Post Reply Final Fantasy X
Posted 7/24/08 , edited 8/12/08
Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X (ファイナルファンタジーX, Fainaru Fantajī Ten?) is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix), and the tenth installment in the Final Fantasy series. It was released in 2001 for Sony's PlayStation 2. As of January 20, 2004, the game has sold around 6.6 million units worldwide and was also voted by the readers of the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu to be the greatest video game of all-time. Set in the fantasy world of Spira, the game's story centers around a group of adventurers and their quest to defeat a rampaging force known as "Sin".

Final Fantasy X marks the Final Fantasy series' transition from entirely pre-rendered backdrops to fully three-dimensional areas, achieved with the PlayStation 2's Emotion Engine processor. Although pre-rendered backgrounds are not entirely absent, their use has been restricted to less vibrant locations, such as building interiors. Final Fantasy X is also the first game in the series to feature a wide range of realistic facial expressions, as well as other technological developments in graphical effects achieved, such as variance in lighting and shadow from one section of a character's clothing to the next. Final Fantasy X is also the first in the series to feature voice-over actors, as well as the first to spawn a direct sequel, Final Fantasy X-2.

Final Fantasy X introduces other significant advances in the Final Fantasy series. For instance, because of the implementation of voice-overs, scenes in the game are paced according to the time taken for dialogue to be spoken, whereas previous games in the series incorporated scrolling subtitles. Final Fantasy X features changes in world design, with a focus placed on realism. The gameplay makes a significant departure from past games as well, incorporating several new elements.
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Gameplay

Like previous games in the series, Final Fantasy X is presented in third-person perspective, with players directly navigating the main character, Tidus, or Yuna in some cases, around the world to interact with objects and people. Unlike in previous games, however, the world and town maps have been fully integrated, with terrain outside of cities rendered to scale. When an enemy is encountered, the environment switches to a turn-based "battle area" where characters and enemies must await their turn to attack.

In line with previous titles in the series, players are given the opportunity to develop and improve their characters by defeating enemies and acquiring items, though the traditional experience point system was replaced by a new system called the "Sphere Grid". The game was initially going to feature online elements, but these were dropped during production, and online multiplayer gaming would not become part of the Final Fantasy series until Final Fantasy XI.

Field map

Final Fantasy X's gameplay differs from that of previous Final Fantasy games in its lack of an interactive top-down perspective "world map" navigation system. Previous games had featured a miniature representation of the expansive areas between towns and other distinct locations, used for long-distance traveling. In Final Fantasy X, instead, almost all game locations are essentially contiguous and never fade out to an interactive overworld map. Regional connections are mostly linear, forming a single path through the game's locations, though an airship becomes available late in the game, giving the player the ability to navigate the world of Spira in a matter of seconds.

Map director Takayoshi Nakazato has explained that with Final Fantasy X, he wanted to implement a world map concept with a more realistic approach than that of the traditional Final Fantasy game, in-line with the realism afforded by the mechanics of the game's dominant 3D backgrounds, as opposed to that offered by pre-rendered backgrounds (which he refers to as "pseudo 3D environments").

Battle system

Final Fantasy X introduces the Conditional Turn-Based Battle (CTB) system in place of the series' traditional Active Time Battle (ATB) system, which was originally developed by Hiroyuki Ito and was first used in Final Fantasy IV. The system was developed by battle director Toshiro Tsuchida, who had Final Fantasy IV in mind when developing the CTB system. Whereas the ATB concept features real-time elements, the CTB system is a turn-based format that pauses the battle during each of the player's turns. Thus, the CTB design allows the player to select an action without time pressure. The CTB system also allows characters' and enemies' attributes and actions to affect the number of turns they are allowed and the order in which they occur. A graphical timeline along the upper-right side of the screen details who will be receiving turns next as well as how various actions taken (such as using the Slow spell on an enemy) will affect the subsequent order of turns.

Character-specific special abilities (known as "Limit Breaks" in some other Final Fantasy games) reappear in Final Fantasy X under the name "Overdrives". In this new incarnation of the feature, most of the techniques are interactive, requiring fighting game-style button inputs or precise timing to increase their effectiveness. Furthermore, an "Overdrive meter" was introduced to determine when such an ability could be executed. Through the use of different "Overdrive Modes", the player is allowed to designate what circumstances (such as receiving damage, slaying an enemy, or being the only living character on the field) cause the Overdrive meter to fill.

