Review by pythias24

"The new medium for literature is by way of video games!"

With so many great games on the market nowadays, and the fast pace of life favored by today's youth and gamers, a good old fashioned RPG can loose its appeal. As I look at the list of best selling games for the next generation consoles, I do not see as many RPGs as I would like. FFX does not stray from the slow paced recipe of an RPG…and really there is no need for it to sell 4 million games.

When you start the game, after the PlayStation 2 logo flashes, then the square logo, you'll see a screen with the Final Fantasy X emblem with the words “Final Fantasy X Project 1998-2002” displayed. Those are years well spent. Every time I play the game, it amazes me just how hard those guys at Square Enix worked to create such a beautiful game. Everything about the game from the well-developed and very likeable characters, to jaw-dropingly beautiful backgrounds, to the beautiful story just tells me how much effort was put into this game.

Story 10/10
I was actually disappointed that Final Fantasy 7 was made into a movie rather than X. FF7 Advent Children will undoubtedly make a great movie, but needless to say, FFX would have made a wonderful movie as well.
The story behind FFX is actually satire blasting the vices of modern society and advanced technology affecting and even destroying every aspect of life on the planet. Religion in this modern/archaic society is also analyzed. In the game your main nemesis is a monster called Sin (good job choosing the name of the bad guy). So your nemesis then becomes symbolic of guess what? sin. His toxin affects the people it comes in contact with by causing them to do weird things…giving new explanations to the age-old expression, hate sin, not the sinner. Everyone fears sin, as well as this Sin creature. The people on the other hand surprisingly, live their lives largely without sin (not referring to the monster). Seymour is one of the only character's that commonly sins. You might be surprised to see where he ends up. The game's most annoying character, Wakka, is so religious, and superstitious. I can so easily imagine him leading witch hunts (assuming he liven on Earth in the year 1600). Religious and spiritual beliefs are given such an important part in the story of this game. I'm trying to give a description of the game without spoiling the story…so I'm just gonna stop this explanation of the allegory by saying that you'll be surprised by how the characters try to stop sin.
I hope that the makers of Final Fantasy had another intention for this game – by showing that in this century, the medium for expressing art and literature is by way of video games! Hopefully.

Aside from the huge main story, you will get various side quests that have mission profiles ranging from cute little butterfly catching “quests” to vicious vigilante missions to puzzles. Most of the side quests are somewhat enjoyable, and others are just so simple that I don't know why it's in the game. But the prizes of rare items, spheres or money are worth it.

Gameplay 9/10
For everyone that has played previous Final Fantasy games, it is easy to notice that much of the gameplay is identical to the older games with only minor upgrades. Most of the attacks have identical names or effects but hit their targets with prettier explosions. The turn based attack system is not much different form the previous versions of FF - and not much different from really any other RPG on the market.
But considering what happened to the previous FF games, why would Square change it? Even with the repeating structure meaning another version of a rather repetitive gaming experience I can still easily call this one of the best games I have ever played.

One new addition to the combat system of FFX is the graph/list on the right of the screen telling the player how fast each character is in combination with the intended attack and who is going to attack next. This takes much of the guesswork out of the game. Consequently much of the strategy has been taken from the game via this graph. Now, I really shouldn't complain since it is so convenient (I have bad memories of characters dying off due to recovery time in FF7 and no warning). In FFX, I can launch heavy hitting sword strikes with Auron (or whoever), that I know will take exactly 10 turns to recover from and know that it will be impossible for a weakened Chimera (or whatever) to kill Auron with only 2 attack chances in Auron's 10 turn rest. Sounds reasonable enough. But for every other RPG that I have played that does not have such a system, sure, I remember the frustration of imprecise calculations, but that is apart of the game's learning curve. FFX does not benefit too much from making the game easier.

