Final Fantasy X Review    
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X

One of the most eagerly awaited PS2 titles is now here at last. It boasts revolutionary new game play techniques, but was it worth the wait?

The games main character and protagonist is Tidus, he is the narrator and all the action and story is seen through his eyes. As the game begins Tidus is in the middle of a Blitzball game (he is the Blitzball champ too) when a being called Sin suddenly attacks Tidus’s futuristic home city. Tidus is gobbled up and taken away to Spira, a primitive land of all kinds of creatures, which humans Ronso and Guado are the three most dominant life forms. After Tidus has been there a while he realises that Spira is being terrorised by the massive force of nature Sin which destroys everything in its path. Anyway Tidus meets Yuna who is an inexperienced summoner and her band of cronies. Basically these guys make a formidable fighting force not to be messed with.

Review of Final Fantasy @ www.contactmusic.com
Review of Final Fantasy @ www.contactmusic.com
The combat system in Final fantasy X is one of the most noticeable changes from the previous Final Fantasy games. This is one reason for the mixed up bunch of characters you meet early in the game. Three characters can face an opponent(s) in any one battle. This takes place one at a time but on any characters turn you can opt in another member of the team, even though they are off the screen. Because all the characters skills are so different, it enables you to have very strategic battles. This is not just to add some variety when fighting in battles it is essential to progress through the game. Special moves called Overdrives (Previously Limit Breaks) require much more gamer involvement for the move to have its maximum effect. This is sometimes more like Street Fighter with UP, DOWN, L, LEFT,R moves being asked within a short time limit. Summons creatures are now called Aeons, they can be very powerful characters. Yuna can call them into battle, then once they arrive they take the place of your character in the fight, they will either die or be dismissed. They also have HP which enables a super powerful Overdrive move that can be used after they have been hit a couple of times, plus they can cast black and white magic. The presence of Aeons makes it seem like you have a whole team of additional characters.

Another noticeable difference from the previous Final Fantasy titles and a great achievement to boot is the Sphere Grid. This is the new way characters level up and it’s possibly the first of a kind in any RPG. At first this appears to be completely unnecessary. The Sphere consists of a board with interlinked paths. As you travel round the board you are able to pick up new skills, taking part in battles increases the number of moves they can make. When you start the game you will be asked whether you would like to use the standard grid or the expert grid. The expert mode places all character in the same starting position; the standard mode places all the characters nearest their abilities. The path you take is entirely up to you, even if you’re in standard or expert modes. Certain paths will be blocked by key-locks, these can be opened with keys that you will either find or win later in the game.

The speech within the game is much better than previous Final Fantasy instalments.

Virtually all the dialogue is now spoken, despite a few dodgy lines the dialogue sounds very natural. The rest of the games sound is great, the music is very subtle, it mostly consists of some great ambient tunes with a bit of rock and some slightly sickly cute tunes at times. The speech is the main improvement though, rather than having to scroll through truck loads of text, you can happily sit back and listen to the story unfold as you get sucked in to the game. Saying that though there is some text at the bottom of the screen should you prefer to read.

The rest of the changes in the game are fairly minor, although they all contribute to giving Final Fantasy X a different feel. You will find a map provided that shows you where you should be going, although if you would prefer not to use the map you have the option to switch this off later in the game. You will find some of the paths in the game are very straightforward and a monkey would probably be able to get to the right place without a problem.

The world map has gone in FFX, the ability to explore the map has also gone, although you can still explore and move around the world towards the end of the game. You will find that through out the majority of the game you can’t have any say in where you go, you will be led down the typical predetermined path. Final Fantasy regulars will more than likely find this very disappointing.

There are a number of mini games within Final Fantasy X, Blitzball is the most significant of these, it’s basically some kind of water style football. When playing you will find that you are not particularly involved with the play and the action seems to be happening everywhere but where you are. You can enter this game at most save points and you will have to play the game to earn some valuable items.

When you place the FFX DVD into your PS2 you will hear some of the music and also see some lovely visuals. The city at the beginning of the game is fantastic and as you progress through Spira you will notice the locations are changing all the time, this makes the places you go, feel like they are part of one big master plan.

During the dialogue scenes you will notice that the lip movement of the characters does match what they are saying, I can only think that their lips are talking Japanese while the sound is English. The rest of the animation is great, all the humans are convincing in the way they move, the monsters also move in very convincing ways. Visually this game has been highly polished; it has the same shiny look as a pair of patent shoes.

What the game may have lost in the size and the exploration factor is replaced by the games massive depth and quality of game play. During the first few hours of game play you are talked through the workings and controls in Final Fantasy X, which is a good job because anyone new to the game would be completely bemused by the depth of the game. FFX could be called the end of Final Fantasy as we know it and the beginning of something never before seen in an RPG. FFX has rewritten the way RPG’s are made and played; the future is looking very bright.

9.5 out of 10

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