Final Fantasy X
Big_Burta's Final Fantasy X Review
-Excellent sound and music
-Clever, emotional dialog
-Efficient combat system, normally
-Good and challenging
-Very entertaining and somewhat addicting
-Very, very long (it takes at least 80 hours to complete the storyline alone!)
-At least 22 large areas with lots of objectives
-Lots of side quests
-Seven playable characters, each with his or her own fighting style
-Tons of different combat strategies
-Cool boss battles
-The Sphere Grid is very creative and resourceful
-Lots of ways to customize your characters
-You can attack your own allies!
-The framerate is kind of shaky (but hey, this is Square's first PS2 Final Fantasy)
-VERY linear exploration and gameplay
-You can't jump (which is a very basic video game move), and you can't even step over cracks
-The Sphere Grid is also pretty confusing at first
-All the enemy battles have the same annoying music (it's not actually bad, it's just annoying)
-When you die, you go all the way back to the starting menu instead of a last checkpoint
-You can't replace KO'd characters with other active characters, so you either revive them or you start over if your whole party dies
-Kimahri is weak and slow, and he doesn't show it when he gains experience
-You can attack your own allies (sometimes it's funny, other times it's fatal, so I'm listing it as both good and bad)
Final Fantasy has been a wildly popular game series on old, classic consoles for many years. FFX was the first installment on new-age consoles (back then), and it was indeed an excellent way to introduce the series to PS2 owners everywhere.
Graphics: 9.8 -- For their first PS2 FF game, Square did a heck of a job with the visuals (in a good way). I absolutely adore the character models. Although everyone looks like they're shivering during some scenes, their animations are believable and smooth, except for hair and cloth. But hey, this is only Square's first PS2 FF game. Anyway, the details are amazing! Even the background characters whose purpose was for realism look almost as good as the main characters, if a bit bland. And everyone has their own unique styling. Also, the characters can shadow themselves and other objects at times, which is an impressive detail in PS2 graphics that is usually left out for whatever reason. Also, all the details in each of the many monsters is simply amazing. It has to be seen to be believed (and not just from a screenshot). Even with a few little animation flaws, the characters almost look like real people or real creatures. But the backgrounds will take your breath away. Even nook and cranny can only be compared by pictures of the real world. You can even see the wind blowing up sand and snowflakes blowing around in their own direction. And the water looks very realistic, more realistic than any PS2 game I've seen from the early 2000's. Also, the lighting is probably what compliments the scenery the most. Cliffs and temples shadow the landscape, both for realism and atmosphere. Objects, like the characters, always shadow themselves as well. The way the environments are lit easily tells you the mood of the level and the emotion of some events. It's just the most beautiful lighting I've ever seen. There is a very, very slight problem with pop-up in background characters and an object or two, but it's usually because they're about to be cut out of the camera shot, anyway. Nevertheless, the effects are as stunning as the backgrounds. For one thing, they look 3D, when most games have flat-looking effects. And the literally light up the screen, even down to the cracks in the ground and folds in the characters' clothing. They also glow accordingly. Flames and electricity give off a weak gleam, while explosions and special spells emit a raging radiance. Other effects that shouldn't glow don't, like ice and water, which is nice considering most developers just make everything light up. I hope you can get an accurate picture of how the game looks. If not, buy the game for yourself! It's worth every penny!
