Final Fantasy X review
In case you didn't know, Final Fantasy X is the tenth in Square's best selling RPG series, Final Fantasy. The series has graced such consoles as the Nintendo Entertainment System, SNES, and even the original Game Boy, but Square and Nintndo fell out, and since then the PlayStation has enjoyed the delights of Final Fantasy VII to IX, plus the recent European re-releases of the SNES Japan-only games of Final Fantasy IV to VI (the earlier two as Final Fantasy Anthology) for only £9.99 on the PS1. But now, after a year and a half since the PS2 launch in Europe, the series has finally made the step to the next generation console market with the release of Final Fantasy X on the PS2.
To begin with I have to refer to the graphics. Take a few moments to look at the screenshots on the right. Done? Well, need I say more? The game features the best visuals ever seen on the PlayStation 2, and I think they give even Halo and other graphically amazing titles on the Xbox a run for their money. The whole look of the game is so fluid, smooth, and simply beautiful. The individual styles of the different people are clear, and the world around the characters is full of variation, and not continuous repetition. The only problem is the lip-sync which was clearly designed for the Japanese language version, however this is not very noticeable, and is forgotten in the amazement of the rest of the visuals.
Like all brilliant games, it's not just about the graphics, but the gameplay and Final Fantasy X does not let down there. For an RPG to be a masterpiece, it has to play well, and feature some of the best gameplay around. Final Fantasy X is a masterpiece, and the whole game plays so well, you wouldn't want to play another RPG unless it matched this game's class. The combat system is fast and fun with some excellent overdrive moves making you type a combination of buttons to achieve them, and the movement of the characters is effective and interrupted less by the random battles which occur. Yes, random battles are back, but unlike previous Final Fantasies they do not occur continuously, giving you the chance to actually progress through the game. Not only are the battles fun, but the latest Final Fantasy game-in-a-game, Blitzball, is a brilliantly unique sport and is tremendously entertaining to play. Something worth a mention has to be the sphere grid. This offers you the chance to obtain new abilities for your characters by collecting certain spheres which can unlock powers which you can then enable. It is a great system, and because of the multiple route design of the grid, it allows you to "upgrade" your characters however you choose.
You may have noticed that I have yet to mention the story. Well, I don't really want to give anything away in this story-based RPG, but I will give you a simply synopsis. Basically, you play a boy named Tidus, who is thrust 1000 years into the future. He is a player of a sport called Blitzball, and helps a team of guardians to defend a priestess who must defeat the evil that sent him forward, Sin. There is a lot more to it than that, but it is part of the game to discover the goings on of the world in which you forced into by Sin.
The game also features a more "new school" soundtrack, unlike previous Final Fantasy games, which may displease some people, but personally I enjoyed it more than any FF soundtrack before it. The voices are also pretty well acted (even if the lip-sync isn't right), especially for a Japanese conversion (See Grandia II review for poor English voice acting!).
Lastly, the lifespan of this game has to be mentioned. You will find it hard to work out the sheer scale of this game in your head. Firstly there is the storyline which is long in itself, plus excellent FMVs, then there's the sphere grid, the huge completely replayable sub-game, Blitzball (even has a separate menu, and you can recruit new characters throughout the main game), and of course, the addictiveness of this game. With all that, I'd have to say it's one of the longest and most enjoyable games on the PS2.
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