Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster review – In my day, we had random battles and turn-based combat…

Final Fantasy X HD remaster E3 screenshots

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.

Final Fantasy X HD remaster E3 screenshotsFFX-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.

Final Fantasy X HD remaster E3 screenshotsPlay 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.

Our Score

Score: 9