Final Fantasy X

The first thing that hits you as you start playing is the graphics. They’re right on par with the likes of Metal Gear and Gran Turismo and once you get used to them (and you will spend so long playing that you will get used to them) other games don’t seem quite so good any more. In some games the main character is well defined but backgrounds seem flat and bland. FFX gives you well styled characters and deeply detailed 3d backgrounds where grass isn’t just patches of green pixels, it’s mud and dust and real grass. Ok, so other games like MGS sport great graphics too, what’s so revolutionary about this? Well remember, this is the first 3D Final Fantasy game on PS2. And the game play areas are vast field, great deserts, treacherous mountains and more. You get a whole world, not just a complex filled with identical corridors. And, I’m only talking about normal game play, the high def cut scenes are enough to put Peter Jackson to shame.

Tidus

So now you’ve started the game and you think the graphics are amazing but now what are you doing? Well you start as Tidus (or whatever you decide to name him), surrounded by other people who you will soon come to know very well, and he starts to tell you about his history, his story. You flashback to where you take control of Tidus, his home, Zanarkand, where he is a star blitzball player (like football but you use your hands too and you’re underwater). All seems good, as they usually do, but suddenly everything goes wrong, as they usually do, Sin attacks! Sin is one big bad beastie and you get cast into the future where you must defeat him (Samurai Jack anyone?). You join Yuna, the daughter of Braska – the last person to have defeated Sin. She’s a summoner which means she can summon her own array of beasties in battle but she has to go on a pilgrimage to acquire them all. Seems simple enough but Spira (the world) is pretty nasty with all sorts of fiends running around so she needs guardians. Her guardians are; Lulu – a powerful femme fatale specialising in black magic; Wakka – a blitzball player from Yuna’s hometown who uses a blitzball to smack enemies, especially good against flying fiends; and finally Kimahri – a silent giant (who turns out to be pretty small compared to the rest of his race). Kimahri looks like a big blue lion who’s not having a good day and will spear you if you go near Yuna. Tidus joins Yuna as her guardian and they stomp around Spira kicking ass and getting new aeons. You are joined by Sir Auron – a quiet warrior who fought with Braska who knows more than he’s letting on – and Rikku – a young Al Bhed girl (Al Bhed are a race of people who went against “the teachings” and use machines).

 

Together the 7 warriors commence on their epic pilgrimage. They seem like an odd bunch but as the game goes on you see their personal struggles, and you empathize with them. The characters actually have character. You especially empathize with Tidus who starts as a loudmouth jackass who hates his dad, Jecht. Jecht has been missing for 10 years and Tidus learns that Jecht went to the future and fought alongside Auron and Braska to defeat Sin. As you journey on you find out about Jechts fate, why Sin wont stay dead and Tidus discovers himself. The plot is thick and rich and it’s only flaw is the inconclusive ending. There’s nothing wrong with leaving questions unanswered but it could have been dealt with better. There’s a rushed pace about the end and a slower one would have wounded down the story better. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but I wish it was perfect.


One thing that contributes to the games epic feel is the battles. They’re long and drawn out and the turn based system forces you to put your strategy hat on. The game had a director just for the battles and boy did he do his job right. You watch some of the special moves and think “Woah, whoever made that is a genius. Or high…” You could spend hours between save point fighting fiends and getting experience which you can use on the sphere grid.
The sphere grid is a big spiral where you move one space for every sphere you get (which you get for experience points). When you’re on an HP sphere you can get more HP, and attack sphere increases your attack etc etc. Pretty simple, but effective way of upgrading and customising your team. You can even customise blank spheres on the grid to help your characters along. The only flaw with the sphere grid is there is no specific area for Kimahri. Each character starts in a different place surrounded by moves specific for that character and then they can continue onto the rest of sphere grid and upgrade and learn everyone else’s moves too, but they have their own stuff which they specialise in. Kimahri just starts in the middle and just becomes a weaker version of whoever he follows. You can go round the whole sphere with every character and build a mighty team but that’s unbelievably time consuming and you spend enough time playing the main linear game to do too many side quests.

 

Hmm, what’s that? Yes, I said linear game. Despite the levels being vast and huge there’s only one way in and one way out. You can use the airship to visit old places and do extra side quests or upgrade but you get it right before you fights Sin. Hmm, let’s see, am I going to start doing random side quests or fight Sin and see the ending? If they’d given you the ship earlier it would have been amazing. You could have trained and got special items a lot easier and it wouldn’t have felt pointless.

 

But that’s not the worst thing about the game, oh no! The worst thing is the voice acting. I would burst out laughing at sad moments just because it was handled so badly! Where did they find these people? They were not voice actors, they were just voices. If only they’d used proper voices, it would have been so perfect. There are points in the game where it tries to convey some deep messages but the voice monkeys mess it up completely. It could have been so much more. It could have been great, but instead it was just a great game. But I suppose I’m just nitpicking really. After all the Pope didn’t walk into the Sistine chapel and send Michelangelo an email saying “Pretty picture but you spilt a drop on the floor!”

 

FFX will forever be a classic. The beginning sufficiently confuses you and draws you in hungry for answers. The journey is long and epic, you become attatched to your characters, and the ending is only as difficult as you make it. FFX has raised the bar for games and it defines what gaming is about today. Pac man is dead, Final Fantasy rules supreme.

By The Fat.

First Impressions

9

Beautiful artwork that fits the game perfectly

Gameplay

10

Hours and hours of what a game should be

Graphics

9

Stunning, unbelievably brilliant backgrounds and awesome cut scenes

Sound

9

Beautiful music but can be repetitive after 80 hours

Story

9

Deep and powerful story but delivery falls just short of perfect.

RATING

9.2

SUPERIOR