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Final Fantasy X Review


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Review by ChronoMantra
  As time continues to plod on, and gamers continue to further their collection of items, we very rarely see a continual amount of quality produced within one series. Some could even surmise that the gaming industry itself has been geared toward graphical enhancements (due to the modern day ''wars'' between consoles), rather than quality and the overall appeasement of it's fans.

In Final Fantasy X lies a stark counter-example to this claim...

For the past three years, Squaresoft has kept their heads buried in the masterpiece that is the latest installment to this wondrous RPG series. Inside every aspect of the world of FF10, we see details that have gone unmatched by every other Playstation 2 game release thus far. In doing this, Square has generated a game that not only raises the mark for graphical achievements (not just in RPGs, mind you), but pleases fans of the series, both veterans and newcomers alike. As we explore just what makes FF10 so noticeably amazing, reflect back upon games of the past, and just what has defined the term ''amazing'' for this series.


It may as well go that the first area for reviewal be the most trivial. Yes, as expected the graphics are spell-binding. Whereas in Metal Gear Solid 2, we were provided with bland, grey and black environments, Final Fantasy X produces a rainbow of PS2 capabilities, which strikes the player at the very opening sequence, and grabs his attention right up until ''The End'' is splashed across the screen. Don't expect to be given anything less than a lush world to traverse in the setting of Spira.

MUSIC: 9/10

Along with Sakaguchi and Amano, Nobuo Uematsu is given the utmost praise for remaining with the series throughout it's entire 14 year history, while at the same time producing exceptional tracks for gamers to enjoy during their travels. Final Fantasy X is no exception for Uematsu, although this time, he's got a bit of help. Junya Nakano and Masashi Hamauzu team up with the veteran to create a moving, inspirational (albeit diverse) soundtrack. No less than 70 tracks were produced for the game to accompany the various heroes, heroines, and villains, and situations throughout the game. Although praise can be given, a significant amount of criticism is present as well. The aforementioned diversity can be welcomed, or rejected, depending on the player's point of view. For the first time since the series' inception, heavy metal has made it's way into the soundtrack, and, although the song(s) are rather well-composed for their genre, a certain few may not welcome such a drastic change to this fantasy series.

STORY: 9/10

For those who jumped on the Final Fantasy bandwagon with VII (myself included), the following (and preceding) games' story lines are usually compared to this epic tale. Suffice to say, FF10 may not measure up to VII in this department, but it still holds it's own comparatively well. This time around, we are given the plight of 18 year old Tidus, a star blitzball player, who is unwillingly thrust from his technologically advanced city of Zanarkand, to the religiously adherent and turbulent world of Spira. Spira's turbulence results from the malevolent mammoth creature, born from Spira's past sacrilegious use of technology, known as Sin. There, Tidus meets with Yuna and her three guardians, Wakka, Lulu, and Kimahri, right at the start of Yuna's pilgrimage to defeat Sin. Along the way, they meet several new friends (and defeat several fiends), in their quest to rid Spira of this terrible force. In terms of originality, the premise will leave most unsatisfied, however it isn't the premise which merits this quality. Final Fantasy X contains a larger amount of plot twists than any other preceding FF, save for VII. By the end of the game, many will be scratching their heads in light of the many events that took place over the course of the game.

Similarly, the ending of Final Fantasy X produces a large amount of ambiguity for players. Since an explanation would violate GameFaqs regulations, it can easily be said that a contemplation afterwards is more than necessary in order to determine all that has happened, when it happened, and why it happened.


Final Fantasy X's real area in the spotlight is the gameplay. Never (not even in VII) in the series have battles been this exhilarating, and downright fun. Square opted to leave random battles in, which is the only real qualm I have, but rather than reuse a system from previous FFs, they've chosen to revamp the various systems regarding it. The Active Time Battle System, seen in previous Final Fantasies, has been tossed out, and replaced by the favored turn-based system. A bar in the top-right hand corner of the screen indicates which character (or enemy) is next on the attacking front. This gives gamers time to prepare and fully plan out their strategy, making battles easier, and ultimately, more enjoyable. In addition, the player is given the option to switch characters in and out of battle simply by the touch of a button; pressing L1 activates a menu of characters that are not currently participating in the fight. From their, select whichever character you wish to enter. This welcome addition allows for all seven party members (rather than the previous 3 member party selection) to actively level up, and likewise, be useful

