Review by strawhat

"The best new quote ever: "I want to be a Blitzball when I grow up!""

Final Fantasy X is just like all the other Final Fantasies. They have no relevance to each other, yet are still praised and considered classics. Of course, there's always a reason why many games have so many fanboys. Final Fantasy X has been one of those games that me and many others will enjoy in years to come. What's so awesome about this game?

First, the graphics were just incredible. Final Fantasy has never lacked in the graphics department, and all of their effort shows right here. There are two kinds of graphics in the game. There's the normal in-game graphics, and the awesome, very detailed FMVs. The FMVs are just amazing. They take my breath away. You can see every stitch in a person's clothing, every hair on someone's fur, every expression line on a man's face. Each time I see it, I still spasm out and gawk at those amazing graphics. Even the games that are being produced now can't match up to these FMV graphics.

Sadly though, those FMV graphics don't last all game. Still, the ingame graphics are nothing to laugh at. They are still very detailed. You can see a person's expression, small twitches and movements, and very cool special effects. Special attacks have slow motion, huge glowing magma, compact energy rays, and more. Square placed a lot of effort here too.

So now that we're done discussing the outside eye candy, how does the game play? We all know that graphics aren't everything. The storyline is very in-depth, the same amount of effort was put here as with the graphics. They also accomplished the major feat of not mentioning the main character(who you name) not even once. His default name was never heard.

The game's storyline goes something like this. You are a blitzball player, which is sort of like an underwater soccer sport. You were a legendary player on the best team in Zanarkand. Zanarkand was a city run by machina, which are machines. It looks sort of like New York with much more high-tech stuff, such as flat screen TVs in the middle of nowhere, lights throughout the entire city, and different shaped buildings. All of a sudden, a giant...thing appears. It destroys the city, and you disappear.

When you wake up, you find yourself in a run-down ruin. Everything seems to have changed. You continue through your journey to try to find out about your past. About the giant monster that changed your life. About what happened to your family. And most importantly, about a young girl who goes through a journey with you to bring peace to the land for a few years by killing the monster which destroyed your city 1000 years ago.

As you explore the game's world, you'll discover many things that you can do. Move around is easy. The controls are all well sorted easy. Nothing required more than 1 press of a button to do. Each one of the characters that you meet have a distinct personality. For example, later in the game you'll find out that the main character is whiny, but protects his friends. He can also be a bit obnoxious, but is sweet to those that know him. The characters even have a history that is sometimes referred to during the game.

When you're exploring outside of a city or sheltered area with people about, you will usually find monsters. What kind of a game would this be without monsters? Each one of the party members that you pick up will have special abilities at the beginning of the game. Some characters are based on speed and power. Others are based on accuracy, making him or her useful for attacking airborne enemies. And what would an RPG be without the classic black and white mages?

Like most other RPGs, this is a turn by turn battle system. Depending on which attack you chose, your turn gets pushed down. You can perform many attacks. They range from magic to busting, absorbing to healing. Most often, you'll just use a normal attack. Usually, a special attack takes away from your MP, or Magic Power. This game does not follow the active time battle system from the other Final Fantasies.

You can only use 3 characters in battle at a time. However, if you have more than 3 characters in your party, you can switch them around. You can keep switching your party members until your 3 current ones lose all their HP or all the characters in your party die.l

What's unique about this battle system is the summoning. When you get the ability to summon, you actually play as the thing that was summoned! Each Aeon(that's what the game calls the summons) has its own HP and MP. They also have their own abilities that you can use during battle! This makes summoning just plain cool to use.

Another unique thing about this game is the lack of levels. That's right, there are no levels in this game. When you defeat an enemy, each character gains AP. These translate into Sphere Levels. The game has a special grid in which you can move each character around. Each character starts at a different point in the grid. For each Sphere Level, you can move one space on the grid. Then you use a special sphere to gain the power from that space in the grid. This is pretty cool since you can have the characters travel to other spaces letting them learn abilities like Black Magic, when at the beginning of the game they can only use White Magic! In this way, you can switch around the roles on your party. I loved this you can customize each one of your characters different from all of your friends.

Speaking of customizing, you can customize weapons and armor too! In this game, you an equip one weapon and one shield. As you progress throughout the game, you can customize your weapons and armor. Depending on how many empty slots the weapon has, you can give it new abilities by sacrificing some items. These abilities can range from Strength +20% to Deathstrike. This customizes characters even more to make your game unique to everyone else's. That's not all. You can even customize your Aeon's stats and abilities when you do certain sidequests in the game.

The sound in this game is the only thing that's flawed. Some of the voice acting is just plain awesome. Auron has a cool, badass voice. But Seymour sounds like Winnie the Pooh and the main character just seems too whiny and woman-like. However, that's minor compared to the other excellent features in this game, such has a snap of a finger or the crisp, clean sound of ice shattering on your opponent. The sound doesn't seem as well done as the graphics, but still pretty good. Being average doesn't exactly hurt, you know?

The music is awesome. Even after several years of buying the game, I still remember clearly some of the amazing music in the game. They are all long, varied, and catchy. None of the music sounds the same and there are many pieces so it never gets tiring. Each character has their own theme song which is always a plus. They even have vocals in the game. Final Fantasy X has many songs which people even download off line to listen for a long while.

The game is pretty hard. It'd be hard to believe that someone managed to beat the entire game without using a guide once. Most bosses aren't really that hard to defeat because of a tactic many gamers use called "Full Overdrive." No need to explain that here though. Well, even without tough bosses, there are plenty of puzzles throughout the game that will stump you. I remember working on one for hours before giving up and finally coming here at GameFAQs to read a guide. There are also extras that you can do after finishing the game that are so unbelievably hard to beat, it puts even MegaMan to shame.

While on the topic of sidequests, there are many in this game. Too many. After beating the game which takes approximately 25 hours, there will be a whole onslaught of sidequests that you can do. Doing all of these can take many, many hours. Until this date, I still haven't finished all of them. You can collect ultimate weapons, capture all the monsters, finish secret dungeons, and so on. There's also a very fun minigame called Blitzball. It's like a mini sports game in an RPG! Square did a great job filling the game up with mindless tasks that take forever to complete. That's...good, right?

Overall, Square outdid themselves once again. This game is not perfect, but as close as you can get to it. This game is a masterpiece. Between the excellent graphics, everlasting music, and too-cool-to-be-you characters, I declare this the best RPG for the Playstation2 as of this date. It has a long play time and all the elements of making a fantastic game. I recommend this to every person on the entire planet. Seriously. Buy this game, it will be remembered for decades. This sure kicks FFVII's butt.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/30/04

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