Final Fantasy X allows the player to control only up to three characters in battle at once, but a "swapping system" allows the player to replace any of them with one of the (eventually) four others waiting on the sidelines. A player may swap one character for another at any time, unless the on-field character has been defeated. Swapping is encouraged by the fact that each character has a specialized application: Yuna has the greatest skill at healing with White Magic and can use summon spells; Rikku is adept at using and stealing items; Tidus can use time-altering magic and accurately strike agile enemies; Wakka can inflict negative status effects and accurately strike flying enemies; Auron can pierce enemies' defenses and has the greatest physical strength; Kimahri can use enemy skills; and Lulu has elemental Black Magic spells suited for use against elementally aligned enemies.

Final Fantasy X introduces an overhaul of the summoning system employed in previous installments of the series. Whereas in previous games a summoned creature would arrive, perform a single action, and then depart, Final Fantasy X's summons (called "aeons") arrive and entirely replace the battle party, fighting in their place until either the enemy has been slain, the aeon itself has been defeated, or the aeon is dismissed by the player. Aeons have their own stats, commands, special attacks, spells, and Overdrives, and in addition to providing powerful attacks, they can be employed as "meat shields" while fighting difficult bosses, as the enemy must first kill any summoned aeon before it can damage the party directly. The player acquires a minimum of five aeons over the course of the game, and three additional aeons can be unlocked by completing various sidequests.

Originally, Final Fantasy X was going to feature wandering enemies visible on the field map, seamless transitions into battles, and the option for players to move around the landscape during enemy encounters. Battle art director Shintaro Takai has explained that it was his intention that battles in Final Fantasy X come across as a natural part of the story and not an independent element. However, due to hardware and system limitations, these ideas were not used until Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII. Instead, a compromise was made, whereby some transitions from the field screen to battle arenas were made relatively seamless with the implementation of a motion blur effect. The desire for seamless transitions also led to the implementation of the new summoning system seen in the game.

Sphere Grid

Final Fantasy X's leveling system, the Sphere Grid, was unique in the computer role-playing game genre at the time of its release; however aspects of the approach were adopted by some later titles, for example the "Mantra Grid" in the game Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga. Instead of characters gaining pre-determined statistic bonuses for their attributes after a certain number of battles, each character gains a "sphere level" after collecting enough Ability Points (AP). Sphere levels, in turn, allow players to move around the Sphere Grid, a predetermined grid of several hundred interconnected nodes consisting of various stat and ability bonuses. Items called "spheres" (obtained from defeated enemies, treasure chests, and event prizes) are applied to these nodes, unlocking its function for the selected character. In this way, the playable characters' development resembles a board game.

Producer Yoshinori Kitase has explained that the purpose behind the Sphere Grid is to give players an interactive means of increasing their characters' attributes, such that they will be able to observe the development of those attributes firsthand. The Sphere Grid system also allows players to fully customize characters in contrast to their intended battle roles, such as turning the magician Yuna into a physical powerhouse and the swordsman Auron into a healer. The International and PAL versions of the game include an optional "Expert" version of the Sphere Grid; in these versions, all of the characters start in the middle of the grid and may follow whichever path the player chooses. As a tradeoff, however, the Expert grid has noticeably fewer nodes in total, thus decreasing the total statistic upgrades available during the game.
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Plot and setting

The world of Final Fantasy X is known as "Spira". It consists of one large landmass divided into three subcontinents, surrounded by small tropical islands. It features diverse climates, ranging from the tropical Besaid and Kilika islands to the temperate Mi'ihen region to the frigid Macalania and Mount Gagazet.

Although it is predominantly populated by humans, Spira features a variety of races. Among them are the Al Bhed, a technologically advanced but disenfranchised sub-group of humans with distinctive spiral-green eyes and unique language. The Guado are somewhat less human in appearance, with elongated fingers and other subtle differences. They also have a natural propensity for magic and conjuring monsters. Still less human in appearance are the large, lion-like, one-horned Ronso, and the frog-like Hypello.

