Final Fantasy X/X2 HD Remaster Review 
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Umar Bastra
April 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be able to lie in bed and play Final Fantasy X/X-2 on a handheld; one of the best JRPGs to have ever been created is running on my Vita. I’ll just cut right to the chase, this game is awesome, and the remastered HD visuals are stunning (for the most part) and runs at a buttery smooth rate (for the most part as well).

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The story follows our charismatic young protagonist, Tidus, who can be best described as anti-Squall from Final Fantasy 8. He’s jolly, thick headed at times to the point where he is completely oblivious to the severity of his situation and I didn’t like him, at first. Tidus is a star Blitzball player (a fictional and playable sport in the game) and during one of his matches, his hometown of Zanarkand gets attacked by an unknown being called Sin. Tidus gets caught up in this attack and finds himself whisked away to the unknown land of Spira and from there the player joins him on his journey back to Zanarkand. Along the way he becomes a guardian for the summoner Yuna who is on a pilgrimage to seek the assistance of powerful creatures called Aeons (who you can summon) to defeat Sin. The story itself takes many twists and turns and while it starts off really slow, once it kicks it up a notch, you’ll find yourself engrossed in all the drama that will escalate into all manners of political, racial and religious intrigue. This is a brilliantly told story and if you can get past the initial drag, it will most likely hold your attention till the end. My main issue with the story however, was Tidus and some of the other characters.

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Tidus just felt extremely idiotic throughout the early parts of the game. None of the events that transpired, from Sin’s attack to waking up in a foreign land, fazed him at all and it just feels unbelievable that any one person can be this oblivious. While I couldn’t stand him at first, he grew on me, and at the end of it all, I genuinely cared for him. He eventually matured and he turned out to be a pretty decent main character. Most of the cast is believable and competent, but I just wish some characters got more development time, such as the excellent Seymour. Other than that, I pretty much enjoyed the tale this game was telling.

For a big chunk of the main story, Final Fantasy X is a pretty linear adventure. You’ll travel from location to location on your way to get back to your hometown. This is not to say the adventure is dull and predictable, far from it. Once you gain access to an airship you’re able to travel to different locations and partake in numerous side activities ranging from Chocobo racing to Blitzball, there is a ton of things to do and see in this game – so much fun to be had.

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It took some getting used to, but I eventually got into the swing of random encounters again. They are really frequent and it does take some getting used to, especially if you’ve become used to more modern RPGs. Battles are strictly turn-based and have no ATB gauge to dictate the flow of battle. Instead, turns are strictly determined by your agility stat and various other speed buffs (or debuffs), so the higher your agility, the faster your turn comes around. What I really love about the battle system is that even though there can only be three active party members on the battlefield at any time, you can swap out members on the fly and even if they land one hit, they’ll still get experience points at the end of the fight. This mechanic makes every party member feel important, which is rare in an RPG, as in most games you’ll usually find a team composition you like early on, sticking to it for the duration of the game.

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Battles play out in a similar fashion to the rest of the games in the series. Choose your action, watch the animation and repeat, though it is nowhere near as simplistic as I’m making it out to be. Some people complained that the game was too easy; while it is in no way on the level of a Shin Megami Tensei game, this is no cake walk either. Bosses can easily destroy your team in a single shot, so it is important to plan ahead and devise a good strategy before heading off into the heat of battle. Each character is unique and also has their own ‘Limit Break’ type of special move called Overdrives, so it’s important to play to their strengths. For example, Yuna is a summoner and is able to call forth powerful creatures to aid her during battle. These creatures take the place of the other party members and can be powerful tools of destruction when used in a smart manner. They have their own life bar, so if they die, there is no way to revive them in battle. Even though this game came out in the early years of the PS2, the battle system is still as fun now as the day it was released.

Every Final Fantasy game had its own unique customization system. This game introduced us to the Sphere Grid. This is basically a grid representation of a skill tree. Everything is outlined on here, from abilities that you can learn to stat increases. Each node on the grid falls into one of four categories: power, mana, speed and ability. After every battle you get spheres that fall into one of those categories that you can use to fill a node on the grid, thus granting you the enhancement of that particular node. The amount of nodes you can traverse at any one time depends on your S.Level. Think of this as a normal character level that increases when you get enough experience points. You can spend whatever amount of S.Level points you have traversing the grid.

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Every character uses the same grid but starts at different points, thus making character progression pretty pre-determined for about half of the game. This only applies to the standard grid though. At the start of the game however, you’re able to choose between the standard and expert grid. The expert grid (which I chose) starts every character pretty near to each other which means you can basically take any character on whatever progression path you like. In my case, Yuna, who usually specializes in white magic, had access to black magic pretty early on. Expert grids are only recommended for experienced players, but it was pretty awesome to mix and match so early on.

The soundtrack was completely remastered (only for 10, 10-2 remained unchanged) and while I do prefer some of the original tracks over the new ones, it still sounds absolutely amazing. The game’s theme song, To Zanarkand, still makes me feel things that no other modern game has come closing to doing. Every song fits the situation perfectly and it just further intensifies my adoration towards Nobuo Uematsu, the game’s composer. Playing this game again just made me fall in love with the music all over again and I instantly copied the soundtrack to my phone so that my ears may be embraced by the warmth and brilliance of these sweet melodies wherever I may go.

