For those of you who are not familiar with Japanese role-playing games, or for those who aren’t familiar with those released in the new millennium, then it’s important to note that Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 were the first two releases in the series on the legendary Playstation 2. Why then, many of you may wonder, are we looking at them being remastered onto Playstation 4? A great question I might add, especially considering my general outlook on remastered games.The latest releases, albeit exciting for fans of the series, have already been remastered (twice – for PS3 and PS Vita) and it begs the question as to when this perpetual money making scheme will end. For the fans, and those who are pro-remastered games, I do understand that it is always exciting playing an age old classic and I also understand that improved graphics and resolution can be an awesome prospect but it just isn’t my thing. I guess a part of it is lost on me considering that Square Enix do it so consistently that the heir of illustriousness is lost. After all it is FINAL Fantasy, and I’m starting to wonder if the Japanese translation has been completely misconstrued.
On a graphical level there are clearly vast improvements from when I played the PS2 versions, including the lighting engine that makes it look more, well, new generation. Both versions offer sharper visuals and a depth of detail not prevalent in the previous iterations. This though, is expected of any developer when remastering a game and although they do look and feel exponentially more real than the initial instalments, this is to be expected. It aligns itself with the old adage that “sending your child to school is not an achievement”. It has been remastered, so I expect nothing less on this front.
As I’m sure all of you who read my review of Final Fantasy Type-0 know, I am not a Final Fantasy fan for some reason and this review should be taken with a swig of salt. I do concede that I do enjoy the turn based combat in X and X-2, as I always have. I especially enjoy the tactics involved when approaching certain battles, but the repetitiveness subtracts from the usual high paced gaming that I am so in love with. Changing characters during battles doesn’t result in any form of penalty and this is also something positive, allowing different characters to be used depending on enemy weaknesses. Pairing the correct characters with differing enemies is obviously important based on differing attributes and adds to the tactical nature of what makes the series so renowned. Every character is associated with different specialities and abilities and the upgrading system permits you to fine tune your characters with a satisfying array of options.
Modern gamers are attuned to side quests and the option of mini-games, which mini-games can often contribute tremendously to the enjoyment of a title. The Witcher has Gwent or horseracing, Red Dead Redemption has poker, five finger fillet or horseshoe throwing and the GTA series has it all. Often though, such mini-games can become tedious and monotonous and this is the case here. I can’t explain why I am not a fan of Blitzball (a sporty type mini-game), especially considering it seems pretty entertaining, but I’m just not. It seems too far removed and this goes hand in hand with most things in the series. For one, Final Fantasy titles generally have completely differing storylines, X and X-2 being the exception where the latter picks up where the former ends off.
Combined, X and X-2 boost hours upon hours of gameplay and this sort of overload of the series can result in one of two things happening, namely; those obsessed will be able to continually feed their everlasting addiction and those like me, who feel that their time could be better spent elsewhere. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy long games, the Witcher 3 being the prime example, but X and X-2 feel too restricted in that sense. To compound the everlasting never ending world that is Final Fantasy, the cut-scenes are compulsory. Yes, I mean what I say because you are unable to skip through any cut-scenes – some of which feel longer than 10 minutes each. It’s not all doom and gloom though as some characters do have interesting storylines to contribute, but again nothing to write home about. Most of the story that is Final Fantasy seems ill-placed and eerie, with a plot that makes no sense and characters who have no idea how to voice act.
It was a clever move by the developers to allow players to load previous save games from previously remastered versions, something that true fans must be chuffed about. Also there is the ability to switch between the original soundtrack of the game and the new remastered one. This though, didn’t affect my experience and only made me yet more cynical.
For those who have never played a game in the series then this is probably the one you should get, it captures what Final Fantasy is about and has made all the required touch ups required for modern gamers. The storyline flows from one to the other and generally encapsulates the type of game that you can expect when entering the series. For those who are fans, I won’t argue. But for me, this was really something laborious and although I can see and respect the intricacies that are Final Fantasy, I cannot say that I was impressed.
Final Fantasy X and X-2 Remastered Rating: 5/10
Check out the Final Fantasy X and X-2 Remastered website: FF X and X-2