Review by sidjtd

Reviewed: 08/16/01 | Updated: 08/16/01

FFX...mixed emotions...we were not looking forward to it...BUT MY GOD!!!! THIS GAME IS AMAZING!!!!!!

Square has been slacking lately. I’m sure you can tell that. Their games have become easy. They seemed to have sold out. Well, all these assumptions are proved wrong, because FFX is original, challenging, and for once, very intriguing to play, with great graphics, original non-corny story line, with a refined system that makes the system very fun and new.

Graphics 10/10 – Are the graphics perfect? No. Close to Perfect? Nope. Are they good? Oh yes they are VERY GOOD. When watching screen shots for this game, you will be awed by the amazing quality and depth, color, and perception of this new 3D Final Fantasy. The characters have a wide range of emotions with lip-synching that matched perfectly. No Chinese dub syndrome here. I can’t stress enough how beautiful the graphics are, every strand of grass moves through the wind, and all the vines and bushes are alive with life. Who said the PS2 can’t do textures? FFX has one of the best textures I have ever seen. If compare this game with Shenmue, I suppose they are only the same line, but FFX obviously bigger and better graphically speaking. Just don’t do the same mistake I did, and expect a flawless graphical masterpiece. Although it’s not flawless, anyone who would dismiss this game and not play it because it’s not perfect is sad. FFX has brought us an amazing experience, on a console based on 1999 technology.

The only problem I found was occasional fuzziness in the first few minutes of the game, which I suppose is unavoidable. But it really isn’t a big deal at all. It still makes me wonder why the first part of the game is so fuzzy though. I give graphics a 11 out of a 10, but take off 1 point for just being imperfect. But it still gets a 10/10.

Sound 9/10 – People, I am really trying hard to find flaws here. I’m not a Square fan Zealot that really wants to give credit to a game company that brings us incomplete games like “The Bouncer”, “Final Fantasy 8”. But FFX is that good. That includes the sound. The music is so vast, so wide open, and beautiful, and of course, appropriate. Lot’s of music, lot’s of fun. Sad, upsetting, happy. You name it, FFX has got it.

The sound effects are GREAT. Stepping on grass feels and sounds always different unlike the usual where they simply repeat the same sound over and over. When you step on grass the first time, it might be a “crunch”. Second time it would be “Smush” (The wonderful world of sound effects…) The boss music is very good as well. It makes you really get into the feeling of battle, and stirs emotions. But the standard battles with normal enemies on the world map (*1) never changes. Such a great game, but only one battle theme with field map monsters. Again, it’s not a big problem but I find it a bit annoying at times. (*1 = There is no world map in this game, I will explain this later)

Storyline 10/10 – After many FF’s that weren’t as original as I was hoping, FFX finally brings a new depth into RPG’s. The dialogue, (WHICH IS SPOKEN!!!!) is long, deep, and very good. This is very good for a Japanese dub. FFXs plot is good. It may not the most original idea (monster destroying the world) but it represents it in a total new way that really brings you close to these polygon characters, and makes it seem like a brand new one. Unusually, the characters are ALL LIKABLE. They all have their own background story you slowly find out about. No flash backs, no corny chit chat, you find out their life stories just by a few words they mention in the story. The underlining theme under FFX is great as well, but I don’t want to give it away. Think for yourself. Would it be better to live to suffer, or to die in ease?

System 9/10 – The new system is generally the same as the previous FF’s. I should call it a “refined” system since they are basically similar. The new battle no longer has active time. Was this a good choice? Yes, it finally brings the game some challenge. Since you can interchange your characters during battle, and even change your armor and weapon during battle, you are given plenty of time to think what you want to do next. Or in a matter of fact, YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME YOU WANT to think. Doesn’t that make it too easy? No. The game is balanced so it requires your brain to be used to fight, not to allow those trigger itchy fingers pounding on the O button to kill your foe. This time a bit thinking would be needed.

Also, there is no world map. This world map idea was taken out to make the fictional world of FFX more believable, so you can see your main character walk through the virtual world they provide us with. This works very well. No worry. The storyline is set in a very straight path but requires LOTS OF ATTENTION and interaction unlike Squares previous interactive movie like game, that Bouncer, which required no thought at all. The linear part of the game is frankly not disturbing at all, since you are interested in going to your next place. But….

…. I think the world map could have been included just so you can “fly” over the world map. I understand why they wanted to take out the map for walking. That really does take out some realism. But what’s wrong with flying over the world? That wouldn’t be that destroying the mood too much…so I had to take a point off for that. Including a world map where you could fly freely would have made the linear game much more enjoyable, and expansive. But wait, there’s more! Just because you’re right before the last boss does not mean you are doomed to visit any new places. On your ship, is a “scanner” that allows you to scan areas of the “world”. It’s like you are controlling a cursor on a 2D map, and pinpoint and search for new areas. There are tons of hidden areas to go to. But really, does that match the experience of “flying” through the world? Wasn’t it great in FF7 how you were able to fly to many places, find hidden areas, and see what was going on in the world you were fighting for? FFX does not have that. The game is fine without it. Trust me. But just to imagine how much more replay value this game could have had with it, makes me erk. Because darn this game is good!

Rent or Buy?
If you are the type that only cares about playing the game once, or watching a movie once and get bored with it instantly, well, suppose that calls for a rent. (make sure to play at least 7 hours a day if you rent it for 5 days!) But I highly recommend you buy this game. It takes an average of 30-40 hours to beat (from Famitsu Weekly) and personally I have been playing the game for 40 hours already and find that I have a lot of incomplete things I must accomplish, not to mention beating the last boss. I say I can play this game another 10 hours. And let me add, that some day you will want to experience this game again. After all not too many people can memorize 40+ hours of events and dialogue with only one try.

Replay Value?
This game is long, so I am not sure if you would like to play this all over again after beating it once. But I can promise you that after a few months, or say even a year, it’ll catch up on you. A good batch of events even after you reach the last boss that you can play and have fun with. In the end, although this FF is great in everyway possible, it is still nevertheless linear until the last part and is still linear even then. You still have plenty of things you can do but I suppose not as much as FF7, which gives you a overflowing amount of special things to do.

In the end, FFX is a great RPG, that finally breaks another dimension in RPG’s. It breaks new ground, and loses a few but I can’t still stress enough that this games brings enough new life to this game that the partial loss of the old is acceptable.

Since FFX1 is going to be a Online game, let’s look forward to FFXII, where hopefully the game quality will be as good as FFX with improvements. And anything as good as FFX, will be welcomed to the gaming community. I just thank Square that their definition of RPG has not changed to “interactive movie”. At one point, it seemed so. But FFX is a good balance of movie and game. It’s basically a game, like a movie. I like that a lot more since recently too many games are a movie, like a game.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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