Spira's wildlife population introduces several new concepts into the series. Although most creatures are drawn from real animals, such as cats, dogs, birds and butterflies, a few fictional species appear, such as the gigantic, amphibious shoopuf and the emu-like chocobo. Both are used primarily for transportation purposes. Most other unusual creatures encountered in Final Fantasy X are fiends.

Spira is very different from the mainly European-style worlds found in previous Final Fantasy games, being much more closely modeled on Southeast Asia, most notably with respect to vegetation, topography, architecture, and names. Nomura has identified the South Pacific, Thailand and Japan as major influences on the cultural and geographic design of Spira, particularly concerning the geographic locations of Besaid and Kilika. He has also said that Spira deviates from the worlds of past Final Fantasy games most notably in the level of detail incorporated, something he has expressed to have made a conscious effort to maintain during the design process. Though a southeast Asian theme is dominant, like other games in the franchise, Final Fantasy X borrows elements from many other cultures, featuring references to demonology, Hindu, Norse, Arabic and other mythologies. Psychology is also represented, with Carl Jung referenced by the aeon Anima.
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Spirituality and Metaphysics


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Characters

The seven main playable characters in Final Fantasy X are Tidus, an energetic and upbeat blitzball star; Yuna, a reserved and soft-spoken summoner who always puts others before herself; Kimahri Ronso, an exile of the Ronso tribe who remains silent for most of the game and is devoted to protecting Yuna above all else; Wakka, an amiable blitzball player and devout follower of the Yevon order, who has been a friend of Yuna's since childhood; Lulu, an often cynical and harsh, but well-meaning Black Mage; Auron, a taciturn and matter-of-fact ex-warrior monk; and Rikku, a perky Al Bhed girl with extensive knowledge of machinery.

The primary antagonists of the game are maester Seymour Guado and the other maesters of the Yevon religion, while the rampaging Sin serves as the primary source of conflict. In addition, there is a vast supporting cast of named characters, who — along with the main characters — feature voice talents complementing their principle roles, as well as the myriad incidental characters that have traditionally populated the worlds of Final Fantasy.

Character designer Tetsuya Nomura took particular care in each of the characters' designs. For example, Nomura based Yuna's overall design on Okinawan kimonos. When he learned that the character was to perform the sending dance, he wanted to give her outfit something that would flow. For this reason, the specific style of kimono he chose for her was a furisode, a kimono bearing long sleeves. Additionally, he adorned her dress and necklace with images of the flower also called Yuna (Hibiscus tiliaceus), and her name carries the meaning of "night" in the Okinawan language, a direct contrast with Tidus' Japanese name, Tīda, the Okinawan word for "sun". Nomura has explained that while all these subtle details may be unnecessary, he does not want his designs to be without explanation.

For minor characters, sub-character chief designer Fumi Nakashima's focus was to ensure that characters from different regions and cultures bore distinctive characteristics in their clothing styles, such that they could be quickly and easily identified as members of their respective sub-groups. For example, in her words, the masks and goggles of the Al Bhed give the group a "strange and eccentric" appearance, while the attire of the Ronso lend to them being able to easily engage in battle.
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Story


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Development

Development for Final Fantasy X began in 1999, costing approximately four billion Japanese yen (approximately $32.3 million) with a crew of more than one hundred people, most of whom worked on previous games in the series.

As with most other games in the Final Fantasy franchise, the characters and story of Final Fantasy X are distinct from those of its predecessors. Executive producer Hironobu Sakaguchi states that this is to maintain the novelty of each title and to show off his team's true potential. Although he had certain reservations about the transition from 2D to 3D backgrounds, the voice acting, and the transition to real-time story-telling, Sakaguchi believes Final Fantasy's success can be attributed to constantly challenging the development team to try new things. For his part, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima has said that with this installment of the series, he was particularly concerned with establishing a connection in the relationship between the player and main character. Thus, he penned the story such that—since both Tidus and the player find themselves in a new world—the player's progress through the world and growing knowledge about it is reflected in Tidus' own developing understanding and narration.

Final Fantasy X also features innovations in the rendering of facial expressions on characters, achieved through motion capture and skeletal animation technology. This technology allowed animators to create realistic lip movements, which were then programmed to match the speech of the game's voice actors.

