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Written by  :  DarkDove (70)
Written on  :  Nov 16, 2003

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Unjustifiable as a game…this is an experience.

The Good

From the very beginning of Final Fantasy X, you can tell that this game is going to be much more than any other game you have ever played. It is so involved in every single way, that it can hardly even be classified as a traditional video game. Each character is attractive in their own unique ways, each minute of the story will leave you on the edge of your seat, each note of every song will move you in a way you never expected, and each second of every battle will leave you breathless.

As you would expect from any Final Fantasy, the story is once again gripping and unique, and it is once again completely different from all its predecessors. Starting in the futuristic world of Zanarkand, you take control of Tidus, a promising young blitzball athlete. Tidus is goofy, kind, and a little arrogant, but his troubles become apparent as he narrates the story by expressing his thoughts in a serious, insightful manner. In the opening FMV, Tidus's world is quickly turned upside down, as an unknown force obliterates Zanarkand and transports him to another place, in another time. Now, Tidus has to learn the ways of this new world, and try to figure out exactly what is going on. On his way, he uncovers a world of love, deceit, sorrow, and bravery in his epic attempt to save a world in which he doesn’t belong.

Of course, Tidus isn't alone in his heroic quest. Final Fantasy X has one of the most attractive supporting casts I've ever had the joy to play alongside. The first character you meet is Auron, a strict and introverted man who sets his sights on something and then sees nothing else. Next comes Rikku, a bubbly, cheerful, no-worries teenage girl that no one can dislike (go ahead and try, I dare you). Next you'll meet Wakka, a friendly, hard-working athlete who sort of presents a big brother feeling to Tidus. Then along comes Lulu, a no non-sense, yet insightful black mage, and Kimahri, the strong and silent Ronso. All of these characters have one thing in common...they are all Guardians, sworn to protect a certain summoner with their lives. The summoner is Yuna, a young girl who can only think of others, who does everything she can to protect others, and most of all, attempts to brighten up everyone's day with her mature kindness. I have played a lot of games where many of the characters were extremely likable, but never have they felt as real as the stars of Final Fantasy X.

With such a great story and wonderful characters, you can definitely expect to be completely sucked into the world of Final Fantasy X. Even the most apathetic of you out there won't be able to help feel some sort of emotion at some of the game's high points. For instance, Final Fantasy X has my all time favorite video game scene ever. The events that lead up to the scene, the emotion that is conveyed at the beginning of the scene, the utterly perfect background music, all of it is just simply unexplainable. To top it all off, the location where it takes place is simply beautiful, and the graphical detail is so impressive I couldn't believe my eyes. Many of the game's FMV's will bring out varied emotions, and in my case, at such a level I didn't think possible coming from a video game.

For those of you who have played previous Final Fantasies and love the ATB(Active Time Battle) System, you may be surprised at Square's turn towards the CTB (Conditional Turn- Based Battle) System. Basically this means that once it's your turn, you have as much time to choose an attack you want. But the option you choose changes the order of the turns for later. For instance, say you choose to cast Regen on someone instead of attacking, depending on the circumstances, you might get an extra turn in before the enemy's next turn. This allows for a more strategic battle system, and it really works well. In my opinion, that battles have never been more fun.

While still focusing on differences, let me explain how you will level up in Final Fantasy X. Scrapping the traditional experience points altogether, and forgetting the idea of actual levels, Square instituted the completely new and totally unique idea of the Sphere Grid. The Sphere Grid is a grid full of empty nodes containing different attributes. Some of them increase your HP, your strength, agility and so on, while others teach your characters abilities like offensive and supportive magic. To activate a node, you have to collect different spheres, and then place them in empty nodes. At first glance, the Sphere Grid can be very intimidating, making you think you’ll never understand it. But the reality is the Sphere Grid is really rather simple, and you’ll most likely have a lot of fun just experimenting with it.

Finally, let me clear something up that you may or may not still be wondering about...blitzball. I mentioned earlier that Tidus was a promising young blitzball athlete, but just what the heck is blitzball? Well, to put it simply, blitzball is Final Fantasy X's minigame, only it isn't so mini. Blitzball is a sport that takes place in a gigantic floating sphere of water. I'd like to explain to you exactly how it's played, and why you would want to spend any time on it, but truth be told, I never actually spent any more time on it than I had to; not to mention that the game is so complex, I don't think I'd be able to fit everything in here even if I was a blitzball master. Of course, after talking to other people about it, so far I'm the only one who didn't fall helplessly addicted to the strangely attractive sport. All I can tell you is that the FMV's containing blitzball sequences are quite exhilirating, and according to everyone else, you'll love playing it as much as I loved watching it.

The Bad

After having completed Final Fantasy X and looking back, I know there were times when I was a bit upset with it. But as hard as I try, I can’t remember what any of it was that bothered me, or why any of it even bothered me. My only explanation for this is that looking back at the game as a whole, every good thing about it completely shields me from remembering those little things that at one time bothered me.

The Bottom Line

Right now, I am having an incredibly difficult time summing up Final Fantasy X. All I can say is, no matter what you have read elsewhere, no matter what you think after reading this review, go get this game. There is nothing I can say that can give proper credit to this fine piece of work, and so the only way you can understand all of my babbling is to play the game for yourself. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor if you do. And for those of you who have never played a Final Fantasy, and especially for those of you who have never played an RPG, Final Fantasy X would be the perfect place to start.