Hello everyone! Megan Highwind here to bring you a review of the HD remake of one of my favorite games of all time, Final Fantasy X, and its fun but not quite as successful sequel, Final Fantasy X-2. Final Fantasy X, originally released on the Playstation 2, hooked me from the minute the song To Zanarkand started playing and did not let go until I was crying my eyes out at the end of the game. Final Fantasy X-2, also released on the Playstation 2, did not quite have the same amount of an emotional draw on me as X did, but in my opinion was still a well done and entertaining game. A lot of the things that I loved about the original versions of these titles has remained the same while updated graphics, changes in the musical score, and the bonus scenes that have been included make this set one that fans should pick up and those that have never encountered these games before definitely need to invest in.
The first thing you are bound to notice when booting up either title is the amazing enhancements that the graphics have undergone. While the cut scenes have remained largely unchanged due to the fact that they were pretty much HD back when they were originally made, the character designs, locations, and minor details have been upgraded to look significantly better. I did not really find anything I did not like about the upgraded graphics, although the lip-syncing that was already not the best on the Playstation 2 version does seem, for some reason, more noticeable on the Ps3. I will warn you if you have played these games before, it does take some getting used to when you first see the upgrades made to the characters faces. Tidus’ eyes were made blue to the extreme, in my opinion, and sometimes the characters look a little lifeless and odd during certain scenes. Those qualms aside, though, the upgrade in graphics is definitely welcome especially when it comes to the locations and summoning moments. The music, while untouched in Final Fantasy X-2, has changed in its predecessor. There were some songs that I missed the original version of and others that I was happy to hear have changed, like the battle theme, from hours of hearing them the last time I played the game. Some songs, such as To Zanarkand and the Hymn of the Fayth, have thankfully remained unchanged as I am sure Square released fans would probably be up in arms had songs that were favorites like those two sounded any different. Overall, the graphics upgrades are a welcome change and the musical differences are either hit or miss depending on the tune.
Besides the changes in the graphics and musical score, the story has also received some upgraded content. In Final Fantasy X, for example, you encounter new bosses like the Dark Aeons and Penance, new customization options exist for weapons and characters, and you can choose an Expert Sphere Grid where the characters are able to more quickly learn other characters moves so you are not forced to have Lulu be the only black mage, Rikku the only thief, and so on. In Final Fantasy X-2 there are two new dresspheres available, the Last Mission is a playable extra(a mini game that ties into the ending of Final Fantasy X-2), and you are given other new mini games, like Creature Collector where you are training and recruiting enemies to fight alongside your party like in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Trophies have also been included in both games and it is always nice to get some sort of recognition for achievements in game. My biggest qualm with the game play thus far is that I cannot skip any cut scenes. I am not sure about you all, but if I do not get the Jecht shot right the first time or if Lady Yunalesca destroys my party, the last thing I want to do is sit through the ten minute cut scene another time or two. Another issue some may have is that while you can save your game to use on both the Vita and Ps3, in order to do so you have to buy each version of the game separately. Qualms aside, the extras given to you in terms of never before scene story elements, boss battles, and customization options give the game new life.
If you have or have not played this game before, I highly recommend picking it up. All of the amazing storytelling and game play that fans of the series loved remains largely unchanged, while upgrades in graphics, music, and bonus content make it worth the $40 price tag. Final Fantasy X was an amazing game back in all aspects of what makes a great Japanese RPG and Final Fantasy X-2 is a fun installment that carries over the storyline from the first game and gives a good ending to the characters and world you come to care in X, while also introducing a new set of interesting and loveable characters. Even as a fan of the series who has played both titles more than once, Final Fantasy X and X-2 are definitely worth the investment.
-Megan Highwind has left the party.