Sound: 9.7 -- Beautiful music, excellent sound effects, and emotional dialog are all what good RPGs are meant to have. The music is simply the best I've ever heard in any PS2 game (so far). It fits the situation emotionally, physically, and based on the theme of the area. It even changes within the same area for some events. And it's always charming, intense, or catchy. I also like the sudden change in the music during a boss or enemy battle. These tunes are very limited, unfortunately. Seriously, every normal enemy encounter has the exact same music, no matter where you are, except during a couple of huge climatic events, and it gets a little irritating. But I like the boss music. It's almost always as deep and energetic as the battle itself. The sound effects, despite sounding awesome, could be better. In the state they are designed, they still rock, but arguably so. First off, when you run, you hear realistic footsteps, and it does vary amoung surfaces, like think dirt roads and clangy metallic floors, but it feels a little weak. And in battle, the slashes and thumps from attacks are also very believable. Basically, these are some very true-to-life sound effects. The problem is the volume. They often sound either unnaturally loud or surprisingly quiet. Explosions are about as loud as shutting a car door, and broken objects are more like a bat against a metal door, although you can't notice this unless you focus on it and listen hard. Other than that, I don't see (er, hear) any problems here. The dialog, however, is a slight problem. Oh yeah, it's very dramatic and well-rehearsed and everything. You might even get choked up here and there. But I get pretty tired of having to keep the TV remote handy when someone starts talking. Yes, the dialog is dreadfully hushed. If you don't have the volume loud enough, the music is likely to drown out the characters' voices unless their all shouting. Thank goodness for subtitles. Other than a few volume issues and the enemy-strike music, the overall sound is near-perfect!
Handling: 9 -- I'll admit it, this game is slightly faulty here. But even the greatest games on earth have their flaws. Well, the camera is a non-issue. You can't adjust it, but it positions itself at a great angle in nearly every location, which allows you to see a nice amount of space. Plus, it scrolls alongside the path at the same pace as you, unless you're entering a new area. I don't like how it suddenly changes angles, because it can throw you off, but you learn to get used to it. There aren't a whole lot of controls, either, which makes the game extremely simple and easy to play. Basically, you move around the environment during normal gameplay, occasionally pressing X to activate various commands, and in combat you select one of many battle commands. It doesn't get much simpler than that, although you can do quite a lot of things with this. You can use spells and special abilities, or you can unleash powerful physical attacks. You also select which enemy you attack, and you can choose to change your mind before attacking. Oddly, this selection of targets includes your own teammates. That's right, you can attack your own allies (total betrayal)! All though it seems pointless, it's actually useful if a party member has Confusion (I'll get to that in a moment), and it's actually quite funny to see, but it can also cause mistakes, so be careful. Anyway, this Confusion I just mentioned is one of many ailments that give you a disadvantage, all while making combat more interesting and challenging. They range from Poison (which damages the unlucky victim after each of their turns) to Doom (this puts a count down on a victim and kills them when it reaches zero). Luckily, there are also many ways to heal these ailments, and you can often use them on your foes, provided they are not immune to it. Anyway, the combat system itself is uncomplicated yet efficient, and it does offer quite a load of different (and nearly unlimited) strategies for most enemy skirmishes. But the fact that you can't dodge attacks gets annoying. Also, taking turns with everyone standing in place seems a little odd. But, I find it makes the game exceptionally unique compared to all the mindless 'combat systems' out there, and I kind of like it. In fact, it's almost funny to watch the characters attack and take a beating as long as it doesn't get too difficult. All in all, the combat system works—and it works very well, as long as you know how to use it. However, the most basic video game move is missing: there is no way to jump. I understand that jumping is unnecessary for the gameplay most of the time, but it is a royal pain to have to walk around even the slightest of bumps and such in the ground. I mean, why should you have to get out of your way to walk all the way around every crack when you would normally be able to jump (or even step) over it? Every other game on the market doesn't even make you think about that, so why can't FFX? It's only a slight annoyance, at least, and there are a few X commands in the environment to fix that. But I don't take kindly to revisiting the starting menu if I were to fall. There are lots of save points in the environments, but they only serve to save your work. If your characters all die in battle, you get a big, fat GAME OVER message, and it's back to the starting menu. Wouldn't it be faster and easier to pick up right from your last save point? Also, if a teammate dies, you can't get another person to take his or her place; you are forced to revive them, or leave them. I really wish there was a way to take out KO'd allies and replace them with convenient ones, but oh well. So in the case of difficulty, this is one of the best games. Most games are rather unbalanced in the difficulty, whether it's random, unprogressive, or unchanging. But I like how smoothly the transition from easy to hard shifts. The game starts effortless as all games should, gradually becomes intermediate, and then slowly turns tricky, which is how every game should be. In fact, as long as you're keeping up with the pace of the difficulty, this normally isn't a hard game to complete. It's very long, yes, and some bosses are rather complicated, but it's not hard to go back and get more experience. Even if you do get stuck, it's likely that you're underprepared, so don't blame the game itself. But even with it's displeasures included, this game plays pretty darn well.
