting on as they play this game. For gamers new to the series, or new in RPG's per se, you're in it for a good time...

Final Fantasy games are in the market for quite awhile now, considering some of the titles were release in the original NES(Nintendo Entertainment System) and the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) The first release of an FF game for the PS2 is Final Fantasy X... Just like any other Final Fantasy games, its elements such as gameplay, storyline, sound track, interesting and dynamic characters, this particular one will surely be a part of your go-to games in your library...

HERE IS THE REVIEW:

Gameplay: BATTLE SYSTEM

Just like any other RPG games, FFX has all of the basic elements in it.

You power up your character, you fight a bunch of monsters, and you're heavily involved in a revolving storyline. Here is how FFX manage to get away from that bunch as they introduce you to unique, dynamic and somewhat tedious way of leveling up your characters which is the Sphere Grid...

The Sphere Grid is a whole map of interconnected abilities, stat bonuses, magics, skills which power up your character which you do manually.

Your character cannot fully strengthen unless you put your chosen node which contain the things mentioned above. Picture a massive and huge tree like figure with branches over branches which contains little nodes where your abilities, magics etc can be obtained and learned... Each character starts in a different part of the Grid. A character will first start in the Black Mage grid another will be on Thief part of the grid and so on. As you kill your very first enemies in the game, you'll notice you don't seem to have that EXP gauge which tells that your character leveled up. With this one, you gain points to able yourself to obtain movements for your Sphere Grid. You gain points to obtain movements to go around the grid and use different Spheres obtained from the enemies you defeat.

There are different types of spheres, there are POWER SPHERES, SPEED SPHERES and basically other common stats equivalent to SPHERES for your character to get stronger. Of course ABILITY spheres can also be obtained for you to learn the different magics and all the techniques available to the game. The beauty of the Sphere Grid gives you control on how your character grows.

It's all connected so as you begin your movement with the grid for all your characters, at first they will stick along the road of their starter JOB GRID and eventually can move along all the nodes which other characters had activated, and for them to activate it for themselves.

So you see as you progress through the game, all your characters are possible to obtain the same magic skills, same abilities, same stat bonuses, as long as you have the necessary points, spheres and movements required by the Sphere Grid..

Another thing is a modified turn-based battle system. As the words itself "turn based" your characters stand at one side of the battle and opposite are your adversaries. FFX has all that and a little more. You are allowed 3 party members to be in battle but at the same you can switch your characters right then and there in the heat of the battle... Imagine your characters in battle X, Y and Z. For some reason you think your other character, "K" will be more effective against the enemy, so switch him or her out to replace the "current" character in battle. That's how it is!

You will also notice at the upper right corner of your screen some sort horizontal outline for all characters in the battle including your enemies of which who will proceed with the current and next "turns" of action. This one is affected with moves or actions you make. If you cast a Haste spell on your party, (it gives additional turns for your character) you'll notice that your character will appear a lot more times in the outline scheme on the upper right... This can work to your advantage you can clearly plan out all your actions in battles.

It's really easy as you engage yourself in battles and learn through your own techniques and plans on which move will be advantageous for you. People will often say that the Sphere Grid is tedious but don't listen to them. It's a new way of growing for your characters and an in-depth at that.

~~If you are a fan of classic turn based gameplay, FFX gives you that with more edge and depth.

~~ Another addition is that you can EDIT your weapons and protective gears and put special abilities in them. You can put the ever so mighty "Break Damage Limit" and see you wield your blade through your enemy stabbing/piercing/slashing them of with a 99,999 wallop! You can also put the "RIBBON" ability in your armor where none of the available status penalties like Poison, Petrify/Stone, or any of them can affect your character wearing that armor. This is possible if you obtain the right amount of loot from monsters and distilling them into abilities your blade and your armour can obtain.

~~ Have you ever played a turn based SPORTS GAME? Well FFX will let you experience it.
As for this one, I think some gamers will not be all giddy playing this side game. Although you need to play through this to obtain certain items in the game, I still think some gamers out there won't find this very engaging... I guess it's just a matter of preference.

