Final Fantasy X, despite its inheritance of the series' blind fanbase, really is the best game ever made. Not only for its peaks, Final Fantasy X is just as perfect for its flaws as well. The so-called "shoddy" voice-acting is a poor way to view a game of frankly stunning production values and quality, the kind that have given this entry in the long-running series its own identity.
Final Fantasy X begins in Zanarkand, home of the title's unlikely hero, Tidus. A player of the game world's fictional sport Blitzball, he finds his world torn apart as he watches its destruction at the hands of SIN, a horrific entity that destroys everything in its nature. Auron, a friend of his missing father, saves him from Zanarkand's fate, but lands him in a mysterious, tropical world called Spira.
Before long, Tidus finds out from a girl named Rikku, that Zanarkand was in fact destroyed 1000 years ago. No doubt wanting to know what happened to his homeworld, as well as Auron's connection to his father, Tidus decides to journey with Yuna, a girl whose mission is to defeat Sin.
The story is a complex series of subplots, and probably isn't worth dedicating much more space to. Suffice to say, if the gameplay puts you off, you'll at least find a decent sci-fi/fantasy story in it for you.
But to be honest, FFX doesn't need defending in this way. The gameplay is a long way away from previous FFs, with a smooth, fair system that can make the combat as fast you like. This is not to say that the battle system has moved into action, Kingdom Hearts-esque territory, just that it is closer to the core exploration play than its predecessors. It feels part of the same world, as opposed to FFVII, which went as far as having different character models for the combat sections of the game.
In this regard, however, the graphics in Final Fantasy X are both pretty and constant. Although released in 2002, the game is still prettier than most offerings. Sure, if you were to compare to Shadow Of The Colossus, or, say Okami, you'd be able to see the progress since its time. The character models all look great, however. The credit here should go to Tetsuya Nomura, who has clearly reached the peak of his designing abilities.
I'm trying to say this without sounding odd, but Tidus looks awesome! Clearly designed as a cocky, Hanson-esque vision of vanity, his design is spot-on for the way the character acts and moves. This applies to all the characters, with the conservative nature of Yuna's outfit being applicable to the inverted nature of her personality.
A lot lies in the graphics, with Spira being the most beautiful world ever created in a game. Although FFVII's world was a wary, silent pre-apocalypse, Spira is a chilled-out set of scattered, sunny paradisi. From the beautiful, sandy beaches of Besaid, to the vast expanse of the Calm Lands and the bustling resort of Luca, Spira is a sunny, lovely place to exist in.
The calm music helps, as well, but you can also never forget the damage that Sin has on the world. The reason the villages are so small is because Sin destroys most cities. Whilst this could be an excuse for a trivially-sized game world, an honest rendering of everything outweighs the World Map form previous games. the world looks great, despite its accesibility being below that of a modern adventure game.
The game takes 40 hours to complete, but in our PAL edition there is a blatant amount of extras waiting to be beaten. The afore-mentioned BLITZBALL is a task waiting for you. Although only required once as part of the storyline, enduring the initial losses and difficulty rewards you with both game extras, as well as a completely separate diversion from your main quest.
Herein lies the beauty of Final Fantasy X; depth. There are monsters to be collected, around a hundred blitzball players to choose from to build the ultimate team, a level-up system that takes hundreds of hours to perfect and character moments waiting to be seen and heard.
I've spent 400 hours in Spira over 5 save files. I love every second of it, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than walking around Besaid, and chilling to the gentle guitar strums it provides. I discovered the game in January 2003, and since then its been with me. Each year, I find myself stuck in it.
The music, the characters and the world may not be what you want to hear about, but Final fantasy has these things for a reason; its bloody amazing. The gameplay rules, and the battle music itself and constant random battle comments are enough to keep playing. The battles are fun, and the weapons really make the noises you want to hear.
Invest the 12 pounds in this game, and look out for the following. Remember, I told you so. Look for these things that make FFX great; Rin, the Al Bhed language, Cid, the airship, Brother, Luzzu's history with Wakka, Gatta, a music track called "wandering flame", the hilarity of seeing Tidus in "haste" mode, a macarena reference and the Dark Aeons.
Also, the voice-acting is spot-on. Those who think otherwise....just missed the point. It just fits, as does everything in this game. Brilliant.