Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster: Return To Zanarkand

By Spencer . March 17, 2014 . 2:34am

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Replaying Final Fantasy X in Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster reminded me how grand Final Fantasy games once were. While Final Fantasy X dropped the world map, Spira was a detailed world with towns to visit and even a worldwide sport. After playing so many Final Fantasy XIII games, going back to the tactical battle system from Final Fantasy X was refreshing. Yuna’s Aeons are still overpowered, but every character has a role in Final Fantasy X, even if it’s throwing Blizballs at birds.

 

When I first saw Final Fantasy X HD at a pre-E3 showcase, the game’s graphics were muddy. The final product looks great, however, especially when the camera pans over the environment. That having been said, while this is the most polished “HD upgrade” to date, the core is still a PS2 game and when you first see the smug Luca Goers their blocky faces look out of place with the rest of the world.

 

(Note that Final Fantasy X HD also has a new rearranged soundtrack, an extra effort from Square Enix that most HD remasters do not receive. Even Final Fantasy X-2 has its original score.)

 

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Final Fantasy X-2 is a polarizing game, since it started the direct sequel trend and was tonally different from Final Fantasy X. Even if you’re not a fan of the overly saccharine pop motif, Final Fantasy fans will appreciate the battle system. Final Fantasy X-2 returns to the traditional Active Time Battle formula with Final Fantasy V’s job system, but you can change classes mid-battle.

 

The monster swapping system in Final Fantasy XIII-2 actually stems from Final Fantasy X-2. Both Square Enix sequels also have multiple endings and had a protagonist focused on reuniting with the protagonist from the previous game.

 

The bulk of what’s new for the West is from the Last Mission from Final Fantasy X-2. This is more than a tacked on extra mission. Last Mission is a roguelike where you have Dresspheres instead of weapons. Players control Yuna, Rikku or Paine as they climb up Iutycyr Tower. The game takes place from a top down perspective and each time you make a move (walk or attack) all of the enemies move.

 

If you die in the dungeon you’re booted back to the beginning and lose all of the loot your character is holding. There are items you can find to send loot back at the starting poin,t so one of the key strategies is leveling up Dresspheres and sending them back so you have stronger equipment on your next play through.

 

ffx2a

 

Final Fantasy X-2‘s Last Mission is fully localized in English with voice acting for event scenes. You don’t have to complete Final Fantasy X-2 to play it either, as it’s selectable from the main menu. However, the story in Last Mission differs to some degree depending on the ending you earn in X-2. Last Mission. Final Fantasy X-2 also has two new jobs the Festivalist and Psychic from the International version. You can also “catch” Seymour and put him in your party.

 

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New for North America, but not for Europe, is the Eternal Calm epilogue, Dark Aeons to fight, and an extra superboss. Final Fantasy X also has an option for an Expert Sphere Grid. This puts all of the characters close to each other so you can turn Yuna into a black mage or make Auron a speedster instead of Tidus without sacrificing Sphere Levels to backtrack. Empty nodes are in different places, so it’s possible to give Yuna or Lulu a huge HP boost very early in the game if you use HP spheres on their paths. Also, you can get Steal really early in the game before Rikku officially joins you.

 

Brand new for the Final Fantasy X saga is a radio drama that takes place after the events of Final Fantasy X-2′s Last Mission. Final Fantasy X Will follows Chuami, the narrator and assistant to would be summoner Kuyrgum. Will touches on the lives of multiple Final Fantasy X characters post Last Mission while concept art is shown on screen. Since this is the chief new addition, I don’t want to say too much about it other than I think it will certainly spark discussion about Spira.

 

Food for thought:

1. One feature Square Enix and Virtuous should have added to Final Fantasy X was a cutscene skip button. Final Fantasy X is like one long movie.

 

2. Spira’s story spirals with its ups and downs. The world feels happier at the end of Final Fantasy X and maybe too happy during Final Fantasy X-2, and then if you look at the novel everything goes bleak again.

 

3. Final Fantasy X-2 was, in a way, ahead of the times, dishing out fanservice before it was common for RPGs to do so.

 

4. Last Mission won’t let players run to the exit like most roguelikes. Certain floors require players to defeat a number of fiends before moving on.

 

5. Blitzball is still a lot of fun to play and I hope future Final Fantasy games integrate a mini-game with as much depth seamlessly into the world.


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  • Shippoyasha

    I think FFX-2 feeling happy was the perfect way to continue FFX’s dour ending personally. The overall happy style of the game made the dramatic turns that much more impactful when it happened. They could have made Yuna sad and dour through the whole game and it would have made sense too. Though I’m glad they took a chance going for a cheery motif.

    • Nanaki

      Oh gods yes. A sad Yuna would be too reminiscent of the multitude of Final Fantasy protagonists out there today. I’ve always been thankful of X-2 in that aspect as well.

    • Johnathan Lenig-Lopez

      I don’t nesecarrily disagree, but personally found the characters too out of character. Yuna is, at least, a calmer, more solemn person, which doesn’t need to be dour. And Rikku, while always a bit ditzy, was far more grounded in X then X-2. Those changes did make it a bit hard for me to really get into it.

