I can still remember the first time I was introduced to Final Fantasy X. I didn’t have a PlayStation 2 yet and a friend had brought his over to show me the game. Immediately I was floored by the great visuals and even more so by the voice acting.
A couple years later, Final Fantasy X-2 was launched and I can remember the trip to the store to pick it up.
Part of the reason any of these older, now turned HD games are great is because of the memories associated with them. You pop in the game and think “man, I remember when I first played this game.”
Now, Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 have gotten the HD treatment so that fans new and old can experience the story told in Spira.
Taking an older game and getting the chance to either re-introduce it to fans, or introduce it to a younger group of gamers gives the developers the chance to add things if they so desire. In the case of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, the most glaring omission is the ability to skip cutscenes. Now, I realize that the ability to skip scenes wasn’t in the original game, and to a degree I can understand not adding it to the Remaster. However, that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a welcomed addition, especially when considering one of my favorite additions.
One thing that was added, and sadly only on the Vita version, was the quick heal menu. By swiping right on the touch screen, you have a small menu pop up that will allow you to heal your entire party using either MP, or potions/hi-potions. This is a fantastic feature which can save time having to go into the menu, selecting your abilities, and spamming cure on everyone till their HP is maxed out. I started playing the Vita version of the games first and when I moved onto the PlayStation 3 version, I immediately missed this feature. Why give one version this convenience over the other? Is it due to the Vita’s portable nature? If so, a cutscene skip option would be most welcome here as well.
Speaking of the PS3 and Vita versions, there is a save file sync that lets you easily transfer your saves between the two systems. The downside to all of that however, is that there is no cross-buy option which means that people that want both versions will have to purchase the game on each for a total of $80.
The most important thing when looking at any game brought into the HD era are the visuals, and while these games look great overall, there are things that are going to jump out at you. All of the main characters have brand new character models in HD Remaster. Unfortunately, none of the average joe NPCs got that same treatment. You’ll be in a cutscene with a group of guards and all you can do is feel sorry for them, because they stick out a bit in the visuals department. It would have been nice for Square Enix to have taken the extra time to bump up the visuals on the less important characters, especially those that you see up close in cutscenes.
One thing Square Enix is greatly known for in its Final Fantasy games is the quality of their CG cutscenes. While they haven’t completely redone them, they have gone back to the source material to render them in an HD resolution which is great. The videos, though slightly dated now, still look fantastic. In addition, Square Enix has remastered the audio tracks for the games. Over sixty tracks have been remastered and they sound great.
Once you get past how these now HD titles look and sound, you’re left with the content. Lucky for us in North America, the HD Remaster versions contain the International versions of the game, which means this is the first time that players will get access to content such as the Expert Sphere Grid, Dark Aeons, Psychic and Festivalist dresspheres, Creature Creator and more! Additionally, Final Fantasy X-2’s Last Mission is also included. And if all that isn’t enough, the brand new Audio Drama is included which provides more story after the events of X-2!
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is the definitive versions of these cherished games and something that every Final Fantasy or RPG fan should add to their collection.
~ Final Score: 9/10 ~
Review copy provided by Square Enix for Vita. Screenshots provided by Square Enix.