You get to form your own Blitzball team by recruiting player from all of Spira. Heck you can even get players from another team. After you formed your own team you can go play the sport. It's a simple Offense-Defense turn based game. Wherein you swim from across the big glass ball filled with water and try to shoot a goal against your enemy. This is not purely on skill with reflexes and the such when you play your typical sport games. As I've said, this is an RPG, right? :D If a defensive player approaches you it will start some sort of a mini game which gives you an option to pass or shoot. Depending on how your character fairs in terms of Passing ability, shooting ability and others, you might get tackled down by your defender or simply fumble your pass and let the opponent steal it and try their offense against your goal...

That covers the basics. Since this mode is optional, I will let you learn it yourself in the game. :D Cheers!

STORY: NO SPOILERS

The game takes you to a flash place of a city named Zanarkand in the world of Spira. You gained control of a young famous Blitzball(a popular sport in the game in which you play underwater inside a big bowl type structure as you try to put a ball through a goal) player named Tidus. Taken warm by people as you play Blitzball, an unknown force starts destroying the city killing people everywhere. Tidus approaches the unknown force but a certain leer of light captures him and wakes up in some place he had never seen before.

Tidus now awakens in a little town called Besaid. After stating he's a skilled Blitzball player from ZANARKAND, people starts looking at him funny. Tidus is helped by the people of Besaid meeting Wakka, a Blitzball player himself and Lulu, an intimidating mage. As he goes around town he learned that not just Besaid but the whole Spira itself loosely relies of what they call a Summoner in which they all go to a pilgrimage to protect people from forces beyond them. This is where and when Tidus meets a teen summoner by the name of Yuna who had just started her pilgrimage with Wakka and Lulu and the most loyal Kimahri as her guardian... Tidus overwhelmed by all of the events joined Yuna to be her guardian and accompany her to fulfill her duty.

As Tidus progress along his newly met comrades, he realizes things beyond everything he had known--the world is not as simple as Blitzball. Meeting Yuna and her guardians aren't simply coincidence but probably their paths are intertwined somehow...

SOUND and GRAPHICS:

Visuals are great and I mean GREAT especially when it goes into CGI cut scenes that will surely put you in awe. And for the very first in the entire series. Voice acting was included. The actors were superb and it is as if you're really Tidus conversing with them. You will be taken aback when you go to different places in the game (in Spira) like the towns, cities, dungeons, forests, plains and the interaction goes smoothly... The level of detail in the equipment and on the character themselves are very well done.

The terrain, the animation where you cast your spells and call your Summons, it really gives off that swag effect on everything. You can clearly say that a lot of people have worked hard for this game to achieve this. It's almost perfect except when it goes to some cut scenes where lip flap was not included I assume. When there is voice acting but the characters' lips and mouth are just going open and close. But in my opinion it's not much of a worry since it is overshadow by a lot of good things from this game.

PLAY TIME AND REPLAY VALUE

If your only goal is playing through to the storyline, I would say you can beat the whole game 38-40 hours tops. But if you would go far as to completion and I mean powering up your character, completing all the side quests, and gaining all the optional stuff in the game(which I recommend) probably a solid 72-100++ hours... But I tell you, once you get hooked in this game after like, 30 mins? You won't mind the game time at all... The game is not particularly hard, there are challenging boss fights and puzzles but you'd expect that in an RPG game. But it's not as far as you need a solid break wherein you need to regain your sanity for the sole purpose of playing through the game...

Replay Value is recommended.

THE VERDICT

If I would break it down.

GAMEPLAY: is new and unique. A bit of getting-used-to attitude is required, although not perfect I will rate 8 Blitzball out 10 Blitzball

STORY: Though it includes a love story the plot is still thick, and after getting into the main storyline you'll certainly want to see through. I will rate it 9 Wakka faces out of 10

SOUND AND VISUALS: 'Nough said Final Fantasy games really brings out the essence of true art and sound track. I will rate it 10 Lulu's "thingy" out of 10

REPLAY VALUE: The amount of things to do in this game is will make you seek perfection and do it again. I will rate it 9 Onion Knights out of 10

OVERALL A SOLID 9/10 BOO YA!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/31/12

Game Release: Final Fantasy X International (JP, 01/31/02)


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