    • Ric Vazquez

      This HD version is GLORIOUS!

  • leeorv

    Can’t wait for my pre-order to arrive… :)

  • http://epiclyamazing.wordpress.com/ AzureNova

    Soon. (Rubs hands together)

  • http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/mgbenz mgbenz

    I seriouslu don’t want to take the novel…well…seriously. I mean exploding Tidus heads?

    • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

      Tidus get better, anyway.

    • Astraye

      what dafaq

    • ALfromHELLSING

      That Tidus, something always happens to him. Poor thing.

  • Duc PC-QB

    My Vita is ready !!!

    • tilo0530

      I’ve preloaded my Vita with money so I can download them as soon as they’re available.

  • fairysun

    Finally, we can talk about different FF female characters.

  • Aleister Crowley

    While I think FFX-2 story was horrible, the ending was perfect. Choose, either Tidus comes back and everything ends well or he doesn’t and Yuna is able to move on. That’s the problem with FFX’s ending. Think Sakura in normal HF ending.

    But man, they did screw everything they could get their hands on. Menus, music, character models, the story, my god the story. The novel and the audio drama are just crap, no redeeming quality whatsoever. Not only does it lock an ending as canon, it doesn’t look like it was written by the same person FFX was over 10 years ago. And the fact they stated the audio drama was just an extra glimpe and that they have nothing else planned goes to show SE doens’t know what a story is anymore.

    I think this is the first SE product in over a decade I won’t get.

    • disgaea36

      hey thats just your opinion

  • KuroNathan

    Blitzbomb made me seriously reconsider my purchase

  • MasterScrub

    Oh god, please don’t talk about the novel.

  • 하세요

    My body is beyond ready.

  • Göran Isacson

    … Huh. Was Final Fantasy X-2 really THAT far ahead with fan-service being a big selling point? Like, I do not doubt that there were other games with dress-up and showing skin and such things, but was it really a trailblazer for other, more fan-servicey RPGs? Or is that more speculation on your behalf?

    On another note: might have to get this game, never did play Final Fantasy X to completion.

    • Manny Being Manny

      Final Fantasy X-2 was really far more innovative than people give it credit for… it was the game that turned JRPGs into the fanservice fests they are today.

      • Göran Isacson

        Unsure if ironic joke or sincere statement… but I giggled a little, so it’s good either way.

  • XyzzySqrl

    I just want to know — in a non-spoiler way ahem — if the FFX-2 HD version of Thousand Words is a solo or a duet?

    • 하세요

      To my knowledge, none of the audio in X-2 was altered at all.

      • XyzzySqrl

        Right, but was the audio not altered from the Japanese version, or not altered from the American version?

        • 하세요

          X-2 International was still in English I believe, just Last Mission was in Japanese since that didn’t have English voices at all. So, it should be English audio.

          • XyzzySqrl

            … Okay. Spoilers.

            In the original Japanese version, 1000 Words is a solo song sung by Koda Kumi, and Yuna transforms onstage to sing it. In the US version, because of the new lyrics in the Jade Villalon mix, it’s a duet as Lenne and Yuna sing side by side. I’m wondering WHICH of the two cutscenes are in the game, the Japanese solo one or the duet US one.

          • 하세요

            I’m well aware of what you’re saying, and I’m pretty sure we’re getting the English cutscene. It really wouldn’t make sense to randomly make that cutscene Japanese.

            Even in the International version, they still used the English version 1000 Words, just Japanese subtitles.

          • XyzzySqrl

            … I quit.

          • 하세요
          • disgaea36

            wow he just explained it to you lmao how dense are you

          • 하세요

            I tried, I really did. I don’t know if I’m really that tired and cannot fathom this question or what, but I tried ;_;

  • DesmaX

    Honestly, no Skip Cutscene button, no buy.

    I remember when I was trying to fight Seymour Flux. Having to watch that cutscene multiple times was not fun

    • Lloyd Christmas

      I would say that’s a pretty silly reason to avoid buying any game.

      Then again I’m sorta biased. This was and still is my favorite Final Fantasy.

      • DesmaX

        To be fair, there’s is a lot of other games to buy (Especially on March), so it’s hard to justify this purchase for me

        • 하세요

          Sounds like you weren’t going to get it to begin with, especially if something this small was your “breaking point.”

      • Nanaki

        Most people just need a single excuse not to purchase something. This doesn’t take away from the game at all, it’s just their opinion preventing them from enjoying it overall.

    • Slickyslacker

      It was more annoying to me in the original Kingdom Hearts than any other game. Having to watch the cutscene before the first Riku fight in Hollow Bastion over, and over, and OVER again. I don’t remember it being remarkably bothersome in X.

      At least the HD Remix added that feature :/

      • 하세요

        HD Remix had to be made from scratch though. X HD is just International’s base with prettier models and swapped audio, so they didn’t even need to go into the coding to change anything.

