Sassafrass Reviews: Final Fantasy X for the PS2

Warning: This is bloody long. Read at your own peril.

Note: If you are an extreme JRPG hater, please leave that at the door. This isn't a thread to discuss why you hate it. And leave any "Tidus is a whiny emo' crap at the door too.
I have only played VII to X-2 just to let any interested people know.
Any TL;DR's will be hunted down and beaten to death with their own legs. And no, I am not joking. So, let's get on with it then.

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Final Fantasy X (or 10, for those who don't know Roman numerals and from here on in, known as FFX or FF is talking about the series) is a JRPG game from Square Enix (formerly Square) which follows the story of a group of characters who are on a quest to defeat the evil that is plaguing the land of Spira.

Listen to my story. This may be our last chance.

Tidus nicely bringing me onto the main point of any FF game. The story.
The story follows a young man called Tidus, a star Blitzball player from a city called Zanarkand. It is here, during a Blitzball match that the shit hits the fan. A massive creature known as Sin turns up and attacks Zanarkand, destroying it in the attack. It then teleports Tidus, a Time Mage of sorts and also part Warrior, to Spira, where he meets the Al-Bhed and a young girl called Rikku who capture him and hold him as a sort of unwilling worker on their ship. Rikku explains that to Tidus that Zanarkand was destroyed over 1000 years ago. Tidus cannot accept this seeing as he saw it destroyed with his own eyes. However, Sin once again attacks them and teleports Tidus to a beach town called Besaid Village, while leaving Rikku and the Al-Bheds fate unknown.

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Tidus, pondering why he is in Spira. Or he may just be posing, who knows?

It is here where he meets the rest of the protagonists. First of all, he meets Wakka, a Ranger,[1]a cheery enough guy who is in awe at Tidus' Blitzball skills. Soon after that, he meets Lulu, a Black Mage with an apparent dislike for Tidus and Kimhari, a lionesqe creature called a Ronso, who is also a Blue Mage, who speaks very little but seems t harbour a little dislike towards Tidus. Then we met Yuna. She is a White Mage/Summoner who is vital to the entire story. It is her job to find aeons, spirital beings that will aid the player in combat, and to defeat the games big bad, Sin. Yuna at first, seems to neither like Tidus nor dislike him but does take a deep interest into his past pretty soon after meeting him. She encourages him to speak about his deceased mother and his dad, whose fate we do not know at this point. During the game, Tidus and Yuna become close and their fates entwine, leading to a dramatic ending. We are also introduced to Auron, a mysterious warrior monk who is picked up by the group in the town of Luca. Another unknown follower joins up later on but I shall not say who they are or what they're opinion of Tidus is.

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This is Yuna. Play nicely or she'll take you downtown.

I have been very, very, very vague on the story so far for one very simple reason.
I cannot tell you anything about it without revealing a spoiler to it. Seriously, this game has so many plot twists thrown up it would be impossible. I can however give you a basic outline of the plot which is this. Yuna is a Summoner going on a quest with the others guys outlined above on a quest to kill Sin, the bad guy in this game. Along the way, she collects the Aeons which are needed to help them defeat Sin. A few massive plot twists later, you end up facing off against Sin in a battle to end his destructive powers once and for all. While the story won't win any rewards for originality, it does what is meant to do and keeps you hooked with all the plot twists and reveals that spring up now and again.

The story telling of this game however is where they pull off an inspirational moment. Instead of telling you the story as it happens, the story itself starts with Tidus telling the story through a flashback. This means you see him at an unknown location and the story then starts from the beginning, telling you how they got to where they are. It's only after about of the game, the story catches up with you and you then continue the story from where it started.

I was waiting for you. Or put simply: Gameplay

Auron there, commenting on why how patient he was waiting for me to talk about the gameplay.
The gameplay is simple but very effective. It is presented in a third person view, mainly just behind and above your character with you directing Tidus, who you play as, around the many towns and environments you will encounter on the way. When outside of the towns and actually following the story, it's is very linear. You can only go where the game wants you to go for pretty much three quarters of the game, however it then opens up when you get access to an airship and the ability to go where you please. It is also a pretty simple path to follow in the game, either go that way or this way. You'll end up coming out in the same place, the only real difference is the type of loot you can find.

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Would you honestly tell him he's an ass? Well, I dare ya. Triple dog dare you, in fact.

