Great replies so far! I've only been off this board for a day, but I already feel like I have a bunch to get caught up on.
Based on your replies, pt, I can safely say that you've answered many of the questions I had for you in my first post. I do feel that you've given the game an honest look based on your reflections and comments on your experiences with the different versions of Final Fantasy X.
In short, you're not a "homer." I have read some of the reviews you've posted on this site, and I knew you were quite capable of taking a critical look at the games you've played. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to be critical of something that you hold close to your heart. It is such a rare trait to find on the Internet these days! More often than not, you get someone posting to YouTube or the like with a very one-sided take on a subject, often times telling the audience why they love / hate the item in question without providing any sort of differing point of view. Many things in life are not as simple as "this rules" or "this sucks," and typically there are some redeeming qualities to even the worst of the worst. To be able to take a look at something and provide accurate feedback is a skill many people lack, especially in regards to a subject that they favor, such as defending their favorite sports team or favorite film.
I appreciate that you can find fault with the game. In my eyes, it shows that you have given it a fair look and helps to make your opinion all the more valid and understandable. Being able to love something, despite its faults, is a true test of critical thinking and analysis.
I have a much better understanding now why Final Fantasy X means so much to you, and I thank you for sharing your views as you have on this forum. If you do decided to go forward with your review, I will be reading!
On the topic of an A+ rating versus the concept of perfection, it is worth pointing out, like DrLitch and Stalvern said, that many academic fields and institutions have different standards. At my current university (Arizona State - I know, I know...) most classes award an A+ grade starting at a score of 97%. Indeed, I have earned an A+ in several classes with a score of 98.x%. I missed questions on tests. I failed to properly document a few sources. Missed a few easy points. Still got an A+! Therefore, given this simple real-world example, it is quite possible for something that is less-than-perfect to still earn the A+. It all comes down to how points and measured and weighed.
In your eyes, Final Fantasy X still earns the A+ despite unskippable cutscenes, poor mo-cap, and missing features versus other versions. Seems fair - if the main game excels at what it sets out to do, a few blemishes here and there will not be enough to detract from the overall experience, particularly if those blemishes are minor in comparison to the so many other things the game does right.
I often wonder why I never played this game. Granted, it kind of came in like a "ship in the night." At the time of its launch, yes, I was in art school, and yes, I was up to my neck in projects and classes. I didn't own a PS2 and just didn't care about gaming, as I had way, way too much to juggle as it were. I think the most gaming I did at the time was in one of the local dining halls, which had a Joust machine as well as the original Marvel vs. Capcom, among others. Sit-down console gaming, though? No way, man!
The game's release just passed me on by, though I do remember seeing ads on TV and can recall how a few friends and classmates were obsessed. A gal in a neighboring studio class was such a fan that she set out to craft a replica of Tidus' water sword out of a solid piece of blue tempered glass. I would be working in the ceramics studio late at night (24 hour studio time during the regular school year, baby!) and would often take a look in the neighboring classrooms while waiting for pieces to fire in the kiln. I'd hear this gal screeching away at the glass blade with a Dremel for all hours of the night, that whining and scraping sound carrying through the mostly-empty hallways like an absolute banshee.
We started talking during those late nights, comparing notes on projects and struggling to stay warm in the ceramics studio during the awful Chicagoloand Winters. Got to be pretty good friends (and even shared some classes as time went on) and are still close to this day. I even dated her sister for five or six years at one point, despite her warning me not to. Let's just say she was right in the long run, but hey, live and learn! We're both married now and have the occasional double date from time to time. She's kept up with the cosplaying and prop-making over the years, while I never even got started. Just not my scene.
I actually wound up taking that same "glass class" that she had taken a few semesters later. The professor would give the class a broad subject on the first day of class, giving the students the entire semester to sculpt whatever they wanted with free-reign given to shape, complexity, and size. For her class, the subject was "hand-held objects," which is where the sword came in. My class got "living things," with the bonus that it could be a plant or animal, real or fantasy. I sculpted one of the one-eyed "mastodon" enemies from Space Harrier, more or less recreating the title screen complete with a waving "Harrier guy" sitting on the mastodon's shoulder. OK, so he was sitting on a robot on the original title screen, but work with me here, robots aren't living things! The final project wasn't very big (it could fit on a desk) but I went the extra mile by working a lamp bulb into the base so that it would light up, and when another switch was flipped, it activated a tape deck and speaker set hidden in the base which would play the game's theme song.
...GD, I haven't thought about any of this in forever! It was almost twenty years ago!! Can't even remember the grade I got on it, but I think it was a B. One of my buddies at the time was a big-time Sega collector and just loved the sculpture when it was done, so I let him keep it. I wound up giving away the bulk of my art projects over the years, but that's part of the fun of it, you know? I have the most fun creating and working under pressure, but once the project's done, it's onto the next one.
What's the point of this story? While I've never played Final Fantasy X, I have it to thank for my making a lifelong friend. I may have never talked to her if she weren't working on that sword at 3 in the morning. Because of the effort she put into it (she *did* get an A on her project) it motivated me to try harder on my own projects, including that Space Harrier sculpture. We would have regular critiques and take a look at each other's work, spending entire weekends sharing a studio space and just cranking out sketches, plans, and ideas. I feel like I grew so much as an artist and an individual by getting to know her and working on projects together, and I have that damn glass sword to thank for it all.
In that regard, I guess the game holds a pretty special place in my heart, despite the fact that my playtime is currently 00:00:00. Funny how that all works out, sometimes.