In terms of leveling up, Final Fantasy X has totally scrapped their previous methods, and chosen a system which allows for a maximum amount of freedom. The Sphere Grid is a gigantic board composed of hundreds of nodes, all joined by interconnecting paths. On these nodes lie a multitude of abilities, strength-ups, magic-ups, defense-ups, luck-ups, etc. A character that participates (this is defined by performing only one action) in battle receives AP at the end (provided him/her is still alive). Upon reaching a necessary amount, the character in question receives a Sphere Level. Each sphere level can be used to move either one space forward, or four spaces backwards. To activate a node, characters use spheres that they also gain from the successful completion of a battle. Various spheres correspond to the selection of each node, with the four primary choices being power, mana, ability, and speed. At the start, the characters are locked into their own paths, however as time progresses, lvl. lock spheres can be obtained to break out of these pathways and have each character learn another's abilities.

Mini-games are present here as well, and are even necessary in order to unlock each character's ultimate weapon. Complete with chocobo racing, hidden aeons, a monster training facility, the infamous Ultima and Omega weapons, and an engaging underwater sport (one that could be repackaged and sold separately), Final Fantasy X delivers over 40 hours of completely optional material to participate in.


As with past FFs, 10 will take a considerably LONG amount of time to master. The story line portion of the game will require about 40 hours, depending on the player, however in order to maximize characters and item collection, Final Fantasy X will take no less than 140 hours to complete. Add that to the fact that some may desire a replay, and you have a fun romp that will amount to much more than a simple weekend play.

The years come and go, and the time will come again when yet another installment to the Final Fantasy series has arrived. Until this time comes, gamers across the world will peruse the current object of interest, and both criticize and praise it for what it has become. Square shows no current signs of faltering in the RPG world, and until the next Final Fantasy, FF10 will continue to remain as the prime example of their success and determination to produce what many ultimately desire:

a good game...
Reviewer's Score: 10 / 10
Review by Dogg
And thus a new Adventure begins!

With each Final Fantasy game comes a new adventure. This new adventure will contain its many new characters, side quests, etc. Final Fantasy has proven time and time again that is a revolutionary series and one that almost any one shouldn't miss out. Square, maker of the Final Fantasy games has really found a thing they are good at and they will never stop until the end. With Final Fantasy 1 the introduced this new world and surprised many, then it went and sold just crazy. With Final Fantasy 2, Square proved everything it could've proved and made one of the best games of all time. And then throughout the years we've seen the Final Fantasy series turn upside down from being an RPG (role playing game) to being a strategy RPG. That is until Square announced Final Fantasy 7.

Final Fantasy 7 would've been everything we've seen from the Final Fantasy series with mixed results. The game was issued for the Nintendo 64. However, Square soon cancelled and turned to a much different company, Sony. Sony's Playstation console was doing quite good with its sales and with Square joining them it would have been even better. Then the game was released and everyone was shocked. This was probably the best game anyone has ever seen and it looked so good. This was the first Final Fantasy game to a '' next generation'' console. Square later released Final Fantasy 8, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy 9, which also captivated the series. Here enters a new year and now Sony has a new console and Square is ready to prove to everyone once again that they can continue making good games.

Here enters Final Fantasy X (10). This game promised good graphics, excellent gameplay, new characters, and many more sidequests. They would also take out the Active Time Battle System, which was infected in almost every Final Fantasy game. So with Final Fantasy X being released, did Square promise all those things? Hell yes! Of course they did what were you thinking?

This marks the first for a Final Fantasy game on a true '' next-gen system'' and this will also help it along the way. As it turns out Final Fantasy can be to many one of the most captivating and most experienced games around. If anyone has got the hardware for it then they should definitely play this game, because you won't be let down. And in the end when everything is said and finished Final Fantasy X can be one of the best games on any console and most importantly the PS2. Also Final Fantasy X will have good competition with many games making many people even more eager to try it out.

If you have been wanting to know more about Final Fantasy X then here it is. Final Fantasy X as I've mentioned brings back many new things. Things from the past and things we've recently have seen. If you are looking for the best cinematics and graphics around you've found it. Also the sound is just as captivating as the sound as composer Noguo Uematsu and team have done a deal of great work on it too. The voice acting is good too and just like Capcom's Devil May Cry, the lip-synching is done well too. The game doesn't suffer from harsh load times either. Everything is quick and steady and the loading process is done really fast. The game's character list can also be noted as one of the best in any character's history (except the Metal Gear characters of course).

