Hands-On Proof Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is Coming to the West - Preview

By Xavier Griffiths, October 15, 2013
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It exists. I played it. After endless months of speculation I can confirm that Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is an actual game that Square Enix actually plans on releasing in western markets. I had a chance to play the game at an exclusive Square Enix press event for New York Comic-Con.

I played the opening minutes of Final Fantasy X, which still feels as immense and epic as it did back in 2001. The Conditional Turn Based battle system is still really intuitive and easy to get into. Tidus and Auron battle their way through a horde of pod monsters falling from the sky. When your characters take a significant amount of damage you may be able to unleash an Overdrive attack. These replaced the traditional Limit Breaks of past games with interactive button prompts that tested your reflexes. The opening segment of the game ends with a spectacular bridge collapse and subsequent boss battle that helped me appreciate how fast the game upped the stakes. I decided to end my hands on as Tidus gets sucked up and transported to the world of Spira.

As this is not a full remake (it's only a HD remastering) most of the game remains unchanged. Final Fantasy X was a technical marvel when it first released in the heyday of the PlayStation 2. It was the first Final Fantasy game to feature voice acting and full 3D environments. Still, it is a twelve year old game and it definitely shows signs of aging. The CGI cutscenes still hold up well but the in-game cutscenes have not aged as nicely.

Another issue is the transition from FMV, to gameplay, to in-game cutscenes, which can be quite jarring with interstitial black screens that momentarily take you out of the experience. At least the English language voice acting is as endearingly stiff and awkward as it was upon initial release. All in all, it was nice to play the game in HD and during gameplay I could not help but be amazed at the amount of detail they had managed to pack onscreen as the world crumbled around Tidus.

Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to try out a section from Final Fantasy X-2. I also did not get a chance to see either of the games in action on the PlayStation Vita, though Square Enix is adamant that they will release them on the handheld as planned. Final Fantasy X and its sequel are games I have very fond memories of and I am keen to experience both of them again, so it's good to know that Square Enix is planning to release the games stateside even if a launch date has yet to be announced. Hopefully we’ll be laughing with Tidus sometime in the near future.

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