Even if Final Fantasy X HD Remaster was sold completely on its own, it would still worth the asking price as it is jammed packed full of great content coupled with a brilliant story and amazing gameplay. Even if you’ve played this game before, I would still highly recommend you take another trip to the world of Spira.

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  • Rince the Unhuggable

    Ni pi nk hair. Ni want.

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      LOL Seymour has blue hair…close enough?

      • Hammersteyn

        That’s the chick playing a dude if I recall?

        • Rince the Unhuggable

          Who fucking knows. They’re all androgynous anyway.

          • Hammersteyn

            He was a big boy though. To big for the voice he had.

          • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

            Lol sigh, you know who looks like a girl…Geralt

          • Rince the Unhuggable

            He certainly didn’t fuck like one…

          • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

            LOL Dat sex scene……Still etched in my mind

  • Hammersteyn

    Dammit Umar, I don’t have the cash right now >:(

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      Dude, Wonga.com LOL

      • Hammersteyn

        Hahaha, Only if Frans can give me a 0% interest loan.

        • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

          Lol Take a loan out for R400 and pay back R400? … If only

  • oVg Errorist

    So how does this Vita memory work?. Do you have to pay an arm and a leg to get a bigger memory card considering X-2 is only available via download, and if you do not have internet access do they charge you for X-2 or is it a bonus extra?

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      Lol it could fit on your standard 4 gig card and the PS3 got both games on disc for the same price as the vita version. Only FF X-2 can only be downloaded from PSN. You get the download code for it when you buy this

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    UUMMAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! Awesome review man! I demand more… LOTS MORE!

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      Hehe thanx man :) Always mean a ton coming from the Nana. Have lot’s to learn though!

      So you got this game? Or you been too busy with Terraria again..tsk tsk…you never change :p

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        I want to get a copy, but at the moment, I’m exploring my backlog :P

        • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

          Oh snap…Okay, see you in a year Nana, been good knowing you

  • Sk3tz0

    I loved the Blitz ball minigame.. was super fun..

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      SUPER fun! How I miss these awesome mini-games!

      • Sk3tz0

        the coin game in X2 wasnt all that bad either..

        • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

          True, it was actually much more complicated than it first seems. Though not AS good as Blitz though

  • hairyknees

    Nice review :) I wants this game!

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      Thanx buddy :) You should really get it, it’s soooooo goooood!

      • GalacticLordCaptainAwesomeness

        Amen..

  • CAE9872

    Great review! Now I wonder when Square will finally decide to HD VII…and VII…and IX…and XII. I think we can let XI go…by all accounts not the greatest MMO/FF game period.

    • Xelestial

      They would look terrible in HD. Best to leave some of the imperfections blurry.

      • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

        I quite like Cloud’s blocky hands lol

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      Thanx bud :) And I would love to see 7,8 and 8 remade though I doubt SE will :( though I somewhat have my hopes for 12 though, and hopefully it will be the Zodiac Job system, that would just fix everything I hated about 12..

  • Adam Meikle

    I must say that this review is a tad unbalanced in its assessment of Final Fantasy X-2. I find the assertion that Final Fantasy X-2 is one of the “finest JRPGs ever created” to be somewhat ludicrous. For one thing, on the PS2 there are much better alternatives. Of course, there is Persona 3, Persona 4, Dark Cloud and even Dark Cloud 2. All of which were far better JRPGs than Final Fantasy X-2. Come on, I would rate even Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 are more deserving of such status than Final Fantasy X-2. I think “lacking” is a far better description of Final Fantasy X-2 than anything else.

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      Hey there. Firstly, thanx for taking the time to read the review and leave a comment :)

      Secondly, while I do agree that there are better RPGS than X-2 and even X as well, that doesn’t discredit the game from being great. When I look back at the PS2 era, the system was filled with great JRPGs such as Shadow Hearts and Nocturne, and while X-2 is certainly lacking in the story department, it’s still a fun tale that’s coupled with some really deep battle mechanics and fun gameplay. The girly look and feel was a put-off at first but I eventually learnt to love it and found myself enjoying this game the same as I did so many years ago which is testament (to me anyway) to the game’s fantastic design. So I still consider this game to sit amongst the greats. Final Fantasy 12 however, I feel doesn’t belong there but that’s a whole new debate :)

      • Adam Meikle

        I see Final Fantasy X-2 as the beginning of a downward spiral for the Final Fantasy series. But that’s just me. I still feel it’s a lacklustre game and JRPG for that matter, and that for that Final Fantasy X had a far better combat system in terms of my tastes. But this argument is rhetorical at best :).

        • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

          Hehe, I respect your opinion, for me the downward spiral started at 12 . But like I said, to me, there are better I guess, but in it’s own rights, it’s an amazing jrpg.

          I do prefer X’s battle system though. Swapping characters in and out of battle was just too awesome…It really makes me miss turn based battle systems

    • Tarisma

      You forgot Star Ocean. Loved that game.

  • Tarisma

    My copy should be arriving any day now. I can’t wait to get back into blitzball

  • Terry

    is this on ps4?

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar’s Sin

      Unfortunately not