Final Fantasy X
Review by Braben
"Excellent game, but still a poor Final Fantasy."
Final Fantasy’s baptism for the new generation consoles is...different, I can’t say it’s better because in my opinion it isn’t, but at least I guess (even if this game is most flawed of the series in my opinion) I have to admit that it’s better than Square’s last fantasy (I mean Final Fantasy IX).
Promising, tremendously promising, but horribly disappointing. The core of Final Fantasy X’s plot is probably the best since Final Fantasy VII, but Square had a splendid main idea and didn’t knew what to do with it. The idea of an immortal entity that awakens once a while just to destroy everything it has at sight could have easily lead to one of the most memorable and remarkable stories ever remembered. But that’s it, the good thing is only the main idea, because the development if pretty lame, and as I am going to try to explain later, the game has one of the ancients and most critical problems an rpg can have. Also the plot twists are lame, and there aren’t enough spectacular scenes, or at least that is what I think. Then the game is too focused on Tidus and Yuna’s relationship, resting importance to the rest of the characters, which are more interesting than those two combined.
Anyway, as I said before with my poor and criminally underrated Final Fantasy VIII, even if it is not near as good as it could have been, games with a plot as good as this one are extremely hard to find without mentioning another Final Fantasy, and that is something you just can’t disagree.
Final Fantasy X has the absolute best graphics ever seen in a video game so far, for any console or video game system imaginable, and again, no one can disagree about that, if you do, you are mad or know absolutely anything about video games. There are a few glitches sometimes true, but the environments perfection, the unbelievably fluid characters movements, and those perfectly polished 3D models are beyond words. I hate 3D graphics, but there are some things that are so obvious that it is impossible to argue about them, Final Fantasy X graphics is one of those things.
The CG scenes are simply mesmerizing, I don’t even know if the Final Fantasy movie had that CG quality, sometimes is even hard to tell if you are watching a CG sequence or it’s just the game’s engine.
Oh man, one of the biggest disappointments was the soundtrack.
The only good thing about the music was the main theme, Suteki Da Ne, which I have to say that is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard in my entire putrid life, but that is not enough if that is basically all the music you are going to hear. The little music during the rest of the game is extremely bland, sometimes there isn’t any music at all, like in a non Japanese game, Final Fantasy IX’s soundtrack was terribly bland too, but at least there was music. The only good themes are those composed from the above mentioned main theme, like the one that sounds in the Zanarkand ruins, of course that theme is beautiful, it is beautiful because it is a non singed version the game’s main theme.
I know Nobuo Uematsu is a genius, I know he is one of the best music composer of all time, that he is a living legend, but Square also has another two living legends that are, if not better, as good as Mr. Uematsu, of course I am talking about Yasunori Mitsuda and Motoi Sakuraba, if Nobuo Uematsu is not very inspired (and he certainly wasn’t with this one as well as with Final Fantasy IX), why not giving him a little break?, I think it would be a nice idea, at least until he recovers something a bit of his past talent.
I am going to talk about the voice acting here, because as I have said many times I don’t give a damn about the sound. The voice acting is good, very good, but of course only terms of quality, because still can’t get with the idea of hearing the characters talk.
Tidus voice gets horribly annoying sometimes anyway, as well as Waka’s, this guy sounds like a retarded five years old child with candy in his mouth, I just can’t stand him. The rest of them are good. I admit the voice acting is excellent, but I don’t like it.
Final Fantasy X has the worst gameplay I have ever seen in a Final Fantasy game to date, it is perfectly playable of course, and perfect when compared with any other game, but the flaws are big and abundant.
First of all is the magic system, which needs HEAVY improvements, because the spells are becoming unspectacular, repetitive, and useless. I am sick of using Aqua, I am sick of Gravity, Artema, Fire, Thunder, Ice +, Aqua ++...it at least they weren’t so dull, but they are, like in Final Fantasy IX, when you cast a spell or even when you summon an Eon you’ll just see a few sparks and a timid magical effect, in Final Fantasy VII whether if you were using a crappy level 1 spell or the most powerful summoning, the visual effects were spectacular and a pleasure to the eyes.
