Review by DarkendIce
A very memorial game, if you're willing to play through the whole story.
Final Fantasy X. The tenth edition in the Final Fantasy series, and the first one for the PlayStation 2.
When playing this game, years after you completed it, you might think back and look at all the things that happened in the game. The ups, downs, laughs, tears (Really.); you could remember all of those after beating the game. It's a deep, emotional RPG if you enjoy it.
If you're an RPG lover, you should like this. SHOULD. Being Square's first PS2 release, it needed to have a lot for it to impress the fans.
For most, it did. Neat graphics with facial expressions, excellent voice acting (for the most part) and a load of other features (mentioned in the review). There's a bunch of haters who dislike the game because of the amount of cutscenes and "poor" voice acting and such, and that's their opinion. This is mine.
Final Fantasy X IS kind of an old game from the time this review was made. I like it, and I still have it. Completed it, but I still play it from time to time because it's minigames are fun (Blitzball...) and the atmosphere itself is very inviting.
Anyways, on to the actual review.
GRAPHICS: 7/10 now, 9/10 back then
The graphics are rich in detail: nicely-executed facial expressions and cool effects. Accompanying that, the backdrops are made with actual 3D graphics, unlike older Final Fantasy RPGs(old ones had pre-drawn background graphics). The backdrops aren't fully 3D, 'cause I think there are a few parts where it looks drawn. But it's only a small bit. I can assure that over 95% of the game's backdrops are 3D.
Also note, there are 3 levels of graphics in the game:
1st level: Average 3D graphics, not much facial expression. It's the graphics level that you're normally playing in, and I guess it's to save room or somethin'.
2nd level: GOOD 3D graphics. Not CGI, just "good". It's used in most cutscenes (not FMV's) and the facial expressions are noticeable.
Well, it's not "graphics" but I'd thought I put it anyways.
3rd level: CGI. Used in the special FMV's in-game. Very, very stunning.
The gameplay...Some say it's just 80% cutscenes and movies. I can see that A LOT of it is like a movie, but the gameplay is a huge thing too. The "field" part of the game is just basic movement (running), maybe a few cases of jumping parts, but that's about it.
Now to the battles. It's turn-based, not like RPG's such as FF7. There's a window showing the next turns and whose it is, and you're able to alter it with a skill/magic. Battles are played with your WHOLE party, but three or less at a time. You're able to change mid-battle, making it easier, funner and more possibilities in a fight. You fight until your three character's are "knocked-out" or when you kill all the enemies. Each character has an "Overdrive" which is a unique technique for everyone, but you'll learn more about it when you play. It's almost exactly like a "Limit Break" from other Final Fantasy's.
In battle, one of your main character's has an option to "summon" a beast. These "beasts", when summoned, are fighting instead of you're 3 characters until it's defeated or the battle is over. This phenomenon is like GF's or summons in past Squaresoft game's, BUT these are handled in a manner the same as using 1 of your characters. They have a set of attacks and they are naturally strong, and you are able to acquire new ones along the game. Their growth also depends on you, the player.
Character's base skills are all different, but more are added throughout the game, which leads me to my next topic: the infamous Sphere Grid. It's an entirely new skill system which is EXTREMELY confusing looking at it for the first time, but you'll see it only gets simpler everytime you use it. Your characters "icons" are placed around the grid in different areas, and you use items gained in-battle or stores etc. to upgrade your character via "nodes" around the grid containing abilities and stat increases. Your character also has to move around to get to new nodes, and to move you need Sphere Levels (used in place of the old "levels" system). Each Sphere Level can move you 1 node at a time, and you get more by fighting in battles and earning AP(if I keep talking about AP then it REALLY gets confusing, just think of it like EXP; the more AP, the more Sphere Levels). Remember that it doesn't use the old "leveling up" system which a character gets stronger just by fighting and getting from level 4 to 5. It's different.
STORY: 2/10 for some, 10/10 for others
Few game stories catch your emotions and make them spew laughs and tears. This can fit in that category. If you enjoy the game, you will surely enjoy the game's clear story. Even if you're a "hard" man/woman (ignore the pun -_-), you'll probably remain quiet when the game's sad parts are playing. You'll get many feelings throughout the game and it's memories stay in you for a good long time.
SOUND, BGM: 9/10
The voice acting is excellent. There's a few minor "annoyances" but there's only a few. It's still good and filled with emotion and expression. The other sounds like slashing and hitting stuff is also good. You'll know when you cut something up to death. And for the background music...Nobuo is a master of his craft. He knows what will fit each scene; each area. He'll make you few jolly, he'll make you feel sad, or maybe he'll get you battle-ready. It's just great, the OST is full of scenic songs.
REPLAYABILITY: 6/10, but it's an RPG
If you don't have a save around the end where you can go anywhere and do anything, you probably won't want to complete it again. If you do, you'll have a fun time playing the mini-games and just relaxing. I play it occasionally since it's a game full of nature, and I DO have a save where I can go anywhere I want. I can pretend I'm doing something like have a simulated "resort" at Besaid Island, have a Blitzball tournament(well...it's real, and it's part of the game), pretend I'm doing an optional quest to kill something or go somewhere, or even capture monsters for the old man in Calm Lands (it's part of the game...).
FUN FACTOR: 7/10
Battles are fun, and the mini-games you encounter are fun as well. They're fun to an extent though. Battles can get awfully repetitive in a turn-based type fight later on. Exploring the Sphere Grid and getting every ability for your characters is a long process, but it's neat seeing them activate in-game.
Very easy controls. You'll memorize the buttons in an instant. No confusing things here. The movement can be used by the D-Pad OR the analog, which is a plus. The movement has a wierd flaw though - when moving, sometimes the camera will change slightly and your character will run the same direction if you still hold down the analog. It's hard to explain, but the problem is very, very small and I guess it shouldn't really be considered one. I put it down, for the count, though.
I can't think of any other things to note, although I feel I'm missing something. I also feel that it get's 8/10. The camera view is pretty good. There aren't any major problems concerning the view. Sometimes though, in one area you're among a third-person-ish camera, and the next area you're entirely overhead. It confuses you but you'll find your way without much hassles. Another thing to note is the length of the game. An average playthrough should be around 75+ hours roughly.
If I just use average, it'll probably end up as 7. The reason I chose 9/10 is because it's a game filled with memories of the good and the bad. The music you will really like if you're someone who likes "natural music". If you're like me, just give it a rent. Play through it, don't just play battles, 'cause you need to be curious about the story if you want to actually COMPLETE it. It takes pretty hard to make your character's good, but you will enjoy it.
IF you're like me.
RENT OR BUY?
BUY: If you like stories and RPGs and you're hard worker.
RENT: If you like RPGs, or if this is you're first RPG.
That's my FIRST review, and I hope you see what I see.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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