Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Review

Final Fantasy X is one of the most beloved chapters in the Final Fantasy series for a reason. It was the first to have full voice acting. Its innovative sphere grid upgrade system is still unparalleled in the series, and the ability to swap out characters mid-battle was a huge revelation back in the winter of 2000.

But the processing power of the PS2, which at the time was the best in gaming history, is severely dated now, and Square-Enix has blown the dust off of Final Fantasy X (and X-2, but we’ll get to that in a sec) and has given it the full high-definition remaster. The results are nothing short of wonderful.

If you’ve played the game, you know the story. A wayward Blitzball player gets sucked into a vortex and is tossed a thousand years into the future where he meets up with a summoner and her guardians on a spiritual quest to defeat Sin, the living embodiment of punishment for using technology, or machina. Along the way, the Blitzball player learns many secrets about the fate of his world, the fate of his verbally abusive father, and his role in the greater fabric of all existence. In other words, its heavy stuff for a Final Fantasy game. We aren’t talking meteors and one-winged angels here.

But for a game that originally came out 14 years ago, what really makes the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster special is in the presentation. The HD upgrade is beautiful. The character models are more refined and pop off the screen, now in 16:9 ratio. The framerate is also over clocked, which helps in the rez department. The seven main characters are highly detailed, but the background NPCs are a little underdeveloped. It’s not a game killer by any means, but to stare in Yuna’s green and blue eyes, and soft complexion, and then see a muddy, blocky NPC, it’s just a reminder that not every feature got the remaster love here.

Tidus in HD

The comparison between the original and HD remaster is astonishing.

The graphical upgrade is really evident during the fully rendered cutscenes, as the transition between CGI and in-game footage is almost seamless.

Yuna’s Aeons are as impressive in HD as you can probably imagine. The player can still turn off the sometimes-lengthy summoning scene, which speeds up the battles, but why would you when they are this much eye candy.

The sound has also been remastered, though the original voice-over tracks are intact, which can be unintentionally funny due to some bad voice direction and/or editing in the original development. Again, not a game breaker.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster also includes the Endless Calm ending, available originally only on the Japanese version of the game, but here can be watched as a FMV movie right off the main game menu.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was released on both the PS Vita and the PS3, and each version has the cross-play feature that allows for swapping saves for gaming on the go. The PS3 version of the game includes both X and X-2 on the same disc, but the Vita version only has X on the game card. X-2 is available as a download, which sucks if you are having trouble with memory space–like myself–as I had to delete a couple of games to make room for the download.

Yuna and company in FFx-2

The gang is back together, now in HD!

Shifting gears to talk solely about the Vita version (the PS3 version is pretty cut and dry, as the controls are essentially the same with the original game), Final Fantasy X uses the Vita’s touchscreen only sparingly. I could see how the touch screen could have been implemented more, especially in a game of Blitzball, or in swapping out characters, or even in manipulating the sphere grid, but Square-Enix chose to go another direction and its fine. Players can swipe the screen after battle to bring up a quick heal menu to use either potions of cure magic to heal.

The Vita’s processing power and incredible 5″ OLED screen (for older Vitas) make the game look as wonderful as the PS3 version, and as you can guess, both are superior to the original PS2 version.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is a pleasant treat and Square-Enix should be commended for bringing it back and remastering it. I hope against hope that they will do the same with the criminally underrated Final Fantasy XII, arguably my favorite game in the franchise. For now, I’m enjoying my trip down memory lane and even though I’ve already spent over 100 hours of my life playing these games, I’m gleefully doing it again and that should tell you all you need to know.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was reviewed on PS3 and purchased at retail. It is available now for the PS3 and PS Vita.

FFX and FFX-2 Remastered in HD
out of 5

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