Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 01.06.2019

Review for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on Xbox One

Final Fantasy X and X2 have made it to the Xbox One, thus closing the circle of Microsoft's goal of getting a big name JRPG on its console that began way back when they commissioned Hironobu Sakaguchi's Mistwalker to make a Final Fantasy-killer with Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon. It is poetically ironic that older FF titles have been appearing left and right on Xbox One, especially since these classic titles were launching against Microsoft during its most competitive times. Is the HD Collection of Final Fantasy X and X2, a worthwhile way for Xbox gamers to finally play Tidus' story? Why would anyone want to play these old PlayStation 2 RPGs today? Cubed3 is here, giving Final Fantasy X-X2 HD Collection its sending to the Xbox One it needed.

Between the many ports that Square Enix has given Final Fantasy X-X2 HD Collection, it can be daunting to find a version that best suits one's needs. Thankfully, users who opted only for the Xbox One will be in for a treat, because these have been beautifully converted with none of the old RNG bugs or music glitches. It is mostly a straight port with very little upgrading with some minor visual improvements for those who own a 4K display. While the cheat modifiers from the PC version are absent, this is for the betterment of game's integrity. The only feature that is still lacking is the option to skip cut-scenes. With these titles nearing 20 years old, some fans might be tired of seeing certain scenes over again and would rather get back to adventuring through Spira.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on Xbox One

Final Fantasy X-X2 is an epic two-game adventure that will eat up about 100 hours or more. These were pretty long separate, but here they are packaged together so fans can play the entirety of the Spira saga. This is one aspect about both of these games that excels: the story-telling. On paper, the actual story of Final Fantasy X is nothing remarkable. What makes it so effective is how it is told and how information is fed to its viewer. Tidus being a fish out of water makes it so he asks the questions the viewer would, and being how Spira is a fantasy setting, there are lots of strange and alien concepts that need to be explained so that many of the plot elements make sense in context. This works out mostly perfectly with the exception of the logistics of how the 'farplane' and how death works in the realm of Spira. The mechanics of death are left very vague and it lack of clarity leaves a really big hole in the plot of X. Death would appear to be optional in Spira, so that alone raises all kinds of questions. Anyone who is willing to let go of this obtuse plot point is going to be in for an emotional ride with laughs set in a very distinct world.

It was easy for most people to write off Final Fantasy X-2 at face value and scoff at the very obvious... Charlie's Angel's influences with its extended dance sequences and "girl-power" vibes - who knew that, out of all the entries in the series, it would be this one that would push the gameplay forward by incorporating non-linear gameplay, and branching story-paths. Final Fantasy has typically been very linear, rarely allowing any actual role-playing. Taking place a few years after Final Fantasy X as Yuna, players can make the choices she would be given that would affect the plot and would take the story in radical directions. This was also the first time a game in the series had a New game+ mode, which only increased replay value and would encourage user to explore the alternate story paths which lead to six endings. It is a huge shame that Final Fantasy X-2 is one of two entries in the franchise that made such a committed attempt to give players so much choice and options for role-playing.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on Xbox One

Final Fantasy X's sphere grid system at the time shook up the standard RPG format by ditching levels altogether, for a large grid that let users advance their stats and abilities across hundreds of nodes. Since the International re-release, the "advance" grid has made the old grid obsolete, though thankfully it is still available for those who wish to party like it's 2001. The advanced grid allows much greater flexibility in character customisation, since the original grid was very rigid until the endgame. Being able to make such unusual builds so early breathes new life into an already strategic RPG of its time. The queue system that replaces ATB proved to also make X much more about strategic thinking. Planning ahead and manipulating the turn order adds a new dimension that just was not possible before. The immediacy of turn order ironically makes battles faster paced, and the option to swap out party members mid-battle was such a stroke of genius its baffling why this feature did not become standard in all turn-based RPGs moving forward.

A lot has to be said for Final Fantasy X for making an extremely linear RPG that still manages to feel satisfying and has its world feel fleshed out. The reasoning why any developer might make their game like this is usually for story-telling purposes. In the case of Final Fantasy XIII and X, both examples used linearity to emphasize on plot progression and pacing. Why do people love X and abhor XIII? The reason is level design, agency, and pacing. Spira's setting gives Tidus much more control over his actions, and each area is dense with things to see and do. Each area follows the other sequentially but each area was not a glorified hallway. X2 would further expand the setting and fracture the linearity entirely to mixed results due to the world never being designed to be open-ended.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on Xbox One

As far as strategy goes, Final Fantasy X-2 has it in spades and holds up well today. Sure, some people may be put off by the sensual, sailor-moon like transformations, but it is all in good fun! The actual balancing and amount of planning users have to put into the battles in this game are some of the best the entire franchise has ever had. Because X-2 uses only three characters in combat, the girls now use X's mid battle party swapping mechanic for job switching. Encounters have become more varied and gameplay more smoother than what was seen before in other Final Fantasy titles with job class systems. Combat was so much more flexible than it had ever been.

The amount of content present in this two-game collection is enormous. Completing both titles to 100% is not something those with a light constitution will accomplish. Between mastering two different incarnations of Blitzball, 200 perfect lightning bolt dodges, finding every Al-Bhed primer, exhausting every possible branching path in Final Fantasy X-2's new game plus and seeing all its endings... fans of achievement hunting will be inundated with things to do. Trying to 100% one of these can easily break the 100-hour mark, but doing both will undoubtedly break the 200-hour one.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Square Enix is not likely to ever make Final Fantasy games like X or X-2. They were the last of their kind that had involvement from Hironobu Sakaguchi, and his mark has been missing since his departure from the company. Xbox One is blessed to have one of the best versions to play what might have been the artistic highpoint for the Japanese RPG juggernaut. These hold up very well, and will keep a Final Fantasy neophyte's attention, should they look past some short comings like low-detail NPCs and some minor plot holes.

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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