This game has a real strong story and as a result, it is easy to design characters and fights around it. It's nice knowing that each time I encounter an enemy, there is a reason I am fighting him, her, or it. If you want to get through the bosses without exercising trial and error dozens of times, you will spend about a quarter of the game going back and fourth through caves and dungeons looking for monsters to fight and gold (Gil) to steal. Sure, this gets redundant, but then again, what's an RPG without this?

Control 10/10
I'm not sure if there is any way to botch the control design on an RPG. Well, considering the veteran game designers on this project, it would be a little impossible for the controls of FFX to be messed up. Really the only buttons that you need for this game are the control pad, L1, X and O. And most of the time you only need X for items and confirmation and O for cancel and walk (so nice of them to put these two buttons right next to each other).

One thing that I really like about FFX is the sphere grid. Most Final Fantasy fans are used to Materia…rather than an Ability Sphere. For the sphere grid, you can only use the Ability Sphere, Magic Sphere, Power Sphere, etc. at certain times. And because all 6 character's attacks and stats are on the same grid, you can (if you have too much time on your hands) have one character learn every single attack in the game! Or if you want to do this the fast way, you can have each character learn a balanced mix of power and magic attacks while each collects their fair share of defense, power, and magic spheres. It is rather amusing sending Rikku, a 5-foot thief, attack with a massive sword strike or Kimahri, a giant warrior, cast a wimpy magic spell.

Sound 9/10
Well, look at it this way, if you can buy the soundtrack to the game, listen to it, and not bore of it before the second listen, then the game's music is pretty good. Most of the games music consists of simple classical music – usually with piano, and violin. During you time in Bevelle, or Jecht's belly, and a few more places, you will get some catchy techno, but again the riffs are simple and repeated without variation. Despite that, the music is again very nicely done (and you will be hard pressed to find another game with better music).
The voices of the characters are very, very well done. And considering how many hours of sound clips Square had to collect to give almost every character in the game a voice, the game designers did and EXTREMELY good job here. When you put this game into your computer it will display a 4 MB file on the DVD…which is waaayyy wrong. So you know that this is a multi-layered DVD. Imagine how much is inside that DVD! voices, music, movies, sound effects, ambiance, not to mention the graphics! Well, back to the voices, they did well in putting emotion and meaning into the words. They gave Auron a strong voice, Teidus a young, fearless voice, Lulu an emotionlessly, mature voice, Seymore an evil one, and Wakka an annoying one. Everything fits.

Graphics 10/10
The realtime movies, which are scattered frequently throughout the game, aren't exactly, completely lifelike, but they are as detailed as any video game or CG movie I have seen. This game is 2 years old, but wow! This is still so impressive. Again, I am going to refer you to the work ethic of the game designers. Every time I watch one of the realtime movies, or look the backgrounds these characters are running around in, I am just so impressed by the artists that designed them.

With the PS2 engine, FFX game designers can say good-bye to abbreviating the characters on the screen. How many RPGs have the secondary characters invisible as the main character is running around the screen? How many times have you seen the non-main characters in your party walk into and disappear inside the protagonist because the system can't animate every character simultaneously? But for this version of Final Fantasy, go ahead and animate every character in the party when the situation calls for it. Go ahead and give every character an actual voice. Give each character a face capable of showing emotion. Feel free to animate small details, like fingers! You know, skin has texture, why don't you add that in? Wow, I can see my character's reflection in the water! And I can go on and on about this.

I can't say that the monsters in the game look very realistic, but the human (and the weird elf-like Guado) characters sure do. But as for the monsters, many of them are taken directly out of previous Final Fantasies (the names haven't even changed!) so I can understand how hundreds of monsters are running around the game. Most of them are cute and creatively done.

The backgrounds in any decent modern game can fit into this cliché: “you will find yourself stopping in the middle of the game to just look around and admire the aesthetic beauty of the environment.” Almost every PS2 game I play has such graphics. So you wanna guess what I'm gonna say about the graphics of FFX?
No, its terriable, I'm telling you! lol

All in all Final Fantasy X is one of the best games I've played on the PS2


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/08/04


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