Review by Xkefka3X
"Squaresoft's newest and improved installment in their biggest series."
I've been a fan of the FF series since the early Nintindo days. As of late I've been thoroughly disappointed by the Final Fantasy games as of late. However, Final Fantasy X brings the series to a new generation, and with that, it tweaked up many of the flaws the series has had as of late.
It really isn't that hard to argue that Final Fantasy X had the best graphics for the PS2 at the Japanese launch way back in July, even now, most PS2 games still shadow in comparison to the characters and settings this game has. Walking through a town the trees and grass will sway back and fourth with the wind, the non-playable characters will run around and do there business about the town, and for a first time, all the environments are completely in 3d. What that means is that for the most part, the camera follows behind your hero throughout the town. This eliminates a great deal of the load times that the PSX games suffered from because of the fixed camera angles that the pre-rendered screens had. Final Fantasy X's graphics were truly revolutionary and have set the standards for upcoming RPG games for any of the new next generation consoles.
The one thing people expect when they buy a Final Fantasy game is for it to have a great story. Final Fantasy X gives us exactly what we look for in the story of an RPG and more. This is the first time for the Final Fantasy series that most of the games dialouge is acted out by voices. The voice acting was used in a very effective manner in this game. When there is an emotional scene, the actors are emotional, which actually gives the player more of a feel for the scenes, making the player sad in a sad scene or happy in a happy scene. As for the actual plot, You are a star Blitzball player named Tidus for the team the Zanarkand Abes. On the night of one of your big games, a force only known as Sin attacks and destroys your city. Tidus attempts to escape but is sucked up by Sin. When he wakes up he is in a world very diffrent from his own and it is your mission as the player to help Tidus find a way home. The story is very great but the one thing I found very irritable about the story was the fact that it tried to decieve the player. What I mean is that it would tell you one thing most of the game and then it would turn around and change the story in a way that would make most everythign that you learned useless, leaving you with a very unsatisfactory feeling when you get to the end. I liked most of the story twist in this game but they should have given them more time to develope them rather than throw them down your throat at the last minute.
Final Fantasy X delivers a very strong music track in this game. Once again, the game has a central theme song (titled: Isn't it Wonderfull)sung by a Japanese country singer named Rikki (I'm not japanese so I'm sorry if I'm wrong). For us poor and deprived english speakers, we'll never know what she is singing about, because in the english version the song is still japanese. Sqaure also gave Final Fantasy X another main theme track called ''To Zanakand'' which is a fully piano track. It was a good move to have two main theme songs this time through because while playing FFIX, if I had to hear one more song that was a remixed version of Melodies of Life, I was going to throw my PSX out the window. Other than the two main tracks, most of the Final Fantasy X music is very well done. We get a diverse range of music going from classical to rock. All of the songs fit the various moods this game wants the player to feel. The only reason this game got a 9 was because the song ''Isn't it Wonderful'' would have meant so much more to me had I actaully understood how it applies to the game.
Ready for some major changes to the Final Fantasy series? Well ready or not, here they are! The first thing you will notice is the new and improved battle system. Gone are the days when you had to wait for that little gauge to fell up to attack. Now the battles flow in turn-based manner which makes the battles ALOT faster. Once you enter a battle, the player is given a list on the side of the screen telling you the order of attack. This is the order the battle will go in with no wait between attacks. You will also notice that you can sub in characters in the middle of a battle with no cost of a turn. This really makes for a more strategy based system in battle, now that you know when the enemy will attack and if you need to bring in a specific character with high enough hit points to weather the damage inflicted.
Another huge change is the total lack of a world map in this game. Instead, players simply walk through a series of maps that will take you from point A to point B. For example, if you want to go from the town Gaudosolam to the Calm Lands, you would have to walk through a vast map known as the Thunder Plains, then a few maps that make up a forest (if you've played Secret of Mana or the Legend of Zelda Series it is exactly like that). Still not clear? Take FFIX, delete the world map from that game. Once your characters exit the Evil Forest they would be on the world map, but without the world map, they would end up at the next location which would be the ice cave. Once you got the the exit of the ice cave, you would be in Dali right away, without walking through a world map. At first this system may seem very odd for a Final Fantasy game, but I think it was implimented very well in this game.
The final major gameplay change made in this game was the total absence of level gaining with expirience points. In this game, you gain what are know as Sphere levels, then once you've gained 4 or 5, you go to the item menu and click on the Sphere Grid (or Sphere Board for japanese players) and move your character across a massive board where each step gives the player a new stat. As you move, each sphere level is equivalent to one move so once you move your character, your sphere level will go down one. This system is very well done and actually gives the player a feeling that they have accomplished something through all of that hard earned level gaining they did.
The gameplay in this game is absolutly ingenious. Sure it's diffrent from what we all know and love but it's a good diffrent, not a bad one.
Overall: 9.5 or 10/10
Final Fantasy 10 is a step in the right direction for the Final Fantasy series. It makes me anxious to see what the next few installments of this game series will bring to the games. Since FFXI is going to be online, we can look beyond that and wait for FFXII to be the next great Final Fantasy game. As for a rent/buy, definitly buy this one!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/29/01, Updated 12/29/01
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