Let's talk combat now. The combat is a CTB system (Conditional Turn-Based Battle) which replaced the older games ATB system (Active Time Battle) It allows for you, the player, to plan your attacks, it also shows you the order in which your party members attack and when your enemies will attack. It's a helpful system but it sort of feels like it's holding your hand, baby-stepping you through the battles and giving you fair warning of any major attacks coming your way. All battles, except boss battles are started by a random encounter in which case, the screen shatters and you get teleported the battle screen below. Below is a screen shot of that said combat screen in action.

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As you can see on the right, there is the bar telling you when and who someone/thing is going to attack.

A new but rather confusing feature for this game is The Sphere Grid(known from now on as SG). Instead of gaining experience like you did in the older FF games and just letting it boost your stats by itself, the SG allows you to develop your part as you see fit. It has two versions, the Beginners Mode, where you follow a path it has laid out for you or the Expert Mode. Now, The Expert Mode is different as it allows you to make the characters into whatever you want them to be. It allows you to turn Yuna, the healer, into a power house and Auron, the powerhouse, into a healer and so on and so forth through all the characters. Confused yet? If not, you my good reader, are a genius. Another new feature is the Save Points. Yes, they have been done before but when ever you touch them, they heal you back to full health and Magic Points, as well as letting you go play Blitzball when you unlock it. The health regen is again a handy new feature for newer players to the game, I feel that it could remove some challenge for the people who like a challenge. I myself, found I relied on it a little to much to heal after getting into fights which I nearly lost.

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A small part of the Sphere Grid. A very small part of it.

A summoner with bed hair. What's the world coming to?

This links me onto the graphics of Final Fantasy X. Albeit very loosely.
The graphics are very good on the environment and also the characters, albeit from a distance. I've lost count how many hours I've spent just looking out over the environments and just wishing that I could go and live there. The clothing on the characters also looks good. In the cutscenes, the detail on everything gets ramped up a notch. The facial detail is much better, the backgrounds look more realistic. So it looks a bit like this.

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See? All shiny and human like.

But when it's not at key points on the game but at a point of interest, it goes to this.

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Not as good as above but still quite pretty and easy on the eye.

And then you get stuff which uses the in game engine which looks like this.

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Isn't it just terrible? Thankfully, it doesn't zoom this close up often so it's not noticeable.

The last picture is what they use in the game 90% of the time and I have to say, when it's not that close, it's almost as good looking as the middle picture. I'm not sure if this comes under graphics but there is a few clipping problems on the scenery. This doesn't happen all the time, only about 2%, but it seems they forgot to go back and double check some parts. For example, when I was controlling Tidus, he wouldn't walk over a small rock on the ground, instead I had to guide him around it.

You'll cry, your gonna cry, you always cry. See? You're crying.

Another loosely based line to bring us onto music, voice acting and just the sound in general.
First point of the FF X music. Always talk about the FF X music. Hell, I do it all the time in various music threads here. And there is a reason for this. It. Is. Superb. The only game which has music I could listen to all day, everyday and not get tired with it. It has orchestral numbers and metal songs. It balances them perfectly and adds a lot to the games scenes when you play them by making you feel some emotions. Which a lot of you claim to not have.

Good, right?

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Just say yes, don't piss off the enraged blue lion thing named Kimahri, m'kay?

Now, onto the voice acting.
This I find is, for the most parts, very good. It draws you into the game and it is good to hear what they are saying. This is the first FF game that has voice acting. It was a brave step out onto the tightrope and I am pleased to report, they haven't fallen off...much. There is one scene in the game which will make you cringe, cry and maybe make you want to cut the ears of your pet if they're in the room due to how bad it is. I am, of course, referring to the laughing scene. And here it is, for you to listen to again. I am evil like that.

Didn'tcha love it? Yes? Well, you have no ears then good sir or madam. And for that 4 minutes, 5 seconds, you were lucky.

I will share your pain.

Would could this be about, you wonder?
It was going to be about achievements but then I realised there are none, this being a PS2 game and all. So, I give you a FF X picture.

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Doesn't it make you want to throw up hug your fellow man?

Ah! Hang on. I can salvage this part by turning it into the controls section. Pretty simple, really. Guide Tidus around the world map using the left stick, press X when you want him to interact with stuff. Triangle brings up the menu then using the left stick, highlight your option you want press X, repeat until you've either healed your party or you've equipped a piece of equipment.
Simples.

