Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster review – In my day, we had random battles and turn-based combat…
Playing Final Fantasy X HD made me simultaneously delighted and dejected. Delighted because it whisked me off to a slightly better version of my childhood – and dejected because it brought into alarming focus the fact that Final Fantasy has been getting gradually worse for years.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster PS Vita review
Indeed, if you’ve been weaned on the flashy, real-time button spamming of the XIII-era then going back to FFX’s slower, turn-based combat will come as a massive shock. Having full control of seven party members and their every move ironically feels fresh in an RPG era dominated by ditsy AI companions.It’s also far more gratifying, with a perfectly weighted difficulty curve pitting you against monsters that stretch the tactical limits of your party, yet never feel overpowering.
FFX-2’s combat is more immediate as well, offering a satisfying hybrid of turn-based and real-time action anchored by a ‘dress-sphere’ system that’s less about tactics more about dressing up in toy line-friendly costumes. While X-2 remains an epic yarn filled with side-quests and secrets, it’s in its predecessor where this HD bundle really shines.
Its age barely shows – some shoddy lip-syncing and the dreaded random battles are the only wrinkles in an otherwise perfect facelift. The narrative certainly hasn’t dimmed – Yuna’s journey across the beautiful world of Spira to defeat Sin still packs one hell of an emotional wallop.
“Even the chain on Tidus’ shorts now makes a jangly sound when he runs – yes it’s silly, but it’s a testament to the effort Square Enix has gone to”
Most impressive are the little improvements – touches that, admittedly, only hardcore series fans will truly appreciate – but they prove Square Enix has pulled out all the stops to bring Final Fantasy X into the current-gen. Textures and facial animations have been sprucedup. Even the chain on Tidus’ shorts now makes a jangly sound when he runs – yes it’s silly, but it’s a testament to the effort Square Enix has gone to.
Play it on PS Vita and new touchscreen features enable you to quick heal between battles without having to trawl through menus – a neat touch that streamlines gameplay while adding new features that actually benefit a handheld experience. And then there’s Blitzball – one of the most arm-gnawingly addictive minigames ever devised and almost worth the admission price alone (think Championship Manager, but underwater and with magic tackles).
In short, FFX/X-2 HD is everything you could want in a hi-def remake – a beautiful re-imagining of two games that are now a bit more brilliant than they already were. Even the music’s been tweaked – it’s the same classic soundtrack, only slightly richer. Everything you loved about the gems in the series over a decade ago, modernised with fanatical devotion and helpful – rather than horned in – PS Vita touch controls.