I was very skeptical about buying this game. I hadn't
played a Final Fantasy title since number VIII so I
was going out on a limb and revisiting a series that I
thought had lost its magic. Luckily, I was far from
The game opens with the star Blitzball player, Tidus,
getting ready for a big game in the city of Zanarkand.
The crowd is really excited, there's grinding heavy
metal to accompany this introduction and the game's
just beginning. Unexpectedly a water-like creature
attacks Zanarkand and from here your quest begins with
you fleeing the city.
The gameplay is very smooth, everything is connected
and flows very well. Navigating the menus (which load
instantly) is easy using the D-pad and exploring the
current area with the analog is just as easy. Also
included is a little mini-map of the area you are
currently in near the corner of your screen. This was
a good addition but it took away a lot of extra
exploration for me.
The battle system has also been
updated, no more ATB, instead you can take as long as
you want enter your commands. Also, instead of
leveling up normally, your ability and stat upgrades
take place on a grid called the sphere grid. After
winning a battle you gain AP which levels up your
sphere for that character. From here you can change
your current position on the grid by using your levels
you have gained in battle. In order to gain abilities
or better stats you have to use Speed, Magic, Power,
Ability and Luck Spheres to activate these different
points known as nodes. There are other spheres that
can be awarded in battle, found in chests or given to
This game's graphics are amazing. Every environment is
detailed and the character designs are just as good.
Also battle scenes look good for the first time in a
while, no more ugly backgrounds, and the summon
animations are a delight, although a bit long, but for
those want to skip them there is an option to cut the
scenes which will shave a lot of time off your battle.
The CG is what you'd expect from Square, just as clear
and as breathtaking as ever. People who want awesome
graphics will enjoy this part of the game as it's
probably the best looking console RPG out right now.
The story is where I have two different feelings
about it. I absolutely love it for how small it makes
your task seem but also hate it because it doesn't
give you that epic quest feeling that I got from the
other Final Fantasies. However, it is told very well,
you're provided with history, motive to push on (for
the most part) a cause to fight for what you believe
in. For once a FF title didn't drag on too long, from
the beginning of your adventure you know your foe, you
know your path and all you have to do is walk down it.
The history really helps put the 'save the world from
the foreboding menace' in its place. The thing about having
all this history is it's really a double edged sword,
I won't reveal why because that could just ruin the
game for you.
The music is very good. I found myself stopping in
some areas just to listen to the track. Every note
played really fits the mood of the game. One thing I
did not like about it was they scrapped a few of the
classic Final Fantasy tunes, although the new ones
easily make up for it. Soundtrack collectors will
definitely want this in their collection.
The sound effects are very good too, just as good as
the music. One thing new in this game that's absent
from the previous Final Fantasies is the voice acting.
I was excited to hear this about the game cause if
voice acting is done right, it adds a lot to the
characters. For Squares first North American attempt
at this, it is a good one. In the more important
scenes it really shines but in the casual
conversations with your party the lips don't exactly
match what they're saying, which wasn't a big
disappointment but hopefully the next time it will be
corrected. Sometimes the dialogue is clunky or
stressed tthough, especially the laughs, they just
seemed too unnatural and manufactured to be
Final Fantasy X's control is fine, not a pain to use
at all. One thing that would have been nice though is
a way to alter the camera angle or a first person mode
for when you're searching for those hidden chests or
items. Other than the occasional awkward camera angle,
it is very good.
I was very pleased with this Final Fantasy
installment, I played this game to completion in under
a month, which is very fast for me, and believe me, I
enjoyed every minute of it whether I was training for
that big boss fight or pacing through the story. It's
great for veterans of the series or newcomers to the
genre looking for a way to pass the time. It was
definitely worth my $50 and I strongly suggest you
give it a try.