Final Fantasy X - Review

Losing Fayth
By: Roku

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 3
   Interaction 4
   Originality 3
   Story 3
   Music & Sound 4
   Visuals 5
   Challenge Easy
   Completion Time 35-100 hours  

Well, this is new...
Well, this is new...
The Final Fantasy series makes its transition to the Playstation2 with its tenth game. Final Fantasy X features an impressive visual makeover and combines the old with the new. It follows a summoner and her guardians as they go on a quest to defeat Sin, a powerful monster that is causing massive amounts of destruction in the world. The card minigame of FFVIII and FFIX has been replaced with blitzball, a game similar to underwater soccer. Another notable change is the lack of a worldmap that takes away some of the fun of exploration.

Although the battle system seems promising at first, it is far from perfect. Each character is heavily customizable thanks to the sphere grid system and even summons can learn a large variety of special abilities. Summons no longer appear and attack the enemies or heal allies as they did in previous Final Fantasy games, they are controlled directly by the player and remain on the field until the are recalled or run out of HP. It is possible to switch characters in battle in order to take advantage of each character's ability to strike certain enemy weaknesses. While this concept is interesting at first, it quickly becomes annoying as the player is forced to switch in almost every single battle midgame. Straying from the ATB system, each characters' speed gauge no longer fills in real time, only after the end of each turn. Though this does seemingly add strategy, it also takes a lot of excitement out of battles as well. A nice improvement is the fact that each ability has its own speed. certain spells take longer than certain abilities and vice versa allowing players to carefully plan attacks so they can get as many hits in as possible while still being able to heal and whatnot. Sadly, this too is ruined by the ability known as quick hit which is many times faster than any other attack and can even inflict more damage in total than FFX's desperation attacks, the overdrives. Using this attack hundreds of times in succession against the harder optional bosses becomes horribly repetitive. It is possible to break the 9999 damage limit by equipping special weapons that allow up to 99999 damage. This creates a severe lack of balance in a large number of fights as players with the ability can destroy even the final boss almost instantly. Too many changes seem to have been made without enough thought of the consequences they would bring. While the system works early in the game, it fails in the late game.

FFX is easy thanks to rapid level ups and a number of overpowered aeons at the players' command. Thanks to quick hit and equipment upgrades such as using anything for 1 MP and breaking the damage limit, it becomes incredibly easy to destroy any non-sidequest enemy without breaking a sweat. Sidequest enemies are harder, but can still be defeated fairly easily.

FFX returns with an excellent interface once again. It's easy to control characters on the map and pick what is needed from menus. The localization is excellent as well due to a large amount of voice acting that generally fits the movements of each characters' mouth. There aren't really any spelling or grammar mistake either. No noticeable problems here.

The game follows the story of a young summoner who helps save the world. If that sounds familiar, it's probably because the same basic setup has been used before and in other Final Fantasy games no less. There are twists in the battle system and story, but a good deal of FFX has been seen before. There are only a few new abilities and even the love story theme has been done before. There are a few new additions out of battle such as temple puzzles, but they can't hide its similarity to previous FF games. The battle system is one of the few original concepts.

Though FFX's story isn't bad, it is lacking in a few areas. The main problem is the lack of a major villain. The main villain that appears in the game other than Sin is underused and escapes defeat a number of times thanks to poorly executed plot devices. Sin, despite its amazing destructive power, is difficult to consider a villain as it doesn't have any lines and isn't inherently evil. Another part that's lacking is the fact that a good deal of the game's levels involve simply traveling to and completing a temple with little else in between. Thankfully, there are a number of interesting parts as well such as the structure of the religion that was created out of fear and the corruption within.

Another Final Fantasy game that focuses heavily on a summoner
Another Final Fantasy game that focuses heavily on a summoner
FFX features hours of dialog and FMVs to keep the player busy for quite a while. It's possible to complete the entire game in about thirty-five hours, but, as with most Final Fantasy games, there is a great deal of sidequests as well. Collecting creatures for the zoo-like area in order to unlock mighty hidden bosses takes quite a while. The few large bonus dungeons can also tack on a good deal of time as well, and leveling up in blitzball alone can add a good fifty hours. All things included, it is possible to spend a good hundred hours on FFX, if not more.

Most of FFX's music is very good. There are a number of catchy tracks that blend in perfectly with the intended mood, though some dungeon music gets repetitive quickly. Some of the boss music is lacking, but there are also a number of good ones. Despite being good, the music tends to jumble a little as it seems like one particular music style couldn't be agreed upon at times. The sound is wonderful as, in addition to a large number of excellent sound effects, FFX features voice acting. Though much of the game remains silent, there is still a large amount of crisp voice acting to be found.

FFX's visuals are where the game really shines. Its ordinary visuals are nearly on the same level as the FMVs from previous FF games and its FMVs are simply breathtaking to say the least. The attention to detail, the 3D environments, dozens of well-animated enemies, and even the elaborate spell animations are all impressive. Some enemies are reused with palette swaps, but that is understandable given the huge level of detail.

While FFX is a good game, it suffers from many flaws that exist primarily within the battle system. The story, despite being decent, was also surprisingly lacking for a Final Fantasy game. Visuals reached a new high with FFX, but the same cannot be said for the music. I still recommend it to Final Fantasy fans and to most RPG lovers in general though.
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