Review by Lagunathemoron

"What went wrong?"

Be afraid! Be very afraid! Nope, nobody this week has bitten heads off any fruit bats or has skeletons in their cupboards, but Final Fantasy X is out for the playstation 2. Okay, I am a Final Fantasy fan, but since I started to play RPG's since 1997, I already have good opinions on RPG's, both past and present. And Final Fantasy X does not please me.

You play Blitzball, Ya?

Sure, Square are feeding us one Final Fantasy game every year or so, and each one should be getting better. Unfortunately, the three Final Fantasy to follow Final Fantasy VII did not live up to expectations, and Square still expected everybody to buy this ''masterpiece''. We did though, most people loved it to bits because it was a Final Fantasy game, but not me. Nobody at Gamefaqs have given this game under a 6 at the time of reviewing, I am shocked as the game is so over-rated, it has far too many flaws.

The game starts off with a strange setting. Seven people are sat around a circle with their weapons resting on a hill top. The main character, Tidus (pronounced teedus according to the extra DVD) takes a walk and in the background we see a sunset and some ruins. Tidus then says ''Listen to my story, it could be our last chance''. The scene then switches to Tidus getting ready for a Blitzball (A sport in Final Fantasy X) tournament and speaks to some of his fans. We learn of a man called Jecht who vanished in to thin air one day, then learn Jecht was Tidus' father.

The story then gets quite confusing. A mage-type person appears out of nowhere and keeps telling Tidus weird things, which just makes the story very confusing. The characters do not help in anyway to make the story enjoyable, with the exception of Wakka, the only decent character in the game. We have Tidus, the main character who has an annoying squeaky teenager voice, who can't laugh to save his life. Tidus was thrown in to Spira's (the world that the characters live in) future. Then we have Lulu, Kimahri and Auron, three over-rated characters who are both silent and cold blooded, these days the silent characters are far too over-rated, they don't impress me at all anymore. Lulu is just a black mage who lives on Besaid island, Kimahri is the first of many, a guardian of Yuna the summoner, and Auron, the legendary, over-rated character who once served Yuna's father and ended up in both Tidus' and Yuna's timeline. There is Yuna and Rikku, two young women with very annoying voices and have some of the silliest one liners in the game. Rikku is the first character that Tidus meets after Auron and Yuna is the central female character who can summon monsters. The bad guy in the game is no Sephiroth either, he sounds like HIM (the devil man) from the Powerpuff girls and does not have an evil presence, he also gives me no reason to hate him as a character at all like EXDEATH, Kefka and Sephiroth did. My favorite character, Wakka is the only character who can show emotions, the others try but have less emotions then a rock. None of the other characters compare to Wakka's sadness when he talks about his brother, Chappu and that he doesn't like some people, he is one emotional character. The other voice actors try hard such as Tidus and Yuna, but once you heard Tidus laugh, you will be frustrated with how poor it was done.

Some of the non main characters which you meet, you will either love or hate. There is Kinoc and Mika who appear several times, Shelinder who makes you laugh with her witty comments (bless) and Yenke Ronso and Biran Ronso who constently mock Kimahri because he doesn't have a horn. Of these characters, I only like some of the characters, for example the Ronso's, some of the others will get on your nerves.

The Final Fantasy feel is no longer there, it does not feel like a Final Fantasy like Final Fantasy IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX did. The Active Time Bar is gone, now there is a Grandia based rectangle where you see when each characters and each enemies turn is and how each attack will slow it down. These are a nice touch, but the Final Fantasy fights in the past were all about speed, so this means the exciting wait for the bar to fill up to see if you can get an attack in before the big boss do, it leaves me disso pointed.

Then there is the new magic system. Good grades for effort, bad marks for the system itself. The system is set out like a bored game, after each battle, you will gain ability points, which once you have gained so many, turn in to skill levels. These skill levels determine how many squares you can go past on the bored. If you have 5 skills moves, you can progress five, and on he way you can use spheres you got from battle to increase stats like strength, defense, magic, magic defense, agility, luck, HP, MP and even some moves. It all sounds good, but by the end of the game, you will soon be sick of it, going back down the track if you missed out on 200HP or planning just right to use the ability sphere you are going to get during the next few boss fights. It all gets very tedious.

