Review by ShadowRisae

"Prepare to be amazed..."

Until I got Final Fantasy X on the 20th, Final Fantasy VI was always my favorite out of the series since it's US release on the Super Nintendo as Final Fantasy III in 1995. Over 6 years have passed and now, finally, a game has surpassed FFVI as my favorite out there no matter how much I hate to say it...

Storyline - 10
Yes, the storyline in FFX is the general save the world theme. BUT it's different this time. The story is told in 1st person, rather than 3rd person like the other FFs. Tidus, the main character, is an outgoing, perky blitzball player who is taken to Spira after Zanarkand, his hometown, was destroyed by an evil being known as Sin. Tidus tells the story and even narrates at times, putting in his own opinions and thoughts. You don't get to know what the other characters are thinking except through their actions, facial expressions, and words. This means loads more character development on Tidus' end, but you also have the mystery of the other characters along with Tidus in the beginning. His experiences become more like the player's experience.

Plot twists. I love them. Plot twists are loaded in this game. The true origins of Sin, how Tidus was brought to Spira, how Auron seems to know everything, etc are all examples. I won't give anything away, but any FF fan will probably be truly surprised at most of 'em. I'm a veteran FF fan and thought I'd seen it all. FFX proved me wrong. ^_^

Gameplay - 10
The ATB (active time battle) is gone. Now it's fully turn based and FFX even shows you the order of turns. There's no worrying if you'll have time to cure a character before the boss attacks anymore. You have loads of time to plan. You can also switch characters in the middle of battle. Need a magic user to beat that monster with ease? Switch out a character and replace him/her with Lulu. Switching doesn't waste a turn either. The switched-in character is given the turn of the character switched out to attack, heal, or whatever is needed. All this doesn't mean FFX is a cake walk in battles though. The enemies have more specific weaknesses more times than not and you'll need to use a specific character (at the beginning at least) to take care of that enemy.

Another thing gone in FFX is the level system. The only other FF that doesn't have one is FFII (the one only in Japan for Famicom). How do you gain stats? The sphere board! Each character starts on a different place on the sphere board. With it, you can pump up any stats and learn any ability you like as long as you have the skill level needed to move to the spot and the orb to learn it. Oh, and there's also level blocks. If you find the keys for those different levels, any character can learn any ability (excluding summoning aeons and overdrives, which are not on the sphere board anyhow). In this sense, you can keep any character in their specific class-like status or you can make them like gods. Your choice.

Equipment is different too. New armor doesn't necessarily improve defense and new weapons don't necessarily improve offense. Both have certain attributes tagged to them. They can give you a stat boost, let you use an ability, or even give you the power to attack with and defend against the elements and status ailments. You can also customize weapons (only after obtaining Rikku) that have open attribute spaces. You can choose whatelse you want it to do for you. Like maybe you want that sword to give you HP +5% or that ring to give you defense against ice attacks. Again, your choice.

Aeons is the final thing. Only Yuna can summon them. They take the place of your party and become playable characters. You can choose what attacks/magic they use on each turn. But they can also learn abilities (not until after Yuna earns her third aeon, Ixion). You could very well have Ifrit capable of using ice magic if you so desire for example. FFX leaves tons of room for customization, as you can see.

Graphics - 10
Do I really need to explain why it good? Tons and tons of detail is found, even when not watching the FMVs. I have noticed that the characters look a bit more Japanese in the FMVs than they do in the actual game. The best example probably is Rikku, when she joins your team for good. That's kinda to be expected in a way, but it is kinda weird when you notice it. I love the graphics in this game... going back to play FFIII (the Famicom one) after this will probably be really strange. ^_^

Music - 10
Very, very good. I was pleasantly surprised by all of it. I'm not a fan of the battle music, but the rest is great. My favorite is Overworld, the song played when Tidus is playing blitzball in Zanarkand in the beginning. I never expected to hear a heavier rock song in an FF game at all. :)

In short, FFX had tons of surprises for me. I wasn't really excited about this game until I played the demo. I guess hearing how the characters would be similar to FFVIII in design and about all of the changes, I got turned off. No offense to fans, I just didn't like FFVIII much. Then I realized how fun and addicting FFX was, even in the short demo. I bought the game the day Gamestop got it in and am still playing it. I recommend this to anyone who loves rpgs (especially the Final Fantasy series).

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/26/01, Updated 12/26/01

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