Anxiously waiting in front of my mail box for the past three days, our imported copy of Final Fantasy X has finally arrived. Oozing with excitement, I damn near kissed my mailman, and then came to my senses. So like a prissy little school girl, I run back overflowing with joy, I pop in the disk that reads Final Fantasy X, and away I go. 15 seconds into the whole thing, I'm already watching an intro, but more or less an intro only to the title "Final Fantasy X." So as I select the 'new game' option I am quickly treated to an introduction which pertains to the game itself, and not the trademark. A cinematically stunning experience, and best of all it's in real-time! Albeit there are seamless transitions between CG and real-time cinema, and in no way am I using the word 'seamless' loosely! It's literally a thousandth of a second in-between the visual transitions, which makes me wonder why purchase an HDD at this point? Aside from that, as soon as the prodigious CG/real-time intro was completed, firstly I wiped the drool off the floor and began my quest, in a world that I'll have trouble understanding.
Perhaps I should describe the mind boggling intro of Final Fantasy X. [Intro Spoilers ahead] Well for starters this one lasts longer than the usual, as it is approximately 10 minutes long, counting the few steps you'll be taking in between a new cut-scene or CG. The game starts off with Tidus entering into an area full of young males, and teenage girls, who are all asking for his autograph, this is where you enter Tidus' name. After that you will maneuver Tidus through a pack of fans and what looks to be the media. By now if you can't tell Tidus is the best at what he does, and is considered an idol. His alley is BlitzBall, a 'free-water' based game in which players are kept in a large sphere of water (remember this is Final Fantasy, anything goes). By 'free-water' I mean water that is distinctly different than what we use today, the water in FFX can be breathed in, and requires less muscle to swim through, thus the definition of 'free-water.' So as this game of BlitzBall progresses, the scene changes to a mysterious character who is later known as Auron. Over Auron's shoulder, and in the distance, a huge wave of water is slowly building and coming quickly towards Tidus, and his surroundings. This is also some kind of hovering whirlpool, as Tidus later finds out.
So Auron meets up with you and you begin fighting off a deluge of enemies, one by one, and then a huge explosion occurs which causes to break the road high above surface, and now Tidus is hanging on for his life. Yelling at Auron to help him, Auron stands there silently, then reaching in, grabbing Tidus by his collar, and holding him with both arms as if he was threatening him (or could it be betrayal?) when all of a sudden Tidus is sucked in by the hovering whirlpool, and finds himself on a ruin. Now it is up to you to make it through the ruin, which shouldn't take long, and finally encounter life, but these folks aren't friendly, as they quickly enslave you. Guess that should do it for now, I wouldn't want to give away too much of the plot at the moment. It would be hard to put a finger on how Final Fantasy X plays out, on one hand the game has its sci-fi side, on the other hand its got an overwhelming inclusion of classic medieval material. While not 'medieval' as say FFIX was, FFX still sports the 'not too modern day' feel, which many FF enthusiasts will love. Though you sci-fi loving FF fans, will still get a kick of this beautiful masterpiece, it's got features of sci-fi that'll tame your world of Final Fantasy as well. For those who have longed to see a new and intuitive battle engine, your day has come.
While Final Fantasy X is still traditional turn-based fighting, the action moves at a completely different rate, and a faster one at that. When you make an action, it is executed instantly, and not a second too late. Your quick actions and strategy can make a difference between life and death. Of course there are magic spells in Final Fantasy as well, although some have different spells than others. Yuna who is the game's primary summoner will be able to cast various beasts for support in spite of achieving victory. Though incidentally, Yuna herself is a mysterious looking female, who's got one green eye, and one blue eye. Somewhere later in the context of the game, the subject of Yuna's eyes will be brought to the gamers attention, as the matter is finally shown off. At the time I'm writing this, I've only had Final Fantasy X for a little over ten hours, and of those ten hours, I spent 6 playing Final Fantasy X. I'm somewhat able to put the game's storyline into play, with a little obvious RPG thinking and some imagination (I call it the Homer Simpson way), I can pretty much make out a good deal of the dialogue, even though I can barely understand a word of Japanese.
I've been pondering over the subject of which games looks better, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, or Final Fantasy X, and while the decision was tough, Final Fantasy comes out on top. To save some chit-chat for the import review, I'll generalize the visuals into a paragraph. For starters all of the characters in FFX are compromised of thousands of polygons, in many cases matching those of MGS2's, and then in some cases, exceeding. With the characters looking as gorgeous as they do, the motion captured (or at least that's what they seemed to be) CG sequences do a great job of presenting a magnitude of detail, and can even be compared to the overall aesthetic beauty that is Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Tossing out the pre-rendered backgrounds, Square for the first time has inserted fully polygonal backgrounds to every locale. Every tree, house and little environmental side-object like a pot, look strikingly mesmerizing, and for a second you forget that you are playing a game and not watching a computer generated scene (CG). Simply put, Final Fantasy X is currently the best looking Playstation 2 game bar none, and with The Bouncer, ZOE, MGS2, and Gran Turismo 3, that's saying a lot!
I can only leave you with advice to stay tuned for my Final Fantasy X import review. In which I will be discussing everything in a more broad and widened fashion, such as the awesome voice acting, character development and of course the overall score...