Gameplay- 9/10
Nope this isnt Betsy Ross on crack

The gameplay is really refreshing and the game itself brings back new memories and it just remakes itself. Also some major gameplay elements as I mentioned like the Active Time Battle (ATB) system being taken out it just gets better. So since the ATB system is gone then how the heck do you fight anybody? You fight them with the system that was used in the Front Mission series. Arguably it's not that hard to learn, but if people talk to you about it and you don't experience it first hand then it can be a bit confusing. Mainly the battle system is simple. Just look at the sidebar at the top left of the screen and follow it. It will give the turns in which you and your allies attack. As well as when your enemies attack. And when you use magic spells like Haste or Slow your meter for your character to attack will either make them attack fewer times or make them attack faster.

The game also brings back to you having 3 characters in your party. This disposes of Final Fantasy 9's 4-character system. One new gameplay element is in the form of your summons. In this game your summons are called Aeons. Some of the major Aeons I've experienced are Ifrit, Shiva, Bahamut, Valfore, the sisters, and that sea creature which I still don't know its name. The summons just look beautiful. Everything from making you look at Ifrit's Hell Fire Attack to Bahamut's Mega Flare attack all look so good. In Final Fantasy's 7 & 8 you had to keep on seeing your summon do their attack which at times started to get boring and timid. In this game you don't have to keep seeing them. This might just brings some smiles back to some people's faces. However the summons aren't like the past summons which just did an attack and went away. Now the summons are your characters. When an Aeon is summoned, the Aeon will come and your characters will leave except for the Aeon and it's summoner. The Aeon will act exactly like a character it will have overdrives (limit breaks), magic spells, and just simple attacks. The Aeon however, disappears when its HP (hit points) are out or when its summoner has died.

Another new gameplay element that is cool is the sphere grid system. This might be a bit confusing at first, but it's quite simple really. Since your characters no longer receive Experience points they now just receive AP points. When your character gets enough AP they will take a move on the grid, which will soon make them learn special abilities. All characters start at a different area on the board making it act like one big board game.

The game as I said also has some of the best characters ever. The characters in this game are Tidus, Yuna, Wakka, Kimahri, Rikku, Lulu, and Auron. The game's main hero, Tidus is a pro blitzball player. Blitzball is a combination of soccer, a little of baseball, and some basketball. However, it's mainly a type of soccer game. The blitzball activity replaces the card game from the past games (FF8 and FF9). Blitzball is really fun, but it all takes a while to learn so don't expect to get it right off the bat.

Graphics- 10/10
Very steep, Very rich

If you have been looking for the one game with excellent graphics, then congratulations you've found it. This game features some of the best graphics ever and it also shows you just how far we've come in videogames. In this game almost everything is detailed and it looks really nice. The backgrounds are also really good despite some bad lighting effects. But still the main feature that helps out the graphics are the cut scenes. The cut scenes (or cinemas as they are called) are really good and should surprise in many more ways than one. Also the character models are nicely detailed too. Everything from the characters hair to their eyelids looks really, really good. So to sum it up, Final Fantasy X is definitely one of the best looking games of all time on any system and should show the other consoles some of the true power of Sony's amazing Playstation 2 system.

Sound- 9/10
Shallow has never sounded so good!

The sound is greatly detailed too. The composers and the teams did a nice job of tuning it to make it as good as possible. And it probably is as good as possible. However, what people were really worried about a couple of months ago would have been the voice acting. Would it have been good or bad? Well to tell you the truth it is both. It really depends on the person's perspective and of course their main opinion. My main opinion is that it is really good, but I guess it could have been at its core a bit better. But hell why should you argue about that? I mean this is the first Final Fantasy game with full voice acting. So be proud of Square's main accomplishment.

Replay- 8/10
Inconsistency mixed with healthy flavor!

It really depend if you should play this game to the end or play the whole game a second time. I mean this game is probably the biggest Final Fantasy game of all time, with many side quests like Blitz ball and the Al Bhed quest to make it bigger. But to really review this I would need more peoples opinions. People would probably not even want to finish this game or many will just play it for the experience and this game will offer you the main experience. Plus you should play this game at least more than once because this is really one of those games in which you shall savor it from beginning to end.

Overall Score- 9/10 for Final Fantasy X by Square for the Playstation 2.

