Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PlayStation Vita) review
Classic RPG gets modern makeover
- Graphical overhaul that modernises the game
- Final Fantasy X in particular holds up well
- Final Fantasy X-2 remains as odd as it was originally
- Only Final Fantasy X is available as a physical copy
Final Fantasy X was revolutionary when it originally came out and the remastered version proves why. Time has not improved Final Fantasy X-2’s standing, though fans will appreciate the supplementary game time.
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The long running Final Fantasy series has had its fair share of ups and downs, though there is no denying that Final Fantasy X encapsulated a finer moment in the franchise. Released originally on the PlayStation 2 in 2001, it was considered a milestone at the time, both from technical and narrative perspectives.
To help remind players of how great the game was, Square Enix has re-released it for PlayStation 3 and Vita. The video game space has evolved significantly since 2001, and a significant amount of effort has been put into modernising the title to ensure it is no mere port.
A clear and present enemy
The story of Final Fantasy X centres on the world of Spira, which may give the illusion of being a paradise due to its beach setting. It would be if it were not for the threat of Sin, a destructive entity that roams the world and put its inhabitants at risk.
Sin can not be killed, though it can be put into hibernation for a decade using magic. The magic is wielded by individuals known as summoners, and Final Fantasy X focuses on the journey of Titus and his companions as they journey towards their confrontation with Sin.
The core of the narrative focuses on the quest towards Sin and the mysteries of Spira. It is accompanied with the unfolding relationship between Tidus and Yuna, one of the summoners in the group.
Final Fantasy X came out around the time the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within motion picture came out, so the narrative is played out through full motion video that took advantage of the DVD format at the time. The visuals manage to hold up after all this time, though the dialogue and pacing of the cut-scenes often feels clumsy and awkward.
Some publishers have been content to simply re-release PlayStation 2 games without any tweaks, so they often run at the original 480i resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio. Square Enix has stepped up to not only format Final Fantasy X for widescreen, but also update the graphics into HD.
The end result is impressive, where the characters and environments look significantly cleaner and sharper over the original PlayStation 2 game. There is the occasional low quality texture that looks to be left over from the original game, but for the most past Final Fantasy X impresses with its reworked visuals.
In addition to Final Fantasy X, Square Enix has also updated and included 2003’s Final Fantasy X-2 in the collection. Although it is billed as a direct sequel, the gameplay and narrative of Final Fantasy X-2 departs significantly from the earlier title.
Final Fantasy X-2 is more action packed and flashier than the first game, incorporating several improvements to the gameplay and making it more accessible as a result. The shift from a serious to whimsical tone remains as jarring as it was before, meaning Final Fantasy X-2 will appeal to fans but will struggle as a standalone title.
The digital solution
Memory card limitations set by Sony means only Final Fantasy X ships as a physical copy, so Final Fantasy X-2 is included as a download code. Players who opt to get both games digitally won’t mind, though it’s odd that Sony was not willing to bend the rules and put both games on a single card.
Final Fantasy X introduced a more linear experience that came to fruition in recent instalments such as Final Fantasy XIII. Not only should this collection appeal to long time gamers who enjoyed the original releases, but new players will have no trouble immersing themselves in the world of Spira.
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