“Based on the international versions of the games that were previously only released in Japan and Europe, FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD Remaster brings these timeless classics forward to the current generation of fans, old and new alike.”
– The Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster Steam page (http://store.steampowered.com/app/359870/)
– It’s a package of two fantastic RPGs –
As the first Final Fantasy entries that appeared on the Playstation 2, Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 have a special place in the hearts of gamers.
Final Fantasy X puts players in the role of Tidus, a superstar Blitzball player whose life suddenly changes when a giant beast known as Sin attacks his home in Zanarkand. Whilst the city gets destroyed, Tidus is helped by his old friend Auron who sends him 1000 years in the future to the land of Spira to ‘begin his story’. Whilst in Spira, he joins a group assisting Summoner Yuna on her pilgrimage as she looks to vanquish the world of the evil Sin.
The game features a standard turn-based battle system, though it certainly has a lot of depth to it – mainly due to the complex yet approachable nature of the Sphere Grid. The Sphere Grid is the game’s levelling system, allowing you to follow a series of different routes as you level up each individual aspect of your characters. Whilst the game features an almost set route that best suits each character, you still have the freedom to customise them all as you see fit. Each character in the game offers something completely different so it’s probably advisable to stick to their strengths, though you’re able to freely swap characters in and out during battle if you find some more effective than others.
There’s also the Aeons, the equivalent of the series’ summon attacks. These grand beasts are used exclusively by Yuna but act as an additional party member. You can improve their stats and teach them new skills, but it’s their powerful overdrive attacks that are the most effective in battle. They look amazing in-game too – series favourites like Ifrit and Shiva look as impressive as ever, but new faces such as the demonic looking Anima are visual marvels too.
Whilst it may look like the same game, Final Fantasy X-2 changes up nearly every aspect of the first entry. Whilst I won’t go into too much detail here because of spoilers, the game puts you in the role of the Charlie’s Angels-esque trio of Yuna, Rikku and Paine as they deal with the aftermath of the events of Final Fantasy X.
Battles in Final Fantasy X-2 play out much differently with Aeons no longer featuring and a limited party of only three characters. Battles are quicker too, focusing less on taking turns and more on providing constant action.
Rather than following the Sphere Grid, this time your characters abilities depend on Dresspheres. Dresspheres essentially change the class of each character – you could have the skill-set of a White Mage with one Dressphere equipped whilst another would make you a Warrior. You can level up the abilities of each Dressphere in battle through constant use, but you can also improve them with the Garment Grid which acts like a sort-of Sphere Grid for each individual Dressphere. It might sound complicated but it all works pretty well in-game.
Whilst the two games are pretty similar, there’s enough differences between them both gameplay-wise that they each provide a completely different experience. My favourite of the two has to be Final Fantasy X but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a good time with Final Fantasy X-2. It’s great to see them both readily available to PC users though, especially after so many years of being exclusive to the Sony platforms.
– It’s a high quality port –
Whilst Square Enix hasn’t had an amazing track record with the quality of their PC ports (I’m looking at you, Final Fantasy XIII), their recent work with the likes of Final Fantasy IX has been pretty impressive. The same can be said here – Final Fantasy X/X-2 not only looks great but plays flawlessly too. It’s limited to 30fps, but given the age of the games it’s not a real issue.
I encountered no bugs, glitches or crashes during my time playing the game. There were no controller issues either with the game working perfectly on the Xbox 360 pad. The game also features the boosts that have been popular with the Steam releases of classic Final Fantasy titles, so you’re able to have infinite gil or maximum stats from the start if you’d like – I wouldn’t recommend it to newcomers to the game though.
– One of my favourite RPG soundtracks –
The Final Fantasy series as a whole has always featured fantastic soundtracks, but there’s something special about the music featured in Final Fantasy X/X-2. Be it the peaceful vibes of ‘Besaid’, the hauntingly beautiful ‘To Zanarkand’, the rocking ‘Otherworld’ or even the pop ballads that feature prominently in Final Fantasy X-2, every musical piece in both games is a pleasure to listen to.
The soundtrack has been remastered for this re-release, though it’s possible to listen to them in their original form if you prefer. The nostalgic side of me went down that route, though that’s not to say the remastered versions aren’t great too.
– The lack of an explorable world map –
This is more nitpicking as opposed to an actual criticism, but after the fantastic world maps we got to explore in Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX I was highly disappointed not to get the same world exploring experience in Final Fantasy X/X-2.
Whilst the locations in-game look great and make up for it a little with their impressive size (the Calm Lands are huge!), I’d have still preferred to have been able to zip around the world of Spira freely in an airship rather than fast-travelling with a map – it’s just a liberating feeling that offers a real sense of discovery.
– The laughing scene still makes me cringe –
If you’ve played Final Fantasy X before then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about – it’s still as cringey now as it was back in 2001.
If you haven’t played before be prepared for one of the cringiest moments I’ve encountered in gaming. JRPGs are known to be cheesy at times, but this scene actually makes me feel awkward to watch. Tidus and Yuna share a scene where they’re both laughing out loud. It’s just uncomfortable to watch.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Square Enix continue to impress me with their dedication to bringing their catalogue of classic RPGs to Steam. Final Fantasy X/X-2 is yet another worthy addition to Steam and further proof of why Square Enix really are the masters of crafting amazing RPG adventures.
The games looks great, plays flawlessly and features the same incredible gameplay and story that fans loved when they originally appeared on the Playstation 2 all those years ago. My return to Spira was a pleasurable one and I’d certainly recommend it to both old and new fans of the Final Fantasy series.
Developer: Square Enix (www.square-enix.com)
Publisher: Square Enix (www.square-enix.com)
Release Date: 12/05/2016 (PC)
Format(s): PC (Reviewed), Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita