Publisher = Square Enix
Release date = 16th April 2019
Genre = Turn-based RPG
Price = £44.99
Story length = ~50 hours
100% Completion time = 150+ hours
Final Fantasy X lives up to its name by having something final about it… it’s the final fully turn based numbered Final Fantasy game. However, it also lives up to its name in reputation: The story and characters create a masterfully well told narrative; the turn-based combat is very intricate, encouraging strategic thinking; the game looks and sounds beautiful; and the innovative levelling system is the least linear thing you’ll ever see. That's not all though, as the minigames also live up to their reputation of being a rewarding abominable mess. In short, Final Fantasy X will have you exploring a very immersive world through story, sound, and visuals, while simultaneously having you have a blast with the combat.
Final Fantasy X’s combat prevents itself from becoming a dull slog by implementing the need for strategies on all the game’s boss battles, and then giving the player complete freedom to create their own strategy to win. For example, the game’s sphere grid ditches traditional levels and introduces a grid where the player can choose the reward for levelling up. As a result, players can mould their party the way they want. This leads to strategic moments as the player compensates for skills and stats their party lacks, and it leads to rewarding moments as a player has the exact skills needed to win easily/quickly. Those moments mostly happen in the thrilling boss fights, not the repetitive regular battles (made worse by the repetitive battle music). In conclusion, the game's combat is phenomenal, but held back by ceaseless wild encounters.
Side Quests 7/10
Final Fantasy X continues, after the main story, opening an array of varying in quality post game content. A great game design decision was giving players the freedom to choose what objective to do first, because the game sets the final destination of defeating the super boss Penance, without dictating how you become strong enough to get there. The player will have to create their own path through fun mini games, annoying mini games, a grindy monster arena, hidden secrets, 7 ridiculously big sphere grids, and 8 dark aeon boss battles. The broad range of gameplay styles in each objective prevents repetitiveness. But with such a variety of gameplay, players are bound to love some and hate others. For example, Blitzball (basically FIFA underwater) has many devoted fans and many people, who passionately hate it. However, like it or hate it, if you want one of the seven celestial weapons, you’ll be doing a lot of it. In short, post-game is a very mixed bag of fun, but it feels very rewarding to overcome the challenges.
Visuals and Animations 7/10
Final Fantasy X was one of the better-looking games on the PlayStation 2, and the 2014 remaster’s presentation doesn't disappoint (still holding up in 2022). Nearly everything from detailed environments, enchanting cutscenes, and certain animations look beautiful and set the tone of Spira's many areas. However, not all animations seem to naturally flow, and some character’s faces look underwhelming and expressionless. In conclusion, Final Fantasy X’s lovely visuals create the foundation of the game’s presentation and atmosphere.
Unfortunately, Final Fantasy X's voice acting wasn’t consistently good quality, sometimes ejecting me from the story because lines were spoken too quickly or in the wrong tone. However, I still feel the voice actors illustrate all the characters’ personalities well enough. As for Final Fantasy X’s music, it perfectly expresses the emotions associated with the world and characters (each track is purposeful). The intro theme is the perfect example, conveying all feelings in the game’s story in one soul-stirring song. Furthermore, Final Fantasy X’s tracks never feel repetitive (except for the regular battle music). A music highlight is boss battle tracks, offering uplifting fast-paced music that enhances the player's emotions during the fight. This is because boss fight tracks convey character growth as the absence of despair filled music (and the presence of action music) implies the characters are not just fighting a boss, instead they’re fighting away the pain and sorrow in the world of Spira. In conclusion, Final Fantasy X’s storytelling and music are heavily intertwined because the game’s music can make you gut-wrenchingly emotional for the game’s characters.
The basic premise of Final Fantasy X consists of a 17-year-old boy named Tidus being magically teleported to the world of Spira. We play as Tidus during the game, and as he learns more about this strange foreign land, so do we. While in Spira, he meets a girl (his age) named Yuna, who's on a pilgrimage to gain a power strong enough to kill a monster called Sin, who is plaguing the lands of Spira. Tidus becomes Yuna’s guardian, meaning he travels with her to keep her safe until her pilgrimage is over. Pretty simple premise, right? Ten plot twists and a boatload of world-building later, and you won’t think so. Final Fantasy X’s story works beautifully because it introduces its core themes and gradually expands on them throughout the game. Similarly, your other party members' backstories and goals are slowly revealed, often expanding the world of Spira as well. In conclusion, without spoiling the story, describing the emotion and impact of the storytelling is near impossible, but that's because the world/story has been so thoroughly relieved.
100% Completion Thoughts
100% completion is a mixture of experiencing everything the game offers, tackling a few challenging mini games, and a very tedious grind. Suffice to say, it has its ups and downs. However, in the end it's a very rewarding completion, which drip feeds you powerful rewards. These rewards stopped the game from becoming a checklist of objectives and allowed me to strategize my own Roadmap to completion. This is because the rewards from a quest or mini game help beat future challenges. This part of the completion was particularly fun. Even the few (controller out of the window) difficult mini games felt nice upon beating. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of Completion greatly depleted upon having to max all characters' sphere grid, which took days to grind out. In my opinion, the good outweighs the bad. However, the grind makes Completion hard to recommend.
Throughout the main story, players experience a masterfully well-told narrative, one of the best video game soundtracks of all time, incredibly fun/engaging turn-based combat, and a revolutionary level up system. That would be enough to make it mine and many other people’s favourite RPG. However, Final Fantasy X is not a linear game, boasting side content that cohesively merges with the main content. The roads are teeming with fruitful side quests, rewarding yet challenging minigames, and extra bosses (requiring mastery at combat). That is enough to make it one of my favourite games ever.
Final Fantasy X’s final score = 9/10
Reviewed by Troy Thompson (29/04/22).