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Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (X) Review

Final Fantasy X Remastered edition builds upon the PS3, PS4, and VITA release, introducing new Steam exclusive features. Exploring the land of Spira feels brand new thanks to graphical and audio updates that enhance the presentation of the overall story.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (X) Review

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (X) Review

Introduction

Its hard to believe that Final Fantasy X was released over 16 years ago. Time effects video games differently; some remain relevant, while others fall into obscurity. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for Steam is in many ways the completest version to date. This version takes the updates from the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and VITA versions and adds new features that players can only find on Steam. Final Fantasy X was the first RPG I purchased at the age of 8, and I am happy to say that it felt like the first time all over again.

Story

The Final Fantasy series is known for its ability to tell great stories and Final Fantasy X is no exception. Final Fantasy 10 was the first game in the series to utilize facial animation, as well as voice acting. The same impressive voice acting in the original is given new life through the visual and audio updates. The games main story is revealed at a steady pace and reveals plot elements in an understandable manner. The story is one of the games greatest strengths and without revealing too much the game’s story focuses on challenging traditions of the past and embracing change.

Character Driven

RPGs tell stories that captivate audiences. Final Fantasy X uses its characters to add a layer of depth, that few games are able too.The interaction between the 7 main characters moves the story along with their hopes, dreams, fears, and motivation fueling each conversation. I found my self, listening intently to every conversation just to understand the characters better.

 

Final Fantasy “X” Story Overview

To all the first time players, Final Fantasy X‘s story revolves around a teen named Tidus who is teleported through time by an unknown monster named “Sin”. The games, plot points are highlighted to players and the game does a good job of not throwing too much info at players. I never felt lost at any point in the story and in the later stages of the game, I was rewarded with moments that shocked, and moved me.

Gameplay

Traversing Spira

Final Fantasy X follows the traditional RPG route and divides gameplay between exploring on foot, fighting battles, and mini-games. In the beginning of the game, players are allowed to explore the world of Spira, collecting items and collectibles, interacting with puzzles and other characters, as well as leveling up your character with Sphere Grid. The first 4 to 10 hours of gameplay can be very linear but towards the mid to end game Final Fantasy X begins to open up in big ways. Treasures which contain items can be found in every inch of the game. Some of these treasures are needed in order to obtain special late game weapons, items, and summons.I feel that the developers intended to reward players for carefully exploring the world around them but the game does little to warn players of the upcoming  prerequisite requiring some research and for some gamers, this can be a problem
 
FFX has many puzzles scattered throughout the world. The puzzles introduced in the games main story are not difficult but they require attention to detail and the ability to observe your surroundings. The puzzles that unlock some of the legendary items and stronger summons are next to impossible to figure out unless you look online. I understand that Final Fantasy X was created years ago, but an HD remake was a way to bridge the gap for fans.
 

The Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X is the game leveling system . Once a character takes a turn during combat they are rewarded AP and once a certain amount of Ap is gained, that specific, characters gain a Sphere Lvl allowing them to move one space on the sphere grid. Characters gain strength by using other spheres collected through battles to open ‘ nodes” on the grid that grant abilities and stat boosts.

 

Combat

Final Fantasy X utilizes a turn-based combat system that uses the different abilities of its 7 playable characters to great effect.. Lulu’s black magic abilities are great against magic-based enemies, while Tidus is skilled at taking down fast enemies. Each character does well against specific enemy types and the game allows characters can be switched out on the fly, opening up combos and strategies that tailor to how players customize their characters. 

 

Summons, magic and other Final Fantasy traditions make a return in this iteration, Summons are strong creatures that can be used in battle to deal lethal amounts of damage. Fans of the series will recognize the names of Summons, magic spells, and abilities from previous games as well. Combat never felt difficult and it wasn’t until the late game that I encountered enemies that required me to farm in order to overcome.

 

Mini Games

The Final Fantasy series is no stranger to mini-games and 10th game in the series introduces one of the most memorable mini-games ever created. I want to start by saying that some of the mini-games tied to obtaining the legendary weapons can be hit or miss. A nice portion of these mini-games require a certain amount of luck rather than skill; the most notable one occurs in the Thunder Planes tasking you to dodge 200 lightning bolts in a row.

 

Blitzball is by far the most impressive mini-game that Square Enix included in this title and is arguably one of the best included in any Final Fantasy game. Blitzball is an underwater 5 on 5  soccer inspire sport, allowing players to increase their team stats to gain new abilities and passive skills. The game even allows players to recruit new team members as you wander around. Square Enix spent a lot of time intertwining this mini-game into the main narrative of the story and I believe this decision makes the mini-game stand out.

 

Graphics

Within the past 10 years, it seems that HD remakes have been popping up everywhere. Some of these titles do very little to update the graphics of the game, but I am happy to report that Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster graphical updates improve the game in all of the right ways. Characters models in the original suffered from blocky limbs and clothing that looked painted on to character models. The Remastered version improves on the character models making facial features, limbs more prominent. I found myself staring at the game just to take in the background. I wish Square Enix completely reworked the cutscenes in the game to compliment all of the other graphical updates.

 

The remastered version includes “Eternal Calm” a cinematic that bridges the gap between Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. This cinematic gives players a look at the events that transpired in between the two titles. It is worth watching before you start playing X-2 and does a good job of providing context.

 

Audio

It might come as no surprise to fans of the series but Final Fantasy X has an amazing soundtrack. The live orchestra for the games main theme is beautiful and when paired with some of the game’s scenes it really helps deliver a cinematic experience. Outside of the music, the games ambient background noises never feel out of place. FFX was the first game in the series to utilize voice acting and those performances are only enhanced by the updates to the game.

The Remastered “Advantage”

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster adds new features that are exclusive to the Steam version. An auto-save feature has been added to the game. The game adds 5 boosters 

  • Turbo. Use to speed up the game to 2x or 4x. It won’t affect player input in menus and cutscenes/FMV.
  • Supercharge. Characters will be supercharged.
  • Enemy Encounter Override. Increase or decrease enemy encounter rate.
  • Auto-battle. Characters will fight using AI.
  • Hide HUD. Use to hide user interface.

The steam version also adds new languages for voice and also gives players the option to skip certain cutscenes. The game also gives you the ability to change certain parameters which include unlocking all weapons, unlocking all skills, and max gil.

Conclusion

Final Fantasy X is an amazing RPG that manages to stay relevant to this day. The game poses an amazing story that is complemented from the HD updates as well as the Steam additions. First-time players will be blown away by all of the content and returning players will be able to find new experiences with the new features. Final Fantasy X is a tale worth listening too and I recommend it to all players.

 
ProsCons
 + Story/ Character Progression – Dated textures
 + Blitzball!! – Mini- Games tied to some Legendary Weapons
 + Graphical updates
 
 + Steam Exclusives 
 
8.5
Great

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