It's not clear who is wagging who here: the tail or the dog. Final Fantasy IX took ten years to develop a cult, and X shows no signs of developing one yet.... And both were throwbacks to the campy games we played as kids. Why would Square Enix want to stop cramming its games with angsty teens and cyberpunk futures? X makes a lot of missteps, many of which even I - who bought the PS2 launch title - can't just pretend I don't see. The plot, while not full of holes, has one (or two) supermassive black holes. Sin has kept the world in the dark ages, and technology is outlawed. But we can't have a Final Fantasy game without a gigantic Gold Saucer. Also, it's a pity they cast Hedy Burress, who had no prior VA experience. What were they smoking? Can I just don my Ralph Lauren rubber mask and say: the fashions in Spira are butt-ugly. Leiderhosen? Butt floss? There's fanservice, and then there's faceplanting. Pros: This is the most likable cast the series has had for some time, voiced by generally good VAs. (Purists may hold FF to a higher standard, but I think it's good for a first effort.) Even the token Yuffie, Rikku, is smoothed out by showing up early: the second guest character who helps Tidus. This was a good strategy, introducing everyone early. It makes them feel less superfluous when they join up for real. Tidus sounds like he fell out of one of those nineties kid's movies, like A Kid in King Arthur's Court, but he doesn't become truly important until the end, so it's a slghtly different situation from Vaan (who upstaged his much badass brother, Reks). He may be foolish, but at least the game is honest about Tidus and Jecht's limitations as as people, i.e. Tidus isn't a magnetic jackass like Squall, or a complete basket case like Hope. They're both unlikely leading men, who wound up on opposite ends of the same war. The audio log mechanic is inspired, because we get to follow Jecht's parallel journey - and downfall - as his son traces his footsteps. Jecht comes to the same crushing realizations we do, almost in real-time. The story takes some interesting twists, and none of it seems cribbed from past games. Aside from Seymour. There's a name which strikes terror. Seymour. X is my second favorite FF game, and my only complaint is it's a bit too easy.
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