According to the developers, Final Fantasy X will be as big a change as it was when FF first went from the Super Nintendo to the PlayStation. As the first PlayStation2 FF, it will be released on a single DVD.

Since its annoucement at the same time as Final Fantasy IX, a steady stream of media and information about it has been released by Square. If there's one thing constant about all Final Fantasy games, it's hype. FFX will no longer be using the time-wait ATB battle system present in all previous FFs dating back to Final Fantasy IV. In addition, the characters not present in your party will still be available for use during battles. The skills will also be based around a spherical board, with an "ability level" system for learning new abilities.

FFX takes place in a more Asian-influenced setting, and features a lot of water imagery. The main character, Tidus, plays the underwater sport of blitzball, which will also be featured as a minigame within FFX itself.

The other main character is named Yuna. As per tradition, she is a summoner, and comes from a tribe of such people. There are several other characters, including several people who are her bodyguards to some degree, as she is a member of the "royal family" amongst her tribe. Other characters include Kimahri, Rikku, Auron, Wakka, Lulu, and Braska. Yes, those really are their names. And yes, there will also be a Cid, and an airship. Chocobos are supposedly in the game, as well.

FFX was originally planned to be both a single DVD release, in addition to a two-DVD "enhanced" edition, but the latter was nixed several months ago. Similarly, FFX was also going to feature online access to maps and strategy guides via PlayOnline and the PlayStation2's network adapter, but that was also nixed a while back.

Final Fantasy X will be released in Japan on July 19th, 2001. The North American release is currently slated for February 3rd, 2002. Square has expressed their intention to release FFX in Europe, but no release date has been announced as of yet.


8/22/01: FFX has already sold 2 million copies in Japan, and looks to be far and away the best selling PS2 game so far. Square is still maintaining the tentative February 2002 release in North America, and Square Europe has tentatively announced a projected date of "mid 2002" for European release.
04/02/02:: It's out in North America as of a few months ago...writeups below better describe the game than my amending this writeup.

In the long line of Squaresoft goodness, Final Fantasy X is the tenth installment of their conjoined disjoint series.

Like all of the other Final Fantasy games there are similar themes with the other games. A hero against an insane villian bent on destroying or ruling the world(which ever comes first). Just like all the other FF games the differences are what define this game.

One feature I really liked was that the 7 playable characters are distinct(at least at the beginning) and can be swapped in and out during your turn in combat. Each of these characters also have distinct roles. Tidus is fast and is often the only one able to hit highly agile monsters. Wakka can hit monsters in the air or far away. Yuna takes on the dual role of white mage/healer caster and summoner. Lulu is the black mage exploiting elemental weaknesses in monsters. Rikku is the thief able to use thieving abilities like Steal. Auron is the warrior monk with high damage and high defense but slow attack. Kimahri is the multipurpose blue mage and lance wielding knight.

Another feature is the advancement system called Sphere Grid. As you move through the game and defeat monsters you pick up spheres where you can place in nodes on the path in the Sphere Grid. Technically all skills are available to all characters but the distance for Auron, for instance, to travel to get to the Yuna's healing nodes is very far and expensive to achieve and therefore not practical.

It is also a very pretty game featuring lots of the latest technology available on the PS2. Characters in combat insert verbal quips. The movies are all CG rendered. All sorts of fun stuff.

One extra thing to mention: I felt the battles were more strategic due to the change from ATB System to a far more strict Turn Based system. You can only have 3 characters present in the fight to face the monster but as mentioned before you can swap any of the other 4 in on any character's turn. Random encounters usually generate monsters that are not weak to just one type of attack. The strength in this setup is that one must consider the foes your team is facing and plan ahead moves which was only vaugely available under the ATB. Some creatures have strong defenses against all attacks except for one available to only one of the characters. Swapping the strong ones in and the weak ones out at the right moments is often key to surviving harder encounters late in the game. I definitely liked this feature more than the repetitive and mindless button mashing you ran into in previous FF games. Of course I'm not to hip on the random encounter thing anyway but at least this breaks some of the monotony.

Final Fantasy X is a single-player console RPG. It was released for the Playstation 2 on July 19, 2001 in Japan, then in America on December 18, 2001. It is a single-disk game, and the first of the franchise on the PS2.

