"A great game overall, but by far the best Final Fantasy, well at least I think not."

Introduction
If you are a video game fan and never heard of Final Fantasy you are blind. I am serious. Final Fantasy is the most successful Role Playing Game series of all time. It is possible the best selling series too. Final Fantasy had reached its peak in popularity in 1997 when Final Fantasy VII came out fresh on the Playstation. The series continued with Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy VIII and finally Final Fantasy IX. Final Fantasy X is the first FF game to come out on the Playstation 2. With the system's new generation graphics, people were astonished with the graphics this game contained. But can the gameplay live up to its graphics? Many think so. Here's what I think.

Gameplay
Final Fantasy IX went ‘old school' with their system, changing their way of having three characters in battle to four. FFX reverts back to three characters on screen, but with a little twist involved. You can ‘tag' a different character into the battle for one that you do not want to use for the time being. For instance, if you have three attackers in your party and they are starting to lose out on HP, you can ‘tag' in one of them for a healer, and this character than use curative spells on your other party members. This new addition makes gameplay a lot more fun and tactical, like what characters to use and when.

Also the enemies in this game, as minimum in design they may be in comparison to previous titles, have their own weaknesses. For instance, a species that is wolf looking is very fast. It also has an average amount of HP. A slower attacker like Auron will more than likely miss. A more accurate but less powerful attacker like Wakka can attack it, but it takes more than one hit to do so. So Tidus is fit enough to do the job; he can take them in one hit as he rather accurate and more powerful than Wakka. Another example being little birds and insects; these are even faster than wolves but contain less HP. So Tidus' accuracy is too small to attack these, but Wakka can hit and kill them in one hit. See where this is going? Auron is best to use against hard-shelled, slow and high HP enemies, as Wakka and Tidus cannot hit these as hard where as Auron will deal with them no problem. Magic flans cannot be attacked at all by these, as their bodies are absorbent to weapons. Magic is used against these, and Lulu does this her part here. So most of the basic monsters in the game have their weaknesses, and these are a certain character that has abilities that other characters do not posses. This little factor makes battling a lot easier and a lot more fun.

Like previous Final Fantasy titles, levelling up is the key to success. But there are no character levels in this game, a new sphere grid system has been replaced. One level up that a character gets lets the character move one step further into the sphere grid, and in the more the character goes through the grid, more abilities the character can get. Most spheres contain attribute point increases, like a “Speed +4” or “Vitality +1”. Abilities are also accessible, like in Lulu's main pathway magic is learnt, and in Rikku's thievery abilities are there to learn.

Summons on this game are also included, and are called Aeons. These magical beasts are only used by one character, and that is Yuna. As well as casting healing magic, she can call out these monsters. They get stronger depending on how strong Yuna is. They can also learn their own abilities by certain items later on in the game. However unlike other Final Fantasy games, you can actually use your Aeon as a normal character; they have their own signature moves but can also attack and cast magic too.

Limit breaks, trance… nope. Overdrives, basically the same principle as previous titles, but in this case you can choose (as you progress through the game) how you want your Overdrive bar to increase to its max. You may want it to increase every time you attack, maybe every time you kill an enemy or when they kill you. It is up to you this time, and this is definitely a plus point in the game.

Gameplay on total is great. But this is by far the easiest battle system that the Square team have ever used (until later on in the game… talk more about that later on) and some would say it is too easy. Battles may get repetitive at times, even though its simplicity makes the game more fun, it also makes it more boring in the long run to some people. Using Aeons they way you wanted to can be like a dream come true, other titles have the summoned beasts perform one attack on them and that is it. This is more of the way you want to use them, which is great.
Gameplay: 9/10

Story
There is a great storyline in FFX. A young, overconfident sports player called Tidus was playing Blitzball (the games favourite sports; a mix between many sports, underwater) when a huge unknown creature called ‘Sin' attacked the stadium and the city in its entirety. With the help of a strange man named Auron, Tidus manages to escape the millions and millions of little creatures that dropped of Sin's body. They cause a huge explosion that rips one of the roads in two, Tidus struggles to jump up to the other part of the road, which was by now being sucked into Sin's body. Auron asks Tidus if “he's sure” if he wants to be helped up. Auron then lifts Tidus into Sin's body, and Tidus finds himself in a completely foreign world, where he knows no one and the only thing he wants to do is go home. He finally meets a party of people who are on a journey to kill Sin. Tidus decides if he helps them on their journey he might be able to go home if he gets near Sin again.

The fact that Sin being a big, demolishing creature who does not talk or stalk your character does make the games main villain a bit weak. Seymour being the second main villain is also not as good as previous, like Seifer and The Turks.
It is not the main story that I like the most.

No spoilers involved, but what I do like is the complexity around the theme of religion. A religion called Yevon is involved in this game. I will say nothing more. Play it and find out =)
Story: 9/10

Graphics
This game came out around a year after the Playstation 2 had been out. And when it did come out, not one game could compare to the power the graphics in this game contained. The character designs were amazing; the movements of eyes and mouths were almost top notch. But what was so amazing, so fresh and beautiful about the graphics in this game was the landscapes. The world of Spira, as fragile as it is, is a stunning world.
Graphics: 10/10

Sound
A great soundtrack was involved in this game. It is not personally my favourite, but it is really good. The background music in the game really blend in with the events and locations of the places. Weapon clashes, monster squeals, you name it FFX has it. But what was new in this game was voice acting. The voices that are included in the game fit almost perfectly within each character.
Sound: 9/10

Controls
Almost the same principle as all Final Fantasy games, controls work really well. The use of controls in special events like Wakka's reels and Auron's overdrives add a lot of nice gameplay.
Controls: 10/10

Extras
It is not that there is a lot of extras in this game. It is that the sidequests involved are so complex and long, that it makes this game very good with its extras. The game's main sidequest is its Blitzball game. While this is not as fun as Final Fantasy VIII's card game, this is a great game to take your mind off the main game for a bit. Other sidequests like the battle arena makes the game a lot better, as you basically have to catch all the monsters in the world. This can be quite fun, even though some say that it is repetitive. If you have the International version of FFX, you can also battle the Dark Aeons. These monsters have over-the-top statistics and can probably kill all your characters in one hit. You have to really level up hard to even come close to being able to fighting them. This sidequest is a great challenge, if you have the patience.
Extras: 9/10

Challenge
This is primarily a very easy game, of course the difficulty increases as you get further into the game. But the fact that this game is so simple and easy makes the game accessible to most people. Also for the people who love a good challenge, the Dark Aeons are there for that. So this game is great for almost anyone.
Challenge: 8/10

Replay
Like all Final Fantasy games, this will definitely jump to the top of your pile of games standing up shouting “play me again!” Well maybe not do that but you will definitely want to play this game again, give it a year or two and you will want to play it all over again.
Replay: 10/10

Overall
This is far from my favourite Final Fantasy game, despite it getting a really high score in the review. The game however is amazing; the graphics put shame into other games, the side quests can keep you going for hundreds of hours (literally) and that fact that its simplicity within battles makes it for many groups of people. The storyline although on its own not the best, the dark theme of religion makes this game one of the most debatable game storylines of all time. A great game overall, but by far the best Final Fantasy, well at least I think not.
Overall: 74/80 = 93% - 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/30/06


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