        I have no idea how much it is to actually change it, I’m no programmer.

      • Steven Higgins

        Well, they had a Skip cutscene option in the original, not even just Final mix but at least the English version, Granted it was only on Expert mode and now menu popped up, but then the first FM gave it to all difficulty levels. FF X International never had it. But like Haseyo said FM also had to be rebuilt.

      • Haunting Horror

        Oh, that scene in Kingdom Hearts… I remember when I was stuck there… watching it over and over… it was engraved in my head… no my heart. XD

        • Slickyslacker

          “Riku, why did you give your heart to the darkness?!”

          “Riku, why did you give your heart to the darkness?!”

          “Riku, why did you give your heart to the darkness?!”

          After that, I wandered into the kitchen and got a container of cookies. It took me a few more tries to finally get past the fight, and I finished off a good chunk of the container just while repeatedly watching the scene.

          • Haunting Horror

            Oh, yes! That line! And another I will never forget…

            “There’s no way I’m letting you take Kairi’s heart!”

            “There’s no way I’m letting you take Kairi’s heart!”

            “There’s no way I’m letting you take Kairi’s heart!”

            Oh, if only I could have done that! I was playing the game with my cousin and we were taking turns. XD

  • Nanaki

    Paine…..My Waifu YOU’RE ALMOST WITHIN MY GRASP.

  • Espoir

    “3. Final Fantasy X-2 was, in a way, ahead of the times, dishing out fanservice before it was common for RPGs to do so.”

    Well, you can blame Toriyama for that. Might as well blame him for everything else too.

  • Lalum

    Blitzball was a big disappointment to me. I saw the cutscene and expected it to play like a sports game of soccer on steroids, and you could also move up and down due to being in water. Nah, you just get menus while everyone stays on the same depth of water.

    • 하세요

      I liked it. It’s more of a Sports RPG. Then again, I never expected it to be like FIFA.

      • Lalum

        I was expecting something arcade-like in gameplay. After I got over the disappointment it wasn’t that bad though.

    • disgaea36

      lol You gotta remember that came out during a time none of that was possible. I think if it was remade now you could do way more like in other games like inazuma and what not.

  • Ultimaniacx4

    The only thing missing is downloadable Japanese track like Lightning Returns.

    • Solace

      YESYESYESYESYESYESYES
      I want this

  • Paul Rodriguez

    I get my limited edition tomorrow and I can not wait.

  • Charles Parker

    No sound quite like ship sinking from that radio drama.

  • Six

    The more I think about this game, the more torn I become. I loved these games back in the day. Easily among my most favorites on the PS2.

    However, I haven’t been able to get into a JRPG in ages, and I really don’t wanna end up wasting $40.

    Hmm. :/

    • disgaea36

      then just wait positive it will drop to 20 bucks eventually especially on the psn. Games are much cheaper in this era than before except for a few titles by nintendo and nis/gus

  • Michael Richardson

    I’m definitely looking forward to the Vita version. While X wasn’t as fun as XII, it was still a pretty engaging experience and was half the reason I finally gave in and purchased a PS2. I love the thought of playing it on a portable. Also, I never played X-2, and so I’m looking forward to playing it for the first time (albeit with somewhat lowered expectations due to its reputation as a fanservice fest).

    • Steven Higgins

      Well to be fair, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, the costumes DO show more skin that was usual back then, but no where near the level they are today. And yeah, there is a hot springs scene, but IIRC, it was entirely optional.

      • 하세요

        The scene is needed to get the Mascot Dressphere I believe, which requires just about everything except the superboss.

        • Steven Higgins

          Really? All I thought you needed as to relive Yuna’s side of the opening mission? Either way it’s still optional.

          • 하세요

            Oh no, that’s just a major critical part many miss. You need a specific % competition rate as well, too. Many hit all qualifications EXCEPT that opening mission healing because it’s easy to miss out on.

            The other things are just making sure you complete missions fully, as some you can either skip or only half complete.

          • Steven Higgins

            Actually, I was thinking about the flashback part in Chapter 5 where you play as Yuna in the Mascott Dressphere while Rikku and Paine are chasing Leblanc in Luca.
            But I get what you mean.

  • iamakii

    I’m still waiting for that Lightning Dress Sphere.

  • ishyg

    BRING BACK TRIPLE TRIAD!

    With that said, my Vita is ready!

  • luckgandor

    Does anyone know if the Vita version has any framerate issues?

  • Alestaos

    Sorry im confused..i thought that the sphere grid was improved overal? Or is that what your saying that the new grid is called Expert sphere grid and replaces the old one? If it allows you to access that stuff quicker is there a down side? I would love to remake a Yuna into a Ryda type summoner with Black Magic instead of white or even make Lulu a sage/scholar character that can cast both magics.

  • Ronldbx6

    I’m looking forward to playing this for the first time today. I’ll be picking up my preoreder later. Geez, after reading all this I hope it’s not too complicated.

  • Ric Vazquez

    MY BODY IS ALWAYS BEYOND READY FOR AN FF GAME!

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