Review by MisterMarioMan

"Well played, Square-Enix. Well played."

Okay, damn. Very rarely does a game come along which just completely and totally blows my mind, but this is totally one of them. Every part of this game is great, from it's unique but familiar battle system to it's excellent storyline. I completely and totally loved every minute of it, and anyone who likes Final Fantasy games or RPG's in general would be a fool to not pick this one up.

The game controls great. It brings back a turn-based battle system not seen since Final Fantasy III, but presents it in a way that makes it seem fresh and new. The sphere grid allows for a new way to customize and grow your characters, and I found myself spending hours trying to decide how I wanted my characters to grow(there was just so many options available.) You can develop any character any way you wish; if you want them to be a healer, go ahead. If you want them to be a fighter, go ahead. Though the game sends them all down specific paths, it's really up to you what you'd like to do. 90% of RPG's don't use status effects well; they're pretty effective on your characters, but on enemies, they aren't, so you'll very rarely use them. However, in this game, status effects are almost pivotal to winning in certain points, and it was really nice that they found a way to make them fun, not totally worthless. The game also features several button sequences for special attacks, or "Overdrives", to be used, and they function extremely well. No part of this game felt clunky or hard to control.

One of the cool additions to the game-play is the new and improved summoning, which allows you to be in complete control of a summoned creature, giving you the ability to level them up and teach them different skills and then unleash them in battle for great amounts of damage. Being able to tell Ifrit or Bahamut what to do is a strangely pleasing feature, and I'm really glad it was included in the game.

Another feature of this game, which could be sold as a game itself, is the Blitzball mini-game. The game kind of plays like soccer if soccer were played underwater. You can recruit people onto your team as you travel the world, and then allow them to grow and level up while playing in intense games, which control very well, featuring many of the same aspects as real fighting, such as HP and status effects, but using them in a way where you'll have a great time.

The characters in this game are also well done. Tidus is the exception; he's whiny and annoying, but you'll get over it quickly. Auron is awesome, and the kind of bad-ass this game needs. Yuna provides the main female of the game, and does an excellent job of acting cute yet tough. Wakka is an island with an accent that fits his character perfectly. Rikku is cute and bubbly and exactly what a game like this needs to help lighten the mood. Lulu provides a level-headed and dark yet still deeply emotional character, and Kimahri... well, he's really not that interesting of a character, though he is well voiced. There are several other characters whom are well done too. The nice thing is that, unlike most games that allow you to switch between characters, I didn't have to focus on only a few. With the ability to switch them in and out freely during battle, you'll find yourself using the whole team to your advantage.

One thing that I found strange yet honestly somewhat hilarious? At the beginning of the game, you're allowed to select the name of the main character. This game uses VOICE ACTING, meaning that the other characters have to say his real name, right? Nope. Somehow, his name is never said in the entirety of the game. You'll never notice it unless you pay attention to that like I did. It's strange how well good writing can make you overlook something which seems so obvious.

Of course, the game brings back many of the old classics. There is a character named Cid, and yes, he is in control of the game's airship. Chocobo's make a reappearance, as do other such staples, although they are not quite used as much. They can be used to quickly cross a few plains areas, but I can only think of one or two instances where I've actually tried to use them. Other series classic return, like the old fire-ice-thunder mix(although this time, water gets in on it too).

The game's story is intense and draws you in quickly. Tidus doesn't know where he's at; the place he came from, a bustling futuristic city, is completely destroyed, almost overnight, with nobody remembering it. As he tries to figure at what's going on, he also tries to stop the beast known as Sin, who travels the world only with the intent of killing people. Along the journey, Tidus meets many friends an enemies, each of whom has a very intricate back-story that really helps develop the character. I found it very interesting to discover the truth behind them all. The tale takes many unexpected twists and turns and leaves you wondering what's going to happen next.

Graphically, the game looks outstanding, especially for being such an early PS2 title. Several cutscenes are extremely well done and had me stunned as to how amazing they look. The game is vibrant and colorful, and sometimes, you'll actually feel the places you are, because it just looks so real.

The music for the game is where it really shines. Every tune is placed perfectly, sounds great, and really is pleasing to the ear. They captured the music for this game perfectly. The characters provide voice overs during battle, sometimes holding small conversations with each other, and that small thing ends up really bringing you in to the game. Really, the sound is excellent.

Now some do consider Final Fantasy X too linear. It is, but is that really a bad thing? Sometimes I hate having so much control over what do to all the time, and I wish that the game would just show me a clear path, which Final Fantasy X also does. I've also heard people say that the game is too easy, but trust me, it's not. Several battles in the game(I can think of at least three or four) I found extremely difficult and I've had to do a bit of extra leveling on the side on more then one occasion. I will admit, however, for the most part, that the game is really easy.

Oh yeah, and the final boss has a name which just sounds really bad-ass. I know that sounds weird, but you'll see.

Only an idiot would not purchase this game. It is excellent in almost every way, and totally worth the Final Fantasy name. If you like Final Fantasy or indeed, RPG's in general, then do yourself a favor: pick this game up. With it's great characters, story, game-play, graphics, and sound, you'll find yourself loving every minute of it. BUY THIS GAME. You won't regret it, trust me.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/19/10

Game Release: Final Fantasy X (US, 12/17/01)

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