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Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

Posted by GG Goblin On April - 30 - 2019

Time to sink another couple of hundred hours into a Final Fantasy game.

It has been nearly 20 years since the original launch of Final Fantasy X on PS2, and at the time it was the gaming event of the year. For many gamers, Final Fantasy X was the pinnacle of the Final Fantasy games and no subsequent title has quite managed to equal its greatness. And then, a couple of years later, came the sequel Final Fantasy X-2 which was a whole different situation. In the years following, both Final Fantasy X and X-2 found themselves remastered and released on all PlayStation consoles, along with PC. Now, finally, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster makes an appearance on both Switch and Xbox One, giving the die-hard Xbox gamers a chance to try out what is arguably the best Final Fantasy game ever, and the new Switch players the opportunity to drop into the wonderful world of Spira.

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Given how long it has been since the HD Remaster originally launched, you would be forgiven for wondering if the Xbox One version we are covering here was actually a remaster of the remaster, especially given the additional power of the Xbox One X. That would result in a silly title, which is not something Square Enix are averse to, but there are nonetheless undoubtedly changes that have been made to the performance and visuals over the original HD Remaster release, making these releases most likely the best way to play the game for any newcomers. For those who have dipped their toes before, nostalgia will play a strong role in how much you get from this package on Xbox One.

Either way, picking up the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster will reward the player with more than 200 hours of JRPG gameplay. On Xbox One, this means the two main games, along with a short intermission that fills the gap between the two games, and a small playable sequel to the second game. The two additional items are not really much to write home about, not when compared to the size and scope of the two main games, but are nice additions that make buying the bundle more attractive. Which raises the issue of price. The bundle sports close to a premium game price tag, which is fair enough as there is a lot of game here. However, the bundle is still available on other platforms for a much lower price.

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Once the player starts sinking many hours into the games though, the price issue will soon be forgotten. While there are many differences between Final Fantasy X and X-2, they are intertwined and so players would not be tempted to jump into the sequel before playing the original. Well, unless they have recently played the first game somewhere else.

Final Fantasy X follows the story of Tidus, a sports star from Zanarkand. The stories in these games are incredibly involving and so I don’t want to reveal too much here. Anyway, a big bad known as Sin turns up and, before you know it, Tidus finds himself some 1000 years in the future. Sin is still an issue in Spira and so Tidus finds himself joining up with Yuna, the High Summoner, along with an excellent cast of other characters, as they set out to destroy Sin. The journey is the stuff of legend.

Final Fantasy X-2 is more the stuff of fantasy as, set some two years after the concluding events of X, the game follows Yuna and her companions in a whole different role. I won’t spoil the surprise for you, but needless to say that the sequel is very different in both tone and story.

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When it comes to playing the game, Final Fantasy X features a very smooth turn-based battle system which is easy to use and yet offering myriad options for the player. Character progression comes down to a sphere grid which is fairly easy to understand and gives the player all manner of choices in how they evolve their characters. The story is actually quite linear, driving the player along while also giving the option for the occasional side quest and distraction. It is quite masterful in how it was all put together.

Again, Final Fantasy X-2 makes some changes. The combat takes on a more active note, while the progression is changed up and becomes more class based. In a what is another of the many changes, the world is much more open and, thanks to the handy airship, the player is given far more freedom in what they do and when, making it a more free experience where players can take a break from the main story as they wish.

There is, I believe, a technological cut-off point with remastered video games, an age where however much polish a game is given, there will always be concessions made due to its age. This comes down to how much gaming technology has changed over the years, and the things that gamers would have accepted back then that are just not acceptable now. These older games can still be enjoyed, but they come with comments like “considering how old it is, it’s really good”. Final Fantasy X/X-2 falls just on the right side of this cut off point and is still as playable now as it was at launch. With the possible exception of the character movement in the game, pretty much everything else still feels relevant.

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Final Fantasy X is one of those iconic games that every gamer should play. The fact that it is so popular and has appeared on so many platforms does mean that most players would have already spent time with Tidus and Yuna. Final Fantasy X-2 is a much more divisive game, but still proves to be an essential part of the Final Fantasy X experience. With the game finally arriving on the Xbox One, the Xbox die-hards can now see for themselves what the PlayStation fans have been raving about. It looks great and plays just as well as ever, and the bundle includes a couple of nice additions that may make it worth picking up. It may be pricey at the moment, and the pacing of the game may seem slow compared to more modern games, but if Xbox is your chosen platform and you have never played Final Fantasy X before, then the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster bundle on Xbox One is an essential purchase.




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