The launch of the PlayStation 2 ushered in a new era for the Final Fantasy series. Though the developers tinkered with the layout of this series several times before, each entry kept key components so they still felt connected. As Final Fantasy X developed, fans of the series were about to see quite a few changes. 2001 gave us a new and innovative twist on this beloved franchise, leaving much of the foundation in the past.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Final Fantasy X has a lot of firsts for the franchise. It is the first game in the series to utilize voice acting, pre-rended backdrops and full three-dimensional areas. In addition to the technological advances, X is also the first entry to get a direct sequel in Final Fantasy X-2. Finally, the game’s soundtrack is the first that Nobuo Uematsu was not the sole composer. Along with Uematsu, Masahi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano had a hand in developing the music.
With the new technological capabilities, X gets an intense boost in graphics. The visuals are stunning and are even better in the HD remake. The world seems so vast and clear, and graphics only get better from here on out. Playing FFX is almost like watching a movie at times- because with better graphics comes more cut scenes. The developers did learn from previous entries and added an option to skip particular cut scenes (ie. long summons.) The capability only goes so far as the cut scene graphics are still far better than the in-game.
Aside from auditory and visual alterations, there are few big changes as far as how the game is played. Final Fantasy X abandons the ATB style of the past in favorite of a new battle system, and instead of leveling stats, players are introduced to the Sphere Grid. Everything seems new, even down to the way players explore the world map. With all of the changes, it may be hard to believe that this game still plays like other franchise entries. While there are many changes, Final Fantasy X still does what it does best – creates a memorable story.
Welcome to Spira
Our journey begins with the young star of the Zanarkand Abes blitzball team, Tidus. He is participating in a blitzball tournament being held in honor of his late father, Jecht, a former star player. However, chaos ensues as the city is beset by a giant monster. Tidus can only wonder what is happening as his care-taker, Auron, grabs hold of him and the world around him is destroyed by the creature dubbed ‘Sin.’ When Tidus wakes, he discovers that he is not only alone, but in a time and place far removed from his home. Upon his rescue by Al-Bhed salvagers, he discovers his Zanarkand was destroyed 1000 years ago by Sin.
Lost and confused, Tidus eventually finds himself in the company of the determined Yuna. She is a newly trained summoner on a pilgrimage to defeat Sin, along with her guardians Wakka, Lulu and Kimahri. Tidus joins with Yuna in the hopes of finding Sin and using the creature to return home. However, he soon discovers a deeper connection with this new world and a possibility that he may find his estranged father. Not everything is as it seems in Spira in a tale of death, deceit, and false hope. Tidus and Yuna must band together to uncover the dark secrets of Spira and defeat Sin.