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Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Review


Though recent jaunts into the Final Fantasy universe have not been greatly received, there was a time when these games were lauded as the pinnacle of JRPG’s, enjoyed across the world rather than in the usual key territories. With a lot of the older titles now being able to fit onto mobile phones and handhelds it was only a matter of time before we started to hit the more graphical hungry era of Final Fantasy and even though Final Fantasy X is now hitting some 13 years, you would easily be mistaken to thinking it is a brand new release.

In the first adventure find our main character Tidus finding himself catapulted some thousand years into the future, his city destroyed and the creature that done this known as Sin is still at large and threatening the inhabitants once again, with the world of Spira stuck in a cycle of destruction and relative peace called The Calm. As Tidus you quickly find yourself joining in a pilgrimage with a Summoner and her guardians as she slowly prepares herself for the final battle against Sin, hoping to destroy it again and begin another brief era of The Calm.



There are two major elements of the more modern Final Fantasy games that I associate heavily with, the first being loads of cut scenes and the second, invisible enemies and the invisible enemy attacks. The latter is common in many RPG’s, as you wander around the field, more often than not trying to get to somewhere else in a hurry, before being transferred to battles at irregular frequency; however thanks to the way the battles are presented in these games it does not feel as much of a hassle. A dynamic camera gives you many different angles to keep the fights feeling fresh even though you may be fighting the same group of enemies for the twentieth time. This is also helped along by a fluid and easy to use turn based battle system with very easy to follow menus and the game allowing you to quick change with other members of your party so even if you start battle with the wrong setup, you are not penalised and can swap with ease to a more appropriate character.

The main story in Fantasy X alone is a huge game but then you also have some great and equally engrossing side quests like participating in the Blitzball league and even gathering ciphers to translate a strange langue some of the inhabitants of Spira use. Not having played a Final Fantasy game for some time, Final Fantasy X is a great start to this compilation.

Also included with the first half of the HD Remaster is the short bridging movie The Eternal Calm, picking a few years after Final Fantasy X and setting up the next game, Final Fantasy X-2, which rather strangely you have to download if you have bought the retail version.

Set a few years later, this time the story focuses on the summoner Luna as she joins a group of Sphere Hunters, travelling across Spira in their airship the Celsius. For those that have not played the first title yet I will avoid too much of the story as to avoid spoilers from the first game but we have Luna on a voyage to rediscover the past but at the same time gets caught up in the creation of the new Spira, with numerous new groups each vying for their way of life.

I will admit after Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2 came as quite a surprise, all of the greatness and ease of play has been replaced with an altogether different experience. With a few classic traits still there like invisible enemies and cut scenes that go on forever, the action has been changed to an Active Time Battle system, which in essence is a hyper version of turn based the action, with each characters turn gauged by timers, each one counting down after each attack before you can make another; making the battles a lot more faster paced but also a lot more frantic. To get you ready for the whole experience the first 30 minutes or so of the game are totally destroyed by an overuse of tutorials with you being taken through loads of boring text based advice on how to do this and that, there is so much thrown at you it actually becomes more confusing than just figuring it out yourself.



Initially you only have three main characters to play as so to overcome a shortcoming in tactics and skills each character is able to use Garment Grids, which in turn are loaded with Dresspheres. These appear very confusing at first but to put simply, you are able to change class types mid battle depending on the scenario, swapping from a ranged pistols, swords, dark magic’s and even become a dancer?, altering your appearance and in turn your fighting style to take on the huge variety of enemies. An interesting addition to Final Fantasy X-2 is the inclusion of the Creature Capture side missions. Here you are able to travel to the many islands of Spira and drop traps, which in turn will instantly deliver a monster to the ships hold. From here you can rename and even train by feeding them items from your inventory, creating another character that you can take to the battlefield with you. For me this is a great addition as the creatures you capture work independently of your commands, allowing you to focus on less during the intense battles.

Finally for completionists out there this compilation also includes The Last Mission, a nice little bookend to the whole saga with the various characters tying up loose ends and catching up on old times.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 is a fantastic collection of some of the best games in the series, with it already having a great story and action and now backed up with even better visuals, making it hard at times to see its PlayStation 2 origins with stunning in game and cut scene graphics, Square Enix setting a very high benchmark for any other HD updates in the future.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS Vita)

Pros

+ Wonderful HD visuals.
+ The Creature Capture side quests on FFX-2 are an interesting addition.
+ Two very different Final Fantasy experiences on one disc.

Cons

- The linear nature of FFX can cause a few headaches when trying to progress.
- Some of the side characters look sub-par when compared to the rest of the game.

Edited On 24 Mar, 2014

Comments
2
Um... Nice review Joe but who in Spira is Luna? The summoner we all know and love is Yuna mate...
David 7 months ago
Actually this review is by Ash, but I was wondering the same thing myself. You'd think if he's reviewing it he'd have spent enough time playing it to know the main protagonist's (over the 2 games) name :)
RTLF 7 months ago
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