Closing Statement- Final Fantasy X is just one of those treasured games that just doesnt come out so often. Thanks to its innovative, and moody style Final Fantasy X proves that it is a sep above the rest. This Final Fantasy also shows the roots that future Final Fantasy games can follow. With everything that Final Fantasy X proves, no wonder it is the best RPG for the year-old Sony Playstation 2.
Reviewer's Score: 9 / 10

Review by Eternal Jehuty
  Ah, the Final Fantasy series. Many fans of the RPG genre would consider it the holy grail. Now, even with 10 installments, the series shows no indication of slowing down, if Final Fantasy X is an omen of things to come. Although it bears the ''Final Fantasy'' name, Final Fantasy X (hereafter ''FFX'') is markedly different from it's predecessors.

First off, the graphical style seems to have more of an Asian influence, rather than the fantasy look shared by most of the previous FFs. Of course, the graphics are superb. The character models are practically seamless and are highly detailed (though they aren't up to the caliber of Metal Gear Solid 2's models, but they come pretty close, which is a remarkable feat), the enviroments are beautiful and wonderfully crafted, with nary a bland texture, and even the infamous FMV sequences look better. The one thing that's a bit annoying involving the graphics is the fact that when the characters talk in the game, the lips aren't synced with the words. Overall, though, the graphics will continue to amaze and wow you throughtout the duration of your quest.

Of course, it just wouldn't be a Final Fantasy title without some awesome music. Although series composer Nobuo Uematsu continues his work with FFX, some other composers aided him in the creation of the soundtrack. This is quite significant, as the music does indeed sound a bit more ''modern'' than the previous installments. The game starts out with a remix of the ''Crystal theme'' and then, for the first time in the series' history, a hardcore rock song starts playing. It may be a bit overwhelming for fans of the NES/SNES era of the Final Fantasy games, but for those who have played through the PSX games, it's much easier to ''handle''. For the most part, though, the music is superb. Another year, another great FF soundtrack. The sound effects are standard fare, with the usual footsteps, sword clinging, magic blasting, and whatever other RPG sound effect cliché that you can think of. The biggest change to the sound, however, is the addition of voice acting. The voice actors do quite well for the most part, although some of it sounds a bit unrealistic or cheesy. The characters do talk how you would expect them to, due to their designs and looks. The voice acting is quite good, and I would welcome it in the any new FF as long as it's up to the caliber of this one's. Overall, it makes for one fantastic sounding package, and I would recommend buying the soundtrack as soon as you finish the game.

Gameplay. The most important part of any game. This is where FFX REALLY takes turn from the FF standard. Of course, battles are still random, but the similarities to older titles end there. FFX ditches the ATB (Active-Time Battle) which first saw the light of day in Final Fantasy IV. Now, the game has a turn-based battle system. You can easily view the order in which you and you enemies are going to make their moves in. Although some may claim that this makes the game a lot easier, it actually allows for more strategy. Instead of being rushed into making a decision, you can sit back, and plan out an effective way to take out your foes. Another drastic change is that you can now switch characters in/out of battle with the simple press of a button. This really makes the game a lot more strategic than it's predecessors. Let's say you start the battle out with no one but physical powerhouses. Unfortunately for you the enemies you are facing have a high defense, and can only be taken out easily by a magic user. Well, now it's no problem. Just switch out one of your characters, and replace them with the Black Mage of the group. Problem solved. The next biggest change is the way Summons appear in this game. Dubbed Aeons, when you call them, they become an active member in the party. In fact, once called, they REPLACE your current members, which means you can only control your Aeon. This is, of course, a lot different from the previous one-shot super attacks of the earlier FFs. They can attack, defend, use magic and special attacks, just like regular characters. They can charge up their Overdrives (which I'll talk about later), and then unleash one super move, which is more in tune with what I was talking about earlier. Their appearance in battle kind of interrupts the seamless flow of the regular characters' battle, but it's alright for the most part. Overdrives are still the same Desperation/Limit Break/Trance super attacks that characters have had in the last few games. They are most like FFVIII's limit breaks, as they usually require some sort of button press or combination in order to realize the full effect of the move. The way that the Overdrive meter fills up can be changed. From the outset, when you take damage, your meter goes up a notch. You can unlock other ways to do so, however, such as Healing party members, or attacking enemies. After all of that, though, none of it can compare (in terms of change) to the Sphere Grid system. You remember leveling up in RPGs? Well, forget it. That's not how it works here. You still earn EXP. (called AP for ''Ability Points'' in this game), but whenever you ''level up'', your character does not receive any stat bonuses or new moves. Instead, you get to move one space on the Grid. For each space you move, that number is subtracted from your total. So if you are at Sphere Level 1, you can only move one space. Now, this alone does not increase your stats. Instead, you have to use ''Spheres'' of all different kinds in order to activate nodes, which will increase your HP, MP, attack, etc. There are all kinds of different Spheres, and each one activates it's own set of nodes. Also, each character has their own starting position on the Grid (with one exception). This makes it so that not all characters are exactly alike. For example, your White Mage starts where, surprise!, all the White Magic spells/abilities are. And your main fighters will be in places where there are lots of strength nodes. This doesn't mean that you can't move into another characters part of the Grid, but you will need some special items in order to complete the transition. Some other things new to the series: You can add abilities to weapons and armor, such as moves that increase your strength, or defend against certain status ailments. So this means that Weapons don't really affect your stats as much as they did in previous games, because they don't really add a certain amount of anything to your character. You can also teach your Aeons abilities, as well, but it comes in too late in the game to really be of much use, anyway. And random battles occur too frequently in some areas.

