Matthew Preston | December 31, 2001
Tonight I completed Final Fantasy X. Perhaps the first in the series that I have actually completed before Scott did! At any rate, here is my two cents on it, the good, the bad and the ugly. Don't worry, no spoilers.

The Good :

- Amazing graphics. The full motion video sequences make the game way above anything else. It is done just like other FF games in the past, but with a lovely, crisp look more like the movie, "The Spirits Within." The load times between segments is nearly non-existent, as scene after scene moves effortlessly from normal to FMV and back again. Very rarely the game would pause for a split second at the end of a battle, but that's about it.

- Incredible music! Nobuo Uematsu and cast do it again and create some of the most amazing sounding theme songs. Just like from games past, I find myself humming along or even waking up in the morning with the songs in my head. Yet another soundtrack on my wish list.

- Ingenious character advancment system. I won't explain it in detail here, but take my word for it as a very well planned and thought out way to keep things rolling.

- Great voice acting. Veteran voices from other video games and TV shows. (Garfield, Futurama, PowerPuff Girls, Batman, X-Men, etc.)

The Bad:

- Translation errors. The game was obviously rushed to be released before Christmas in the United States. For most of the scenes with the characters talking, their lips are still moving to the original Japanese dialogue. It is really like watching an anime cartoon that has been dubbed and very annoying. They did put in the correct lip movements though for the really important scenes and FMV's. There is a particular dramatic scene that has a love ballad behind it. What sucks is that it is in Japanese. Usually in past FF games, the songs are translated and performed in English. However, in this particular instance, the song is still in Japanese and their isn't even subtitles to let you know the words. It sounded important and damnit I would have loved to know what that lady was singing on about!

- Way too Japanese! The characters looks and actions take place with much of the Japanese culture behind them. It is not necessarily a bad thing, just know it before playing the game. I have seen and learned much of the Japanese culture from a friend back in Milwaukee and it still baffles me the things that are considered cool and what makes someone attractive.

The Ugly:

- You can't forward the cut-scenes to just keep playing. When an FMV starts or when the characters are talking, they will continue the scene until it is done, you can't bypass them. This is fine the first time through, but several times I would face a boss and lose and have to start over from the last save point. This would start up the long 5 - 10 minute sequneces that I have seen before and I just wanted to play. It made losing to a boss that much more aggrivating.

- The character advancement system. I know I put this as a good thing, but there is a drawback that is inexcusable. For instance, there are a few very powerful spells to be acquired that will take a long time to get too. This is understandable, but certain items are needed to get there and only a few are given after key battles are completed. What this means is that only 1 or 2 of the 5 or 6 big spells can ever be acheived. It is up to you to decide which ones to take. I don't want to sound selfish, but I want them all! I would at least like the chance to work hard and accomplish each and every one (which is the case in all the other FF games). I don't mind working for the goal, at least give me the opportunity.

- THE GAME CHEATS! I never thought I would see this in a FF game, but I know I am not imaging it. I have been trying to tell myself that these aren't really cheats, but rather a way to make the game difficult, but I just can't do it. When it comes time to face off against a boss, they will gradually get a bit more difficult, or wait until their health is mostly depleted and then lay on the big guns. This is all well and fine as it is expected, but they aren't allowed to all of sudden get extra attacks per melee. If they were to cast haste on themselves, it would be okay, but that only occured once or twice. I actually (for the first time) broke one of my controllers spiking it on the ground in anger when a boss would get the chance to attack all of my characters 5 times before I got a chance to act! He had only previously been attacking once, but I managed to get him down to near death when he went nuts. RRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH... okay, I am over it now however.

Also, there are times when foes will attack you and ambush you (meaning that they attack first). This is allowed to happen, but it only seemed to happen with evil foes that would have some attack to turn all of my characters to stone, or put them into an incurrable frenzy in which they are not in my control anymore and attack themselves until they die. This of course ends the game. Very frustrating again when you have no control over the situation. It happened about 3 or 4 times when I was nearing a save point.

One more instance. There was a boss that was damn near impossible to pass. I finally did and was celebrating and looking forward to passing on to the next part of the game. There was however a long corridor with guards protecting it that I had to break through before the next save point. I wasn't too worried as most of the enemies were simple to destroy. Then it happened.... more cheating. One of the foes (who had only been attacking once per round) decided now that he got 3 attacks and in turn kicked each of my characters off of the screen ending the game. I wasn't able to make it to a save point and I had to fight that damn boss again..... RRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH. FUCK YOU SQUARESOFT! ah, much better now, thanks.

Maybe I am judging this game too much on what it has to live up to from past games. Or maybe I just have way too much time on my hands.... At any rate, this was a spectacular game and worthy of it's name. Probably the second best game of the year. :-)

And that as they say, is that..... =phew=

Matthew Preston | December 31, 2001
I don't know why it underlined some of it. I didn't do that and it didn't look like that when I previewed it. Ah well.

Scott Hardie | January 1, 2002
I think you beat FF8 before me. I got to the end about two weeks before you, but I couldn't beat that last boss for the life of me, and you managed to do it. I was so hubristic as to believe that you were lying! :-)

Matthew Preston | January 2, 2002
Hubristic? Does that have anything to do with Andy Hubbart?

Scott Hardie | January 2, 2002
No, just that my ego got in the way. At the time, I could believe that you had beaten the game, but I could not believe that you had beaten the game when I had failed to do so.

Matthew Preston | January 3, 2002
No, what I mean to say is... What does Hubristic mean? I guess I am making inferences here.

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