The summonings work different this time, when we summon an Eon, all our characters will retreat and will have to fight with the Eon only, they have special abilities and some of them are a bit hard to control because sometimes they will attack at their own will, I liked the old summoning system better, but this one is interesting also.
The battle system ha changed a lot, now we can fight with all our characters switching between theme whenever we want, and each character has abilities that make them useful in certain situations because they are stronger against certain enemies and such. I liked this new system, and thankfully the random encounter are still there. What I didn’t liked that much was that there can only be three enemies at the same time on the screen, I loved to annihilate tons of enemies with a devastating attack, oh well...
The overdrives are very uninspired and some of them useless, but at least they work a million times better than in Final Fantasy IX, where ALL of them were there for nothing. Still, they are shameful when compared to the ones of Final Fantasy VII, just a very timid attack, or a stupid magic spell...dull.
The weapon system has changed also, and it sucks. This time weapons are not more or less powerful, this time they have more or less skills. For example, there is a weapon that drains energy when used, or another one that hurts heavy armored enemies, then we have weapons with element affinities like fire, ice, etc, and you probably get the idea. The same happens with our armors and accessories. Why this system sucks so much?, well, I don’t know you, but , from the hundreds of weapons, armors, and accessories available, I have only used about ten, and what is the difference between a sword with fire affinity with another one with ice affinity is they do enough damage to kill any kind of enemy?, oh my god...
Something unbelievable (in a bad way) is the way the game progresses during whole adventure. Remember the first Snes and the 99 per cent of the Nes rpgs where you always had to do the same thing all over again?, from towns to dungeons all the time?, well, believe it or not Final Fantasy X has that problem, only that here is town to temple, town to temple all the time. Of course the problem is not nearly as bad as it was in those Nes and Snes games, but the problem is still there, and what is worst, those temples are horribly boring, you have to solve ridiculously cheap puzzles all the time, just plain awful, and all of this until the end of the game, as I said at the beginning, unbelievable.
The map system is so terrible that it is even worst than the magic and weapon system combined. Remember how fun it was to wander around that 3D map with out flying airship in the previous games?, well, forget about doing the same thing in Final Fantasy X, this time there is no 3D map and our ship has an automatic pilot, you go to a menu and you’ll get a list, choose where to go, and you are there whiting a second. DULL, BORING, what the hell were they thinking when they programmed this dreadful attempt of a map system?
The Sphere Grid was the thing that cared me most when I read about it, when I read that our typical, anthological, and beloved experience system was removed I almost had a heart attack. Fortunately, after playing I ended up liking that system, of course is not near as good as the usual experience system, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, anyway, needless to say that I hope they return to the usual system in the next chapters, and I hope they keep that system FOREVER.
Another thing I dislike, and a lot, is that there aren’t dialogue boxes any more, this may sound unbelievably stupid, but I liked them, I liked to see the characters talk in dialogue bubbles or boxes, I find horrible to see the text displayed at the bottom of the screen, if you think this is stupid that is your opinion, but I hope they return to the usual way of displaying the text.
Yoshitaka Amano is still the character designer, damn, I can’t stop saying that I hate his artwork. Like in any other Final Fantasy excepting for Final Fantasy VII, the characters are a mixed bag, I don’t like Tidus as the main character, as I said before I find him annoying, then Waka SUCKS, it is one of the ugliest characters I have even seen in a Final Fantasy, next to Zidane from the ninth installment. Also the main bad guy is TERRIBLY so-so, I am talking about that stupid Seymour, man, that guy has less personality than a pork chop, I always start to feel sleepy every time he opens that mouth of his.
The rest of them are very good, they are not near as well developed in terms of plot like in the previous games (excepting for Final Fantasy IX) but they look better than in the previous installments.
Another thing I dislike about the way the NPC characters dress, it some kind of hybrid between a punk for the future and an homosexual during one of those parades they like to make to attract the mass attention (I have nothing about them, but I found the comparison to be very accurate). The thing is that they costumes are nauseating, they look terribly dumb wearing those things.