Overall, though, the game is quite fun. The gameplay is new and fresh, and it feels like a breath of fresh air for the series. Some people may complain about all the changes. I, however, embrace them.

And of course, it wouldn't be a FF without a story. Although it's still the same RPG ''Find a group of characters to battle a big enemy'' type deal, the way it's told is exquisite. The game doesn't really seem to focus on the main enemy as much as the characters. I like this change, as it makes the characters seem more...human-like. They develop a lot better than before. The story is told through a combination of real-time cut scenes, and some FMV (although much more of the former), and it makes for quite the experience. You should be able to relate to the characters, and understand what they are feeling. The action doesn't really let up, with some really interesting plot twists, and once you reach the end, you are rewarded with quite the wonderful ending (although it is kinda left open for debate). I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, and I couldn't be happier with the translations (except for a couple of mishaps).

This game sure is packed with stuff to do. Just playing through the game will take the average gamer about 30-50 hours. The sidequests, however, are quite numerous. The main attraction this time is Blitzball, a kind of underwater soccer sport played in the game's world. There are plenty of secrets to unlock, and lots of extra places to explore. These make the game worth playing the game through a second time.

Overall, the game is fantastic. The game looks and sounds great, it plays fantastic, and there's plenty of stuff to keep you busy for hours upon hours. One warning though: Once you get this game, don't expect to be doing much else until you finish it.

Reviewer's Score: 10 / 10
Review by final78a
  All I can say is that I'm speechless. Final Fantasy X is probably THE reason you got a PS2, and probably the best game this or next year(depends on if you rely on the silent or unsilent release). For the parts that I've played so far, they're wonderful. Now let's go on with the evaluation shall we?

Graphics: 10
Did you expect any less? Even though there are some jaggies, you can only really see them if your lookin for them. Unlike past Final Fantasies, the FMV and in game graphics flow smoothly. An early example is the boat ride. During the boat ride, the main ship is ingame graphics, while the chaos outside the ship is full FMV. It's really hard to notice. Another example would be when Yuna does her famose water dance. In a movie like transition, it goes from ingame to FMV. The ingame graphics are pretty good. The movement is excellent and the enviroments are realistic. In addition, the camera moves slowly and are usually in the right place. It's kinda works like the Devil May Cry camera, but because the game isn't as fast, you don't get any problems.

Sound: 9
Most of the voices are REALLY good. The only two complaints I have would Tidus and Yuna. Tidus takes like a few minutes to get used to, and Yuna takes a while longer to get used to. I had some doubts about Wakka and Lulu, but after hearing them in the game, my doubts have vanished because they both work for them. The music is excellent. I really like the jump from 8 bit to 16 bit(i think it's 16 bit). The music has much better quality as each piece is more complicated and sounds better. I find my self pausing the game just to listen to some of the catchy tunes. However, that same annoying battle music is still there. I'm not complaining though. The only big complaint I have in the sound department would be that not all the characters speak. It really hampers the feel and just seems out of place in this game.

