Review: Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster
Twelve years have passed since the release of Final Fantasy X, and if there’s one thing to remember about this game is that it made JRPG history (Don’t start with Final Fantasy VII). With the first episode landing on PlayStation 2, Squaresoft was praised for its game, and sales met incredible numbers. But when it came to the sequel, Final Fantasy X-2 was much less well received by critics (especially in the West), simply because it was FFprimarily for a Japanese audience, with full fan service galore. However, give it some time and you discover that it is also a great title, although it can not match its predecessor. Here’s the rundown of the games, since most of you readers probably played the original titles.
You discover Tidus, a Blitzball star (kind of a waterpolo of the future, where players compete inside a sphere of water), part of the Zanarkand Abes. During a match, the city of Zanarkand is attacked by a mysterious entity called Sin, who destroys everything in its path and take our hero far from home… Well, not really. Tidus realizes that he made a 1000-year leap into the future, and tries to find a way back to his time, by meeting the Summoner Yuna and her guardians Wakka, Lulu and Kimahri, which then go on pilgrimage around the world in order to defeat Sin and bring back peace to the lands.
It is very difficult to summarize the stories in a few lines, as it is rich and addictive when it comes to lore. If Final Fantasy X tell us above all the love story between Tidus and Yuna (excuse me for this 12 years late spoiler), it is a superb critique of religion and its excessive use. I will not tell you everything here because it would take hours, but just know that Final Fantasy X story is smoothly done, helped by a linearity that would’ve been criticized if we weren’t in 2002, but still suitable for the proper flow of this story.
Regarding Final Fantasy X-2, it is difficult to talk about the story without completely spoiling Final Fantasy X ending, especially since it was the first ever sequel in the Final Fantasy series. Just know that the events depicted in Final Fantasy X-2 takes place two years after the end of the first part, and you incarnate a female trio which are Yuna, Rikku and newcomer Paine.
Now let’s talk a few words about the battle system, which is different in each episode but addictive in both cases. For Final Fantasy X, it is a turn based traditional system, except that the strategy is pervasive since you see the charge meter of your team and opponents moves, and can thus influence the order of defensive and attacking moves according to your actions. For Final Fantasy X-2, we return to the timeless ATB system with a difference though, since each character can change costumes (job) at will during the fighting sequence, in order to adapt to all situations. Now enough with all these recaps, and let’s talk about the true purpose of Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster: Is this a successful port to current generation consoles?
Who says porting to PlayStation 3, PS VITA and PlayStation 4 doesn’t mean you’ll reach high definition levels? Before I expand, Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster is probably the most beautiful HD port. Yes, Final Fantasy X was already beautiful in 2002, but if you still have a PlayStation 2 laying around, you will surely notice the obvious difference.
From the opening scene, we see the difference, and the game as a whole is very clean. Give it to someone with little knowledge of the series, or wasn’t too young to appreciate it, and he would never guess that this title is 12 years old. All textures have been reworked, mostly the characters. So yes, we’re not going to lie, it is possible that some find the faces of some protagonists slightly different, but it’s something only purists may be a bit disappointed of.
Another key point extensively enhanced for this compilation is the music. If you have never listened to the soundtrack of Final Fantasy X, I can only advise you to fix this mistake, because it is a marvel. One can even say that there was really no need to make alterations to this port, but Square Enix has decided otherwise, at the risk of disrupting the fans like me. Thankfully Square Enix could have offered the players to choose between original music and rearrangements.
If you can notice the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita versions’ texture remodeling, just wait until you marvel yourselves on the PlayStation 4 Full HD version (1080p). The overall game is subtly lifted with sharper details, the faces of the core characters have been redesigned, movements are significantly more fluid, and reduced load times. There is hardly any loading between gameplay and cinematics sections.
Note that the compatibility with PS Vita, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 versions, allowing you to resume your saves from any platform via a “cross-save” function. Although I would obviously have liked the game to be “crossbuy” instead. Then again, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Obviously, porting these two titles to the three Sony consoles means adding trophies. Personally I am a fan of these little rewards, and even a bit OCD in some cases. Square Enix has also been pretty smart at this level, not really offering “useless” trophies and it will appeal to you to aim for the platinum. But the real big bonus is the addition of Final Fantasy X-2 Last Mission. This Japanese version bonus content finally comes to the West. It’s the ultimate challenge of this opus, which lets you continue your adventure with one hell of a trial. Between Final Fantasy X-2 having a New Game+ mode and adding Last Mission widely expand the lifespan of the game by a good 100 hours. Add Final Fantasy X and countless challenges, and you get to a total lifetime of potentially exceeding 200 hours.
You’ll understand from most of the praise In this review, that I’m a big fan of Final Fantasy X (a little less of X-2) and with this compilation, I had the chance to dive back 12 years in my life, and rediscover one of Square Enix greatest gems.
• Find the amazing world of two titles with a great facelift.
• The cross-save between all PlayStation versions
• Able to choose the original music or rearranged one
• Reduced loading times
• Absence of Japanese voices on the PlayStation 4 version
• The audio extra bonus is not really that great
• A cross-buy release would have been perfect