FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD Remaster Review

FINAL FANTASY X:X-2 HD Remaster Review Screenshot 1

Final Fantasy X first released in December, 2001 on the PlayStation 2. It was recently ported over to the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. The sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, was then released November 18, 2003. The new versions of the games had improved graphics and other features. The remastered games are now available on PC and it has some nice improvements.

The most obvious change is the PC’s increase in technical capability. The PC version sees redesigned visuals, and also improves environmental textures and graphics qualities this time. Character models have been updated and have more variety of facial expressions.

Also for the PC version there are multiple boosts that will be available to players. Players will have the option to get all items, unlock all skills, maximize their gil, you can carry out battles automatically, override enemy encounters and speed up gameplay. The game has even added some other smaller changes that are a nice addition like the ability to change the language setting. You can also choose to have the original soundtrack or the remixed version. The only downside to the PC version is that the game runs at a consistent 30 frames per second. While many games run at 60 frames with current generation consoles, but for me this didn’t impact my overall experience and considering it’s a PS2 game it looks great. It also has boardgame-style Final Fantasy X-2: Last Mission.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Final Fantasy series and haven’t played X/X-2 since they were first released. This game has always been beloved by many, with some Final Fantasy fans not liking this installment as much. On the whole they are games that are fondly remembered on the most part and now is a better time than ever to replay them or if you haven’t it’s a good opportunity to do so. It has interesting gameplay mechanics, impressive visuals, a decent story and beautiful cutscenes for a game of that generation. I will start by saying that Final Fantasy X is a massive game, both in terms of depth and length. It’s now considered a classic JRPG by many and has all of the typical things you would expect. X2 was received better than X-2, but having them in one complete updated package is nice. The key upgrades here are the clarity and overall presentation of the games.

The game is about a young boy called Tidus, who in my opinion is a fairly irritating protagonist straight from the get go. Tidus is a star Blitzball player, a sport played in this game. When the game starts Tidus is preparing for a big match when his hometown of Zanarkand gets attacked by an unknown being called Sin. Chaos ensues and Tidus ends up in Spira. Tidus meets many characters on his journey and he becomes a guardian for the summoner Yuna who is on a pilgrimage to seek the assistance of powerful creatures called Aeons to defeat Sin. The story is deep, interesting and kept me engaged. The Final Fantasy games have always managed to create worlds that are interesting, full of unique characters and have strong narratives.

Sure Tidus at first is an annoying character at first but as the game progresses I started to like him more, maybe this was intentional, whatever the case he does actually have some strong character development. It would have been nice to of had a bit more backstory on the other characters but on the whole I enjoyed the varied cast of characters. For the most part the game is a linear experience as you try to find your way home. You actually get to travel more freely once you get access to an airship. The world and environments you explore are varied, interesting and kept me wanting to progress further.

Gameplay feels great and I have always loved the battle systems in the Final Fantasy games. Once again the game has turn-based action which focus on strategy and careful planning.

X-2’s fast-paced job-switching mechanic is a different approach to the turn-based action. It means you can switch up your characters’ jobs during a battle. The game has depth and complexity when it comes to battles and it allows you to choose your own playstyle.

FINAL FANTASY X:X-2 HD Remaster Review Screenshot 3

The battles work in the same way pretty much as previous games. You take turns choosing what action to perform. Battles are easy at first but as you progress, enemy encounters can become more challenging and require careful planning. Each character also has their own ‘Limit Break’ attack known as Overdrives this time. You get to see these early on in the game and get to try them out on small enemies. These attacks are powerful, but if you also successfully perform the onscreen button prompts they will be even more effective. You have to do things like stopping a horizontal slider within a certain zone, or follow a series of ‘quick time’ style button inputs.

The Final Fantasy series is also known for having deep customisation systems and lots of depth to upgrades. This time around the main system is called the Sphere Grid. This is the skill tree you will be upgrading during the game. There are four main categories to the grid that include power, mana, speed and ability. You have to gain spheres by successfully winning battles and fill certain attributes on the grid system. At the start of the game however, you’re able to choose between the standard and expert grid.

The expert version means that the characters are all similar in terms of balanced stats. I actually went with the standard grid but had a quick experiment with the expert version and will probably replay the game using it. It certainly takes some getting used to but I think that’s one of the appealing factors about the Final Fantasy games. I enjoy the time it takes to learn systems, upgrade stats and see my character’s progress throughout the game. There is great satisfaction of seeing your characters become more powerful and then being able to slice through weaker enemies like a hot knife through butter. I hadn’t played a Final Fantasy game in a while and I had forgotten how different the turn-based action and random encounters felt, and it will be interesting to see how the new Final Fantasy game coming out this year will work with the new combat and upgrade systems. Battles in this remaster are very frequent and some may feel it slows the game down at times.

The presentation is great and I remember it looking good when I played the original. This remastered version looks even better, with improved visual enhancements, detailed textures and better character models. The environments themselves also look better this time around and they feel detailed, varied and vibrant. The soundtrack has been completely remastered but you can still choose to have the original soundtrack which is a nice option. Like a lot of Final Fantasy games, the music is always memorable and helps add to the emotion of the game. FF7 is still probably one of my favourite soundtracks but I also love some of the songs here, especially the game’s theme song, To Zanarkand.

Considered one of the strongest narratives in the series by some, mine being FF7, it certainly deserves to be played again in this remastered version or if you’ve never experienced it before. Sure if you’re used to modern RPG’s and turn-based game it may feel a little slow, but there’s depth and complexity here that at times is unrivaled. For the most part the core game is untouched and the remaster has polished an already impressive experience and added a few nice bonus features. The addition of Last Mission and the new audio segments are nice to have available and the game looks great on PC. The game certainly has its issues and downfalls but overall it’s a great game that is worth playing and now having the complete remastered version allows you to experience the games in one awesome package. Long time fans will enjoy returning to Spira and it’s a great way for first timers to jump in.

Rating 7

REVIEW CODE: Here at Brash Games we have a strict Review Code policy, Paul Ryan owner / editor is the only member of staff at Brash Games permitted to obtain review code and distribute it within the Brash Games review team. No other person is permitted to request review code and or send review links or contact the publishers in any way whatsoever. Should you wish to send us review code please email paulryan-at-brashgames.co.uk.

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