Oh wow! There are certain pleasures that come from being a part of My Games Lounge, and one is when you get a truly classic game you love to play through once again and write this Final Fantasy X HD Remaster Review.
As a huge Final Fantasy fan, and Final Fantasy X in particular, getting to put the story of Tidus and Yuna on my PS4 was one of the most joyful moments of owning the console. The moment the re-mastered soundtrack began I got goosebumps and when I saw those beautiful lighting effects, that stunned me back on the PlayStation 2, look so striking all these years later I was ready to get started on this journey.
While this review will focus on Final Fantasy X it should be noted the package comes with Final Fantasy X2 as well which will be a separate review on here. For me personally you are buying the package for this game, getting the sequel is merely a bonus.
Look and Feel
As I said, the game looked outstanding back on the PlayStation 2 but maintained the old heritage of the PlayStation (original) games: two giant borders top and bottom of the screen. This has has been removed (and on the PS3 version too) meaning the game plays like it did in Japan originally, which means the motion as you get around and the overall flow to the game naturally feels better.
Then there are the graphical updates. Now it’s key to remember here that this is a PlayStation 2 game but it was particularly stunning back when it was released. One of the things I particularly remember is the flowing lighting and particle effects from the original and that’s something that has really carried forward into the HD Re-master.
When enemies, or Fiends, are killed they blast into pieces of light and cloud as does magic as it swirls around your characters or summoning creatures called Aeons to help you in battle. Everything has a glow to it that you would be wowing at in a modern day game.
The character models look great too; the faces and detail are really well presented. One thing that is a sign of the development period however is the very simple animations on the characters. With everything looking so smooth and updated, the rather jerky animations of the era stand out that bit more and in motion can look a little unrefined.
Generally though, this is a great looking title on the PlayStation 4 and will leave you impressed but what really hits you the moment you start is the beautiful soundtrack.
This is where Final Fantasy X really stands out still as perhaps the last great plot within a FF game. You start the game as Tidus although you can change his name early on, and you are the Star Blitzball player for the Zanarkand Abes. Following in the footsteps of your legendary father, who vanished ten years ago you go about your journey from the underwater Blitzball arena (a sport you can play later in the game and is highly addictive).
A monster call Sin arrives and destroys Zanarkand and whisks you to a strange place in the world of Spira where everyone tells you that your home was destroyed over 1000 years ago. You meet Yuna, a summoner on her pilgrimage to learn how to defeat Sin along with her guardians.
Here, on the pilgrimage you find out more about the world, Sin, all the other characters and of course Tidus and his father.
It’s genuinely difficult to sum up what is a deep, rich storyline that twists and turns you as you play and will have you fully invested in their adventure and certainly catch you out a few times along the way.
It’s a fantastic story and if you like JRPG’s and the tone they set in their plots, this game should not be missed.
While the general movement of the game is nothing special there are three elements to the game that make it outstanding to play. General movement is simple third person mechanics exploring a beautiful world. Most paths are on the more linear side as you are following a pilgrimage so it makes sense. However there is plenty to explore off the main path and later in the game you gain an airship to go wherever you want to.
What makes the game really stand up is the battle, levelling system and upgrading weapons not to mention Blitzball which is so addictive to play but rewarding since it gives one of your party, Wakka, more options on his overdrive ability.
First the battle system is a turn based idea where you have a guide top right to show who’s turn is next. Using this tactically can mean the difference between a game over and winning a fight really easily. You simply have to think about which party member you are using and what ability you can use to keep the enemy at bay till you kill it.
Enemies have a huge variance and some of them can be very tricky to get past with some rather epic boss fights along the way too. Summoning Aeons and using powerful magic and weapons all make it so much fun you may find it hard to stop.
The levelling system in Final Fantasy X is for me the best in the series, the picture below shows the upgrade like a board game; the first picture a close up the second as you use the arrows the board overall. As you move around this and unlock abilities your character improves on their base abilities. So all characters can get around the entire board if you want but people with natural magical ability will always be better at it than someone more naturally suited to physical combat.
I’d also like to point out that with hard work the empty nodes can also be converted into upgrades to make you even stronger!
Another addictive element to a game that really did hit everything right in the gameplay for a JRPG and something that you should certainly experience.
The game is massive, addictive and comes with one of the best JRPG stories ever told and taken in isolation of the other Remasters the game is a must play. Some poor animations routed in the original game are the only thing to bring it down and the updated graphics and soundtrack will leave you stunned at times.
Had you bought the PlayStation 3 version of this you may feel like it’s a waste and, other than being able to import the saves, it probably isn’t quite worth it. But to lovers of the original or people wanting to give Final Fantasy games a try this is the one to get and play, play, play until you can’t do anything else. It’s remarkable.
Final Fantasy X HD Remaster Review Format: PS4