Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X
Ffxboxart.jpg
North American cover art featuring Tidus
Developer(s)Square Product Development Division 1
Publisher(s)
Director(s)Yoshinori Kitase
Producer(s)Yoshinori Kitase
Programmer(s)
  • Koji Sugimoto
  • Takashi Katano
Artist(s)
Writer(s)
Composer(s)
SeriesFinal Fantasy
Platform(s)PlayStation 2
Release
  • JP: July 19, 2001
  • NA: December 17, 2001
  • AU: May 17, 2002
  • EU: May 24, 2002
International
  • JP: January 31, 2002
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

Final Fantasy X[a] is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square as the tenth entry in the Final Fantasy series. Originally released in 2001 for Sony's PlayStation 2, the game was re-released as Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in 2013, for PlayStation 4 in 2015, Microsoft Windows in 2016, and will be released for the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One in 2019. The game marks the Final Fantasy series transition from entirely pre-rendered backdrops to fully three-dimensional areas, and is also the first in the series to feature voice acting. Final Fantasy X replaces the Active Time Battle (ATB) system with the "Conditional Turn-Based Battle" (CTB) system, and uses a new leveling system called the "Sphere Grid".

Set in the fantasy world of Spira, a setting influenced by the South Pacific, Thailand and Japan,[1] the game's story revolves around a group of adventurers and their quest to defeat a rampaging monster known as Sin. The player character is Tidus, a star athlete in the fictional sport of blitzball, who finds himself in the world Spira after his home city of Zanarkand is destroyed by Sin. Shortly after arriving to Spira, Tidus joins the summoner Yuna on her pilgrimage to destroy Sin.

Development of Final Fantasy X began in 1999, with a budget of more than US$32.3 million (US$48.6 million in 2018 dollars) and a team of more than 100 people. The game was the first in the main series not entirely scored by Nobuo Uematsu; Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano were signed as Uematsu's fellow composers. Final Fantasy X was both a critical and commercial success, selling over 8 million units worldwide on PlayStation 2.[2] It is widely considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. On March 3, 2003, it was followed by Final Fantasy X-2, making it the first Final Fantasy game to have a direct game sequel.

Gameplay

Like previous games in the series, Final Fantasy X is presented in a third-person perspective, with players directly navigating the main character, Tidus, around the world to interact with objects and people. Unlike previous games, however, the world and town maps have been fully integrated, with terrain outside of cities rendered to scale. As Tidus explores the world, he randomly encounters enemies. When an enemy is encountered, the environment switches to a turn-based battle area where characters and enemies await their turn to attack.[3]

The gameplay of Final Fantasy X differs from that of previous Final Fantasy games in its lack of a top-down perspective world map. Earlier games featured a miniature representation of the expansive areas between towns and other distinct locations, used for long-distance traveling. In Final Fantasy X, almost all the locations are essentially continuous and never fade out to a world 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 Spira faster. Like previous games in the series, Final Fantasy X features numerous minigames, most notably the fictional underwater sport "blitzball".[4]

Combat

A boss battle using a heads-up display to illustrate battle information

Final Fantasy X introduces the Conditional Turn-Based Battle system in place of the series' traditional Active Time Battle system first used in Final Fantasy IV. 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.[5] A graphical timeline along the upper-right side of the screen details who will be receiving turns next, and how various actions taken will affect the subsequent order of turns. The ordering of turns can be affected by a number of spells, items, and abilities that inflict status effects upon the controlled characters or the enemies.[6] The player can control up to three characters in battle, though a swapping system allows the player to replace them with a character outside the active party at any time. "Limit Breaks", highly damaging special attacks, reappear in Final Fantasy X as "Overdrives". In this new incarnation of the feature, most of the techniques are interactive, requiring button inputs to increase their effectiveness. While initially the Overdrives can be used when the character receives a significant amount of damage, the player is able to modify the requirements to unlock them.[7]

Final Fantasy X introduces an overhaul of the summoning system employed in previous games of the series. Whereas in previous titles a summoned creature would arrive, perform one action, and then depart, the "Aeons" of Final Fantasy X arrive and entirely replace the battle party, fighting in their place until either the aeon wins the battle, is defeated itself, or is dismissed by the player. Aeons have their own statistics, commands, special attacks, spells, and Overdrives. The player acquires five aeons over the course of the game through the completion of Cloister of Trials puzzles, but three additional aeons can be obtained by completing various side-quests.[4]

Sphere Grid

As with previous titles in the series, players have the opportunity to develop and improve their characters by defeating enemies and acquiring items, though the traditional experience point system is replaced by a new system called the "Sphere Grid". Instead of characters gaining pre-determined statistic bonuses for their attributes after leveling up, each character gains "Sphere Levels" after collecting enough Ability Points (AP). Sphere Levels allow players to move around the Sphere Grid, a pre-determined grid of interconnected nodes consisting of various statistic and ability bonuses. "Spheres" are applied to these nodes, unlocking its function for the selected character.[5]

The Sphere Grid system also allows players to fully customize characters in contrast to their intended battle roles, such as turning the White Mage-roled 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 trade-off, the Expert grid has fewer nodes in total, thus decreasing the total statistic upgrades available during the game.[8]

Blitzball

Blitzball is a minigame that requires strategy and tactics. The underwater sport is played in a large, hovering sphere of water surrounded by a larger audience of onlookers.[6] The player controls one character at a time as they swim through the sphere performing passes, tackles, and attempts to score. The gameplay is similar to that of the main game in the way that the controlled character moves through the area until they encounter an enemy. In this case, the enemy is a member of the opposing team. Status effects are also implemented in the minigame as each player can learn techniques that are equivalent to abilities in the main game.[9]

Blitzball is first introduced in the beginning of the game during one of the early cinematic sequences in which Tidus, the main character who is described as a star blitzball player, is part of an intense game. It is the only minigame that plays a role in the overall plot line as it is not only a main part of Tidus's character, but it's also in the first scene where the game's main antagonist, Sin is shown.[6] Unlike with the other minigames, playing blitzball is mandatory near the beginning of the game, but it is later optional.[9]

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