Even before I had played Final Fantasy X (FFX) I had very high hopes for it, one because it was a part of the Final Fantasy series, which almost guaranteed it to be good, but also because of all of the new things they added like voice acting, the sphere grid, and the new battle system. Not to mention the improved graphics; when I first saw them in motion I was rendered speechless.
The graphics in this game are, in my opinion, some of the best graphics on the Playstation 2 today. The level of detail on the main characters is amazing. From the way they move to the way they talk is extremely fluid and very realistic looking. During the battles there is a high degree of detail. For instance, in one area there was wind blowing on them and you could actually see one of the characters' jackets flapping in the wind as well as his hair.
They made a switch in the backgrounds; now the cities and towns aren't in Full Motion Video as they were in previous installments. Now they're all in real time graphics so you don't have those annoying mini loads to take you to the next section.
Square did a very good job with the characters in this installment. They made it so that all of the characters had a back-story already in place before you really meet the characters. For instance Tidus, the main character, before you really even get to control him you already know he's a star blitzball player (the sport they play in Zanarkand and Spira) and he has a deep hatred for his father.
The addition of voice acting was a very smart move for the company. I think this made the characters more memorable because you could actually forget they aren't real. The voices can make you love them or hate them; for instance, three minutes after I met the third character I already thought he was cool because the voice really showed what his personality was like, unlike in the old games where you had to read hoards of text to really figure out what their personality was like.
The new battle system in FFX is very innovative and there is, finally, no ATB gauge to worry about. Now it tells you in a little screen in the top right which order the characters and monsters attack. This makes healing and fighting much easier. Also the summoned monsters actually hang around and fight until you send them away or they're knocked out instead of just attacking once and then leaving.
The story in FFX is the best I've seen since Final Fantasy 7. Every element of the story is very well written, from the character development to the main story itself, and the story doesn't have any pointless plot twists that just make the story stupid. In fact the story line is so well written that it actually makes you care about the characters and sometimes even hate them.
I would give it 4.5 out of five because the graphics, story and characters, were all amazing the drawbacks were the voice acting was not what it could be and the game was too linear and didn't offer as much exploration as the previous installments.
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