Review by Rising_shadow

"Good, just not great."

Oh boy, where to start?

Final Fantasy X, the first PS2 Final Fantasy saga game. To some it was a gateway to the great kingdom of RPG's, to others it was just another chapter in the Final Fantasy, one thing is certain, this game will be remembered, for the good and the bad and this is what this review is for, as this is the first review I'm writing, I do hope it's fairly enjoyable and pleasant reading, I am of course faced with the scary task of both providing useful insight and good and accurate descriptions of it but also to do more than one thousand seven hundred and fifty words of text because there are over one hundred reviews already, I'm hoping that this one will fit right in the bill.

From the start then, Square-Enix, as now Squaresoft is known as, started this saga in 87 and name it Final Fantasy because at the time the company was nearly bankrupt and this game was all they had their hopes on, quite high expectations, wouldn't you say? But just in luck, Square remained on the market with renewed hope and a few years later the second game in the saga was released and this as they say is history.

Now-a-days, Square is an extremely famous RPG producer with several hits on the old curriculum, including the most praised title in the saga, the seventh chapter, FFVII; FVIII, praised by some, hated by others was a more futuristic game much like VII but still maintained a fantasy side; FFIX or as it is also called, Final Fantasy : Greatest hits volume, gained this curious title by combining elements from the older games in the saga including several references to them, including some more obscure and others, like the character Vivi( a typical black mage ,a very much improved version of the older black mage class) and a villain from the first game in the saga, a quite popular one at that that originated a very humorous quote that still get's me laughing.
And with no more delay, my review :

Graphics -

This where the game really shines bright, the graphics both in and out of battle are simply fantastic. A whole plethora of colors was employed to give it a fully memorable look of realism.

All the characters are very well made, both their clothes and physical traits.
Certain details are so well made that you could just swear that they were real, things like Auron's beard and his scar show these details very well.

But not only your allies or NPC's are well designed though, all the enemies you face are also very well built, some better than others of course, larger enemies show better detail than smaller ones like the condor but this was inevitable.

The building themselves are nicely built with plenty of detail, however, they would be better used if you could enter more of them.

There is even a city in the game where you can't even enter except for a very small part of it which just includes a temple, this is disappointing.

The cut scenes also deserve a special mention due to both their sheer awesomeness and graphically wise, many of them are truly impressive displays of power both by the PS2 and it's intervenients, those with Sin are especially powerful and sorrowful, including a whole battlefield of soldiers being completely and utterly obliterated by a huge energy shield.

But these are merely few of the wonders that Final Fantasy X is capable of and I can guarantee you that you will be amazed by the superb and stunning graphics.

Sound -

This area is really confusing.
Certain tracks are very well made while others are just plain ear shattering crapiness.
They're damn catchy though, I can actually "hear" some of them while typing this.

The voice acting, yes, it's time for this part. Some of the character voices are very good and others very bad. A good example is Auron's voice and Rikku's voice, one fits very well in the character, the other not so much. And who can forget the main hero's voice, that one's a doozey, just bloody annoying which fits right in with his annoying personality, tough beans.

Apart from your own characters, NPC's also have voices in many scenes, this is where I feel that the voice acting was very good, who can forget Seymour's cold voice.

Apart from the music and the voice acting, enemies and your Aeon's also have sounds, most resemble sounds of wild animals growling, others are more weird to pin down, as I said, your Aeon's have sounds too, very different sounds, they don't talk or anything but their effects are so well done you can't believe they're not "real, be it the noise of Ifrit's fire attack or Shiva's ice attack.

Story -

This is where it falls apart.
You play as Tidus, an annoying loud-mouth showoff (you can really sense my love for him here) that plays Blitzball for the Zanarkand Abes. While during an important match, a huge creature known as Sin attacks Zanarkand and Tidus is plunged into another world just after being saved by his friend Auron.

After being saved again, he meets a group of Al Bhed, a race in the world of Spira, who save him. After a while their ship is attacked and he once again get's lost, he comes to shore and meets Wakka, the captain of the Besaid Aurochs, a blitzball team. From here on it's old typical RPG storyline, hero meets girl which he falls for, she falls for him and there are many story sequences dedicated to this as usual, although there is one particular scene which is particularly despised by many for being just plain stupid, I shudder at the mere though of watching that scene again.

