Final Fantasy X HD Remaster

If I recall correctly, this re-master was literally the one reason I got a PS3. Everything else was secondary. Unfortunately, I had to wait 3 years for it to come out after it was announced in 2011. FF10 is my favorite game in the franchise. Yes, it is. I have played every main FF game until and including the 13 trilogy and sorry, I don’t care for 7 or 8.

As someone who still owns two copies of PS2 FFX, the regular and the international version, I have the privilege of freshly remembering and being able to compare the games side by side – not that I have because lugging TVs around is wasted energy, but I can walk between rooms. Obviously, and that’s why we paid $40, the game looks better. The majority of the textures have been either upscaled or reworked and the game runs at a native 1080p. I’ve yet to ever notice any technical issue or framerate drop 100 hours in and doubt there are any.

FinalFantasyXHDcomparison

Several, but not all, characters have received a makeover. Lulu, Auron, Yuna, Rikku, Kimahri, Tidus, and Wakka allegedly all have new models. In the earlier stages of the game, it’s not noticeable. Obviously Wakka looks different from the moment you meet him but Tidus, Auron, and Kimahri all look the same as ever. Lulu does too, for the most part. Yuna is the weird one. Her head shape seems to change at will when switching between pre-rendered cutscenes (not the actual CG movies) and real-time rendering. Everything looks the same, as far as the main characters, just better.

boat-scene-side-by-side

Therein lies the problem, if you call it that. All of the main characters were spritzed up. No one else was. Seymour, Mika, Kinoc, Jyscal, Jecht, and the 7 party members. Every other person in Spira still uses their original PS2 model and original textures. In scenes where the party shares the camera with extras, the difference is jarring. It isn’t necessarily a huge problem and I don’t think people expected a complete remake, but it comes out ugly when you visit highly populated areas like Luca.

Final-Fantasy-X-X-2-HD-Remaster_2013_08-11-13_014

See how both Auroch’s players skin looks kind of like crap in comparison?

As many people are aware, FF10 was the first fully voice acted game in the series. Rest assured, the infamous voice acting from the original game has not been altered. You can still enjoy that awful forced laughing scene with Tidus and Yuna. You can still listen to Yuna’s frequently inappropriate Shatnering when she delivers her lines. Really, the voices themselves sound exactly the same as the original and that’s all I expect. It is funny though, to note that because this is just an HD Remaster of the International version, the lip animations were animated to the Japanese dialog. So, like your favorite kung fu or Godzilla movies, you get to watch their lips continue to move long after they finish talking. Fortunately, you can switch to Japanese audio.

As far as new content, this collection really doesn’t have any. The expert sphere grid, Dark Aeons, and Penance were all featured in the International release. As this is the international version, the only additional content is the Eternal Calm video and FFX Last Mission, which really don’t contribute a lot to the story.

The main feature of this release is the soundtrack. The original soundtrack has been completely re-recorded by the original artists in what often seems to be an orchestral arrangement. Whether you enjoy the revised OST is entirely up to how stalwart and close-minded you are, but speaking from experience, I would never go back to the original after hearing this. Everything has been cleaned up and recorded at higher fidelity. Each individual instrument can be identified now and personally, Seymour Omnis’s battle theme might be the most bad ass thing since FF7, including the original FFX version.

In regards to the gameplay, this version seems significantly easier than the original FFX release. I’m using the standard sphere grid. I beat every boss on the first try and not once did I ever stop in any area to level any more than random encounters forced me to. This was not the case in the original game and believe me – though I’ve since played International and even replayed FFX original multiple times and thus know the game by heart, I still had to grind during those playthroughs. Not this time.  Even the celestial weapon minigames seem easier.

I have one qualm and it’s not a big one but it is a compound one. Maybe two qualms. First of all, in order to get the last Jecht sphere and thus unlock Auron’s last Overdrive – Tornado – you have to return to Besaid, at which point you have no choice but to fight Dark Valefor. Allegedly he is the easiest Dark Aeon but even so, you would have to level for days and days to get your characters strong enough to take him on. Thus, you must use Yojimbo, which many including me feel is cheating. Either way though, it requires a lot more work than it should to get the last Overdrive. This leads me to my second complaint. There is no trophy for defeating all the Dark Aeons, or maybe all Monster Arena creations. There is a trophy for Penance and Nemesis, both of which were in the original International release just like the Dark Aeons, so I feel there should have been a trophy. It would also have been nice to get one for Omega weapon.

For $40, including the artbook and FFX-2 HD, there is absolutely no reason not to buy the last good Final Fantasy game.

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