I'm a fan of a good story, who isn't? Final Fantasy VII (FF7) was an amazing game, filled with minigames and secrets. It also had an awesome story, if you can overlook a few plot holes. Since Final Fantasy X (FF10) is three games after FF7, you would think it was an improvement, right?
FF10 is not an improvement over FF7. In fact, even the graphics in FF10 seem like a downgrade. Cutscenes are unskippable and extremely long, sometimes unbearably lame. You also can't skip the text-based tutorials. However, you never have an actual loading screen, so you could potentially involve yourself in the story for several nonstop hours without having any long waits.
The story is not as interesting or as poetic as other Final Fantasies. FF10 involves you playing as Tidus, a futuristic sports star. The futuristic sport is called Blitzball or just Blitz. This is all backstory, or history, because your civilization (Zanarkhand) gets completely destroyed by a creature called Sin, and somehow, after being sucked into oblivion with the rest of the city, you wake up in the ocean somewhere. That's not the worst of it, though, you meet a foreign woman who claims Zanarkhand was destroyed a thousand years ago.
While the story has potential, the dialogue is often redundant or pointless and voices are annoying. Mouth animations are also terrible. Characters look stylish, but some clothing choices don't make sense. Tidus wears shorts with one leg missing and many random bandages.
Gameplay is nothing new, aside from the Sphere Grid, which seems thrown in as an alternative to traditional level-up systems. The sphere grid system is a little confusing at first, but it offers much more customizable character progression, and it's actually a welcome addition to the game. I think the battle system is a combination of the best of all the previous games in the series, and while it does get challenging at times, it's usually extremely easy to defeat the enemies, making strategy almost a non-existent element.
Music is also the same as always, but there is a rock theme for the Blitz scene in the beginning of the game, and I liked it.
Overall, FF10 is not even close to the best Final Fantasy. It's actually frustrating and confusing and annoying all at the same time, but if you're interested in the evolution of the Final Fantasy series, FF10 is worth noting for being the first to include rock music and the first to have a direct sequel.
I recommend staying away from FF10. If you need your Final Fantasy fix, try Kingdom Hearts. If that doesn't offer enough turn-based action for you, try the older Final Fantasy games or some of the PS3 or Xbox 360 offerings.