You can stuff your taboos!

I have missed many smaller things out, like the Blitzball minigame and the chocobo[2] training minigame as while you can do these, they're not that important to anything and would make this review a bit longer then I would like it to be. I shall say about the blitz ball, I don't understand how it fully works but the in game tutorial will be a bigger help and the chocobo training stuff is actually not needed.

Now. My recommendation.

If you're looking for a good JRPG with a solid story and you have a lot of spare time to sink into it, then try and pick this up. If you're just starting out on the road in the JRPG genre, I'd maybe suggest cutting your teeth on another JRPG or RPG before trying this as the Sphere Grid and many things will just go over your head. If you're an experienced JRPGer and haven't tried this, give it a shot. And if you are a FF fan, you've no doubt already finished this at least once and maxed out all the stats for the characters so this may make this part irrelevent to you.

Thanks for reading. Once again, always welcome for feedback, good or bad.
Thanks to Google for providing the pictures.
Thanks to Lambi89 for finding the FF X logo for me. It was impossible for me to find.
And "Praise be to Yevon", I guess. Little in-joke for FF X fans there. Or something.

[1] In a very loose sense. I'd call him Guy Who Kills Everything With a F*****G BALL!
[2] I thought I'd mention them earlier then that. Well done me.

I tried so hard to like those games, but I can't.

Pity me.

But still, another good review from the Quatch.

EDIT: Also, you need a banner.

Further EDITation: And that video was unbearable. (it sounded like he was giving birth)

Furburt:
I tried so hard to like those games, but I can't.

Pity me.

But still, another good review from the Quatch.

I shall pity you.
For about 5 minutes.
EDIT: Maybe, Furburt. It would make it look a bit better.

Does nobody love this review as I do?!

Oh, now people are posting.

Doesn't look like my type of game.

Then again, Final Fantasy never does

EDIT: Oh, and good review.

I played a demo of this a while back.

Either I really didn't get it, or it was phenomenally hard.

Also, it wasn't bad per say, it just wasn't good enough for me to justify buying it.

Furburt:
Does nobody love this review as I do?!

The hell are you talking about?

I love the game, but I feel like the further into it I play, the worse the dialogue gets.
It really is awful.

Good review, by the way. :D

Yeah that was long, pictures spiced it up though. Nice one.

Nice review.

But its supposedly inappropriate to have pics that already have tags on them. Its a bit unprofessional.

pimppeter2:
Nice review.

But its supposedly inappropriate to have pics that already have tags on them. Its a bit unprofessional.

Whoops.
It was a pretty hard job to find any picture that I needed that didn't have tags on them, surprisingly.

I have to finish it one day...I got the airship and then got sidetracked. And never got back on track.

It was a good review.

I missed the world map but loved the combat system and sphere grid. I always just put Kimhari onto Auron's.

Onyx Oblivion:
I have to finish it one day...I got the airship and then got sidetracked. And never got back on track.

Yeah, it does that to you.

Wow... I've got to pick that up and play it again. It's been years.

My main complaints would be the first three hours of the game before you have any interesting abilities to use (hit, get hit, hit, get hit, hit, get hit, heal, get hit, hit...), the fact that you can have every character do basically anything (there is one sphere grid, and all the characters are on it; with enough work, you can have most of it unlocked for all of them and surprisingly still have a life after wards) and the blitzball minigame.

Oh, and I remember that I made an active effort to not use Kimhari for almost the entire game (except the fight where you have to just use him) and then I had him use that self-destruct ability on the final boss fight for like, 100 damage lol.

Sorry, that last statement was just a bit random. Well, good review. The screenshots brought back some memories.

Did Tidus take a few to many blitzballs to the face?

Great review, Sas. I like this game, but it isn't on my top 10 FFs. The only game beneath that one for me is VIII.

good review all and all.
Oh the pain from the laughing scene
only problem i had with 10 was the main story was real short.

I would try 10 if I had a playstation 2.

I never played the FFs, but this looks fun, if confusing for normal humans.
If I get into the RPG crowd, then I'll probably look this out.

Anyway, great review, good pictures, terrible voice acting, oh and there was the cutscene too with bad voice acting again.
Keep up the good work.

Furburt:
I tried so hard to like those games, but I can't.

