The HD remasters of Final Fantasy X and X-2 positively uncover their age in some ways, yet both games also offer as a lovely sign of a time in a life of this once-esteemed array before it became totally unhinged.
Not distinct a universe during vast by a finish of 2001, Final Fantasy X noted a paradigmatic change for Square’s flagship franchise—one that many longtime fans had difficulty adjusting to. In place of textual diatribes a likes of that could fill a length of a Stephen King novel, FFX introduced voice behaving for a initial time in a series. Fully 3D environments transposed a pre-rendered backgrounds that tangible a PS1-era entries. And maybe a biggest impiety of all—or so we felt during a time—they ditched a overworld map.
For all intents and purposes, FFX—and a sequel, another initial for a array that many noticed as heretical—signaled a commencement of a finish for a franchise. Some 12 years later, however, in a arise of Final Fantasy XIII and a increasingly violent sequels, replaying Tidus and Yuna’s particular stories binds distant some-more lucid, solemn moments as compared to their complicated counterparts. Both X and X-2 (albeit to a obtuse extent) tell tales that still allow to coherence. The stakes, of course, are high—nothing brief of world-ending risk to stop—but as compared to a existence-threatening crises Lightning and association navigate, we competence even call interlude Sin (the machina-hating leviathan that serves as Final Fantasy X’s arch antagonist) and saving civilization “tame.”
In fact, a storytelling in Final Fantasy X manages to stir all these years after some-more so than it did over a decade ago (it positively helps that I’m distant reduction cloyed and resistant to change than we was during 17, and maybe a small quicker on a draw). Director Yoshinori Kitase’s final plan as unfolding author is noticeably some-more nuanced than a those that preceded it and extremely some-more so than a ones that followed. Awful, awkwardly acted shouting scenes during Luca aside, FFX eschews exposition-espousing characters and leaves it adult to players to square together some of a some-more subtly threaded account components. It’s a initial Final Fantasy that didn’t speak down to me, and had it benefited from softened voice acting, it competence have wound adult as one of a stronger entries to be divisively contended by fans.
Combat is likewise basic yet welcomingly deep. No inane acronyms or layers on layers of involved mechanics—just good out-of-date turn-based fight and an endless customization complement a likes of that have partly tangible Final Fantasy. Hell, Square Enix even benched a ATB scale introduced in Final Fantasy V and benefaction adult to this PS2 entrance in sequence to streamline a vital side of rivalry encounters, replacing it with a list that displays a sequence of turns as motionless by a seed stat. It’s really many a conflicting instruction that a array has been relocating toward some-more recently. No clutter, no chaos. There’s room to breathe and distance adult a situation, and while it competence not have any of a glitz and glorious that seems to be distracting Square Enix nowadays, there’s a timelessness to a morality that creates it probable to lapse to Final Fantasy X a decade after and not find it mired in antiquated construction.
Then there’s a supplement and directorial entrance for Motomu Toriyama—the maniac obliged for introducing difference like “fal’Cie” and “l’Cie” into Final Fantasy vernacular. Like a predecessor, X-2 touts stellar combat. It stays resolutely secure in informed Final Fantasy systems—ATB is reintroduced, classes make a quip in a form of dresspheres that players can swap between, changing outfits and changing roles—but given characters sell blows or conflict simultaneously, any confront unfolds with fast-paced action. In other words, all that new entries try so desperately to capture, yet have unsuccessful miserably during after sacrificing efficient pattern for visible spectacle. The franchise’s initial loyal supplement has both, and as a result, battles—from a lowliest of fiends to a biggest of bosses—carry this femme-fronted Final Fantasy.