That is another thing, levels have gone, Not since Final Fantasy II has levels been dismissed, and look how many fans that game has, not many. Biggs and Wedge have being given the side bench, only making appearances as Blitzball players (More on this further down), Chocobo's look twice as big, the characters pronounce the creatures as Choke-oh-bows, come on, do you pronounce chocolate, choke-oh-lot? The summon monsters, oops, Espers, I mean Guardian Forces... erm Eidolons have a brand new name once again, this time, the aeons. This time, instead of watching a couple of minute sequence where Ifrit and Shiva do a little dance and attack, you control the monsters, which is quite a nice touch, although the limit break attacks go on far too long. At least limit breaks are back, this time in a form of Final Fantasy VII's bar and Final Fantasy VIII's options. Once the bar is full up, you can do an attack if you like but it could be one of several choices, do you attack one enemy or do a weaker attack on all enemies?

The main point of Final Fantasy X is to travel to the other side of the world so that the local summoner, Yuna can destroy Sin once and for all. This linear storyline just didn't cut it for me, you can no exploration of the world until the end of the game which annoyed me, you have to travel and travel to the next town then travel again. This 'idea' reminds me of Jak & Daxter, the game which can be completed by going to the other side of the world.

Boss fights are now a bit harder, each character is vital, you need to use magic, aeons, items, spells, status stuff like dark attack, silence and sleep. They have ridiculous amount of health points too, and if you just select 'attack' like you did in the other Final Fantasy games, you can guarantee you will get K.O'd within a couple of rounds. However, this does not stop the bosses from being quite easy, just set the right stuff and you can win ten minutes (for the real hard bosses at least) but I will admit I have seen the Game-Over screen many times.

Instead of cards as the main mini game, like in Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X offers a compulsory game, which you are forced to play one game and even more times if you desire. The game is poor, I dislike American Football and this is similar. You can pass the ball to other players (in an underwater goldfish bowl), and whether or not the opponents are in the way or not, they will either, manage to grab the ball or at least put their hand on it. Also, no matter how hard you try, you can get very close to the goal and have your best player shoot, but fail to score as the goalie manages to catch just about every ball. Then the opponents get back the ball, shoot and even manage to play well, it could be hard to even get the ball when you start. Blitzball is quite difficult and the tutorial goes on forever, it takes about thirty minutes just to know the basics, and then you will most probably lose to the first few teams you play.

On another note about mini games and mini quests, Chocobo racing from Final Fantasy VII is back, however this time it is in a different form. You can ride chocobos on about three different areas only and the racing, well you race against one other chocobo whilst avoiding seagulls and Blitzballs and running in to balloons, fun for the first time but frustrating when you have to win the race in ZERO Seconds. What a pain that is, but to get the best stuff in the game you have to fight 3 million HP monsters, avoid 200 lightning strikes, win many Blitzball games and... win a race in zero second... Very frustrating stuff.

The most involving (and tedious) quest takes about two play through (that is if you miss some items) to complete. It is an Al Bhed translation, which effects the entire memory card saves of the game. There is a language in the game known as the Al Bhed, the Al Bhed people speak in this language and to understand phrases such as ''Hello, I play Blitzball'' you have to pick up books which change AL Bhed lettering in to normal letters.

There is a new addition to dungeons as well, and you can guess what I am going to say, they are tedious and annoying. They are called trails, and to get by them you have to solve dull puzzles like pick up a Besaid ball from the wall, put it in the alter, push the alter and swap around the Besaid sphere with the Glyph sphere then pick up the other sphere behind the wall, then think of where you can put the whole collection of spheres to open another door. Then later on you have to do puzzles and things you have not being told to do, there’s a room with a tiled floor and a picture of colored blocks in one trial and takes you a little while to notice what you are doing. How boring. At least there’s no random encounters in these trials, I would have gone insane if there was.

Three more of my favorite Final Fantasy stuff has gone missing. The first is the tent, you automatically get your HP and MP restored at the save points. That may not be too important but what else has gone... something called the world map and flyable airship. That is right, you are not on the world map at all, nor can you control the airship in the game. What a shame! At least save points remain though, I couldn't bare to play this game too long without turning the game off. This time they have options to warp you to a Blitzball arena, save the game, cancel and warp to the airship. At the start of the game, save points are aplenty, you find one every two to give screens, but as the game gets towards the end, you will become frustrated as they are so far apart, annoying if you have gained a few stats and you are a half a hour walk to the nearest save point... and random battles don't exactly help.

