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Final Fantasy X - Review

One Of The Finest Games Ever Created

By: TheShroud13


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 7
   Originality 8
   Plot 9
   Localization 10
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Hard
   Time to Complete

40+ hours

 
Overall
10
Criteria

Title

   After all the hype surrounding Final Fantasy X, I did not think there was any chance that the game could live up to the enormous hype. However, a play through this game reveals that it is indeed one of the greatest adventures to grace any system. A game of such great caliber only comes around once or twice in a console's lifetime, and I doubt any Playstation 2 RPG, past or present, will be able to live up to the bar set by Final Fantasy X. One of the best-told games I have ever played, Final Fantasy X has earned itself an instant spot into my hall of fame.

   The Active Time Battle that had been the system of choice for Final Fantasy battle systems is one of the first things scrapped from Final Fantasy X, and it could not have come at a better time. The ATB system was starting to show its age, and the long strands of dead-time, and the clunky state brought by the ATB system are disbanded for an all new turn based battle system, coined Character Turn Based (CTB). There aren't words to describe how much better CTB is over the ATB system. Under the system you can see exactly when your characters will have their next turn, as well as seeing when your foes will have your next turn.

   Because of this, you can strategically determine your next actions based on the current state of the turns. You have to keep in mind the damage you'll deal, what side effects you can use, how long your action will take to execute, which makes the CTB much more fun to use than the ATB, as you can evaluate the options in combat, with the only dead-time being the time you have to spend determining what action to take. No more is the waiting for someone's ATB bar to fill up, you just pick an attack and watch the results come. In addition to all of that, each and every character has a 'role' in combat. Not only does this make it easier to incorporate all of your fighters into combat, it makes it nearly impossible to neglect some fighters. Because you are able to freely switch your three active characters in and out of combat without losing a turn, it is easy to bring new players into combat as well. The strategy involved in Final Fantasy X was absent in many other Final Fantasy games, and that adds up to the game being much more fun than any Final Fantasy before it, and a majority of other RPGs as well.

   Of all the Final Fantasies, Final Fantasy X offers more opportunities to fine-tune your party more than ever before. The most notable of the ways to fine-tune your party is the Sphere Grid. Replacing the age-old level of experience points and experience levels, this new system works a lot like a board game. As you defeat enemies, you obtain AP instead of experience points, and as your AP increases, you start gaining sphere levels. For every sphere level you obtain, you can move one 'node' on the Sphere Grid. Using special spheres, you can then activate certain nodes on the grid to improve your characters' statistics and give them new abilities. Although the sphere grid is very limited to you at first, it opens up as you gain new spheres, and it is definitely an original way to build your characters. It is a very simple, and different way to build your characters, and it is an improvement upon the old system, and definitely helps enrich the game.


I would have said goooooooooal, but whatever.
I would have said goooooooooal, but whatever. 

   Square also gives you another area to allow you to tailor your team to your liking, through the customization system. Using this system, you can take items that you have in your inventory and add different abilities to your characters' items. For example, a certain number of antidotes would bestow the poisontouch ability to your characters weapons. This gives you the ability to create new and unique weapons that you could not make in previous Final Fantasies. This system is a bit more involved than the sphere grid, and requires more items than the sphere grid, but it adds just as much to the game as the sphere grid, and is yet another unique addition to the game.

   For one of the first times ever in an RPG review, I am actually going to have to spend more time talking about the sound than the music! Where most previous RPGs had to use music to fuel emotion in their games, Final Fantasy X's emotion is powered mostly by its voice acting. While I had my doubts early about the voice acting, the more I played the game, the better the voice acting seemed. The voice actors did a very good job of giving the characters a level of personality that could not have been reached in previous games. While there is an occasional rushed line or awkward pause, the voice acting is generally very good in this game. Unfortunately, while the voice acting takes center stage, I still would have liked some better music. There is an occasional good song on this game's soundtrack, but the overall score is basically filler music. Only a handful of the songs are actually memorable, and the ones that are are repeated many times throughout the game, with slight variations. While the addition of voice acting is so well done that the musical woes are easy to forget, it still would have been nicer to have gotten a better soundtrack.

   Being the tenth addition to the legendary Final Fantasy series, you wouldn't expect such a great deal of originality in a game such as this, however, Square manages to pack in more originality than they had in a number of their earlier works. The new interfaces are very original, and the plot isn't a bad job of originality either. It is one of the more original games I've played in recent years. While some of the game's characters aren't completely original, the majority of the game is very original, and I thank Square for making such a good game different from the others.


Overkill, roadkill, same thing.
Overkill, roadkill, same thing. 

   While Final Fantasy X doesn't sport the greatest story ever to grace a role playing game, it is executed marvelously. The characters are easily the richest characters to grace an RPG. Every character has a well-crafted personality, only aided further by the voice acting, and their roles in combat. The characters interact amongst each other more realistically than any other characters before, and they are played consistently, it is a very rare event that any character steps out of their personality, adding to their already relatively realistic stories and actions. Final Fantasy X is helped even further by one of the most believable and well crafted game worlds ever created. Every city has its own architecture, culture, and the different races of the world are well thought out as well. The beliefs and rituals of the people play a major role in the story, and help add to the believability of the world. Aside from the excellent characters and wonderful world the plot, albeit nothing remarkable, is the perfect compliment to the rest of the game, and is still a very good story. Throughout the game, you are treated to rich dialogue, exciting plot twists, and an ending more powerful than any I have ever seen. Best of all, Square does an excellent job of localizing this game for America so everything sounds smooth, and the grammatical errors, if seen, don't detract from the game.

   Yet another strong point of Final Fantasy X is its replay value. While many Final Fantasy games were basically one time through games, Final Fantasy X is not. Despite being one of the most linear games in the series, the game opens up toward the end with a vast number of side quests and mini-games that add depth to playing the game over and over again. You can also play the game again to see what kinds of new creations you can make through customization, how you can build up a better Blitzball team, and a number of the many possibilities that are offered in Final Fantasy X. The game is also a bit more challenging than most RPGs, but not to the point where you cannot enjoy the game due to high difficulty. The game will take at the least probably 40 hours to play, but because of just how good it is, I've heard of players spending anywhere up to 100 hours playing the game!

   If there is one thing that Final Fantasy X does best, it is the remarkable graphics. Everything in the game is beautifully crafted. The level of detail on some buildings, characters, and monsters is simply amazing. There is not a point in the game where I am not totally in amazement from the beautiful visual effects. Every animation is so smooth, detailed, and beautiful that the game would be worth playing just to see the amazing things that had been created in the imaginations of the people at Square. The level of detail in Final Fantasy X's visuals is something people simply have to see for themselves. Thanks to breathtaking locales, disgusting monsters, and so much more I could spend hours just looking at Final Fantasy X and still have a good time.


Just adding to the realism of the game's world.
Just adding to the realism of the game's world. 

   Never have I played a game that has pleased me in so many different ways. From the fun battle system, to the beautiful graphics, Final Fantasy X can please any one somehow, and if you don't play this game, it is a sad thing for you. If you have any appreciation for fine storytelling at all, you simply have to play Final Fantasy X. Cosmetically wonderful, fun to play, and packed with an emotional, and well-told story, Final Fantasy X is a fine last effort for Hironobu Sakaguchi.

   TheShroud13's Bottom Line: Final Fantasy X is the closest game to perfection I have ever played. While I don't view it as completely perfect, it is the only game I have ever played that I can honestly say deserves a perfect 10. There is something amazing happening during every second played of Final Fantasy X.





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