A milestone for the genre.
For a long time I was nervous to write this review of possibly my favorite game of all time. One reason for this was I felt like I wouldn't be able to do this game justice in being able able to project to you (the readers) just how great this game is. There is so many things that went right with Final Fantasy X. So let's start off with the game play.
Gameplay: The gameplay in Final Fantasy X is very different from what became "standard" in Final Fantasy with the release of Final Fantasy IV. This is due to the introduction of the "Conditional Time Battle" system. Where you can see ahead of time who is going when. There are ways of affecting the "turns" with spells like "Haste" and "Slow". Even items can be equipped to improve the characters natural speed stat. Making the character act quicker in battle. Getting more hits and spells in before your opponent is a crucial to victory and very fun to set up once you have characters that string attacks together and never get hit from the enemies. My favorite aspect to the battle system is being able to swap out characters in the heat of battle. Start out with Tidus, Yuna, Auron and finish with Wakka, Lulu and Rikku. Being able to change your party members in and out adds a tremendous amount of strategy. Molding a team of "damage dealers" and run into a group of enemies that are viciously assaulting them? No problem. Just call in your quicker party members to match blow for blow against those beasties or be quicker than them and turn the tides by using their tactic against 'em.
Story: The story really revolves around two characters Tidus & Yuna. Tidus is a Blitzball player for the Zanarkand Abes & is the star player & has a pretty strong following. Yuna is a Summoner from Bevelle who lives on the Island of Besaid with her friends/Guardians Lulu, Wakka (a Blitzball player for the Besaid Aurochs) & Kimahri (a Ronso from Mount. Gagazet). Yuna is looking to become the Summoner who defeats Sin with the Final Summoning. Neither Tidus or Yuna have ever heard of each other until the creature Sin appears Tidus' world & desimates entire city Zanarkand. That event forces the two together by transporting Tidus from his world to the world of Spira. Which happens to be 1000 years into the future. Of course you couldn't tell that it's the future, because it's mostly destroyed and everyone lives very primitive existences. This is due to the power that is Sin. As a punishment for not following the teaching of Yevon better. Sin was formed as Yevon's response to the people of Spira no longer believing it it's beliefs. The people started turning back to the old ways of life. Being simplistic and focusing their days around the teachings. Trying to please Yevon enough to permanently end the attacks of Sin. The church of Yevon preaches that only people chosen as summoners have the ability to send Sin away, by way of the Final Summoning after the 5 Aeons (the ones you get by playing through the game).
Graphics: Square-Enix proves that they can push systems to their brink. For a game that was released in 2001 Final Fantasy X has breathtaking visuals that no other game in that time period (possibly not even in the year after) could be compared to it. The cinematics are beautifully done & so life-like. The cut scenes are second to none. Square-Enix shows they understood the PS2 from the very beginning.
Audio: Uematsu somehow keeps outdoing himself. He once again created a fantastic soundtrack to compliment the this brilliant game. The kick off song "Otherworld" is a surprising anthem that sticks in your head as the opening of the game plays in front of you.
Replay: I would say it is very worth replaying over & over again, just to find everything in the game that there is to find & to just play the greatest RPG to come along. I've put an un-godly amount of time into this game. I would probably peg it at 400 hours across countless play throughs.