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Hates XIII, but loves this game. Why yes I have been drinking
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.
  # comments: 4
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Ugh...
I'll say this first, I was not an FF fan when I first played this game.

This is one of those games with so many flaws it's hard to find one to start with. So, I'll start with the good part. The combat system, is awesome. I still don't like the 'I have a party of seven people but only three of them can fight at one time,' thing, but to be fair, there are very, very few games that allow you to use all party members. The Aeon animations are really pretty cool, Yojimbo and Anima being two of my favorites. Lastly, the boss battles (up to the anti-climax boss) are amazing.

Here's the stuff I hate; the story is crap, predictable villain, stupid backasswards logic, and just so many cheap tricks it's just sad. The voice acting is terrible, mostly. Auron is awesome, and so is Lulu, but otherwise, everyone else sounds either irritating or bored, especially Tidus and Yuna, you've probably heard of that infamous laughing scene. Blitzball is a total waste, it's honestly one of the worst minigames I've ever seen. The leveling system is pretty stupid, but they tried something new, so I do give them credit for it. The last thing, is the temples; nothing more than 15-90 minutes of busy work. God help you if you want to unlock the bonus Aeons like Yojimbo and Anima. I'll just chock it up to another Square Enix failure, god knows they've got an abundance of them lately. My review is probably vanilla and too short, if you want a better review, go to The Spoony Experiment, he has an 85-90 minute review that goes into detail and is hilarious.
  # comments: 15
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One flaw and we all know what it is
FFX was my first good game it's still one of my favourite games of all time and has stolen several hundred hours of my time.

The game is linear and cutscene heavy, it's a story to experience, not create. A journey through a beautiful but monster ravaged land. There is a way to stop the monster, it's been done many times and yet the monster came back. But this time it may not, there is hope. As such, the gameplay is part of the narrative, showing the pains of this long difficult journey that so many fail.

The gameplay in itself is far more tactical than most FF games. It's turn based, turns decided on speed and move choice. The order for several turns is displayed and using it to employ the right attacks is vital.

At any time active members can be switched out for inactive ones and battles involve knowing who you need for what enemy. The mighty and stoic Auron has a hefty punch can take out the strongest armoured foes. Impatient and keen Tidus can take out creatures that are too fast and evading for Auron to touch. This matching of combat and character makes them feel consistent in gameplay and cutscene, they are still the same person.

Levelling up involves moving along curving and intersecting paths and buying attributes and abilities with spheres dropped by the enemy. Each character has paths that define them but there is enough flexibility to adjust the party and by the end everyone as started branching out on other paths.

The setting is breathtaking and combines with the plentiful cutscenes to drive you ahead, to see the next magical and marvellous thing in this world. Stopping and staring is well known. The story has some amazing twists and some more complicated ending and a more mature ending than could have been expected. There is always enough mystery to hold interest and the music is some of the best piano music of all games.

There are plenty of sidequests and a particularly deep turn-based sport sim. Love or hate them, you can ignore them but they are required to unlock the best weapons (if you don't build your own).

In the end this games represents the best of fantasy. It's both escaping into a whole new world and dealing with important facets of character and society. Only the voice acting is poor and that alone can keep people away. But I managed and at the very least please check out the opening cutscene on youtube.
  # comments: 5
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One of the best
Final Fantasy X is the first game in the fourth generation of the Final Fantasy series, released on the PS2 in 2001. In my view, not only does it remain the best in it's generation (over XI and XII), but one of the best in the series period.

The story is fascinating and beautifully told. I'm fond of stories where characters get drawn into a whole other world and have an adventure there, and this is one of the best examples of these types of stories. There are many emotional twists and turns, and it all feels cohesive and appropriately paced. The biggest revelation that happens midway through the game even changes the whole story's nature when you go back and play through it a second time, catching on to all the prior Foreshadowing.

Of course, the story wouldn't work if it didn't have strong characters driving it, and this story has plenty of them. Yes, he spends a good quarter and a half of the game as a whiny Idiot Hero, but Tidus does develop and grow, to the point where he's mature enough to not whine when learning something about himself that would give him damn good reason to complain. Yuna is a great kind, gentle yet strong heroine, arguably even better than Aerith. Wakka, Lulu, Kimahri and Rikku are all likable supporting characters and each have some distinct development. Only Auron doesn't change, but that's because he's past his development already, and now is content being the ultimate Badass mentor. And of course, there's Sin, one of the most terrifying RPG antagonists ever.

Combine this with still visually beautiful graphics due to great art direction, a superb musical soundtrack, and fun, fast-paced turn-based gameplay (ignoring that damned Sphere Grid...), and you have an excellent RPG. The one complaint is that it's more linear than past games (with no World Map and all), but that was probably a cost of the upgrade to the PS2 the series had to make. Still, this game is, to me, the last "great" Final Fantasy game, and if it's upcoming HD rerelease proves one thing, it's that it's a classic.
  # comments: 17
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