9

This game impressed seven years ago and amidst the high production values is still a solid must-play RPG

I was one of the few millions of gamers who were really impressed by Final Fantasy X back when the PS2 was still a pup in 2001.

Final Fantasy X did for Square-Enix (Squaresoft then) what Final Fantasy VII did it for it back in 1997. It put the series to a new level with smoother graphics, vivid cinematics and for the first time, voice-acting. Such qualities only last for a certain time but thankfully once players get over them, there is still a game worth playing.

Final Fantasy X tells the tale of protagonist, Tidus who travels the world of Spira with a young summoner, Yuna and her band of guardians. Together, they fight to rid the world of the colossal monster known as Sin.

Plot-wise, Final Fantasy X remains as epic as ever with the same save-the-world plot with a few twists along the way. The story isn't revolutionary by any account but the gameplay is.

Goodbye "level up" and hello Sphere Grid system. Characters power up by filling up a Sphere Grid with spheres, which unlock new abilities, increase stats etc. It becomes slightly more difficult to power up as combat alone does not guarantee character strengthening - there's the new sphere-hunting element added.

The game remains true to Final Fantasy length-standards; the main storyline takes over 30 hours to beat and add to that over 30 hours of sidequests and it's well over 60 hours to complete. Blitzball is a controversial mini-game (a turn-based sports mini-game does not sit well with everyone) but once you enjoy it, it's like a whole new game.

The few gripes I have about the game is the Sphere Grid while promising customization is limited. Players require high-level spheres to fully customize their characters and that's not available till late in the game.

The difficulty is quite easy - no particular fight proves challenging and the characters despite their varied colourful selves don't amount to anything much but playing as glorified background props.

Another note (not really a gripe) is how Square-Enix gradually turns their male characters more metrosexual - especially the antagonists. Sephiroth, Kuja and now Seymour - pretty boys with long-flowing hair and a taste in poetry all hell-bent on destruction. Notice a trend?

Then again, Final Fantasy X offers more than just a plot and should be enjoyable to certain levels for all types of players.

The score I gave FFX denotes two scores in one: the first being the game's score seven years ago when it came out, which is a 10 and the score now, which is an eight for the average of a nine.

If you're one of the three people on the planet who still haven't played Final Fantasy X, I recommend that you treat yourself to this solid RPG. It was worth 60 bucks back then so for 20 bucks, this is the best deal on the planet.

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