Entertainment: 10 -- You can only expect a hyped-up FF to be addicting, and this game excels at it! It's sort of like a delicious candy bar. If you just find out about it or watch others enjoy it, you can't really get the affect. But if you try it for yourself, you'll realize how amazing it is. Sure, you'll get a little tired of it after a while, but it won't belong before you're back for more. It's that fun to play. My sister and I couldn't put it down for the first few weeks, which was almost a year ago, and to this day we're still in love with it. Also, if you try to play another favorite after enough exposure to FFX, you will very likely get bored with it--fast. Running around and fighting monsters or watching emotional scenes may not sound all that fun, but there's something about this game that makes it so desirable. Also, the many side quests, big and small, make the game that much more pleasing. It does get a little boring after a while, but after a few hours or so away from the game, you'll be ready to give it another go. Just remember not to neglect the other necessities and joys of life, and you will experience one of the greatest RPG experiences to date.
Features: 10 -- With an RPG, you pretty much have to expect large quantities of substance. If you go to the game's profile, you'll be amazed at all the FAQs and how big they are! It's an incredibly long storyline, for one thing, but it also features tons of customization and side quests. The game itself has at least 22 levels to visit, all of which are pretty darn big. Plus, there's quite a lot to cover in most of them. So the plot itself will be at least 80 hours of gameplay, if you take your time and actually play it through thoroughly, not including the sidequests. Sometimes, though, it gets a little too long. Just when you think the game is about to end, BOOM! You uncover a whole new area and/or objective to do. That happened to me at least five times! But that's actually a good thing, because you know Square took their time with this and weren't in a hurry to finish it, especially considering the massive detail in every little thing. I'm surprised the PS2 could handle it on just one disc! But there is a problem with most of the levels: pure linear exploration. You usually get a long, compacted path with lots of boundaries, and you basically have to try and get to the end while fighting enemies and bosses, and to cover part of the storyline. There are usually some forks in these paths, and it's not as bad as you would expect. Besides, there are a handful of expansive areas that are not at all linear. You basically run from start to finish for the whole game, but you don't actually do much. Then again, there is already so much in the game, and a game can only hold so much. Anyway, there are a great deal of combat strategies and abilities you can use, and the list never seems to end. This brings me to the Sphere Grid. The Sphere Grid is a complex "map" of abilities and stats your characters can acquire, which are received by gaining experience so you can move across the map. Each character starts in his or her own spot on this map, which is adapted to their fighting style. Eventually, you can move the characters to other parts of the Sphere Grid and use the abilities of other characters. It's a little confusing at first, but most people pick it up really quickly. There are also a good number of minigames to play. There's Blitzball, the original FFX sport, but it's a little more complicated than it needs to be. You can also ride Chocobos, the original big yellow FF birds, and complete a number of games and tasks with them. You can also unlock special items, weapons, and abilities to better suit combat circumstances. But the story is why this game is so spectacular. A select few 'heroes' go on a long quest (er, pilgrimage) to defeat Sin, a bringer or pain and suffering. There are so many plot twists that I lost track, which keeps the game fresh and suspensful, but I won't spoil any of them for you. There's quite a lot to this game, and it's easy to spoil the pleasures of it all, so I'll stop here.
Replay Value: High
Overall: 9.8 -- It looks like Square has done it again (back in 2001, of course). The cool gameplay and storyling alone would be enough to make you fall for this game, but the astounding graphics and sound added are enough to get you hooked for good. But it's one of those things that shouldn't be rushed, so take your time and enjoy.
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