Toshiro Tsuchida wanted to do away with the ATB system for Final Fantasy X but Square didn't allow him to. A compromise was eventually agreed upon, resulting in the CTB system.
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Audio

Voice Overs
Nojima also revealed that the inclusion of voice-overs had a substantial impact on the writing of the game's story. He has explained that the presence of voice actors allowed him to maintain a more simple method of storytelling, as the range of emotions that could be expressed through them was greater than that provided by text alone. Nojima has further revealed that the presence of voice actors led him to make various changes to the story and characters themselves, so as to solidify the voice actors' personalities with the characters they were portraying.

In some respects, however, the inclusion of voice-overs led to additional difficulties. With the game's cutscenes already programmed around the Japanese voice work, Final Fantasy X's English localization team faced not only the difficulty of establishing English-oriented dialogue, but also the added obstacle of incorporating this modified wording with the previously established rhythm and timing of the characters' lip movements. In his words, lead localization specialist Alexander O. Smith described the process of "fitting natural-sounding English speech into the high-polygon scenes and CG movies" as "something akin to writing four or five movies worth of dialogue entirely in haiku form and of course the actors had to act, and act well, within those restraints". To this end, each voice actor was briefed on their character's motivations and feelings for every scene, and also shown various scenes from the game itself.

Musical Scores
Final Fantasy X marks the first time Nobuo Uematsu has had any assistance in composing the score for a Final Fantasy game. His fellow composers for Final Fantasy X were Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano.

The game includes three songs with vocalized elements, one of which is the J-pop ballad "Suteki Da Ne". It is sung by Japanese folk singer Ritsuki Nakano, whom the music team contacted while searching for a singer whose music reflected an Okinawan atmosphere. "Suteki Da Ne" is sung in its original Japanese form in both the Japanese and English versions of Final Fantasy X. The song's title translates to "Isn't it Beautiful?" in English, and its lyrics were written by Nojima, while Uematsu composed the instrumentals. Like the ballads from Final Fantasy VIII and IX, "Suteki Da Ne" has an in-game version together with an orchestrated version used as part of the ending theme. The other songs featuring lyrics are the heavy metal opening theme, "Otherworld", sung in English by singer Bill Muir, and the "Hymn of the Fayth", a recurring piece sung using Japanese syllabary.
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Reception

Final Fantasy X's reception was largely positive, with high sales figures and critical acclaim from the gaming industry. The game sold 90% of its initial 2,140,000-unit shipment — 1,926,000 units — within just the first four days of release in Japan, having already sold between 1.4 million and 1.5 million copies in pre-orders. These figures exceeded the performances of Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy VII in a comparable period, and Final Fantasy X became the first PlayStation 2 game to reach sales totals of 2 million and 4 million copies. Once among the top twenty best-selling console games of all time, as of March 2006, the game's consistent sales have earned it the position of the second best-selling Final Fantasy game. As of July 2006, the game has been rated the US market's 11th best selling game of the 21st century, and was nominated for the 6th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards for animation and console role-playing game of the year in 2003. At the seventh anniversary of the PS2 in the United States (October 2007), the game was listed as the eighth best selling game for the PS2. In 2007, Final Fantasy X was named third best PlayStation 2 game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the PlayStation 2's long lifespan.

Critical response

Both Japanese and western critics have generally given Final Fantasy X high scores, with the game attaining a 92/100 ("universal acclaim") according to Metacritic. A leading Japanese video game magazine, Famitsu, awarded the game a near-perfect 39/40 score, while readers of the same magazine voted it the best game of all time in early 2006. Another leading Japanese gaming magazine, The Play Station, gave the game a score of 29/30.

As part of their reviews, Famitsu and The Play Station expressed particularly favorable responses toward the game's storyline and graphics, as did the UK-based magazine Edge. However, the magazine only gave the game a 6/10, describing it as "Sequential software that labels itself next-gen" without providing a next generation gaming experience, instead repeating "the mistakes ... made on the last version". In this regard, Edge cites the game's battle and character-leveling systems, describing the former as only "fractionally more complex" than was the case in previous installments of the series, and the latter as "no more flexible than the straight leveling from previous games". Edge also dealt harsh criticism to the game's English script and voice-overs, regarding the dialogue, "both textual and verbal", as "nauseating". The magazine went on to say that it "renders the pathos comedic, the comedy dead, and ... butchers the whole game". Multimedia website IGN offered extensive praise for the voice actors and the innovations in gameplay, particularly with regard to the revised battle and summon magic system, the option to change party members during battle, and what they felt were more efficient character development and inventory management systems. Offering additional praise for the game's graphics, which they suggested "improves on its predecessors in every area possible", they commented that the game as a whole was "the best-looking game of the series and arguably the best-playing as well" at the time of release. GameSpot admired the game's storyline, calling it surprisingly complex, its ending satisfying, and its avoidance of RPG clichés commendable. GamePro magazine agreed, saying that despite an "anticlimactic final battle", the story remained engaging every step of the way.