Gameplay: 9
The new systems that have been placed onto the Final Fantasy series are a fresh breath of air. It's always good to try something new. First off, I'll talk about the new Bar system. Overall, it's good, other then the fact that you can't delay an attack for a later time. Depending on your actions, your next turn can come earlier, or later. It has a strategic feel as there are certain times when you should attack, and certain times when you shouldn't. Also, you can switch your armor and weapons and change characters when ever it's your turn without penalty. Next is the Sphere Board. The sphere board is a complicated board filled with twists and dead ends that teaches you abilities. The sphere board get's rid of the annoying leveling up system incorporated in past RPGs. You can basically customize to do what ever you want. Wakka, one of the best fighters in the game, can turn into a nuke by learning magic spells if you want him to. Also, the sphere board also has a strategic feel to it too. You gotta plan ahead where you want your character to progress to get the best out of your characters. Depending on what you wanna do, you gotta look ahead and check which path you wanna move to. The Sphere Board is also a relief to people who hate leveling up. Instead of EXP, you get AP. Why's that good? Because AP is not shared among characters. So if you kill somebody that gives you 70 ap, instead of seven characters getting 10 AP, the seven characters get 70 AP. Anther new feature to series would be trigger commands. During certain battles, there are trigger commands that do stuff to a battle that aid you. They are pretty interesting, and they just show how powerful the PS2 is, as in battle, allies or opponents move. In the exploration mode, there is no longer a world map. NOOOO!!!!!!!!!! That really really stinks, and is the only reason why Gameplay got a 9, not a 10. However, i can't say that it doesn't come without advantages. It truly makes you scream with wonder looking at the new enviroments and you never have to listen to the same world music ever again. :) In addition to that, the new map thing shows you where to go and important events so you'll almost never be unprepared. But the story is incredibly linear which goes along this new format. Which really sucks.

Well in the end, FFX is a must buy. It's a great christmas present, and an excellent game. Now, you may be wondering why I didn't mention any of the story, well, that's cus all u guyz out there probably already know the premise and if I was going to make a story section, it's most likely gonna contain spoilers, which i don't want. Well hope you found my Review useful, and Mery Christmas, Happy Channika, Happy Kwanza, or what ever you celebrate. Cya, and I hope you enjoy the Experience of Final Fantasy X.
James (12/19)
Reviewer's Score: 9 / 10

Review by joshx42
  Why is Final Fantasy X the greatest RPG of all time? Simple. The three most important aspects, gameplay, story, and graphics (in that order) are better here than in any other FF installment, and the overall package ends up being more superb then any other RPG, even though Xenogears had a better storyline.

The storyline is possibly my favorite part of this game, because it is so unique, well-done, and entertaining. I'm sure everyone reading this already knows that its about Tidus and Yuna trying to defeat a creature named ''Sin.'' Even though the overall story is fairly simple (which isn't a bad thing, at least in this case) it becomes much more complex. This is no FF7 or FF8, SNES-RPG lovers. The story is not bad, confused, or annoying, it is the antonym of all of those, and the most emotionally moving, which I find the most important in a story. Metal Gear Solid 2 also knows how to put together this high-quality of a story, but that isn't an RPG, so I won't compare them. All I can really say without spoiling anything is: get ready for one of the most amazing adventures ever, with mostly unforgettable characters (Square succeeded at making six of the seven main characters likable, but didn't get to 100 percent, because I can't stand Wakka) all of the FMV's and great cutscenes that Playstation-weaned RPG gamers are so fond of (I'm a perfect mix, so don't call me biased in either direction, because I do love FF4, FF5, FF6, FF7, and FF8 all together) and terrific gameplay. Read on, please.

The removal of the Active Time Battle system was one of the smartest decisions Square has made yet. Kudos to Toshiro Toshida (I hope I spelled that correctly) for fixing all of the bad gameplay elements that plagued FF8, and making the battles more strategic. I especially like how summon creatures (they're called aeons, and hopefully they'll be from now on) are able to stay and fight, even though you need their overdrives (that'll be explained later) puffed up to the maximum in order to even use their best attack. Because of the story, only one person can summon aeons, but this doesn't really lend itself as an annoyance. Overall, the gameplay is a refreshing change, and offers my favorite battle system ever. You may not like random battles, but since the battles are so much fun anyway, I could hardly care.

