Final Fantasy X is one of the most popular and important titles of the PlayStation 2 era of role-playing games. Through a combination of memorable storytelling and characters, timeless music, and fun turn-based gameplay; Final Fantasy X holds a place in many gamers’ hearts for delivering an incredible gaming experience. Its sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, was an interesting title that followed despite it delivering a far less stellar experience than its predecessor. Even with some minor issues that plagued each game back during their release on the PlayStation, both titles still resonate in the minds of gamers as being some of the best RPGs released at the time. Square Enix returns us to the world of Spira in Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, a fully revitalized HD experience of both titles that reinvigorates and enhances what made the games so classic the first time around.
Final Fantasy veterans will feel right at home in this HD remastering of X and X-2. The same story and characters from the original game’s release are present and accounted for, but come with some extra goodies that were previously unavailable in the North American releases of the games. This bonus content was originally exclusive to the International Versions of both titles, originally only available in Japan back on the PlayStation 2.
For Final Fantasy X, new tough bosses, items, abilities, and even a bonus video connecting both X and X-2 become accessible to gamers. For Final Fantasy X-2, a tower scaling side-story, abilities, and bonus audio are the extra goodies that fans of both titles will appreciate very much. All of this adds plenty of extra incentive for gamers, who may have already played through both titles, to jump in for another playthrough. This is taken further with full trophy support for both titles, of which all consist of practical and ideal task anyone would do playing through both games.
The bulk of the HD Remastering work is definitely geared towards Final Fantasy X more than its sequel. Character models and environments look absolutely stunning in HD with more vibrant colors and extra little details. Exploring through all of the different areas within the world of Spira provides plenty of eye-candy and awe-inspiring backdrops that complement the story that plays out.
Enemies look menacing and the special effects look brighter and even more exciting than ever before. All of this can also be said for Final Fantasy X-2, which looks just as good as its HD predecessor, but the visual upgrade isn’t as vivid and noticeable from its original release. Yet there is an abundance of visual beauty from both titles that holds strong on both the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita versions of the games.
The real treat of this HD Remaster outside of the graphics is the memorable soundtrack. The music of Final Fantasy X is fully rearranged for its HD Remaster, taking an already superb soundtrack and making it even better. Unfortunately the original music to Final Fantasy X-2 is carried over to this HD remastering and is not given the same treatment as its predecessor, which is a shame since the game could have also benefited from a rearranged soundtrack.
One of the most important reasons for Final Fantasy X being so popular is due in part to its musical scores, all of which help add significant emotional impact to everything that occurs during cutscenes, battles, and exploration. All of the remastered tracks further enhance events within the game, making pivotal story moments feel even more epic and important than before. The iconic musical pieces, such as the battle theme and main musical score, are arguably of better quality than the game’s original soundtrack. While some may still hold a strict loyalty to the original soundtrack of Final Fantasy X, the remastered music is a welcomed addition that really furthers an already great total experience.
Both versions of the games on PlayStation 3 and PS Vita are close to being identical. There are some differences in quality from the console version that feel more polished and shinned over the portable version. On the PS Vita a few jagged edges can be noticed in some cutscenes, but are very far and few between and don’t detract the experience. Playing the games on the PlayStation 3 feels like a supped-up and overly enhanced version of what many had experienced during the PlayStation 2 days, having a good sound system really allows one to appreciate every note from the rearranged music.
Playing on the go with the PS Vita feels comfortable and even takes a little advantage of the Vita touchscreen, allowing players to quick-heal with items or magic with a swipe on the touchscreen. This is as far as the touch capabilities go, so don’t expect to navigate through the menus or environment using the Vita screen. Those who get both versions of the game will take full advantage of the Cross-Save feature by saving to the Cloud, where your save can be transferred between both PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. The trophy set of both games are unified for both versions of the game, so you won’t have to redo task on PS Vita if you already had done so on PlayStation 3.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is a great example of revitalizing a beloved classic. The new changes to the visuals and music, as well as the newly accessible content, are more than enough reason to explore the world of Spira one more time. Whether you buy the game on PlayStation 3 or PS Vita, you are guaranteed two quality experiences that will keep you busy for more than 100+ hours between both titles. Those who never played the original games back on PlayStation 2 can dive into this remaster and arguably experience a better version of the games. This is how you definitively experience one of the best RPG games of all time.
This review was based on a retail copy of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.