Review

Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster

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Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster is a remake of the two story-driven Final Fantasy games released during the PlayStation 2 era featuring upgraded graphics, additional content, Trophy support and remixed music in the case of FFX.

What You Need to Know

Final Fantasy X’s plot revolves around the summoner Yuna and her pilgrimage to defeat a destructive entity called Sin with the assistance of her guardians, among whom is her love interest Tidus. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy X-2 takes place two years after the conclusion of FFX and finds Yuna, Rikku and new recruit Paine hunting for spheres which Yuna believes may help her locate Tidus who went missing during the closing scenes of Final Fantasy X.

Both games feature turn-based battles with similar attacking and defensive abilities, although FFX-2 introduces the ‘Dressphere’ system that allows characters to switch between different jobs such as Warrior and White Mage on the fly. The presentation in FFX and FFX-2 is also very similar, with real-time cut-scenes occasionally giving way to CG cinematics and all the in-game action taking place from a third-person perspective.

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What’s New?

I played the original PS2 versions of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 on a 54cm SDTV when they were released and was very disappointed with their visuals at the time. The European version of these games had black bars at the top and bottom of the image, and their graphics were plagued by rough edges and low-resolution textures and character models.

On the other hand, Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster is a joy to look at thanks to a 1080p widescreen presentation, much improved anti-aliasing, dynamic shadows, as well as upgraded textures and character models for the main cast. Unfortunately the original CG cut-scenes and handful of pre-rendered backgrounds that were in a 4:3 ratio have been cropped in order to make them match the games’ widescreen presentation, but they still look fantastic due to a significant bump in resolution.

Both games in the Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster are based on their ‘International’ versions so expect extras such as ‘Dark Aeons,’ the expert ‘Sphere Grid’ and the ‘Eternal Calm’ epilogue for FFX and the lengthy Last Mission quest for FFX-2. Script writer Kazushige Nojima has also penned a special audio drama that plays during the Remaster’s credits sequence that sheds some light on the events succeeding Final Fantasy X-2′s conclusion.

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What’s the Same?

If you’ve played previous Final Fantasy games then it shouldn’t take too long to adjust to the slightly altered combat mechanics in FFX and FFX-2. Final Fantasy X features a conditional turn-based battle system that allows you to switch characters during any turn and view the order that your party members and enemies will have the opportunity to perform an action.

Final Fantasy X-2 meanwhile employs the same Active Time Battle system used by previous games in the series although you can now chain attacks together for greater damage and switch between different jobs on the fly.

Just like Final Fantasy VIII and IX before it, FFX and FFX-2 have romance as a central theme and Final Fantasy X in particular goes to great lengths to show how the relationship between Tidus and Yuna develops during the course of their journey together.

You’ll Enjoy Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster If You Liked…

… Final Fantasy VIII. Final Fantasy X was the next game from the team behind FFVIII and there are many similarities between the two games from character design to their futuristic elements.

… Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix. If you were impressed with how Square Enix handled this remaster of a similarly popular duo of PS2 titles then you’ll undoubtedly be pleased with how the developer tackled the challenge of remastering FFX and FFX-2.

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What I Liked

5.) Cross-Save support is a great bonus if you also own this remaster on PS Vita as you can pick up where you left off no matter which console you’re playing on, provided you have access to the internet.

4.) I really enjoy the strategic nature of FFX’s boss battles as being able to view the sequence of each character and enemies’ turn forces you to think ahead.

3.) Final Fantasy X holds up extremely well as an excellent RPG thanks to its epic storyline and wealth of locations, characters and gameplay elements.

2.) As someone who played the original games, it’s wonderful to spend some time cycling through the Remaster’s in-game menus where everything (including character portraits) is presented in crisp 1080p.

1.) Jaggies were a major issue in the original games so I was really pleased to see how clean the edges are in this Remaster. If you choose to output the games in 720p then you’ll benefit from anti-aliasing but I didn’t experience enough instances of rough edges in 1080p mode to justify this resolution concession.

Favourite Moment

I’ve played a fair number of RPGs since booting up Final Fantasy X over a decade ago so I was really surprised by how cinematic and exciting the game is in comparison to its more modern counterparts. From those first moments when Zanarkand is under attack to the final battle with Sin, the game never loosens its grip on you and constantly compels you to take the next step in your adventure.

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What I Didn’t Like

4.) Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster doesn’t support Cross-Buy and there’s no option to purchase the games separately from the PlayStation Store if Final Fantasy X is the only title you’re after.

3.) Final Fantasy X-2 recycles most of its environments from FFX.

2.) Some of the graphical issues in both games haven’t been ironed out in this Remaster including characters’ lips not being in synch with the English voiceovers, and stiff animation such as characters rotating on the spot before walking off in their chosen direction.

1.) One of the issues I had with the original Final Fantasy X was how lower detail character models were used in certain cut-scenes and in-game events. Unfortunately this is still a problem in Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster and is inexcusable given the fact that using the highest detailed character models in every scene shouldn’t stretch the PlayStation 3′s capabilities.

Least Favourite Moment

The first mission in Final Fantasy X-2 reminded me how annoying the series’ random battles can be. During this section you are literally thrust into a new battle for every five steps your character takes. I like being able to control when and where I engage in a spot of level grinding so both games’ random battles are a major hurdle for me to overcome. I would love this Remaster to include a menu option where you can change the frequency of random battles or turn them off altogether.



What’s Extra?

There are tons of secrets and mini-games in both Final Fantasy X and X-2, and if you want to add two new Platinum Trophies to your collection then you’ll need to spend many hours away from the beaten path. Whether you’re honing your Blitzball skills and attributes in either game, taking on the challenging Dark Aeons in FFX, or making your way up the spiralling tower featured in FFX-2′s playable sequel Last Mission, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied if you want to explore every facet of either game included in Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster.

The Bottom Line

Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster features all the bells and whistles one would expect from a high profile remake and Final Fantasy X is just as enjoyable to play today as it was in 2001.

It’s unfortunate, however, that you’re currently forced to purchase the game’s mediocre sequel if you want to play Final Fantasy X in HD, and there’s no Cross-Buy support allowing you to enjoy the Remaster on PS Vita at no extra cost.


This Final Fantasy X and X2 HD Remaster review was conducted on PlayStation 3


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