The Good: This was the first Final fantasy game I ever played and going into it I had never heard of Final Fantasy or anything about it. The first thing that captured me after only playing for 15 minutes or so was the beautiful graphics. It was amazing. They just looked perfect, very clean and vivid, but not trying too hard to look like real people. Okay, more on that later.
The gameplay for this game is pretty typical Final Fantasy out side of the battle system. There are random battles that pop up, there are bosses that vary in difficulty and strategy. This is all good, and the game does it well, but it is nothing special. The first special thing about the gameplay was the innovativeness of the sphere guide. This is probably the best leveling up system for any Final Fantasy game, even to this day.
Now, lets talk about the story. It is really good, it is, however it seems like SquareSoft tried a bit too hard to be deep. It is okay though, no worries about the story line. There is never a moment where you are thinking “well, that was unnecessary, a bit moving, but when do I get to kill more things?”. The game’s story does get in the way of the fun. The story is based on a pilgrimage, which is cool because its different a bit from other FF games. There are 2 very good characters in this game and anyone who has played this game will probably agree. They are Yuna and Auron. Yuna is a good character because she is likable and VERY useful in this game. The most useful character later. Trust me, you lose her for a while and the game gets SO MUCH HARDER. She does have a bit of an advantage…what with the monopoly on the summoning powers. The other cool character, Auron, well, he is badass in the first 5 minutes of the game and still badass in the last 5 minutes of the game. I want to grow up and be Auron, sweet scar included.
Okay, back to the graphics, particularly during cutscenes. They. Are. Beautiful. There are some cutscenes in this game that will leave your mouth agape they are so good looking. The characters are all flawless looking in the cutscenes. A touch more about graphics is that if you equip a new weapon to a character it actually changes during a battle scene and some of them look really cool. While we are on the topic of the battle system, you all all 7 people (once you get them all) available for every battle. You only have 3 actually fighting at 1 time, but you can switch between all of them and that makes the battles fun, and very intuitive.
Okay, last thing and the best thing. Once you beat Yunalesca (Bitch!! as I like to call her) you get the airship and you can go to the training center. This is where the challenge lies, capturing all of the enemies and fighting the new creations from the trainer…..wow, just wow.
The Bad: There is some bad to this game. First of all, the main storyline is pretty easy. You will run into a few bumps along the way, but for the most part, if you are smart, there should be few problems. Like I said though the real challenge lies in the training arena. The other problem with this game is sometimes the cutscenes are WAYYY too long. I mean they can be several minutes and there is no way to skip them. This is especially annoying when there is a cutscene before a boss fight…and then you lose the boss fight. You have to immediately go and watch the exact same 4 minute cutscene again. Boo you Seymour. The only other negative I have is, there are some characters that are pretty useless in battle after a point….ahem, Kimahri and Lulu.
The Overview: If you have never played a Final Fantasy game, or even an RPG in General then I absolutely recommend this one as your first. It is easy to get into, easy to understand all aspects of the gameplay and the story can really suck you in if you pay attention. The negatives of this game are more of an annoyance than a hindrance to the game. Bottom line: play it, play it now.
Hours to complete: 15-20 (main story line
40+ (to beat Gold nemesis)