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10th installment of the popular rpg franchise from Square

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Final Fantasy Jumps the Summoned Sharkaga

  • Oct 5, 2008
Pros: A theme about religion and people who question it is involved

Cons: I can't believe a designer can create such weak characters

The Bottom Line: Nothing to say here today.

Remember how Square created two Final Fantasies in sci-fi settings for the Playstation before returning to form with Final Fantasy IX, a game set in an actual fantasy world? Well, turns out that return to form was just a hiccup.

After a comeback with a spectacularly fantastical Final Fantasy - the series swan song for the Playstation - Square, in their first Final Fantasy game for the Playstation 2, went right back to what made the series mainstream: A science fiction setting which Phillip K. Dick would have loved. Actually, a more accurate statement would be "Final Fantasy went to a science fiction setting which Robert A. Heinlein would have approved of." Yet an even more accurate statement than that would be "Final Fantasy rips off the main story of one of Robert A. Heinlein's lesser books." The book in question would be Farnham's Freehold, which is about a family that gets thrust deep into a somewhat primitive future while hiding from a nuclear war. In Final Fantasy X, the main character gets thrust into a somewhat primitive future after a giant monster eats his hometown.

The story of Final Fantasy X revolves around the evolution of religion and the unquestioning obedience of traditions. When the main character, Tidus, is plucked from his hometown of Zanarkand and tossed into the little village of Besaid 1000 years into the future, another character, Wakka, shows him the prayer ritual. The method of praying in Besaid was a sign in Tidus' sport, blitzball, in the past. The monster that ate Zanarkand 1000 years ago is believed to be the puishment sent by the local deity for the people's dependence on the forbidden machina. People train summoners to try to fight the monster, Sin. Tidus falls for Besaid's summoner, Yuna, and decides to join the fight to save the world from Sin. Unfortunately, Sin is a weak main villain. He shows up and causes trouble every now and then, but even when his identity is revealed, he still doesn't show any capability of sentient thought and so he comes off as a force of nature more than anything else. The real main villain is also very weak because he really doesn't do a whole lot to convince anyone that he's evil enough to pose a serious threat to the world.

The main plot feels strung along and honestly a little thin. While I liked Tidus and Wakka's upbeat, positive attitudes, the other characters do everything they can to drag them down. Yuna is simply too demure to be an effective lead, even though her character is actually very courageous. There are three characters in Final Fantasy X who take up the spot of the silent knowing jerk. Lulu, Kimahri, and Auron all act like wise old sages. Lulu and Auron clearly know a lot more than they feel like telling Tidus, and Kimahri doesn't talk at all until he suddenly does. When the motley group finds cute, perky little Rikku, the laughable circumstance makes me think Rikku's inclusion was entirely forced. Rikku is an Al Bhed, a person who uses the forbidden machina and questions the religious ways of the world. While she comes in handy against machine foes, her whole story just wasn't that necessary to the game. The Al Bhed as a whole were just tossed in to create a counterpoint.

The new character system in Final Fantasy X is the grid sphere, which allows you to basically just power up your characters with new abilites and extra stat points whenever you want and not just when the game awards you a new level. While the idea may sound nice at first, you soon learn that you need to obtain level spheres in order to learn new abilities. This is just annoying. And while I've heard a lot of people rave about the non-linearity of the grid sphere, the grid sphere is only non-linear in the technical sense. Mostly the characters are stuck in the paths they start out on. While I liked the idea of awards my characters their new abilities whenever I wanted to, the level spheres drag it down a little. And when you manage to get a character on a different path, it's extremely difficult to get that character back to his old path. If you can't move, you just might get stuck.

In combat, you can finally switch characters. I LOVE this! Each character has a specific type of foe which is the best matchup against him or her. Tidua is great against fast ground foes, Wakka easily downs air enemies, and Auron's tough sword can break through armored enemies, and so on. But if you get an air foe, and Wakka isn't in your group, and you don't want to waste valuble magic attacking it, you can just switch! Better yet, everyone who actively participates in a battle gets experience points. You can power up the whole party in a single battle, so there's no more dragging an underpowered character into battle trying to level him up, thereby risking his death. And you can take as long as you want to fight a battle too, because the battle system is turn-based. The Active Time Bar - which never made very much sense to me - is gone.