Although there are special moments where it does shine brighter than others, such as an air raid from an air ship where the party crashes a wedding, oh boy, that one really takes the cake.

But in the end, it's all the same old cliché which is one the reasons of the decay in this genre of games, we can only hope that the following chapters in the saga can provide more innovation that this one.

Gameplay -

Oh boy, this is where everyone disagrees, purists say that level ups should have been kept in a more traditional way while newbie's to the saga say that the current sphere grid is better.
Instead of leveling up, your characters have a sphere grid which they can activated nodes in gain bonuses and abilities, this leads to very similar characters but a good customizing system every level you can gain is used to advance further into the sphere.

The combat system is turn based so you can forget the old ATB one, this results in more time to plan your combat strategy without any interruption, from here you can choose to attack, to use any skill or magic you have and to even change and active character with one in your reserves.

The characters themselves have all different advantages and disadvantages in the beginning, Wakka has fairly high accuracy at the start of the game but near the end all your characters are clones of each others with different looks, needless to say, only the limit Breaks or Overdrives, are what sets them apart except for Yuna who is the only summoner in the game which means that she is valuable at any time in the game.

Summons and Eidolons, Espers or whatever you want to call them have now been replaced by the name of Aeons but the old school creatures are still in the game, Ifrit, Shiva and Bahamut are looking better than ever with their new improved look and this time you can skip the summon animation to cut some time, a good feature, I'd say.

With the new battle system comes new abilities and you can teach these abilities to the Aeons after a certain Aeon battle that gives you the much needed item and one other battle gives you access to an item that allows you to improve your Aeon's stats directly instead of just increasing Yuna's stats., this allows you to customize them to your fullest extent but to do so make sure you have the required amount of items, this makes your Aeons extremely versatile against elemental enemies but there is of course a cheap Aeon that can take out anything the game with one attack, if you know how, knowing how does take a part in it but doing it is rather effortless since it requires only some (read : a lot of) Gil.

Beyond the main story there are plenty of side quests and other stuff to do, the problem is that they require you to be near the end of the game to manage to perform them.

Of course, in my opinion, the best mini-game is blitzball, which allows you to recruit plenty of characters to add to your ranks, these characters all have techs that they can use to makes each game easier for you or harder, Blitzball also has several modes including a tournament which takes place every number of League games, others include exhibition mode where you can practice without any fear of losing and you can learn techs this way too.

The fact that there is no world map, which was replaced by linear paths to the next destination, also makes backtracking nearly unbearable early on although it shouldn't really be needed but it can get annoying running out of Healing potions and with no save point near by, you're toast.

This lack of a World Map means that there also isn't a controllable airship later on, sad but necessary since that's where you're going to undertake some or even most of the side quests.

To truly complete this game, the player needs a very high concentration because getting these side quests done often implies some battling or other things like chocobo racing which is by far the most annoying mini-game present in this game.

Among these side quests are possibilities of acquiring new Aeons and the search for the legendary weapons for each characters most of which require the patient of a Saint since often getting these means playing annoying mini-games like catching butterflies although these serve for unlocking the real power behind the weapons since their powers are sealed at first and the means to unlocking them is perhaps the most annoying and boring task in this game, I shudder at the mere though of it.

Overall -

Final fantasy X was a decent addition to the saga but failed to deliver something new, while this is of no surprise since the FF saga was never very innovative, I really was expecting something better than what I played.

It's an occasionally fun and solid game but that fails where it really matters, to make itself into another classic game in this long lasting saga, make no mistake though, it is a good game and worthy of it's title.

I recommend it to any newbie to the series and even to die-hard old veterans, if you're open minded that is, it's frustrating to try and recommend this to old die-hards who think they belong in the elite of " Final Fantasy VII rawks!!11" and although it's not my place to say this, I felt it was necessary since calling something like that an elite is quite moronic, rather than single other fans out we should respect others opinions and this not always happens. To end my small rant, I leave you with a small piece of advice, just get or rent this game and play it for yourself and then draw your own conclusion, it's the best way to learn.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/31/06

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