Review: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Isn’t A Balanced Party
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster collection is the culmination of the Final Fantasy X series with some additions. Whether it's worth your time is the question that begs answering.
- Worth The Time?The collection is only really worth your time if you're a dedicated fan of the series.
- Things LovedThe updated visuals are beautiful, the soundtrack is always stellar, the story and characters of the original Final Fantasy X is still great with well designed turn-based combat, and there is a nice range of character classes. It must be said that the improved character models, with some new models for major characters, textures with improved lighting and shadows are an amazing sight to behold. The addition of trophies is also another great move.
- Things HatedFinal Fantasy X-2 is still a blight and a little makeup can't hide its awfulness, the extras are silly and unimportant and at best are there for fans of the series. The extras like Final Fantasy X: Eternal Calm and Final Fantasy X-2: Last Mission sour the experience somewhat, especially the latter which has a terrible control scheme making the experience all the worse. The fact that you still can't skip cutscenes is a pet peeve.
- RecommendationIf you're a fan of the series or are vaguely interested in Final Fantasy X (which is a great game, by the way), then give this collection a try. However, if you are on the fence and are interested in Final Fantasy X but want to play it on your PS3, then you should definitely consider buying Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster in the future when it drops in price.
- Name: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
- Genre: RPG
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: PS3, PS Vita
- Developer: Square Enix, Virtuos
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Price: R499 (PS3) R361 (PS Vita)
- Reviewed On: PS3
Final Fantasy X was a great JRPG, possibly the last great Final Fantasy before gamers were hit with Final Fantasy X-2, the blight of the series along with the Final Fantasy XIII series more recently. Final Fantasy X had a simple, yet effective, Conditional Turn-based Battle system where you could swap characters on the fly, on top of which was layered an awesome soundtrack, beautiful FMV cutscenes and an epic storyline. The only downside is that after all these years the game only ran in 4:3 aspect ratio. Well not anymore, the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster collection is here to save the day, but does it?
The first game in the collection, as mentioned above, is Final Fantasy X. The game tells the story of Tidus, professional blitzball (a ball sport played in Spira) player, who is mysteriously transported a 1000 years into the future after a giant creature called Sin attacks his home city of Zanarkand. Tidus finds himself in the world of Spira where he soon befriends blitzball player Wakka, becoming friends and eventually a guardian of the Summoner Priestess Yuna. He is joined on his journey by the female mage Lulu, Tidus’s father’s friend Auron, a feline humanoid named Kimahri and Rikku an Al Bhed girl who is both a mechanic and thief. The game uses the Conditional Turn-based system which as mentioned allows you to swap characters throughout a battle. This is by far one of the better turn-based battle systems JRPGs which, while easy to become accustomed to, is hard to master.
Battles are pretty much random encounters typical of all Final Fantasy games prior, and the world is freely open to explore later on in the game when you get an airship. With Yuna you can summon spirits called Aeons which can deal a huge amount of magical and physical damage, and are necessary in many of the boss fights. Specific Aeons are great for dealing with certain bosses and expertly dealing with elemental weaknesses. They also have their own set of commands which comes in pretty handy. The game also has Limit Breaks in the form of Overdrives which allow a character to use a highly powerful special attack when their Overdrive bar peaks from significant damage to characters in your party. The game introduced the sphere grid system where you could upgrade characters with a variety of spheres picking and choosing which stats to boost and skills to unlock. All of these elements made the game great and it still holds up with an impressive upgrade to the visuals, an enhanced soundtrack and higher resolution. With a great storyline, cast of characters and amazing battle system Final Fantasy X is the gem of this collection.
Final Fantasy X-2, in comparison, is a much weaker game, with the exception of the battle system and basic gameplay which remains unchanged from the previous game. The game is set two years after the events of the first game and follows the journey of Yuna as a sphere hunter. The game has a job system similar to previous games in the series but with quite a difference. The three main characters in the game Yuna, Rikku and Paine (not seen in the previous game) have access to the Garment Grid which allows them to switch between dressspheres that grant them different classes and abilities, as stipulated by those classes. This means that Yuna, for example, can be a gun slinger one moment and a warrior the next. The game features new dressspheres and mini games. One of these additions is the Creature Creator system which allows you to capture fiends (creature enemies) and NPCs and make them your allies for future battles.
That pretty much sums up Final Fantasy X-2 as the story isn’t much to write home about and the characters have become absurd caricatures. The first inkling of the “not-so-serious” Final Fantasy was born with this game, which features a J-POP FMV cutscene in the first few minutes of the game, and then showcases Yuna, Rikku and Paine as a trio of “popstars” with the power to take on enemies all while looking fabulous. To say the least, this breaks the tone established by the first game and unnecessarily continues a story which never needed to be continued. The best Final Fantasy games have always been self-contained, and this game was the first sign of the incredibly lacking direction Square Enix was to take the franchise. It must be said that Final Fantasy X-2 is indeed a blight on this collection.
The other extras in the collection do nothing to truly cover up the lacking quality of Final Fantasy X-2. The first extra is Final Fantasy X: Eternal Calm which is an FMV cutscene that connects the story of Final Fantasy X to Final Fantasy X-2. It originally was part of the international version of the game, as are many of the other extras. The cutscene itself is more of a mini-movie and features great voice acting, higher resolution video in 16:9 aspect ratio, and is a nice bridge to the sequel.
The second extra is Final Fantasy X-2: Last Mission which is a roguelike third-person action game where you enter a dungeon and fight off enemies via a grid-based system. The game is technically a sequel to Final Fantasy X-2, and features Yuna, Rikku and Paine once again as main characters. The game itself suffers from problematic controls which in turn means the combat in the game suffers, and with a game like this combat is very much the focus, especially considering the game is quite short. Last Mission isn’t all that fun to play.
Finally, the last extra is Final Fantasy X: Will which is an original audio drama that continues the story of Final Fantasy X-2, with nearly all the main characters returning, and some new ones. The voice acting is of course great as usual and it is nice addition, but as said before it doesn’t really distract from Final Fantasy X-2.
Besides the extras, the visuals overall are far improved when compared to their original releases. There are still a couple of graphical errors here and there, but the improved character models and textures make up for that substantially. The addition of trophies is a nice touch and completionists should be pretty happy with that. The upscale of the resolution to 1080p in 16:9 aspect ratio to accommodate widescreens is a nice improvement. Final Fantasy X and X-2 look all the better for it.
The games are still appealing to the eye and now in HD this is true even more so. The cutscenes are phenomenally rendered and Square Enix really does know how to produce a soundtrack, and with a remastered soundtrack for both main games the collection is audio bliss. The extras such as Final Fantasy X-2: Last Mission and Final Fantasy X: Eternal Call are well rendered and look amazing in HD. Yet cutscenes are still not skippable in both games, which is a bit of a pet peeve.
However, Final Fantasy X is still the star of this collection and one of the reasons any gamer should consider buying it. If you’re a Final Fantasy X fan then buying this game is a no-brainer. Despite this, the rest of the collection is rather sundry. Final Fantasy X-2 is better left unplayed and the extras are great for fans but offer no real value.