Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Review
Compelling Story, Beautiful Remastered Graphics, Stunning Orchestrated soundtrack
Difference in character model quality can be off-putting
Final Fantasy X has, since it’s initial release back in 2001, been regarded as one of the defining moments in both the Final Fantasy franchise and the RPG genre as a whole. Being the first game in the series to feature voice acting, the first to break away from the conventional levelling-up system commonly found within the genre and, most notably, the first to feature on the relatively new Playstation 2, Square (as they were still known back then) had a lot to prove. Fortunately, they came out swinging, and delivered on each of their punches. Does this HD remaster do the same?
Final Fantasy X delivers a beautiful, emotional and thrilling story from start to finish. Accompanied by a varied cast through your travels in Spira, the tale that is laid out in front of you never ceases to excite and give you reason to venture on. Sure, you’ll want to take in the sights, and that will only lead to random battles, as expected in FF games. The battles use a ‘Conditional Turn Based’ system, much like the standard ATB found in FFIX, although it’s turn based as opposed to playing out in real time. The speed of your characters and certain attacks decide the attacking order of your comrades and enemies, making it just that bit more strategic in certain battles. The easy switching of the characters mid-battle to accommodate for varying scenarios during a battle makes this feel more like a team effort, which is something previous games missed out on. Once you had a favourite team in, say, FFVII, you’d usually stick to it and ignore a certain character (Cait Sith) meaning they couldn’t level up. On the fly decision makings in battle, accompanied by the beautiful graphics and varied enemy design, make each battle enjoyable and exciting.
Final Fantasy X-2 on the other hand features a much more jovial attitude towards it’s story. Its often silly, nonsensical story is a direct contrast from that found in it’s prequel. Being the first game in the entirety of the Final Fantasy series to be a direct sequel was a risky move that, unfortunately, didn’t pay off as well as expected. Nonetheless, the game still took place in the diverse land of Spira, featuring characters new and old alike, and changed up enough of the core mechanics to make this different enough to warrant a purchase. Regarding combat, we’re “limited” to three characters, being everyone’s favourite summoner Yuna, her Al-Bhed cousin Riku and new-comer tough-nut Paine. I say limited… Each character has access to numerous ‘Dress Spheres’ that they can equip, granting them different stats, skills and, of course, a new look. This style is reminiscent of FFIII’s jobs, and it works incredibly well, once again adding a new level of strategy to the harder battles, as well as increasing the amount of time you have to grind for. But hey, it’s an RPG, we love grinding, right?
The HD remaster offers a beautiful HD coat over everything, as well as some redone character models and an exquisite remastered soundtrack. Don’t worry, ‘To Zanarkand’ and ‘Otherworld’ haven’t been touched and are still as iconic as ever. Other themes though, such as the battle theme, have been given extra musical layers on top of that instantly recognisable tune that we’re all accustomed to. Whilst I do love the redone audio tracks, I would have loved a setting within the options to be able to swap back to the original themes, not to compare but for nostalgia’s sake. The graphics are as good-looking as ever, with the main cast having the character models upgraded and polished to perfection. Tidus is more tanned, Yuna’s distinctive eyes are more noticeable than ever, and Wakka’s hair seems to stand just that bit taller. The same polish hasn’t been given to all the other characters though. Minor ones, as expected, aren’t nearly the same quality as the main cast, but during close-up conversations involving these supporting characters, the difference in quality is enough to break you out of the story somewhat. This disconnect is only temporary however, thanks to the high quality of all the other components helping bring these games to life.
The game, regardless of platform, also comes with some added extra features. Whilst X just comes with all the features of the International version, such as the expert sphere grid and additional bosses, the bulk of the new content can be found within X-2. Featuring a creature creator, new dress spheres, new mini games and even a new end-game dungeon, aptly named ‘Last Mission’. The last two additions to this already excellent package help expand the FFX/X-2 universe, with ‘The Eternal Calm’ movie help bridging the events of X and X-2 together, and finally an audio drama named ‘Final Fantasy X: Will’.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is a must have for anyone even vaguely interested in RPG’s. Featuring some of the most diverse characters within the Final Fantasy series, arguably the most recognisable music that Nobuo Uematsu and his peers have ever created and a beautiful, interesting story, all these come together to create a defining example of a timeless game that age definitely hasn’t slowed down.