That story which affected me so strongly follows the brash blitzball player Tidus, who is thrust into a future world besieged by an enigmatic monster called Sin. This new epoch is dominated by the religious dogma of Yevon, which teaches that Sin is sent as punishment for the use of technology. Against Sin are the summoners, powerful magic-users who can call upon divine monsters called Aeons to battle their foes. Tidus joins the summoner Yuna and her Guardians on their pilgrimage to a hallowed site where they hope to attain the most powerful Aeon and defeat Sin.
The story is excellent, and the characters are absolutely alive. Tidus is impudent but grows into a dignified hero; Yuna is fragile but strong of spirit; Kimari's fierce and taciturn demeanor hides the heart of a cavalier; Wakka is gentle, brotherly; Rikku's "cuteness" is entirely charming; Lulu is a morose, enigmatic woman; and Auron, perhaps the game's most fascinating hero, is mighty in battle, sadly mysterious, and wise with experience, having served as Guardian to Yuna's father years ago. This is the first FF title to feature voice acting (and sterling is it), and the stunning graphics never cease to amaze. Look closely and you can read subtle emotions by looking into a character's eyes. You feel a closeness to script that wouldn't be possible were you just reading it off the screen.
The world-building is perhaps the best I've seen. Each area is meticulously rendered, this time all in 3D to kill the static feel of the previous FF titles' amort environments. Square's artists have designed fantastic architecture which lends credence to the world's exotic quality. The monsters are designed with such impeccable detail that children may be fooled into thinking such creatures exist. But the world's fascinating nature extends past simple graphical brilliance, it extends into the ideas behind the world itself. The world of Final Fantasy X is encapsulated by an arresting mythos that could drive a series of games on its own.
The traditional methods for building your characters has been scrapped in favor of the Sphere Grid. Instead of detailing its mechanics, I will just say that it works wonderfully -- you are given the opportunity for huge customization, but your characters need never sacrifice their distinctive flavor. The combat system has been polished to a mirror-like gleam. Each character adds an important ability to your battles, and you can now switch party members in and out combat on the fly. The ATB system is gone entirely -- battles are now completely turn-based but accelerated by speed and intensity. The nature of battle is intrinsically more strategic this time around, which I like. The roll of summoned allies has changed as well: instead of calling them for a single devastating attack and dismissing them, you actually control them as if they were another character. When they unleash their super attacks (called Overdrives), prepare to the absolutely floored by the over-the-top imagination of Square's artistic team and the graphical juice in that PS2 of yours.
There are reams of secrets for those who wish to pursue them. Secret dungeons, equipment, bosses, Aeons, and the player can even learn another society's alphabet letter by letter.
Problems? Sure. The blitzball minigame is morbidly annoying but necessary if you want the all the best items. The game is extremely linear until the end where you are afforded plenty of freedom to explore the game's many MANY secrets. There is no overworld map which to me took away some of the feeling of exploration. The Sphere Grid makes it a bit difficult to gauge relative power levels of your party members.
But who cares? I don't think you'll be bothered by any of this when your heart is warmed by the blossoming love between Tidus and Yuna. I don't think you'll think about it much when you are swept up by the characters' triumphs and tragedies. I don't think you'll care when it hurts so bad at the game's finale that you think, "I'm fighting back tears and this is only a video game???"
If it's not the greatest thing ever, it's pretty darn close. (Actually, Spock's Beard is pretty sweet too.)
What did you think of this review?
Final Fantasy X is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix), and the tenth installment in the Final Fantasy series. It was released in 2001 for Sony's PlayStation 2. As of January 20, 2004, the game has sold around 6.6 million units worldwide and was also voted by the readers of the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu to be the greatest video game of all-time. Set in the fantasy world of Spira, the game's story centers around a group of adventurers and their quest to defeat a rampaging force known as "Sin".
Final Fantasy X marks the Final Fantasy series' transition from entirely pre-rendered backdrops to fully three-dimensional areas, achieved with the PlayStation 2's Emotion Engine processor. Although pre-rendered backgrounds are not entirely absent, their use has been restricted to less vibrant locations, such as building interiors. Final Fantasy X is also the first game in the series to feature a wide range of realistic facial expressions, as well as other technological developments in graphical effects achieved, such as variance in lighting and shadow from one section of a character's clothing to the next. Final Fantasy X is also the first in the series to feature voice-over actors.
Final Fantasy X introduces other significant advances in the Final Fantasy series. For instance, because of the implementation of voice-overs, scenes in the game are paced according to the time taken for dialogue to be ...