Legacy

Due to its commercial and popular success, Square Enix released a direct sequel to Final Fantasy X in 2003, entitled "Final Fantasy X-2". This sequel—the first direct sequel developed in the Final Fantasy series—is set two years after the conclusion of the original story, establishing new conflicts and dilemmas and resolving loose ends left by the original game. Also as a result of the game's reception, Kitase and Nojima decided to establish a plot-related connection between Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy VII, another popular Final Fantasy title.

The advancements in portraying realistic emotions achieved with Final Fantasy X through voice-overs and detailed facial expressions have since become a staple of the series, with its sequel and other subsequent titles — such as Final Fantasy XII and Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII — also featuring this development. Additionally, traversing real-time 3D environments instead of an overworld map has also become a standard of the series, as demonstrated in both Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII.
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Versions and merchandise

The Japanese version of the game included an additional disc titled "The Other Side of Final Fantasy", which included interviews, storyboards, and trailers for Blue Wing Blitz, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, as well as the first footage of Final Fantasy XI.

An international version of the game was released in Japan as "Final Fantasy X International" and in PAL territories under its original title. It features content not available in the original NTSC releases, including battles with dark versions of the game's aeons and an airship fight with the superboss Penance. The Japanese release of Final Fantasy X International also includes a twelve minute video clip bridging the story of Final Fantasy X with that of its sequel, Final Fantasy X-2.

Additionally, the European release includes a bonus DVD as "Beyond Final Fantasy", a disc including interviews with the game's developers, as well as two of the game's English voice actors, James Arnold Taylor (Tidus) and Hedy Burress (Yuna). Also included are various trailers for Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts, a gallery of concept and promotional art for the game, and a music video of "Suteki Da Ne" performed by Rikki.

In addition to a sequel, Square Enix produced numerous action figures, several versions of the game's soundtrack and various books, including The Art of Final Fantasy X and three Ultimania guides, a series of artbooks/strategy guides published by Square Enix in Japan. They feature original artwork from Final Fantasy X, offer gameplay walkthroughs, expand upon many aspects of the game's storyline and feature several interviews with the game's designers. There are three books in the series: Final Fantasy X Scenario Ultimania, Final Fantasy X Battle Ultimania and Final Fantasy X Ultimania Ω. A similar three-book series was produced for Final Fantasy X-2.

In 2005, a compilation featuring Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 was released in Japan as Final Fantasy X/X-2 Ultimate Box.
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Final Fantasy X Album




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F / New Zealand
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Posted 8/3/08
Good game. Good plot. Good graphics. Haha, another game i haven't finished, and it was the first game i got when i first got my PS2! Im so slow at finishings games... I've got like 20 other games i still havent finished either haha.
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Posted 8/3/08
This was a game with an absolutely AWESOME storyline. However, going back to the CTB, which made even the International version with its completely tankish dark aeons, seem too easy to beat. A reason why i could finish it with a OSGY&TO was because of this simplicity.
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33 / F / buried in The For...
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Posted 8/4/08
wow, thanks for the effort Zen_Music

and yea, it was really a Final Fantasy... i totally loved it and enjoyed every moment i spent playing it
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25 / M / in the soul of music
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Posted 8/7/08
another top game made by square enix as well as all there games
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27 / F / シャドーモセス島
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Posted 8/13/08
Good game. Haven't beaten it yet. lol Taking my sweet time in leveling everyone up for the final boss battle. *shrugs*
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Posted 8/15/08
good game , didn't finshed it also played X-2 and didn't finshed it LOL !
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Posted 8/16/08
yes good game XD finished it in terms of story...... but going back to kill the dark aeons now (they hurt ._.)

gave up on X-2... it was just wrong.. and Im a girl heh....
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