Square's acclaimed role-playing series makes its PlayStation 2 debut with Final Fantasy X. Players assume the role of Tidus, an athletic teenager who witnessed the destruction of his home city by an evil entity named Sin. While his life was spared, Tidus' contact with Sin opened a portal through time. Some 1,000 years have passed since the encounter, and Tidus now finds himself in a strange land with unfamiliar faces. As Tidus struggles to find a way back home, he will meet a variety of characters, including Yuna, a girl faced with the daunting task of defeating Sin.
Final Fantasy X features a number of new features over previous installments. Backgrounds and characters are rendered entirely in 3D, with real-time facial expressions visible on each character. When characters are surprised, for example, they will raise their eyebrows or open their mouths in astonishment. For the first time in the series, dialogue has been recorded using professional voice actors. The U.S. version features voices in English, with optional English subtitles selectable from the menu screen.
Refinements to the combat system include character-specific skills and abilities as well as the option to swap characters at any time during battle. While previous games involved playing with only three characters at a time, players can now manage a party by selecting three to fight and making substitutions as the battle wears on. This is possible through a turn-based system, allowing players to make decisions before initiating a move. As in the earlier games, players can use items, perform special attacks, cast magic, or summon powerful creatures to assist them.
A popular mainstay in the Final Fantasy series is the inclusion of mini-games. Final Fantasy X features Chocobo Riding, where players guide the bird-like chocobos through a series of training courses, and Blitzball, an underwater sporting event. Blitzball pits two teams of four players against each other as they attempt to score points by throwing a ball past the goalie. The action is primarily turn-based, where ability points determine the accuracy of passes, shots, and tackles. By competing in tournaments, players can earn experience and prizes for their characters.