Pity me.

But still, another good review from the Quatch.

EDIT: Also, you need a banner.

Further EDITation: And that video was unbearable. (it sounded like he was giving birth)

i agree with you. I really like jrpgs, and i loved ffX, but i still have to say that that video brings up bad memories of me wishing i could skip it while my dad looks at me with the look that says "your not my son"

Lambi89:
Great review, Sas. I like this game, but it isn't on my top 10 FFs. The only game beneath that one for me is VIII.

hey! i really likes 8 and 10. Why dont people like the sci fi thing?

Want to finish this game and this review has lit my FF craze :D thank you very much. PS Zanarkand is amazing 0_0 (FFVIII is amazing :o)

Cpt Fudg3 Cak3:
Want to finish this game and this review has lit my FF craze :D thank you very much. PS Zanarkand is amazing 0_0

No problem.
I've recently got back into the FF groove myself and have played FF X more then any other game I own on the 360 in the past month.

I was never interested in this game until a friend had me listen to "To Zanarkand". When I first heard it, I stopped everything that I was doing and listened to the whole thing, then played it again. It was a beautiful song.

As a result, I got the game and started playing it. I haven't finished it yet, cause I had too many other projects to go through before I could invest all of my time in it. But everything you said is pretty much accurate. Although, I will say it is hard to go from playing Persona 4 or Tales of Vesperia and return to FFX.

Good review.

Great review of a great game. Thank you for mentioning all the highpoints. Makes me want to go play it again.

Everytime I see that title I think of "Sassafrass Roots". Ah... I love Dookie.

Anyway, I need to borrow this game from a friend. I honestly don't think the Sphere Grid is too confusing, unless there's something to it that I haven't heard about yet.

Great review.

FFX was the only one I enjoyed at all.

Sasquatch99:
Beginners Mode, where you follow a path it has laid out for you or the Expert Mode. Now, The Expert Mode is different as it allows you to make the characters into whatever you want them to be. It allows you to turn Yuna, the healer, into a power house and Auron, the powerhouse, into a healer and so on and so forth through all the characters.

No expert mode here in North America. Maybe that would have actually made the game difficult for me. (FFX is the easiest FF game of the entire series).

Then again, who needs the sphere grid to be altered when I tend to erase everything except abilities and +4 stats, then start filling the spaces with +4 stats of my own. I wasn't completely finished but all of my characters had about 36,000 HP, 3,000 MP and all stats at 255.

I kept making two save files so I could compare sphere grids (Beginner/Expert)

...I kept accidentally saving over one of them EVERYTIME I got to Mt.Gagazet.

Good review none the less, Might be good to add the extras like Aeons, Gear, Side-Quests etc but good none the less.

Ziadaine:
I kept making two save files so I could compare sphere grids (Beginner/Expert)

...I kept accidentally saving over one of them EVERYTIME I got to Mt.Gagazet.

Good review none the less, Might be good to add the extras like Aeons, Gear, Side-Quests etc but good none the less.

I do that a lot. So I always make a two backups down the bottom of the page.
And looking back, I was going to include the aeons, gear and side quests but I think if I had done that, this review would have gone on for a lot longer then was necessary. This was four word pages as it is.

Nice review. Makes me nostalgic about the old FF games. Maybe if I finish playing FF7 on the PSN before FF12 come out I might grab 10 again from somewhere. Laughing scene aside I really enjoyed it when it was out.

Sassafrass:
Snip

Dang man.. that's seriously a very well organized review. Plenty of pictures to get an insight on, detailed description that covers every aspect and field of the game alone, involves the plot (which most reviews tend to do their best on), being humorious with things like "Bed Hair" and overall you've even submitted a video plus examples of music that goes with the game. I'm highly impressed by your review of course and thus makes me want to play it for the obvious reasons given.

Seriously, I too miss the minigame of that particular sport because it was something amusing plus I just love jumping around with the ball being smacked down Haha. But, what caught my interest during the review is that you word everything to a pattern, that makes it very catchy to read up on. Your style of talking reminds me of Dr. Cocks from Scrubs (ironicly, your Avatar is Dr. Cocks so that's very suiting/understandable). This must of taken you some serious time to make and I really appreciate you going out of your way to make this outstanding review. I give it 10/10, an extra point from being 9 cause you put chrisma in the sentences, and that's saying something!

 

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