As I (sadly) live in Europe since 1998, I had to play the PAL version, which sucks, the game is slower than the Japanese or the American version, and there are two black lines that cover the 10 per cent of the screen. One day in a demo disk I saw Tidus running, he was a lot faster than in the European version, and those two black lines were gone. So, not only we don’t get games Chrono Cross or Suikoden III, if we get a decent game then it comes with the worst version possible (not to mention nauseating dubbing and lots of differences), hard to believe, but true.
Those spheres that let you save the game can completely restore you health and magic powers if you touch them also, this is bad because the game easy, and with this everything gets even easier, there was no need to do that.
Another complaint I have is about that part when Tidus and Yuna laugh together, well, what can I say about that particular scene, yeah it was unbelievably shameful, but I had another word to describe that scene, but I am not going to say it because I don’t want to get banned from GameFaqs.
Ok, if I have complained about that scene, here I am going to do the opposite, it is about Tidus and Yuna scene at the lake, how can I express the magnificence of that part...I guess I can’t, no one is able, if not the most beautiful scene I have ever seen in my poor life it is without doubt one of the most.
Something very disappointing is the ending, but that is something most games have, whether if they are good or the worst crap, talking about Final Fantasies in my opinion the only one with a satisfactory ending was Final Fantasy VIII, because not even the best game in existence, the all mighty Final Fantasy VII, had an ending worthy of a game of that magnitude.
And let us not forget that useless bonus disk, because that useless peace of plastic is included in the game’s price, those few extras the bonus disk has could have been easily included in the original DVD without any problem. Well, at least we can see the splendid Suteki Da Ne video clip whenever we want, that video is going to ROCK YOUR FACE.
This is the Final Fantasy with more replay value I have ever played, and as I have played them all I can say this is the longest game in the series, or at least for me.
About the Blitzball mini game, at the beginning I didn’t liked it, in fact I hated it, it was slow hard to understand and terribly boring, but after finishing the game, as I was looking for the ultimate weapons, in order to obtains Waka’s weapon I had to play liked it or not, so I made the effort and started playing, and finally I learned to appreciate it, yes, it may be horribly boring at the beginning, but it gets pretty interesting once you get used to it. The Blitzball is the Water Polo of the future.
With all, and even if I ended liking it, changing that astounding and amazingly addictive mini game that was the Card Game from the previous games for this one I think it wasn’t a good idea, this Blitzball is fun, but compared to the Card Game is just rubbish.
Another thing that can be considered as a mini game is collecting monsters for that guy in the Calm Plains. The ridiculously high amount of time you are going to need to obtain all the monster can only be compared to the Chocobo Breeding in Final Fantasy VII, I have been collecting monster for about 60 hours and I still haven’t completed the entire list, saying that it is a behemoth task is not enough, I just refuse to imagine someone trying to find ten specimens of each monster, but well, I guess I have seen crazier things in this world.
We can also fight those monsters we have collected, and after having obtained a certain quantity and number of them, new and exclusive monsters will appear, beating them is nearly impossible, but it is a nice addition.
There are some more mini games, then we also have hidden Eons, Ultimate weapons, secret items... too much to stop to talk about them.
What scared me a lot is the way Square has started to change the series, I found Final Fantasy X to be too different from the previous installments, and what they have done with Final Fantasy X-2, even if the game ends up being good, is intolerable. I’m sure that one day Final Fantasy will become a furious action game, and I want to be dead the day that happens. Now that Square has merged with Enix, I hope they learn something from their Dragon Quest series, a game that has barely changed since the beginning, and that is one of the main reasons why it is so good and why some chapters are even better than its Final Fantasy counterparts.
With all, the game is still way WAY ahead its competitors, I didn’t liked the new “feel” the game has, but it could have been worst, so I guess I am somehow happy with the results.
”My lack of vocabulary and grammatical errors (if there’s any) are because I’m not from an English speaking country, sorry about that.”
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/12/04, Updated 01/31/04
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