Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 24.12.2017

Review for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on PC

In Zanarkand, a crowd cheers as the blitzball arena slowly fills. They're all cheering for Tidus, a legend not only by his own merits, but by default. After all, he is the son of Jecht, one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Elsewhere, in Luca, a stadium cheers as Yuna slides across the stage, her voice permeating the concert goers with an upbeat pop song. Both of these adventures begin in a stadium, and both of them tell the tale of the human spirit and the willingness to go on. Please join Cubed3 on this return trip to Spira, in the Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster collection.

First up, Tidus and friends journey to stop that giant whale demon...thing. Tidus' adventure to stop Sin is much more complex than just setting out to assault the bizarre death bringer. His ending up in Spira, in the time of Yuna and Wakka, is kismet. He has his own demons to face as he tries to help rid the world of this perpetual threat. As is to be expected, as a visitor from another time, he is immediately both intrigued and disgusted by many of the world's traditions, including one that he's willing to fight at all costs.

Final Fantasy X has a great cast, with only a few weaker characters mixed in. While characters like Rikku, with her bubbly and often naive charm, and Auron, with his aloof, but ever protective demeanour, are definite standouts, there are some characters that don't quite work as well, namely Seymour. Seymour has all the telltale signs of a good Final Fantasy villain. His powers aren't entirely of this world and he can transform into creepier versions of himself, yet he feels like more of a cookie cutter villain whose plans, while still nefarious, seem rather tame compared to other series standouts.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on PC

One of the best standouts, gameplay-wise, is the inclusion of the Expert Sphere Grid. While the original grid has you following a path for each character, the Expert Grid gives the player full agency of how their teams come together. This allows Wakka to be a white mage with some black mage qualities, while Tidus and Kimahri can share thief duty. This does require thinking ahead, though, as it means whether or not a character's skills are focused is now entirely up to you. Poor management can lead to underpowered characters as the game goes on.

There are some other additions that predominately North American players may find new. Penance, a superboss found at the end of one of FFX's most tedious quests, is probably the biggest outside of the Expert Grid. For the most part, though, the game is exactly the same, and may be a bit jarring for those who have never played it before. Side quests, especially those related to chocobos, are taxing, and occasionally not very enjoyable because of it. Ask anyone how they feel about dodging lightning bolts and they'll probably have plenty to say on the subject.

Up next is Final Fantasy X-2, which, according to many, is a much weaker title. This is only partially true, as it feels like the more rushed of the two. However, it does have many of its own merits, and deserves just as much attention as its bigger brother (or sister; games don't technically have genders). Its main problem for fans of the original is its overall vibe. It's much more upbeat than the first game, which, despite some moments of cheer, is largely a much bleaker affair. This likely leads the second title to feel worlds different, but, honestly, it should.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on PC

Set during the Eternal Calm, Final Fantasy X-2 sees a world much happier. While characters from the first title, like Lulu and Wakka, get relegated to more of a background position, a new cast takes their place…with mixed results. Characters like Shinra are largely okay, but Brother, Leblanc, and even one of the playable characters, Paine, don't quite hit the mark the same way as Yuna and Rikku do.

This time around, battles move quicker, thanks to the Active Time Battle system. This makes them feel more fluid and realistic. Occasionally, characters will attack a recently deceased enemy, but, really, the combat feels pretty great. The inclusion of the Dresspheres allows for more of a mix and match approach than the Sphere Grid does, and while it doesn't feel quite as free as the Sphere Grid, it does feel more like you are growing with each Dressphere.

Final Fantasy X-2 has many of the same issues with storytelling that the first game has, and while it is a much more open title, allowing the player to explore as they want, it comes with some of its own problems in the presentation department. Primarily, it feels much more rushed. Character models, despite being largely the same ones from the original game, seem more lifeless, and environments occasionally look choppy.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on PC

This isn't to say, though, that FFX-2 is less than its older sibling when it comes down to being fun and loaded with content. While most of the titles make you wait a bit before unleashing you into the wild and allowing you to explore freely, FFX-2 lets you go almost immediately. This is fortunate, because there's plenty to do. The Creature Creator is an interesting and worthwhile additional touch, and Sphere Break still remains the series' best minigame for yours truly.

In addition to both titles, there is a short film bridging the gap between the two, entitled Eternal Calm, and a dungeon crawler including Yuna, Rikku and Paine, called Last Mission, that's not very enjoyable in its own right. This is predominately due to weak controls, and its inclusion feels needlessly tacked on. Eternal Calm will be interesting for those that want more information about how the stories are linked, and actually justifies its existence pretty well.

All in all, both of these titles are classics, and while their age might have shown, they're important pieces of one of the longest running series in gaming. They are from a time when everything in a game was earned - and you will earn everything here. Whether it's ultimate weapons, new aeons, or thwarting that massive superboss, the Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster collection is filled with hundreds of hours of excellent content, even if you have to step over some rough edges to get to it.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Both titles come with some drawbacks, but both are extremely important RPGs. Being important isn't always enough to say something is good, though, and, fortunately, both FFX and FFX-2 are superb. For fans new and old, there's likely something you've never gotten to see before. Even if you've seen it all, though, why not journey back in. It's just as lovely as you remember it being.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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