Game: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
Platform: PS3, PS Vita
Publisher/Developer: Square Enix
Describe This Game in Three Words: The Complete Spira
Up, Up: Obviously there's not much point in reviewing Final Fantasy X, its sequel, or the other actual games that are included in this compilation since better critics than I have done so elsewhere long ago. Instead, the question is whether it's worth it to shell out for what is essentially the criterion collection of the Spira saga,
First things first, is the HD upgrade amazing? Yes, it really, really is. I'm not easily blown away with upgrades. To me there's little difference between a really well done PS2 game and an average PS4 game, but side by side you can see that some real love went into improving the graphics of X. The cut scenes are far more polished with a lot less jittering, but it's the over world that benefits the most. The landscape is extremely lush and realistic by comparison.
Even better than the video is the audio, which seems to have a much more dynamic expression than the somewhat flat original recording. There are a lot more layers of sound going on, making it a treat to listen to by headphones.
The release is a completist's dream. Both X and X-2 contain all their original content and all their international version content, including X-2's Last Mission. You also get the Eternal Calm movie that links the two games together, a Pokemon like capture and battle mini-game, and a trophy system that I didn't really realize I missed having until I started winning them again in X.
More than all of that is an incredible art book that is packaged in with the disc. It even blows the limited edition art book that came with Xenoblade away in terms of beauty. Truly, there has never been a better way to play one of the most popular Final Fantasies and to enjoy the expanded world.
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Down, Down: Of course, that all depends on if you like Final Fantasy X, and it usually ranks pretty low on my personal list. It's still too linear, I hate the fixed camera, the voice acting is kind of pedestrian, and Blitzball makes me twitch. Not that I expected it to, but the HD remaster didn't really improve anything I disliked about the game the first time around.
My major complaint has to do with the loading times. I remember way back when they started releasing the SNES Final Fantasies on Playstation how aggravating they became with constant loading screens. X seems to have no end to them at all, though I do want to praise Square Enix for the first game I can remember where I didn't have to install the ruddy thing. Can't remember when the last time I just sat down and started up a game from scratch was.
The last complaint is more philosophical. My TV has three different Playstations hooked up to it so that I can play games from across the entire Sony library. I actually still own Final Fantasy X and could pop it into the PS2 to play any time I wanted. It just seems weird to me that I'm playing a title more than a decade old on a PS3 mere months after the PS4 has come out. The lack of backwards compatibility has always been a thorn in the side of players, but when it comes to rereleases it feels even more strange.
When you think about it I have several hundred dollars worth of discs and equipment wrapped up in this one game, a game that I know for a fact will one day see another release on the PS4 in some form. People complain that downloadable games eliminates the concept of ownership, but at times like this I feel like I own the physical copy even less.
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Left, Right, Left, Right: Nothing much was added. I haven't gotten to the lightning dodge yet so I can't tell you if it's less annoying or not, which is the only control aspect anyone cares about in this game.
B, A: I actually had never heard of Eternal Calm before getting this collection. Is there some reason that Square Enix just doesn't make movies? This thing is amazing.
Start?: For fans of this particular piece of Final Fantasy this is the definitive release... at least until the next one. For those who don't care much for it nothing is included to change your mind, but everyone can agree that there has rarely been a more elegant compilation.