Final Fantasy X marks the graphical transition to fully three-dimensional graphics due to the Sony Playstation 2's extra graphics capabilities, instead of pre-rendered backdrops. A map comes in handy to prevent the player from getting lost. Although storyline is the game's main focus, many critics believe that the game is centered solely on graphics. Final Fantasy X is also the first in the Final Fantasy series to sport voice acting. Voice acting is the most controversial addition in the Final Fantasy series. Critics have complained about the voice acting in the English version of the game. Tidus, voiced by James Arnold Taylor in the English version, was supposed to be impulsive and energetic, but most of his dialogue lines are considered to have ended up sounding somewhat lackluster and juvenile. Critics also panned the minigame Blitzball, based heavily on the Captain Tsubasa series of videogames.
Final Fantasy X's battle system is called Conditional Time Battle and was designed by Toshiro Tsuchida, in place of Active Time Battle. Conditional Time Battle is very similar to the turn-based battle system seen in many other RPGs, with a few innovations. The battle system also allows the player to switch characters during battle, since the party is limited to three characters simultaneously. Final Fantasy X's leveling system is also original. It is called the Sphere Grid system. The Sphere Grid system allows the characters to deviate from their traditional storyline traits as to class, such as making summoner Yuna a physical powerhouse and Auron a healer. The Sphere Grid was scrapped in Final Fantasy X-2 in favor of a traditional level advancement system, but the concept is apparent in the Garment Grid.
Bevelle: This is the center of the religion of Yevon. It is also Yuna's birthplace.
Macalania Forest: Macalania Forest borders Macalania Temple, one of the temples of Yevon.
Bikanel Island: This is the center of the Al Bhed tribe, and is the location of the Al Bhed capital, Home.
Guadosalam: This is the home city of the Guado tribe.
Zanarkand Ruins: Holy land of the Yevon religion, it is held that these ruins are what is left of Zanarkand after it fell to Sin one thousand years ago. Tidus claims to be from this city, before its destruction, but this claim is heretical under the Yevon religion, leading to Tidus' secrecy on the matter.
Mi'hen Highway: This is the roadway to the Djose temple and the location of Operation Mi'hen.
Luca: Home of the Luca Goers, a blitzball team which is one of the best in Spira. It is also the city where the blitzball stadium is located.
Isle of Besaid: Home of the blitzball team the Besaid Aurochs, this island is where Yuna of Bevelle was raised. Besaid is also where Tidus washed up after his second encounter with Sin.
Spira's driving force is the religion of Yevon, devout to the extreme in fighting the use of any weapon-based technology (called "machina"), and waging a perpetual war against the entity known as Sin. Tidus soon learns that the Zanarkand he is from was destroyed some thousand years in the past. Sin was defeated ten years ago, by a force comprised of High Summoner Braska, the warrior Auron, and Jecht. Tidus wonders if the Auron he knows could possibly be the same in this new era, and if the man called Jecht could actually be his father, long assumed dead at sea since his youth.
Tidus is picked up by a group of Al Bhed, who speak a coded version of his language (which can be translated by collecting items in the game), and who freely use machina as they are exiled by Yevonites. He meets the energetic young Al Bhed girl Rikku, who is the daughter of Cid, also of the Al Bhed. Rikku speaks his language, and informs Tidus that Zanarkand was destroyed a millenia ago. Tidus is incredulous, and Rikku tells him since he was in contact with Sin he must be suffering the adverse effects of Sin's toxin. Tidus is brought aboard the Al Behd ship, but after only a short time is swept out to sea in another attack from Sin.
This time, Tidus is washed up near the small town of Besaid, where he meets Wakka, apparently a blitzball player and captain of the local team (the Besaid Aurochs). Wakka takes Tidus with him to the town, where he is introduced to most of the rest of the playable cast through various levels of blundering explained away by Tidus's "amnesia". Yuna (of Bevelle, and daughter of High Summoner Braska) has just completed her initiation as a summoner of Yevon, one who is charged to defeat Sin. She sets out on her quest, along with guardians Wakka, Lulu (also of Besaid), and Kimahri Ronso (of the Ronso tribe). Later, the guardian Auron joins the party, as does Rikku of the Al Bhed. Ultimately, the party will confront Sin.
