Review by Mykas0

"What an easy game!"

When Final Fantasy VII was released for the original Playstation, it became considered one of the best games ever. Now, Final Fantasy X was going to be the first game from that famous series released for Playstation 2, and perhaps people would be expecting too much from it. I was, and I became really upset when I had to face the truth. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of this series, but this game is above the normal level of Final Fantasy games.

When you first press "New Game", you will be instantly taken to the middle of the story, and your main character will start saying his story from the beginning up to the point they are currently in. This is quite original, but from that moment on you will already know of all the characters that you can have on your party, which almost completely ruins the game for you, since it doesn't even has any secret characters.

Then, after a while you will start having some battles, and the first ones work like a tutorial in which you will notice some of the changes made in this game. Apart from having some actions you can perform in the battles in order to have an easier battle, initially each of the characters you get across the game seem to have their own skills, but later on you can customize them in any way you like, due to the Sphere Grid, a new type of level up introduced in this game. Plus, the limit breaks (here called "Overdrives") are learned in a different way for each of the characters, making the game more interesting and unpredictable in that point.

Although most fans from the previous games may dislike it, I must say that the Sphere Grid has both good an bad points. First, you can virtually get infinite level ups, and for each one you will receive a Sphere, which lets you move inside the grid. Then, you will have to use some items you receive in the battles in order to raise a specific stat, when you are nearby it in the grid. Despite being able to stop the massive level up experience that happened in most Final Fantasy games, in which the players just had to get lots of level ups to win a battle, this makes an harder time for the players, when they wanna raise a specific stat, since some battles in Final Fantasy X international version are way too hard.

I mean, most battles in the storyline are quite easy (even the Boss Battles!), and an average player would be able to finish this game loosing just one or two battles. However, in the International Version some stuff was added, and the battles against the Dark Aeons are almost simply impossible to achieve without cheating. And by cheating, I mean... in-game tasks that turn your game into a even easier task. Also, in each area you seem to be constantly finding the same layouts of enemies, which is somehow boring...

About the Aeons, those are the summons from the previous games, and this time you can even use them in battles, by selecting a certain command that summons them. Then, your characters will go away, and you will get to control that specific unit, which has specific attacks and stats, just like the rest of your characters. Plus, each of them has their own strong and weak points, for example... one of them must be paid money in order to attack, others may absorb magic from a certain element and others may even launch random attacks, which gives more interest to the game.

As for the mini-games, which are always included in each Final Fantasy game, this one has many of them, but some are quite hard for the average player. There is a game in which you will have to play Blitzball (a type of underwater handball), a chocobo racing game (you will have to play against another person, not against many people unlike in Final Fantasy VII), a really hard game in which you have to dodge 200 lightning bolts, and many others, and all of them will present you with important events when finishing them.

I must also leave here a special reference to the Blitzball game, since you will have to play it at least once, during your story. Apart from giving a more interesting look to the story (since your main character was a famous Blitzball where he lived), this won't surely make people who don't like sports games happy, mainly since they may want to see what would happen if they won in a particular event, and that turns out being REALLY hard.

Later in the game you will also get an airship, like in most Final Fantasy games, and in there you will be able to pick the location you wanna go to in a list of locations, meaning that you won't even need to control it. This has good and bad points: in spite of making easier for you to reach a specific place, you will need to travel in the zone by yourself, which may be boring sometimes.

About the secrets and side quests, some of them are really hard to find, and without reading a faq it may be quite hard to spot them, which may not make the players happy, as they will have a really hard time trying to find them, and discovering what to do in each of them.

Finally, there is a new feature which was added to this game, and is quite good but may also turn out being boring sometimes: Voices! During the story sequences you will be able to listen to the voices of each of the characters, but sometimes you can choose to skip them, others you can't, which may not be very nice for the player in a long conversation sequence which he may be willing to skip.

Like I said above, when the game starts you will be listening to the story from the point of view of Tidus (the main character of this game), which used to be a famous Blitzball player in Zanarkand. After a strange event, he is taken to the world of Spira along with the mysterious Auron, and he gets to meet Wakka (who is also a Blitzball player), plus many other characters who will eventually join you. However, one of Tidus' biggest desires is to get back to his world, which turns out being a really hard task. Will he be able to do it or not? Also, will he really be willing to loose his new friends just to return to the place he used to live in? Will he discover what happened to his father 10 years ago, and his connection with the world of Spira? All these questions will be answered by playing the game...

This could seem nice in a first look, but after 2 or 3 hours the game becomes really boring and predictable, with your party having to perform a specific task so many times that it becomes boring, with your party having to visit all the temples in a quite predictable storyline, which just has some slight good moments...

They somehow resemble the ones of Final Fantasy VIII, since the characters are seen in a more realistic way, and not in a SD ("Super Deformed") style, like what happened in some of the games before this one. The graphics are also quite good, you can clearly see all the characters in a almost perfect way, and they look even more realistic than most games released for this console up to the year of 2002, when the European version of this game was released.

All the areas, magics, skills and Aeons look quite good, but sometimes you can see some minor graphical glitches, in which some areas of the characters (or enemies) get inside each other. Despite not being very frequent, it surely looks bad.

Simply perfect. Each of the areas has got their own theme (except for the temples, which always have a slightly different version of the same theme), and some of them are really beautiful, making you sometimes return to that area just to listen to a particular music. Also, maybe fans will even like to get the soundtrack, since it is quite good, but it might be hard to find these days.
As for the sound effects and voices (yes, characters in this game have voices, like I said before) can be heard quite clearly and may put a smile in the lips of people who are playing the game.

However, there is a slight problem in this point... despite some characters shout things at the end of the battles (or even during them), your Aeons seem to be quite lost without any sound of that type, meaning that some events like the growling Bahamut at the end of battles don't even produce any noise. Strange, hum?

Play Time/Replayability
Not having any "New Game +" option expecting the players who manage to finish the game, you could think that this game doesn't have a good replay value, but it does, since some events can only be achieve in a particular point of the story, and in no other point, which may make you play the game again.

Also, there is the Al Bhed language, whose tomes you will let you understand the language of the Al Bhed people, and you may want to always know what they are saying.

As for play time, like most Final Fantasy games this has a long one, and if you have the International Version most of it will be spent winning spheres to get better stats and defeat the powerful Dark Aeons, apart from the usual powerful bosses. Be sure to remember something... more play time is not always equal to good play time!

Final Recommendation
If you are wanting to get a new rpg, you can give this game a try, maybe renting this for a few days and then buying it, if you find that its difficulty fits your needs in this type of game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/21/05

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