GET YOUR GAME ON: New graphics and features make ‘Final Fantasy’ classics even better

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First Posted: 4/7/2014

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 10 years since “Final Fantasy X” was released on the PS2. “FFX” was one of my favorite games in the “Final Fantasy” series. I remember it very fondly and was very excited to pick up “Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster” on the PS3. At the time of the original release, “FFX” was one of the most technologically impressive games on the market, featuring some of the best graphics, environments, and – for the first time in the series – fully voiced characters. “Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster” is an incredible value because not only is it a remake of a classic JRPG game, but it also has the sequel “X-2” in the same package for just $40.

The remastering of these two games is not only beautifully rendered with new HD updated visuals, they also contain all the “International Edition” content that never got released the United States. The graphics are more than just overhauled; they look incredible. The attention to detail is astounding; everything now has beautiful textures, and empty areas are now filled in with gorgeous colorful details. And the graphics aren’t the only thing that has received an upgrade; the sound has also been remastered and is better than ever. The voices and music are great; it also includes a new audio drama. Aside from the extra content, there is the addition of trophies, as the Playstation trophy system didn’t exist until long into the PS3’s lifecycle. Another added feature is it has cross-save functionality, meaning if you have both the PS3 and Vita versions of the game, your game saves will transfer back and forth, allowing you to play at home or on the go.

One of the highlights of “FFX” was the epic story that spans many years. The world is on the brink of destruction from a giant whale-like creature named Sin. He has the ability to wipe out whole civilizations, and it’s up to the summoner to save everyone. If that wasn’t not enough, there is also a great love story between the main character Tidus and the summoner Yuna. Their story is one of the most touching in the series, full of lots of twists and brave sacrifices – all of the subplots and activities go a long way towards fleshing out the world. All of the supporting characters have their own interesting stories and motivations; each of them have different beginnings and prejudices and they must learn to get along and trust each other to help save the world. There are also many great side activities to play; if you want to collect everything, you have to master all of them, such as Blitzball, dodging lightning, Chocobo racing, monster hunting, and treasure hunting. My first time through the game years ago took about 130 hours to do everything, and the remake has a bunch more content.

This package also contains “Final Fantasy X-2,” which was the first ever sequel to a “FF” game. “X-2” picks up a couple of years after the conclusion of the first game, and now Yuna, Rikku, and new character Paine are having their own adventure without the boys. The action is very different than the sphere grid system of the first game. Instead, there is something called “dress spheres.” They are basically just different outfits your character can put on, and each new outfit changes the skills that your character can use, which changes up the gameplay in interesting ways. The story in “X-2” takes place during a time of peace; the inhabitants of the world have gone back to using machines and everyone has forgotten about the previous events. Yuna is starting to remember her old life and her love of Tidus, so now she is out to find him.

Although “FF X-2” isn’t as good, “FFX” is one of the best games in the series. If you like RPG games and you missed it on the PS2, then you have to play this game. “Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster” is the best way to experience one of the best JRPG experiences of a console generation. Even if you played the original, the updated visuals, music, trophies, and new content provide more than enough reasons to experience this wonderful story for a second time.

-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]