Review by Computerbug8
"My introduction to the Final Fantasy series and to PS2 RPGs was not a disappointment"
In Final Fantasy X, (FFX) you play as Tidus, a 17 year old boy who is the star of an underwater sport called Blitzball. Tidus is about to play a big game in his home city of Zanarkand when the city is suddenly attacked by a giant being known as Sin. Tidus tries to escape from Sin with a friend named Auron, but Sin abducts Tidus and takes him to a mysterious land called Spira. There he hears of people called "summoners", who are destined to go on a journey and defeat Sin. In no time, Tidus becomes a guardian for a summoner named Yuna and discovers Sin's origins and how it needs to be defeated.
The story to FFX is by no means bad. In fact, I'd say FFX has one of the better stories of any RPG I've ever played. The story is bound to keep you guessing and wondering what will happen next. It's well thought out and doesn't contain very many plot holes, if any at all.
Unfortunately, there are two problems with the story to FFX. First of all, the story to FFX is very short. Second of all, the story is also very complicated. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it took you at least two playthroughs to fully understand the story.
Despite those two gripes, FFX delivers a great story that is packed of emotion, mystery and a bit of romance. While the game itself seems a bit anti-climactic at the final battle, the ending to this game is a great way to close it.
GAMEPLAY (OUT OF BATTLE)
Out of battle, the gameplay to FFX isn't anything great, but that's not much of a huge problem. When you're not in battle, you're moving Tidus around Spira and interacting with other characters, just like in almost every other RPG out there.
There is a bit of puzzle solving to do in FFX, but the puzzles really aren't too hard. Most of them just involve taking a sphere from one slot and moving it to a correct slot. Repeat until you've uncovered a path or whatever it was that needed to be done in order to advance the game.
FFX uses a random encounter system, so you never know if you're going to get into a fight. This takes me to one of the more controversial aspects of FFX: its...
FFX uses a completely turn based system. No time bars, no nothing. In FFX, you can take all the time you want to make a move when its your turn. This is actually a pretty good thing, because it requires you use a lot more strategy to win the battles in this game. There will come a time when you're going to need everyone in your party to help you in a fight, and that's a good thing here because switching one your three party members in battle doesn't take up a turn.
When in battle, you can summon creatures called aeons to help you out. In most RPGs, if you can summon a creature, normally it will come, attack and then leave. But in FFX, you can actually control your aeon when you summon it instead of just watching it do an attack and hope for the best.
And FFX also has a level-up system that out-matches any game I've played before. The system is called a Sphere Grid, and at first, it may seem complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you'll learn to love it. Each of your seven playable characters has their own path on the sphere grid where they learn abilities, but you can cross into another character's path and learn their abilities instead. Basically, if there is a move that one member of your party can learn, anyone can learn it, which is pretty cool.
FFX's battle system does seem a bit slow, especially since there's no time limit between attacking. Plus, watching the same moves over and over can kind of slow the entire experience down. But still, it's a good battle system that you should be able to enjoy.
FFX offers a TON of replay value. One of the most popular things to do when playing the game a second time is to set up challenges for yourself, such as prohibiting the use of aeons and/or items, or only allowing yourself to use a single character. Either way, if you liked FFX your first time through, you're going to have no trouble finding something to do the second time around and adding some challenge to it. FFX has more replay value than almost any game I've seen.
Like replayability, FFX offers a lot of sidequests to do if you ever find yourself getting bored of the main story. There are a few sidequests you can do to get new aeons, get stronger weapons, or fight optional bosses. A huge sidequest is a mini-game version of baseball where you can try to lead an underdog team in Spira to victory. In short, if you're looking for extras, FFX won't disappoint.
Believe it or not, I actually got very frustrated with this game, despite how I just described it. At times, the game feels more like you're watching a movie, because there are lots of cutscenes, and quite a few of them are fairly long. The worst part of this is that you can't skip any of the cutscenes.
Also, if you read any other reviews for this game, then you probably heard people say that this game is easy. Well, it's only easy if you overlevel or use special moves that greatly enhances the amount of damage you take. If you go through the entire game without overlevelling, not getting any of the great weapons or new aeons and not using any damage enhancing moves, you're bound to get frustrated with a few of the bosses. (especially towards the end)
Even with the long, unskippable cutscenes and how annoying the bosses can be if you don't take the easy way out, FFX is still a very fun game to play. It's one that will probably surprise you at times and one that will keep you occupied.
When this game was first seen years ago, the graphics looked extraordinary. Today, they're still amazing. The attention to detail with some of the characters (like facial expressions and movement) is amazing and like nothing I had ever seen before. The character models look very well done, as do the environments around them.
The graphics and animation in the cutscenes are truly spectacular. In fact, during a few of the FMVs, I had to remind myself that I was playing a video game and not watching a movie. (of course, the game itself seemed to forget that it wasn't a movie at parts) If you want great graphics in a game, then FFX will definately be one you consider getting.
There's music and voice acting in FFX, and neither is too bad. Let's start with the music. The music that plays in the background normally goes very well with the environment you're in, and the characters themselves generally have good themes. (especially the villain) The music that plays during random encounters is good at first, but it gets irritating listening to it over and over. Some of the tracks aren't that good in this game, but no tracks are bad.
The game is also the first Final Fantasy game to include voice acting, but that's a bit of a mixed bag. The voice acting is fairly solid for the most part and I had no problem with any of the voices. (except the villain, his voice creeped me out when I first heard it)
Depending on how you look at it, you'll either think this game is very long, or you'll think it's very short. If you try any of the challenges this game has to offer or do all the sidequests and mini-games, then this game will last you a very long time. But if you're someone who just plays the game to go through it, then you'll find it very short. Just doing the story will take you probably less than 40 hours to complete. If you want to complete everything this game can throw at you, be prepared to invest well over 100 hours.
+ Amazing graphics
+ Battle system that allows strategy over button-mashing
+ Good music and voice acting
+ Story is very good
+ Able to last you a LONG time
+ Villain is very well developed
+ The ending
+ Lots of replay value
- Main story is a bit short
- Most likely be too easy or too hard
- Long cutscenes you can't skip
- Story is a bit complex to be told in the time it takes to beat it
- Despite being a good one, villain is only an annoyance after half-way point
I'm glad to have played this game. The graphics are stunning, the music is memorable and not a pain to listen to, the voice acting, while not the best, is tolerable, and the battle system is one that actually encourages you to think rather than hit the same button over and over until you or your enemy has won. This would have been an almost perfect game, but by the end I wanted it to end, and if you abuse everything the game has to make your job easier, then you will find this game too easy. Or, if you're like me and play bosses like regular enemies without overlevelling and using all the moves to make you stronger, you'll find this game hard. That, in addition to the fact you can't skip cutscenes and the story being a bit too confusing and short, is the reason this game got an 8 and not a 10.
Despite some of the problems I had with this FFX, I would recommend it to almost anyone. The only people who I wouldn't recommend it are to those who hate RPGs, because this game definately feels like one. But unless you're completely against RPGs or the series, then I'd say that you should get it. It's going to be cheap wherever you find it, and you'll no doubt get your money's worth for it.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/09/06, Updated 07/31/06
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