Another great thing is that you can control summons. Summons all have different abilities and different weaknesses, and if you're not having any luck with one, you can just switch, again. It saves a lot of frustration.

There are no card games in Final Fantasy X. I was no fan of the card game in Final Fantasy VIII, I liked the one in Final Fantasy IX, and there's an underwater version of rugby in Final Fantasy X called blitzball which is terrible. It could have been a simple distraction, but Square managed to transform the whole thing into a number rodeo using some otherworldly form of math which I honestly believe the game doesn't quite understand itself. All of my calculations are thrown out whenever I try to make a pass or a shot. To make things even worse, there are a number of moves which you can learn in blitzball, but having not been able to figure out how the damned game is played, I certainly wasn't able to decipher anything about any special moves. This is just flat-out bad, and I quickly stopped playing blitzball because the whole thing was just a mess and a waste of time.

The graphics and sounds are great. The graphics, six years after the release of Final Fantasy X, still hold up among the Playstation 2's best. The cutscenes are beautiful, the environments are colorful, and many of the special effects are just incredible. The sounds are more of a mixed bag. The music is excellent, but the sounds are mostly ordinary and the voice acting is on par with early all-voice games. Yes, Final Fantasy X relies on voice actors to give life to its main characters, and most of them are monotone. Yuna sounds too demure to be the strong-willed heroine she's supposed to be. Tidus is just annoying, and the aforementioned jerks all sound like jerks even when they're being nice. Gameplay is standard-issue RPG. Tidus dashes by default, so there's a walk button. And you won't have to worry about airship controls this time, because there's no world map in Final Fantasy X.

Final Fantasy X has a few great ideas, and few cool characters, and I loved the religious/questioner theme. But the game isn't nearly as strong as Final Fantasy IX - my favorite Final Fantasy game - or any of the other classics in the series. I'm starting to wonder if Square's success in bringing role-playing games to the mainstream is starting to go to their heads. I like this game, but it's not for everyone. And I think it's time to just admit the painful truth: Final Fantasy has jumped the shark.


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More Final Fantasy X reviews
Quick Tip by . February 23, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
The cast of characters in this game range from mediocre to terrible. This was the only game where the main character was so annoying that I had to shut off the game for awhile, and revisit weeks later. Character development was especially lacking. I'm probably just throwing a minor hissy fit because I hated Tidus so much. So. So. Much. I'm also one of the few people that dislike Auron - although, that's mostly because he enables Tidus to talk all the time.      Anyway, …
Quick Tip by . February 22, 2011
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(So tired of writing these Quick Tips) Since the Dreamcast held me back from getting a PS2, I didn't play this in its heyday. But what it did shamelessly well when I finally did get my hands on it was blow me away with its graphics to a level I'd not experienced since FFVII. However, the characters, story, and gameplay didn't particularly stand out against the previous FFs I had played. The voice dubbing was also surprisingly awful at times. But I say these things with perspective, back then everything …
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
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Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
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A game with great gameplay mechanics and some hardcore boss fights but kind of a silly story. Started out good but wow after a while I couldn't take it seriously anymore. Regardless a good enough game but the story really left me frustrated.
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
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Quick Tip by . September 26, 2010
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Took FF VIII's problems and ramped them up with annoying characters, bizzare character models and a too futurey look that makes me think it would have been better off just being it's own game and not Final Fantasy.
review by . December 13, 2008
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Pros:    +Fantastic graphics and art design  +One of the most beautiful soundtracks   +Deep engrossing story  +Tons of mini-games and sidequests to undertake  +Simple, yet complex, battle system    Cons:    -The voice acting is sometimes laughable    Fans will be in debate over what is the best Final Fantasy for years.  One of the games that is commonly stated to be the best …
review by . August 19, 2008
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review by . August 07, 2002
I think I was more moved by this game than any film or game. I will carry the memory of Final Fantasy X's story with me forever.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 …
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Ranked #19
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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About this video game


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 ...

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Games, Video Games, Fantasy, Gaming, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy 10, Ffx, Ff10


ESRB: T - (Teen)
Number of Players: 1
Publisher: EA - Electronic Arts
Console: Playstation 2
Genre: RPG
Release Date: 31 December, 2001
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