Final Fantasy X HD Remaster (2013) PlayStation Vita | Game Review

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2 years ago

Playing Final Fantasy X HD made me simultaneously delighted and dejected. Delighted because it whisked me off to a slightly better version of my childhood – and discouraged because it brought into alarming focus the fact that Final Fantasy has been getting gradually worse for years.

Indeed, if you've been weaned on the flashy, real-time button spamming of the XIII-era, then going back to FFX's slower, turn-based combat will come as a massive shock. Having complete control of seven party members and their every move ironically feels fresh in an RPG era dominated by ditsy AI companions. It's also far more gratifying, with a perfectly weighted difficulty curve pitting you against monsters that stretch the tactical limits of your party yet never feel overpowering.

FFX-2's combat is more immediate as well, offering a satisfying hybrid of turn-based and real-time action anchored by a dress sphere system that's less about tactics more about dressing up in toy line-friendly costumes. While X-2 remains an epic yarn filled with side-quests and secrets, it's in its predecessor where this HD bundle shines.

Its age barely shows – some shoddy lip-syncing and the dreaded random battles are the only wrinkles in an otherwise perfect facelift. The narrative certainly hasn't dimmed – Yuna's journey across the beautiful world of Spira to defeat Sin still packs one hell of an emotional wallop.

Most impressive are the bit improvements – touches that, admittedly, only hardcore series fans will truly appreciate – but they prove Square Enix has pulled out all the stops to bring Final Fantasy X into the current gen. Textures and facial animations have been spruced up. Even the chain on Tidus' shorts now makes a jangly sound when he runs – yes, it's silly, but it's a testament to the effort Square Enix has gone to.

Play it on PS Vita, and new touchscreen features enable you to quickly heal between battles without having to trawl through menus. This neat touch streamlines gameplay while adding new features that actually benefit a handheld experience. And then there's Blitzball – one of the most arm-gnawingly addictive minigames ever devised and almost worth the admission price alone (think Championship Manager, but underwater and with magic tackles).

In summary, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD is all you could desire in a high-definition remake — a stunning reimagining of two games that are now even better than they were before. Even the music has been changed - it's still the same iconic soundtrack, but it's a little richer now. Everything you liked about the series' early jewels has been updated with obsessive commitment and useful – rather than hamstrung – PS Vita touch controls.

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Avatar for patientgamer9
2 years ago

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