The story centers around Tidus, a blitzball player from Zanarkand. During a game of the world's favorite sport, a giant fiend called Sin attacks the city, causing complete chaos and destruction. Tidus makes a valiant effort to save the city, with the help of his father's friend, Auron. Auron, however, seems to have different plans in mind. He tells Tidus "This is your story." When Tidus wakes up, he finds himself in a totally different world, and begins his quest to find a way home.

The story is excellently crafted, deep and intriguing throughout the entire game. It takes an average of 50 hours to play through, but due to the new experience system, it will take many, many more than that to max out your characters.

The game has seven playable characters, and eight summons that can be improved just as the PCs can.

Characters

Summons (Aeons)

One of the most notable changes to the game system is the absence of levels, and experience points. Instead, characters now gain Ability Points (AP), which cause one to gain Sphere Levels. Sphere Levels can be spent to change the location of the character on the Sphere Grid. Spheres can be spent to activate Nodes on the grid, which can teach characters new abilities or raise their attributes. There are also new maximums on HP and MP, 99,999 and 9,999 respectively.

The music of the game is very good, which is exactly what one would expect from Squaresoft and Nobuo Uematsu. Another interesting point is that instead of the pre-rendered backgrounds used in the previous 3 installments, the environments in FFX are all fully 3D, and rendered on-screen. Yuusuke Naora, the art director, did an incredible job implementing this, the game is beautiful. Finally, Yoshinori Kitase, the producer, has done an excellent job of tying the entire game together into a very presentable package.

Review of the game Final Fantasy X:

I’ll admit it, I’m a little bit of a video game enthusiast. Having said that you can forget any of the stereotypes that come to mind. I’m athletic, I don’t know shit about computers (I used to want to find the internet so I could blow it up), I have a girlfriend and I don’t play D & D (although I’ve always wanted to give it a shot.)

But enough about me. This is what I thought of Final Fantasy X for the PS2.

I remember all the Final Fantasies. From Nintendo and on up the hierarchy of video gameness. I liked Bionic Commando a lot more but I always appreciated the detail and tedium of a good RPG. There’s something satisfying about putting to rest an entire day and all you have to show for it is bloodshot eyes and cramps in your fingers. But at least you found that Mog’s Ribbon in Gizamaluke’s Grotto.

Then it occurred to me. There’s nothing final about this fantasy. We’re already on ten and Squaresoft shows no sign of stopping. It’s the worst misnomer since The Neverending Story. I mean, they only made two of those movies and that’s pretty fucking far from never ending.

It took three movies for Die Hard to finally die which is too bad because Det. John McClane is the man. It took Rocky five but I heard that they’re going to squeeze one more drop out of the Philadelphia hero and make a Rocky VI which already sucks and it isn’t even printed yet. Endless Summer only has two movies to it’s name but they’re both so cool it’s okay. Final Destination 2 just came out in theaters proving that the word “final” is being overused but misused and shouldn’t be allowed in another title until they’re sure that there won’t be a sequel.

But the game is actually really fun.

The main character has cool hair and looks like a guy you’d want to go to lunch with if you worked with him. He’s a star athlete of the fictitious sport Blitzball. It’s a cross between soccer (or football for those of you who speak the Queen’s English) and Quidditch (another fictitious sport) only it’s played in a giant bubble that’s full of water. The rules make about as much sense as US Foreign Policy and I was fucking awful at it. I think the game could’ve done without the mini game. It’s hard and doesn’t really have that much to do with the story that I was all into. In Final Fantasy VIII the mini game was a weird game of cards that reminded me of Magic (I never actually played Magic but it still reminded me of it.) That game was fun mostly because it didn’t take that long (plus I ruled at it!)

It only takes a few hours of sitting through long animation sequences (that still require you to push a button) before the real action starts but it’s peppered with a few fights that break up the monotony nicely. I won’t blow all the plot points for you because that’s part of the fun. The graphics are incredible and I found myself staring in awe at some of the sky scenes. We really have come a long way since Joust. The music is worthy of a concert hall and really plays well with the mood of the game and the characters’ conflict. I found myself humming some of them in the shower. As soon as I caught myself, I stopped and belted out some Clash and I don’t think anyone overheard but I still know. It’s that catchy.

All in all, I thought it was a pretty good game. If you’ve got the time for the whole thing, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Don’t let your new, shut-in status cater to any insecurities that you may have. You’re not a nerd just an open-minded individual who has the time to spend on a epic game. I thought it was worth it but I still think Bionic Commando is better.

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