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Final Fantasy X
  opened by paleface at 21:42:12 01/29/05  
  last modified by paleface at 02:30:51 01/30/05  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Role_Playing; loc=NA]
Reference added: 376
  "Final Fantasy X had a semi-followup, Final Fantasy X-2."
It's probably been several years since I finished this game, so these impressions are probably even more wildly inaccurate than usual--but hopefully better than nothing.
I enjoyed FFX, thanks mainly, I think, to the gorgeous production values and to the fun battle system. I can certainly say that it wasn't thanks to the alternatively angst-ridden or annoyingly bubbly characters, or to the plot that doesn't really go anywhere for most of the game but just drags itself on its slow and morbid way to the readily apparent ending. It also wasn't thanks to the stupid fantasy/sci-fi time-travel world with boring cities, dumb beach-trippy culture and clothing, silly game-within-a-game-water-polo sports thing, and stupid plant people.
But a good amount of my sixty hours with the game was spent fighting various foes, and nearly all of these were well-designed (unlike, say, the generic human NPCs, who all have ridiculously short necks--didn't anyone NOTICE that?) and put up a satisfying battle. Your characters acquire quite a few skills in the course of their adventures, and unlike in many other RPGs, many of these skills are actually useful. The time-based battles move quickly, characters animate well, buffs/debuffs form satisfying strategies, and the effects are really well done. Oh yeah, and you can switch characters in and out at will (only three actually fight at once) which can also lead to some elaborate strategies.
The system is almost overshadowed at times by the "Aoens" (hm, probably spelled that wrong) who do battle for you when summoned, but I think that toward the end of the game my characters were strong enough that I didn't really have to worry about those things except in the case of suprise dire emergencies or huge boss fights.
Speaking of which, the end of the game is almost a boss rush, as you have to face a number of really tough bosses in succession. They fought really tough and made for a good ending to the thing (unlike the story ending, which stinks).
The sound and graphics, aside from the short-necked NPCs, are quite nice, even most of the songs sung by the main character. Some of the voice acting could have been better, but I think most of that was the actors being directed to sound obnoxiously sullen or peppy or whatever, as opposed to Square using cut-rate actors (they didn't). Many of the locations are genuinely gorgeous, and you'll probably find yourself wandering around some spots just taking in the scenery. The GC cut-scenes are sumptuous, but it's remarkable that the faces of some of the main characters (the two main characters, primarily) look slightly different in their high-poly CG renditions than they do in the real-time game graphics--more Asian in the CGs, which makes me wonder if Square didn't at some point redesign the game models to make them a little more appealing to Whitey. Bleh. The CGs also look so good that they illuminate the weaknesses of any lower-poly versions, and you start to wish the next console generation would come along already so that everything would look CG-like even during normal gameplay.
***Minor Spoilers Ahead***
There are tons of secrets in the game that can keep you occupied for hundreds of hours, if you're into that sort of thing (and if you are you'll love the semi-followup, FFX-2--see entry 376). I'm not, but I'm glad that I did the one that got me 99 or something potions that double your hit points, as these were invalable in outlasting the final bosses. It's also nice to get the item that lets you avoid random encounters... Man, the last part of the game would have been a lot more unpleasant without those things.
Oh, and also near the end you finally get to go anywhere on the planet in your airship, rather than having to wander through a mostly-linear succession of areas. I didn't mind the linearity really, in fact I think it helped drive the game along quite a bit, but it did feel liberating to have the world open up at the end.
  paleface 02:30:51 01/30/05
After I finished the game and it went through the credits and to the "The End" screen, it just hung there, apparently indefinitely. Was it just a glitch (I haven't seen mention of this elsewhere), or is that how they designed it? Because if it was designed that way, somebody needs to get fired. It just ain't cool to strand the player that way.
· Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2)

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