|Submitted by Mike Montgomery |
(Feb 02, 2005)
Okay, this is going to take a while....
Story - 10/10
The main character, Tidus, is a 17 year old Blitzball player living in a world called Spira, and a city called Zanarkand. His father, Jecht, was one of the most famous Blitzball players of all time, but mysteriously disappeared some years ago. As a boy, Tidus never warmed towards his father, who would always laugh at his misfortunes and call him a cry-baby for various reasons. Their relationship grew so troubled that Tidus would often wish for his father to leave and never returned. The truth is that Jecht loved his son, but didn't know how to show it.
Anyway, as the game starts, Tidus is already on his way to a major Blitzball match, and you basically have the job of getting him there. Once that's all done with and the match has started a creature called Sin attacks Zanarkind. Tidus is sucked into it and awakens on the coast of a tropical Island. The game plays out from there, however up to that point there are a few battles allowing you to get a feel for things.
I could go on and on about the story, but it would be packed with spoilers and probably take me a good few hours. So I'll leave it at that.
Characters - 10/10
The characters are amazing. Everything about them is unique from clothing to weaponry, and just like a book, you'll find yourself liking some whilst loathing others. At the beginning you start off with Tidus, but soon Auron joins you. In total there are 7 characters, though only 3 can be used in a battle. The characters are as follows:
Tidus - Warrior
A cheerful, rising blitzball star playing for the Zanarkand Abes. He has long resented his father, who was a renowned player himslef before his untimely death. Tidus's quick moves allow him to attack even the swiftest foes with ease.
Yuna - Summoner
Daughter of High Summoner Braska. Honest and determined, Yuna embarks on a pilgrimage to obtain the Final Aeon and defeat Sin. Yuna is learning the mystical art of summoning aeons - powerful spirits of yore.
Auron - Warrior
The legendary gaurdian who, together with High Summoner Braska, defeated Sin ten years before. A man of few words, he guides Yuna and Tidus on their mission to vanquish Sin once more. He swings his gigantic sword with such power that even the toughest fiends are cut asunder.
Wakka - Warrior
Coach and captain of the local blitzball team, the Besaid Aurochs. Wakka plans to retire from the sport after this year's tournament, so that he can devote himself fully to serving as Yuna's gaurdian. His deadly blitzball is especially useful for shooting down aerial enemies.
Rikku - thief
A young Al Bhed girl. Her personality is upbeat and positive, and she is not afraid to speak her mind. She works hard to restore her outcast people to their former glory. Rikku handles mechanical devices with ease, and can steal items from enemies too.
Lulu - Mage
One of Yuna's gaurdians. She and Wakka think of Yuna as a younger sister. Lulu's stoic and self-possessed nature makes her appeal insensitive at times. She specialises in the art of black magic.
Kimahri - Warrior
A young warrior of the Ronso tribe, Kimahri has watched over Yuna from her youngest days. He speaks little, but is deeply devoted to Yuna and serves her loyally as a gaurdian. Kimahri can learn enemy skills with his Lancet ability.
Few games have characters as deep as these.
Gameplay - 10/10
Battles are turn-based and very strategic, especially when it comes to bosses. Final Fantasy has always been renowned for their battle system, and this one continues to build on their every improving reputation. Unlike any of the previous games, a turn-bar has been included to the right of the battle screen so that you can plan future attacks.
Freedome is something that this game is packed with. The huge world of Spira can be travelled all over, and doing so becomes extra fast once you gain control of the Airship. Depending on where you go will result in different enemies, and a reward can be won from the Monster Arena by catching three of each type. That's just one example of the many mini-games. Another one is Blitzball. Think of it like under-water football, but instead hands are used. It's played inside a huge sphere of liquid and is Spira's national game. Huge prizes can be won, and your players will gain levels. Extremely fun!
Squaresoft have decided to take a different approach to levelling up by introducing the Sphere Grid. It's basically a huge grid (and when I say huge I mean HUGE), filled with empty notches. By filling in these notches with spheres that you attain from battles, your characters can improve their stats and abilities. However to move around the grid requires AP, which is received after battles and transferred into Sphere Levels. It gives the game a nice fresh feeling.
Graphics - 10/10
If the story was awful, and gameplay unbearable, then the graphics alone would save it. I think it's easy to say that they're the best the PS2 is likely to ever see. Ever. Enough said.
Music - 10/10
The music is kick ass. I loved it so much that I bought the damn CD. There is a track to fit every scene, and it will make you feel high or low depending on the mood. Most are Japanese artists which is cool in the sense that it's different from what we're used to. Anyway, I loved and I'm sure everyone else did too.
Replay - 10/10
It's the same with all Final Fantasy games, they can be played again and again and again. I personally am on my fourth time through it, but I know of some who are on their tenth. There are many challenges that have been designed such as 'No Sphere Grid', which is pretty much as it sounds, you have to try and complete the game without the use of the sphere grid. Doing them won't earn you anything in terms of the game, but it will give you self-satisfaction and something to be proud of. Here are some others worth mentioning:
No Aeons (NA)
No Customisation (NC)
No Items (NI)
No Save (NS)
Obviously these can be mixed and matched, and if you think you're good enough, you might want to try them all in one game (I wouldn't recommend No Save), yes people, it's been done before.
Overall - 10/10
This game should be onwed by all. It, as are all the Final Fantasies, is a landmark in gaming history.