Final Fantasy X - Retroview

The Greatest RPG of All Time
By: Robust Stu

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 10
   Music & Sound 10
   Originality 8
   Story & Plot 10
   Localization 9
   Replay Value 9
   Visuals 9
   Difficulty Moderate
   Completion Time 55-60 Hours  

Yeah, you could say that
Yeah, you could say that
Final Fantasy X

   Final Fantasy 10 is the first major RPG to hit the PlayStation 2. I heard a lot of hype about it, and consequently was a bit skeptical. In the end, I wound up buying it after all since I didn't just want to use my PS2 to watch DVDs and play wrestling games. It would be an understatement to say that I was very, VERY pleasantly surprised by getting what could quite possibly be the best RPG ever.

   You play Tidus, the star Blitzball player of the Zanarkand Abes. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, Zanarkand is suddenly attacked by a gigantic monster, which is called Sin according to your friend Auron. You fight valiantly, but in the end Zanarkand is destroyed and you are sucked into what appears to be a dimensional warp. When you awake, you are in a much different world than what you remember. After escaping an underwater palace with the help of a group calling themselves the Al Bhed, you end up in a seaside village where you make the acquaintances of Wakka, Lulu, Kimahri, and the love interest of the story, Yuna. Through them, you discover that Zanarkand had been destroyed centuries earlier, and since then Sin has been terrorizing the world. With no home to go to, you decide to go along on Yuna's pilgrimage to become a master summoner so she can confront the evil of Sin.

   The battle system is a big departure for the series. No longer do you play the Active Time Battle system, rather it is menu driven, but there's a lot more to it than that. You have a bar on the side of the screen where you see the order the players and enemies will take their turn in, which adds a different sort of strategy to the game. Also a great improvement is that any active party member can switch with any inactive party member during their turn, with no penalty. So if you have a character with 30 HP left and it's their turn, you can switch them out with another, more healthy party member. One thing to keep in mind is that a character has to be involved in a battle and actually do something, even just defend, in order to get experience.

   The graphics were unbelievable. Everything, from the characters, to the enemies, to the backgrounds were so well detailed that if you don't wear your glasses you could swear it's live action. Everything was superbly animated, looking completely natural. Great use of color helped this game a lot, too. This is, quite simply, the best looking game I've ever seen.

That's good to know
That's good to know

   The audio aspects were equally good. There is a great variety of fantasy sounding tracks that add another dimension to the battles, map areas, and every other situation you found yourself in. The sound effects were just as good, and sounded more realistic than any other game I've ever played. The addition of voice acting was like the icing on the cake. Not sounding stilted or poorly done at all, the voice acting was on par with any movie you'll ever see. Again, the aural delights are just another reason Final Fantasy 10 blows away the competition.

   The localization was very good, too. The addition of voice acting might have helped out a bit, but this localization conveyed more emotion and sounded more natural than any other game I've ever played, with the POSSIBLE exception of Lunar 2. For once, we got a good translation where it feels like somebody actually sat down and put a lot of time and effort into translating, and it shows.

   This is a great, great game, well worth a second play through. There is a TON of side stuff to do, and while only a few of those things are actual story development quests, it is still a lot of fun. Forgetting for a second some of the stupid stuff like dodging 8 million lightning bolts or catching butterflies, there is a lot of fun side stuff to do, such as the monster ranch, and even building up your characters is fun in this game. Play it through once and make a save before the final dungeon, then after beating the game go back and see how much side stuff you can get done before your head explodes from playing it too much.

   For a game as late in the life of RPGs as it is, this game has a lot of original features. First and foremost, there is the introduction of the sphere grid. Instead of traditional leveling up, after gaining a certain amount of experience (AP in this game), you can go to the sphere grid, where you move your character around and use magic spheres to unlock each location on the grid, each of which raises a different attribute, gives you a spell or battle attack, of unlocks the way to other, less accessible locations. On top of that, for the first time there is no overworld map, which kind of puzzled me at first, until I realized this meant no more running around getting into battles looking for that town you just can't seem to find even though you followed the directions from the previous town. Throw in the voice acting and you've got probably the most original game seen in years.

   In order to have a good chance of getting past the ending sequence and last bosses, you're probably going to have to put 60 or so hours into the game. I assure you, however, that it is by no means a boring ride, I had more fun leveling up in this game than I ever thought possible. Trust me; this is 60 hours you wish you could relive over and over, because it's that much fun.

   Normally, I don't like to jump on the bandwagon proclaiming every game the greatest game ever because it has good graphics, but I'm not lying when I say that this is without a doubt the best RPG I've ever played, and quite possibly the best game I've ever played, period. This will probably be one of the only 10s I'll ever give out for a game, and I'm almost hesitant to do that because this is only the first Final Fantasy for the PlayStation 2! In the end, I decided to go the full monty, because at least for now, this game is without a doubt the best, hands down.

   Highest Recommendation.

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