Review by Hyperblade

"Masterpiece, classic, unforgetable. Call it what you may."

Square's Final Fantasy series is one of the longest running, most prolific, most critically acclaimed lines of games ever. That means each new installment in the series needs to be exceedingly good and Final Fantasy X as seeing it was the first Final Fantasy game for the Playstation 2, Square presented with even more realistic, motion captured graphics and character animation which includes voice acting and an even bigger movie style love story than Final Fantasy VIII ever did.

A new approach is the way the story is presented. It starts off with a narration from the main character Tidus. Unlike all previous RPG games where the story starts off from the beginning and goes all the way to the end. FFX takes a movie approach and actually starts the story near the end of the journey with the group at a camp site. Here Tidus starts to narrate the story and then the game goes back to his flashback as to how it all began. As I said a movie approach to things. Tidus is a star Blitzball player from the city of Zanarkand getting ready to enter a blitzball game. Blitzball is an underwater sport that's a cross between soccer and dodgeball I guess. Don't ask me how these guys are able to breathe underwater. It was never explained. During the game, the city of Zanarkand is attack by SIN. Sin is a monster. It basically looks like a giant whale.

During the destruction of Zanarkand due to Sin's attack, Tidus is sucked into it. As the next day comes, Tidus awakens to find himself in nearby village called Besaid. Here in this village he meets Wakka, Lulu, Kimahri, and Yuna. Tidus soon learned that Zanarkand had been destroyed 1000 year ago. There Nothing worse than waking up and finding yourself in the future. Not only have that, but Tidus will soon learned of what Sin is. Sin is an evil monster that has appeared since the destruction of Zanarkand. Sin is a big bad monster that can't be killed. It can only be stopped for a short period where Sin is put to sleep for a time before it is revived again. This period where there is no Sin is known as the Calm. How is Sin stopped? With a Summoner and the Final Aeon. An Aeon is a summon like in all the FF games. Yuna is a Summoner and she and her Guardians: Wakka, Lulu and Kimahri are on a journey to acquire the Final Aeon to stopped Sin. It just so happens that the final place to acquire the Final Aeon is at the ruins of Zanarkand, Tidus' home city. So naturally Tidus decides to come along with the group on the journey. Thus the story of FFX begins. Now along the way, there is some great plot development as well as character development. This is a good story with some really good plot twist involve and a very sad and unexpected ending.

In terms of character presentation and development. FFX does this very nicely. There are a total of 7 main characters. Each characters have their own unique background, personalities, looks, and voices. Unlike other RPGs where your characters meet up with one another on a long journey, here 4 out of the 7 characters all know one another from the beginning: Yuna, Wakka, Lulu and Kimahri. When you have voices to go along with it with the characters, it gives you a deeper connection with them. You must love Wakka's accent and Auron's “cool” way of speaking and even Rikku's cheerful attitude delves you deeper into the characters themselves. It helps make them shine even more. The development of the 2 main characters is excellent. The only lack of key developement would probably be Rikku as you really don't know much about her past. Everyone elses past are slowly played into the storyline as you advance further into the game. As a group these characters work well together because each one of them is so different and has strengths and weaknesses. Generally in terms of characters in RPGs, I like to really look for a character that stands out. Here none of the characters really did it for me. There wasn't really one character that I like to use over and over again in the game. I have the hots for Lulu (who wouldn't) but unfortunately having the hots for Lulu doesn't mean she's my favorite character at all. Tetsuya Nomura did a great job designing all of the characters, and giving them a unique and distinguish look. But Tidus and Yuna to me aren't very strong lead characters. I don't think they will compare well to Cloud & Aeris or Squall and Rinoa.

The graphics in this game is revolutionary. But compared to some other games now, its actual gameplay graphics can see some age. But remember, this game began production in 1999, but without a doubt, Final Fantasy X defined the standards for future RPGs as to what graphics should be on the Playstation 2. The graphics used in the game is very similar to that of FF VIII. The characters are realistic looking with great facial details. The world consists of a beautiful color 3-D environment. The FMV once again are up to the usual Squaresoft standard and are even more detailed that ever. It's just great to watch them all seeing the game itself has so many. It's the gameplay graphics that stands out in this game. The in game camera angles are perfectly done, they don't block anything or get in the way when the time comes. It's always in the right position and angle. The gameplay graphics is the biggest improvement in terms of graphic transition from the Playstation to the Playstation 2. Here, story cut scene and gameplay scene are very realistic with fine details. But Squaresoft tried to cut out loading times in this game, but you can easily notice random slowdown when the camera is following you or when you're entering into a battle, but it doesent stop the fun of the game.

In the past, Square always have a high standard for music in the FF series thanks to Nobuo Uematsu who has made master piece after master piece and there's no exception here and with the help of music composers: Masashi Hamauszu and Junya Nakano there are some great rock style and even Japanese pop singing in the song Sudeki Da Ne (Isn't it Beautiful). All the tunes in this game are excellent and played perfectly at the right moment. With some remixes added on from previous FF games. Like the good old Victory Fanfare. This is the first time heavy metal music was ever used in RPGs. Note that Yuna theme is actually a remix of Aeris theme from FF7 which is why it will easily become everyone's favorite. If a game can give you some favorite tunes that you want to hear over and over again then the music director is doing an excellent job. Another high quality is the sound effects and the voice acting. If you listen carefully you will hear the fine details of sound effects from footsteps to birds chirping. Unlike previous FF games, FFX once again define the next step in RPGs by including high quality voice acting throughout the game. Of course what is consider high quality voice acting depends on your point of view but I believe most will agree that the voice acting is very well done. With this much voice acting from FMV sequence to story scene to battle gameplay, FFX feels like a high quality movie. I especially like the voices during the battle gameplay which ranges from cute to cool. It might take a while to get used to some of the voices but once you do, it's really good. The only downside is that the voice acting doesn't sync in with the lips of the characters but that's understandable since the game was originally made with Japanese actors, but you barely notice it at all. Yuna's voice can sometimes become annoying because of the pitch but it gets the job done for the character.

If you're looking for extras then this game got it all. Lots of stuff with lots of things to do. I can easily say that the amount of time you spend on the extras is probably the same or greater than the actual time you spend playing this game. There are side quests for you to do in order to get some really cool Aeons. Then there's the Celestial weapons (your characters ultimate weapons) side quest. But going on the side quest to get your weapon isn't enough. After gathering all the weapons, you then have to go on another sidequest gathering the materials needed to activate your Celestial weapons. This is very time consuming and some of these mini games quest to get the materials to activate your weapons are extremely very hard and frustrating and require lots of luck.

There's also the monster capturing game which if you choose, can do but note that it is extremely time consuming. You can pretty much capture all of the monsters that appear in the game. The amount of monster you capture will get you cool items to use to customize your weapons with. Plus capturing monsters can open up over 20 hard bosses for you to fight in the Monster Arena. I'm talking about extra bosses from 1 million HP to 10 million HP. Now if that's not enough, there of course is the blitzball game. Spending numerous hours on blitzball will net you Wakka's Overdrives as well as one of the material needed to activate his Celestial Weapon. Lastly there's also the sidequest to fight Omega and Ultima Weapons. So as you can see, you can spend well over 30 hours of extra gameplay on all the extras available.

In the end, Final Fantasy X is a great achievement after the somewhat disappointing FF9. FFX as a game is great and unique and offers much to gamers, with over 100+ of playing time to complete everything. The ending is a very moving ending and I really enjoyed it. It's not often where you get an ending where it's more realistic, for an entire game that is really a master piece. No Playstation 2 owner should miss this great game.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/26/06

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