Seeing as it's been a few days since the last time some information surfaced on Final Fantasy X, Square decided to dish out another large serving of details. This time, the information centers around characters, as well as various aspects of the battle system that haven't already been detailed. First off, the game's magic system has been revealed. While the exact nature of how spells will be learned remains to be seen, there will be 8 basic elementals, paired off into opposing twosomes: fire and ice, thunder and water, holy and darkness, and finally, wind and earth. Additionally, other, non-elemental black magic will exist, including such spells as Bio and Gravity.
White magic will return as normal, but with a new set of spells the likes of which haven't been seen since the series' NES days. The Barrier spells, or BA, as they will be prefixed in the game, will help characters defend specific elemental magic and attacks. For example, BA-Fire would prevent damage from fire spells. At this point, the fates of the more broad-ranged Shell and Protect spells is unclear; however, it looks as though they will remain a part of the game.
The Overdrive system has now been clarified slightly. As previously reported,
Final Fantasy X will feature a system similar to Final Fantasy VII, where damage will cause an Overdrive meter to fill, eventually enabling an Overdrive attack. Unique to Overdrives, however, is the additional AP a character can gain through using one on an enemy that is low on HP. Additionally, certain factors may trigger their use; Lulu, for instance, has her Overdrive meter fill up simply as a result of the party being attacked, because it makes her angry. This, as well as a number of other little touches, are sure to breathe new life into a system, which has helped to distinguish later Final Fantasy titles from their predecessors.
Rikku's character has now been given some life. She is 15 years old, and is bright, energetic, and active. She is the only character able to steal from enemies, and is very fast in battle. These traits are offset by her obedience, and her devotion to Yuna, whom she worries about protecting, both from outside threats and from the rigours of summoning, which apparently take quite a toll on Yuna's body. Rikku uses gun-style weapons, and hails from Al-Bhed, a country with its own unique language. Her father, Cid, is the designer of the game's airship.
Another character, Auron, has also been fleshed out. He served as guardian to Yuna's father, Basaka, and now serves in that capacity for Yuna. He is also a teacher to Tidus, and sees a lot of his own character in the young man. Despite his many battles, one of which cost him an eye, he is a calm and dependable character. He is distinguished by the glasses he wears to hide the wound. Overall, he is the ultimate swordsman and a valuable party member.
How AP will be distributed is always a matter of interest, since Square has always been just a little too fond of changing that particular aspect of Final Fantasy titles. True to form, a new system, known as the Sphere Board, is in place in Final Fantasy X. When characters gain AP after winning battles, the points accumulate towards S. Levels. Once this level is reached, a character can learn new abilities by moving on the Sphere Board, with each move requiring one S.Level.
With Final Fantasy X's Japanese release less than three weeks away, information about the game is becoming more and more plentiful. It is set to retail in Japan on July 19th for an expected price of 8800 yen, or $73.00 US. The game will arrive in North America in early 2002.