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Final Fantasy X (PlayStation 2) artwork

Final Fantasy X (PlayStation 2) review

"Being even eight years old, you have to have seen these sort of guises in one type of media or another: "

Being even eight years old, you have to have seen these sort of guises in one type of media or another:

The unquestionably pious big brother; a girl turned callous by love and war; wise and strong, the guiding spirit of an old warrior monk; it goes on. And all of the others that enter the story afterwards fall into a respective profile.

But the joy in it, is seeing the way everyoneís part plays out. You wonít admire them for their originality, but instead, for their realism. None of the party are the cardboard cutouts that a lot of people would judge them as; theyíre an honest portrayal of Human (and Demi-Human) beings. Weíve seen it all a thousand times, but how well the players do in their niche is what will eventually tuck you in for the long haul, if the game hasnít done so by the first few opening moments.

Our blond haired protagonist is handed a sword that he can barely balance by a mysterious man that heís apparently known for some time. Having been gone, though, the blade is a fitting enough present, as the city around them is brought under siege by a swarm of monsters. The hero and his elderly companion attempt to traverse a vast roadway high above the earth, only to be taken upon by an uncountable amount of the creatures. Left with no choice, they destroy a power supply attached to one side and set off an explosion that causes quite a reaction.

There are a lot of examples just like this one.

Unfortunately, Final Fantasy X has a bit of an issue with pacing. Not only is it predictable most of the time, but after a really exciting plot point, youíll find yourself sort of dawdling around huge expanses of map at a one-legged speed, fussing with random enemy encounters. More of them than I can imagine anyone would like.

Itís a gripe that has to be made, for sure, but you can trust me when I say that it all has a way of evening out.

As what youíll find here at storyís end, is in fact, something pretty different. Different, and beautiful. I know that youíre still essentially saving the world from someone or something with a destructive view of life, that much is undeniable. The world, though, is questionable. Religion is questionable. Life is a curiosity. The nicest thing about the entry, is that it bends your perception of reality in so much of a gentle gesture; it isnít clouded with pretentiousness, and it wonít leave you feeling inferior like most books on philosophy.

In terms of the changes that have been made at this point in the series, only two major things can really be brought up. Firstly, the removal of a world map. Youíll travel by foot or by a lovable yellow bird as usual, but through a series of small Ė medium linear pathways and map screens, sort of akin to Zelda games, but on a lesser scale and without a good portion of the freedom. Into the later stages of the game, there will be the option to travel by a typical, hulking Final Fantasy vehicle, but itís been administered a change as well, that youíll have to see for yourself.

Secondly, the revamp of the battle system and level management. Upon engaging in a random battle this go-around, youíll be at a standstill.

To one side of the screen, a vertical list thatís made from cropped character portraits, and letters to ID the appropriated enemy. The one on top gets a turn, then so on and so forth. The ability to know the order of attacks before hand adds a surprisingly large amount of strategic planning into the mix. At points (especially if you indulge in a certain hunting side-quest) being on your toes will be absolutely vital, as if you donít take the proper preparations, your opponents may unleash devastating attacks while youíre defenseless.

Itís not rocket science, nah, but after going through so many titles that share a similar method with such miniscule alterations, itís a nice breath of fresh air.

The level management achieves a greatness, as well. Essentially, itíll seem like a ridiculously drawn out and needlessly elaborate way to do things, and to some stretch it is. Youíre just moving a little colored circle along the track of a board game, having to do things manually that were previously done for you.

Sometimes, the track will branch off though, giving you the option of breaking from the obviously defined route. At first this can be a fun thing to test out recklessly, but youíll find that some of the choices require you to really hunker down and ponder. Staying the path will lead the character in question on a well balanced progression, so that theyíll usually have a purpose under the right condition.

Stray them, and the outcome may be vague for some time.

Donít worry; thereís no cruel and unusual punishment for experimenting, so be sure to feel free to it, and at your own comfortable pace.

If you end up putting as many hours in as I did on a second play-through, youíll most likely discover that with the right amount of resources and battling, every single member of your party can be developed to the exact same skill. For what itís worth, though, unless youíre insane to the point of wanting to take the fun out of your own first experience, youíll come nowhere near to touching the gameís limits; and thatís something to be very thankful for.

When the main characters stand strong against a delusional, amazingly intimidating priest of high order, youíll feel their rush of emotion and adrenaline as fiercely as they do. As the story drags behind, youíll be bored no doubt, but pushing forward like a maniac to see the next page.

A story written under many different titles, thatís told well enough to hold your interest and curiosity much more than you might have heard before.

carcinogen_crush's avatar
Community review by carcinogen_crush (April 20, 2007)

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