In a move apparently designed to make the passing of the holidays unnoticed, Squaresoft's massively anticipated RPG Final Fantasy X has been shipped to stores, and should be on the shelves by tomorrow. Proving the old saw "Somebody's loss is some one else's gain," Square undoubtedly released Final Fantasy X early in order to regain some of the losses from their unfortunately disasterous foray into the world of feature films. Regardless of Squaresoft's reasoning, this is welcome news to many who bought their PlayStation 2's for the sole reason of playing Final Fantasy X, and the game will not disappoint.
Squaresoft's latest masterpiece puts the Playstation 2 through its paces. Using real-time polygon environments almost exclusively, the backgrounds nonetheless look as smooth and detailed as any of the prerendered backgrounds from the PSone installments of the series. Occasionally, however, the game does resort to using prerendered backdrops, and these look an order of magnitude more magnificent than any seen in previous games. It appears that Squaresoft's time as a film company paid off in this department.
Final Fantasy X is not, however, all graphics. Complimenting the graphical prowess of the game is a stellar soundtrack created by Junya Nakano, Masashi Hamauzu and Nobuo Uematsu. An eclectic mix of styles, ranging from speed metal to big brass band to an incredibly realistic-sounding acoustic guitar, those doubting Squaresoft's decision to use multiple composers need doubt no further. Nevertheless, sound and graphics are not nearly as important as the number one concern of all those anxiously awaiting Final Fantasy X.
This concern above all others is the impossible to define yet vitally important gameplay factor: The most gorgeous graphics in the world don't mean anything when the game is not fun to play. Rest assured, Final Fantasy X does not disappoint, as noted in our recent first impressions. Chock full of sidequests and minigames, including the much vaunted blitzball, some might desire to hook up a life-support system in order to play uninterrupted.
Final Fantasy X is arriving in stores as you read this, perhaps even before you read this, and our full review will be finished shortly. Those with a PS2 and fifty US dollars burning a hole in their pocket should rush out to the nearest purveyor of electronic game delights and purchase this fine game. Remember, 500,000 units may sound like a lot, but if the demand for this game is as huge as expected, they'll be going fast.