FFX has something called a Sphere Grid that replaces the traditional experience points and levels system, and this can be either a blessing or a curse, mostly based on personal preference rather then quality. The biggest pro is that it completely eliminates the need to run around in circles in some area, getting into random battles in order to level up your characters. If you refrain from escaping most battles as you plow through FFX (very few parts made me want to scream at the random battle rate, unlike FF6) you'll be ready for the tough boss battles, at least in the game's first half. Anyway, the Sphere Grid allows your characters to move around on a giant grid and pick different statistical abilities to acquire to your characters, and the amount of steps you can take each time you visit is determined by the amount of points you get after each battle. Getting enough AP (Ability Points) will give your character one step, usually letting him get one ability, or if you haven't sphere-grid-leveled-up your guy in a while but used him in battles, he might have about nine steps available to him. The Grid offers customization as well, because each character can become a black mage, white mage, etc, it just takes hard work. Not as complex as FF5's Job System, but still very nice.

My favorite new battle system ability is how you can press the L1 button in a battle to switch the character who's turn it is with another, currently unused character in your party. Unlike, say, every other FF, your characters will all travel simultaneously, which allows you to do this. In FF7, as an example, you traveled in two parties to lower the risk of danger, at least according to the story. Bringing a character into the battle and having he or she use at least one command will qualify the character to receive AP points equal to that of the other characters who have participated. Using the switch ability carries no penalty, so you won't use a turn up when you switch, because the new character will be able to attack immediately.

OH... MY... GOD. Final Fantasy X's graphics are so unspeakably astounding that they simply have to be seen with one's own eyes in order to be believed. The FMV's are mind-blowing, the environments insanely detailed, and the character models fabulous. Tidus and Auron, especially, are incredibly well done. And later on in the game, few graphical achievements come close to watching Sin. But what really shocked me was just how damn good the facial expressions were. Those simple expressions raise by many points the impact that the story had, because they make it so much more believable. But remember this, for the people reading this review that like FF4-6 and no later FF's. You may not like FF7 and FF8 because you believed that their stories and gameplay were subpar, but FFX is different, because it has all the good graphics of the PS1 FF's, (for the time I mean, FFX's graphics are way better then that of FF7-9) but still retains a fabulous story and gameplay that hasn't been seen with such quality for a while.

The other reason that the story has such a high impact on the player is because the great voice acting, third on the PS2 to only the Metal Gear Solid and Soul Reaver franchises. Please, please, don't complain that James Arnold Taylor's performance of Tidus sounds whiny after playing the first ten minutes of the game. His performance quality grows quickly, and before long you will have no complaints. The person who does Rikku was so great to listen to that I actually continued to hope that she would speak, because she... just.. well... it's hard to explain but I hope you'll understand after encountering her later in the game.

Fortunately, Nobuo Uematsu is not gone yet, and he delivers with another great soundtrack that rivals the ones found in FF6 and FF7. Most of the songs are great, but my main complaint would be that there aren't any super-memorable ones, like the theme played in FF7 right before the end of Disc 1, during that one unforgettable scene (you know what I'm talking about, most of you.) The pace of the songs is a bit faster, because the songs now seem closer to rock, then they once were (the song played during the brief Blitzball game during Final Fantasy X's first FMV is an example) and this is actually a good thing. I can't wait for my copy of the FFX soundtrack (full edition, not that TokyoPop version with only a fraction of them) to arrive in the mail.

The last thing I want to add about the battle system is to answer your questions about if Limit Breaks return from FF7-8. They do, but like FF9, under a different name. They're called Overdrives this time, and they all have to entered differently, which I find unique (Lulu's involves twirling the right analog stick as fast as you can, Auron's involves entering a multiple-button sequence, etc.) Your Overdrive meter can be increased in multiple ways, which have to be earned throughout the game, and some of them are personal damage, ally damage, kills, etc. Unlike FF7, when you die, your Limit Break/Overdrive doesn't go down to the bottom, which helps out a bit. It does on the aeons, however. The characters can also learn different Overdrive attacks in different ways, (Tidus involves repeatedly using previous Overdrives, Yuna's involves getting new aeons, etc.) but except for the truly hardcore, it won't matter much if you don't learn more then two. I personally like the Overdrive system in FFX better then the Limit Break system in FF7 or FF8 (especially FF8) and better then the Trance system in FF9. I think it's original and creative.

To sum up my review, all of the above adds up into simply the greatest RPG ever. You'll love the ending, to me it is one of the most emotionally moving scenes I have ever seen or read, game, movie, or book. Buy Final Fantasy X if you like RPG's. Heck, buy it even if you don't- you just might acquire a new respect for the genre.
Reviewer's Score: 10 / 10