Everything else, unfortunately, competence as good be hand-signed by Toriyama. Despite all that transpired over a march of their initial Spira-saving journey and notwithstanding carrying aged dual years, Yuna and Rikku seem to have regressed emotionally. Their attitudes and behaviors are extravagantly some-more childlike and petulant, as yet a hardships faced perplexing to stop Sin in no approach henceforth grown them. we have 0 opposite a occasional juvenile character, or even a classical bildungsroman in that a initial half is spent traffic with a tiresomely young cast, yet Final Fantasy X-2 is conjunction of these. What it feels like instead is a story centered around 3 women created by someone (or someones, in this case) with positively no discernment into a womanlike essence and with 0 knowledge essay womanlike characters over superficialities that hover a limit between sexist and only plain silly.
Whereas returning to Final Fantasy X proved, in some respects, suddenly some-more beguiling than it was a decade past, returning to X-2 is a revisit impeded by a weight of all a container amassed given 2003—a outing to a accurate impulse when a screw merely loosens. Everything is still reason together, yet it’s a gossamer reason during best, and looking during it now, we can clearly see a unavoidable detriment of constructional integrity.
As for a HD Remaster partial of this re-release, well, not distinct Square Enix’s other forays into HD updates—such as a new Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix—both games sojourn certainly PS2-era in appearance, yet with angled polygons smoothed over and that distinctive, glaucoma-like blurriness from a backwoods CRT days laser-corrected with sensory focus, they’re no longer a distortion something dual generations private ought to be. Honestly, it’s 0 to write home about—like a blu-ray re-release of a ‘70’s flick. Sure, many of a environments and impression models are noticeably softened (though a occasional general city NPC will ramble by all pointy edges and hazy, low-res textures and offer as a vivid sign of what console era these games come from), yet this is something antiquated done workable by complicated standards—an update, not an overhaul.
HD Remaster also brings with it a handful of superbosses from Final Fantasy X: International and a Expert Sphere Grid for daredevils, along with something new for audiences outward of Japan: Final Fantasy X-2: Last Mission, a supplement to a sequel. Outside of a many revolutionary Blitzball fanatics, however, this tacked-on, totally uncanny addition won’t reason many appeal. Take all we know about Final Fantasy in general—let alone X and X-2—and chuck it out a window, given Last Mission is a opposite savage altogether. Set 3 months after and holding place wholly within a unexplored heights of a formerly undiscovered ancient tower, Last Mission jettisons a informed in preference of a hyper-accelerated turn-based plan diversion married to a roguelike cave crawler. Controlling possibly Yuna, Rikku, or Paine, players rise a tower’s near-100 floors to a poser during a top, spurred by an unknown minute perceived by all three. The building is best compared to Persona 3’s Tartarus—with incidentally generated floors populated by incidentally spawned enemies. But though any required fight system, exploring a building becomes a uncanny dance in that any step or movement depends as a turn, and while relocating about in genuine time, actor and rivalry turns are traded like stop-motion chess yet though a complexity.
The dressphere complement creates a comeback, yet developed so that Yuna, Rikku, or Paine can wear adult to 6 dresspheres during once, any one with a possess HP bar to pad out survivability. If all 6 dresspheres are forsaken to 0 along with a character’s, it’s behind to Floor 1 with 0 to show. It’s not accurately punishing, given Last Mission isn’t accurately hard, yet given it’s not during all fun, engaging, or interesting, it amounts to small some-more than one large chore, a existence of that we don’t comprehend.
Last Mission’s pointlessness aside, Square Enix could’ve only as simply not worried with bringing it over Japan’s shores. Like we said, we consider it competence reason value to anyone who worships X and X-2 with all a passion of a Yevonite, yet those lacking in such faith won’t find many reason to toil by so many stories for something hardly flitting boon during a summit. The bulk of a package—one all-around good Final Fantasy and one that’s during slightest not painful to play (which is some-more than we can contend about what we have to work with today), finish with a uninformed cloak of paint—are some-more than adequate to make HD Remaster value questioning for anyone who missed out 12 years ago, and a inestimable squeeze for those who already sailed Spira’s seas yet have lustful memories of those travels.