Final Fantasy X is of course the tenth main game in the long running Final Fantasy series. With each new final Fantasy release, there is a new innovation of some sort, and Final Fantasy does this in multiple ways. From the gorgeous(at the time) graphics, to it’s strategic turn based combat, hailed by some as the best combat in the series, and even being the first final Fantasy game to have voice actors.
As with all of the final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy X takes what we knew about the PS2s capabilities at the time of it’s release, and then makes us look like idiots by totally surpassing every other current release. Such is the way of Square Enix(still Squaresoft at the time), and I’m not about to complain. For the first time in a final Fantasy game, characters faces could show real emotion outside of CG cut scenes, and almost every fiber of every character, enemy an item is as detailed as they could get it with what they knew at that time. Though the graphics have aged somewhat poorly, especially if you’re playing it on a bigger screen, you can’t say that FFX is not beautiful.
What is a final Fantasy game without an epic story that you remember for years? You take control of Tidus, an aspiring young Blitzball player and son of Jecht, a famous Blitzball player. After a scene in which you get to see this being played, a giant portal opens in the skies above (pun unintended, if you’ve played the game, and especially if you’re a fan of Nobuo Uematsu’s music, you’ll get it.). Working his way through the crowds of people scattering everywhere, Tidus emerges from the Blitzball stadium to find an old friend of his father’s, Auron waiting for him. He gives Tidus a sword called the Brotherhood, a gift from Jecht and they set off to fight a monstrous creature spawning miniature versions of itself all over Zanarkand. After defeating it, they are sucked into this portal and whisked off to the land of Spira, far into the future, and a land in which Zanarkand has been destroyed. After meeting most of the rest off the cast, Tidus and company embark on a journey to defeat Sin, a “monster” that terrorizes Spira for the use of Machina. I love FFX’s story, and it really has some tear jerker moments and twists along the way.
Kind of hard to mess up RPG controls. You move with one stick, and move the camera with the others. Another innovation is this is the first FF not to use prerendered back grounds, meaning you can move the camera around in a fully 3d environment for the first time. Other than that, triangle opens your menu, X is yes and circle is no.
As I mentioned, FFX has wait is hailed by many as one of the best turn based combat systems ever invented. There is no ATB gauge, or anything like that. Combat in FFX can go as fast or as slow as you’d like. A window in the corner of the screen shows which character/enemy is going next for about 20 turns, giving combat a very tactical feel. Feel free to take 10 minutes pondering your strategy. The enemies while simply sit in their default animations while you think, and pose no threat. Also, your characters no longer gain levels. Instead, they introduced the “Sphere Grid”, a grid in which you spend points too move across and upgrade skills individually. Each slot on the grid adds more HP, MP, attack, etc. and even gives you new spells and abilities. Furthermore, each character is on the same grid, just a different part of it, meaning you can cross onto other character’s parts of the grid and learn their abilities. That being said, Tidus is still going to make a better warrior than Lulu, and Lulu is still going to make a better black mage than Tidus. However, you can move Tidus onto Lulu’s grid and learn her magic as Tidus, or move Lulu onto Tidus’ portion of the grid and learn his combat skills.
When it comes to music in an FF game, you know what to expect. Nobody does it quite like Nobuo Uematsu. Final Fantasy X has just as many awesome, memorable tracks as every other game in the series. As for the voice actors, they did very well, and that leaves a very good impression considering it was the first game in the series to do this.
Final Fantasy X was a huge step forward for the series, and stands today as one of the best RPGs on the PS2. It still has one of the best turn based systems I’ve ever used, and while it is far from my favorite in the series, I cannot deny it the merits that it has rightfully earned.