It’s been about 13 years since the release of Final Fantasy X. With two online games and two console entries since 2001, how well does it hold up? Is it worth revisiting the world of Spira again?
Absolutely. If you ever needed a reason to play either one of these games, this would be a great time to do it.
Final Fantasy X follows the story of Tidus, a young Blitzball star who finds himself in the world of Spira after his hometown of Zanarkand is destroyed by Sin, a gargantuan whale-like creature that leaves destruction in its wake. Hoping to shed some light on his situation and possibly return home, he joins a young summoner, Yuna, who sets out with her guardians and Tidus on a pilgrimage to defeat Sin.
For here or to go?
There aren’t a lot of differences between the PS3 and Vita versions, but the latter has a few minor graphical imperfections and some slightly longer load times. Don’t let those issues stop you; the PS3 version is marginally better, but the Vita port’s flaws are easily tolerated.
X-2 picks up two years since the events of the previous game and focuses on Yuna. She’s made it her goal to find out more of the whereabouts of Tidus since those two years. Since becoming a Sphere Hunter, however, she gets caught in the middle of various warring factions that have popped up since the Eternal Calm.
The high-definition elements of the game compliment an already impressive-looking game for its time. The retouches on the main cast, as well as many of the game’s environments, really make the visuals shine all over again. Along with touched-up aesthetics across the board, the soundtrack for X has been remastered.
It’s also a first for North American audiences that this re-release includes the “International” version of both games. X’s additional features begin with the inclusion of an expert-level Sphere Grid (the game’s level-up system). This grid starts all the characters in the middle, rather than their own areas in the standard sphere. It allows for customizations of stats and skills on each character at the player’s discretion, but features less statistical upgrade than the standard grid.
Dark Aeons are also an International addition. These are simply darker, stronger versions of many of the game’s summons, blocking paths to once-accessible friendly areas of the game. Collectively, they are some of the game’s toughest sub-bosses in the entire series. Rounding out the extra content is Eternal Calm, a mini-feature bridging the two games; Last Mission, an epilogue for X-2; and -Will-, an audio drama.
While the additional content serves as a great reason to pick up this collection, it’s not without its faults. Considering the length of some of the cutscenes and a natural impulse to reset when something goes wrong, X/X-2 Remaster‘s long, unskippable cutscenes can become tedious. The HD remaster did touch up on environments and main characters, but it leaves NPCs rather blocky. It’s obvious that more effort went into more-featured characters, and the distinct imbalance might throw off some players.
Furthermore, the cutscenes have some issues with lip-synching to the English voices. Considering the base of the International version was most likely the Japanese one, the characters moving their mouth to the Japanese voices would make sense, but watching it in action might remind players of an English-dubbed Godzilla movie.
Whether you’re a fan of the series or playing it for the first time, you probably won’t want to skip this entry. The memorable characters, the music, and the story come together to deliver an enjoyable experience that seems to be lacking in recent Final Fantasy games to date.
Pros: HD remake handled with care, definitive package of the series
Cons: Graphical imbalances are obvious, Cutscenes are unskippable