Many of the characters in the world of Final Fantasy X appear in the sequel hinted at in the intermission video "Final Fantasy X: Eternal Calm". The sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, stars an exclusively female party, composed in part of Yuna and Rikku.
Al Bhed tribe: The Al Bhed are a group of humans who have been rejected by Yevon. The most noticeable differences the Al Bhed show are their widespread use of forbidden machina, and their language, actually a coded version of the traditional language of the world. Rikku is a full-blooded Al Bhed, while Yuna comes from half Al Bhed heritage.
Yuna of Bevelle - Yuna is a summoner (although not in Final Fantasy X-2, where she takes the predominant role) and the female lead of the game. Her class allows her to fit the traditional cleric/white mage role of the party, as well as being able to summon powerful magical entities (aeons). Her weapons are a variety of staves, with her ultimate staff being the Nirvana. Yuna could be seen as the center of the party, as all the other playable characters are her guardians accompanying her on her journey to defeat Sin. It is Yuna's responsibility as a summoner to journey to every temple, acquire the aeon there, and ultimately summon the final aeon to defeat Sin. Voice actor Hedy Burress provided the voice for Yuna.
Auron - The enigmatic Auron is a powerful warrior, attacking with his blades with stunning force. Ultimately, Auron can wield the Masamune, a frequently recurring weapon in Squaresoft games. Auron's quiet, mysterious, and dangerous nature helped make him very popular with fans. There are murmurings of Auron appearing in the upcoming game Kingdom Hearts II. (This has been confirmed.)
Kimahri Ronso - Kimahri is Yuna's most faithful guardian. He has known and protected Yuna since she was a child. In Kimahri's class one can see echoes of the dragoons of older Final Fantasy games (weapon choice, a jump attack) and of blue mage classes (the lancet ability lets him learn enemy attacks). Kimrahi's Spirit Lance is his ultimate weapon, and it can be noted that spear or lance weapons have been a staple of the dragoon class for some time.
Wakka of Besaid - Wakka is a blitzball player from Besaid who meets Tidus after he washes ashore and serves as Tidus's first good friend. Wakka is fiercely loyal to the Yevon religion, and introduces Tidus to the Yevonite teachings. His weapon is a blitzball, useful against aerial enemies, and his ultimate weapon is the blitzball World Champion. Voice actor John DiMaggio, who also voiced Bender from Futurama, provided Wakka's voice. Wakka also appeared as a non-playable character in Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X-2.
Lulu of Besaid - Lulu is another of Yuna's guardians. Lulu is a black mage, and uses a variety of dolls as weapons. Her ultimate weapon is the Onion Knight (notable both for being a character from an earlier Final Fantasy game, and being the result of dodging a maddening 200 consecutive bolts of lightning on the Thunder Plains, a challenge for anyone). She is initially very skeptical of Tidus's participation in the quest, and of his "amnesia", but even the grumpy Lulu ultimately accepts Tidus's involvement in the party.
Rikku of the Al Bhed - Rikku helps Tidus when he first arrives in Spira, but then disappears from the plot for a while, becoming the last character to join the team. Rikku has a variety of clawlike weapons, her ultimate equipment being the God Hand. Rikku's class is most similar to that of a thief from earlier Final Fantasies. Rikku's ability to steal and use rare items allows her to be of use. She was voiced by Tara Strong. Rikku reappears as a playable character in Final Fantasy X-2.
The demo featured characters from Final Fantasy VI as 3D models in combat. The "X" was used to represent a variable, not the numeral ten, and bears no relation to Final Fantasy X for the PlayStation 2. The demo was later known as "Final Fantasy SGI."