The graphics are especially well done, I like the FMV's, they are done very nicely, you can see the hair move on characters when the wind blows and emotions quite good (Although Final Fantasy VIII managed this good). I think that the visuals of Final Fantasy X is the best thing in the game (not saying much) but it would be great to interact with everything, like you could in Shenmue or Escape from Monkey Island. Well, I guess you can't have everything...

One further point that I wish to make about the graphics is that it is something’s hard to notice the difference between normal scenes and FMV (Full Motion Video), Square soft has done a really good job on the graphics for Final Fantasy X, it is actually impressive and unfortunately the only thing that I enjoyed about the game.

I have hinted that I disliked the voice acting for not showing emotion and just being annoying, but I really dislike the music as well. Of the almost one hundred tunes from the game, I like only about five, the rocking one from the start of the game and some nice pieces here and there, but not that good to write about I am afraid.

Like in Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX, the game has a feature length song, however this time there is around three. One love themed song like most of the other games, one modern rock, metal one and one temple theme tune, similar to that of Grandia II. It is all good stuff, but sadly, unlike Eyes on Me and Melodies of Life, they didn't actually get the translation they needed.

Another fact that I didn't like was Square-Europe's conversion. They made Tidus run in near slow motion, the boarders for the PAL version are bigger then those Final Fantasy VI got, it is like playing the game for a letterbox, it is a shame that Square-Europe couldn't include a 60Hz option to make the game run much faster, or at least put in the effort to make the boarders a little bit smaller. As a present though (for slowdown, boarders and a six month wait) the people included an extra DVD of interviews, Kingdom Hearts trailers and other such pieces. Another extra is the Dark Aeons, exclusive to the International and PAL version are the dark and evil versions of your summons, which only the true masters of Final Fantasy X can defeat. Killing everything will break the Final Fantasy VII time slot.

Many people would recommend Final Fantasy X to you, but my point just has to get across. You will be bored, you will not be entertained, there is many other games better then this, in fact, this game has become my worst Final Fantasy, it has nothing which can better another Final Fantasy (other then graphics and the overall fact that I just didn't like playing the game.) so try another game. I am sorry to annoy you all, but Final Fantasy X just didn't cut it for me.

Why did I dislike Final Fantasy X? Well I disliked just about everything. I didn't like the story, it was far too confusing to understand and some of the plot twists are far too ridiculous, the characters are not that great and very hard to warm too, the voice acting is well below average, the level up system has gone different and I don't like the idea of a bored game style system much, I just like Final Fantasy the way it always was, where you can switch your brain off and enjoy. I also hated the fact that stuff that made Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy has gone missing, flyable airships, the world map (What ever happened to exploration?), several summons like Carbunicle, Ramuh, Titan and Leviathan and items such as tents and cottages. It does sound strange though, all the other reviews are usually 8, 9 and 10's, however I wanted to tell everbody the turth on this game and how I regret wasting my money on it, I hardly enjoyed the game at all, and just because it is called Final Fantasy, doesn't make it a classic at all.

Good:

- Good box art
- Great graphics
- A few good pieces of music...
- Wakka is a funny character

Bad:

- Here we go... Bad characters, they have bad voices and unsucessful character development.
- Bad and confusing story, I had to play twice to at least understand a bit
- Bad music in most places
- Too easy
- No world map, airship, tents, Leviathan and other Final Fantasy elements
- Tidus moves too slow and greeted by big black boarders for PAL people.

Summary:

Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 1/10
Music - 2/10
Gameplay - 2/10
Story - 1/10
Ending - 2/10
Enjoyment - 1/10
Challenge - 7/10
Lifespan - 3/10
Overall - 3/10 (Actually deserves 2/10 but the rating average is 3/10)

Alternatives: There is many RPG's better then this. Final Fantasy I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, Grandia, Grandia II, Suikoden, Suikoden II, Xenogears, Legend of Legaia, Legaia Dual Saga, Skies of Arcadia, Saga Frontier, Saga Frontier II Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, the list goes on.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 10/12/02, Updated 10/12/02


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