This is a beginning and ending chapter in the final fantasy series. This is the last Final Fantasy we could consider to be somewhat ?etypical.?f For after this adventure, we?fll move on to the exciting world of online play. However grand the future of final fantasy might be, we?fre here to discuss what is just possibly the most amazingly rendered game to date. Talk to anyone, and not one person could deny that this game is just beautiful from beginning to end. It?fs an adventure that will surely be hard to top.
It?fs quite amazing how Square seems to continuously outdo itself. Such a huge leap from the FF?fs on the PS1. The majority of this game is rendered in real time, in addition to this, they have implemented voice acting that?fs on par with MGS2. An even more impressive feature however, is the culmination of features collected from previous final fantasy?fs. Squaresoft has taken some of the best ideas they ever come up with and thrown them all into one title, along with a few new amazing ones. Final Fantasy X is not only a great step in terms of innovation, but is a great homage title to boot. Many have compared the level of quality in this title to that of the early SNES ones (FFIII to be exact) and with good reason, for this is surely one of the best Final Fantasy?fs of all time.
From the moment you start the game up, you begin to get a feeling of refreshment from the old titles, even though FFXI was a great overall solid title, FFVIII was good but had its weak points, and FFVII was revolutionary for its time, FFX could very well be thought of as the zenith of all three, being as it tops them all in each and everyway. If you look back over the history of final fantasy, it has grown to mean something special and important to all of its fans, this one surely takes the cake. FFX brings you to a whole new level of cinematic presentation, with a perfected storyline, a refined of the battle system, and an affection system that?fs makes character development that much more interactive. Sort of like how FFVII was the game that took RPG?fing into that next level, 3-D. Final Fantasy X will do the same for presentation of them. You have to appreciate this title in all its glory, as Square continues to amaze us all.
First we must begin with the story, the feature in which all RPG?fs are based. Many have come to say that FFX is fairly linear, even though this might apply to the exploration in a certain way, it does not apply to the storyline. This plots got numerous twists and turns, and will often leave you saying ?gHOLY CRAP?h especially during the last 25 hours of play. In certain aspects, a few may consider this to be a bad thing, for fear of it being over done (aka MGS2), but not here. You begin the story with a seemingly odd tale of a time-warped, water polo player, it then progresses to become a much more involved and complicated journey. There are many weird elements in FFX held not only within the story line, but within the costume design, and rendered environments as well. While FF has always had its fair share of oddity, FFX is clearly one of the more ?ecreative?f titles.
The story has been structured so that its now easier to relate with the characters, as you meet the majority of your motley crew early on, giving them more time to grow on you. The level of interaction between you and your characters is apparently more so than past efforts. Just as in FFVII, your interaction between your characters affects basically how much they like you. How you respond to certain questions, who you heal during battle, who you talk to first etc?c Square has clearly perfected its method of character and story development, to coincide with one another.
The storyline, character development, sound, the graphics are all, well, what you would expect from the next FF title, astounding. The cut scenes are top of the line, there?fs a perfect balance of FMV, real-time action, and rendered scenes. All of which play a part that has been edited to perfection. The game seamlessly moves from rendered scene, to FMV, to real-time action with little or no hiccups (if used with the HD, it runs smoother), quite an impressive endeavor. This is one of the best looking games I?fve ever seen, you?fll be hard pressed to find someone thats goings to top Square anytime soon. They?fve used vibrant colors to accentuate the environments and the characters with in them, the only game that could rival it in usage of color would be either Chrono Cross, or Jak and Daxter. Square, has used transparencies, and particle graphics, to help create some of the coolest environments in this game. There are parts where you?fll just have to stop running and drool over some of the effects present on the screen. Numerous jaw dropping moments will have you licking your chops and begging for more.
So what else is there, you ask? The story line, character development, and graphics are all fantastic, and of course the soundtrack follows in the same path. Its strayed a bit from that of the norm, which definitely isn?ft a bad thing as long as its done well, in this case it is. Two composers (Junya Nakano and Masashi Hamauzu) have been added to the roster to help out good old Nobuo Uematsu. Each composer has a fairly different stylistic prowess, ranging from pop to classical. The soundtrack is well, different from that which you?fd expect in a final fantasy game. Generally all the tracks are produced in a grandiose orchestrated/opera like fashion. While those elements are still present here, they aren?ft as prominent, this title has in a way has been brought more up to date. At the beginning of the game you?fre hit with a sort of stylized rock track, an example of how things have changed, certainly not for the worse, because its all good music, but there?fs a clear balance between old and new school composers.
There have been improvements in basically all areas of play, and that includes the battle system as well. No longer is the ?eActive Time Battle?f meter present, the fighting system has reverted to a ?etrue?f turn based system, which adds a load of more strategy and lets you contemplate how specifically you shall defeat your foes. This is an impressive and welcomed change, but it?fs not the only one. Weapons now do not have stats, the only thing that differentiates them from one another are the abilities they have on them, and how many abilities you can add to them. Abilities such as ?eWatereater,?f ?eStrength +10%,?f ?eSOSOverdrive?f etc.. However strange some of this might be, it?fs only the tip of the iceberg. What you can now do, is switch characters during battle, yet another addition that helps create a more strategic atmosphere. Your characters start out with different abilities, and basically this allows you full use of each of your characters during battle, making certain things easier, and certain things more difficult, but its thoroughly remarkable how just these three changes give you more control during battle.
In addition to the battle scheme the level-up system has also been refined. You now upgrade your characters through a ?eSphere Grid System,?f basically this grid contains every ability you can learn in the game. To acquire the abilities you want, you have to build up enough levels to move to certain sections of the grid. With each level you are allowed to move to a different spot on your grid. Once to the place you want to be you must then use one of a few different kinds of spheres (Ability, Power, Speed, etc?c). With each spot on the grid your character progresses in certain ways adding stats and abilities throughout your journey. Once you are about 15 hours into the game the grid begins to allow you more freedom with your characters. You can start to plan which characters will learn what abilities. Once used to the system, it becomes fairly deep and involving, adding a few elements never seen before. The level of creativity that went into this reminds me much of the chain abilities in FFVIII, which allowed you to do some crazy things if you set it right (here the same is true). Square just won?ft stop innovating, and the grid system is just one thing that clearly shows this.
The best way to describe PS2 owners right now is, ?eprivileged!?f They?fve gotten some of the best games we?fve ever seen over this past holiday season, and the games are still rolling out. Final Fantasy X is yet another title that shows the PS2 is going places. What an amazing addition to not only the PS2 library, but the Final Fantasy Legacy. This title proves itself in each and every way, it?fs a title that surely lives up to its name. As Square continues to outdo itself, we should all be on the sidelines routing them on. I recommend that everyone play this game, its one that will surly have classic status, if ever there were a ?eMust-Buy?f title, this one is it. Only thing I?fve got to say is ?gSquare, keep up the good work, we all will be anxiously awaiting your next endeavor, because chances are it?fll be another masterpiece such as this one.