About a year ago, I had the opportunity to review Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on the PS3 and thought that it was pretty great. You can check out how I felt about it right HERE. The game brought back not only FFX, but also FFX-2 with content from the international versions coupled with an admirable upgrade for the very first time. While I wasn’t ecstatic about the visuals on the PS3 version, I was still pleased. Being assigned the review duties for Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster on the PS4, I was very curious if there would be any noticeable changes or upgrades that would make it distinct from its PS3 counterpart. This review will outline the same things our review of the PS3 version contained (as they are the same game), but it will include more information on the exclusive features and upgrades that the PS4 version provides. So, here I am, ready to listen to Tidus’ story and accompany Yuna yet again.
“…there are some nifty features that make it much more expansive than the original versions found on the PS2.”
If you’re unfamiliar with FFX, the story follows Tidus, who is transported to the world of Spira from his home city of Zanarkand. Here Tidus encounters other loveable characters and unravels the various mysteries he wasn’t initially aware of. The gameplay, emotions, and entire concept are exclusive to FFX and justifies it being a timeless classic. This remastered package is based off the international versions of FFX (only released in Japan and Europe) and FFX-2 (only released in Japan), so there are some nifty features that make it much more expansive than the original versions found on the PS2. In FFX you have a choice between utilizing the Standard or Expert Sphere Grid, and there is also the addition of Dark Aeons and Penance that allows more strategizing and unique gameplay. Another feature worth mentioning is the short film “Eternal Calm”. This film fits between FFX and FFX-2 and reveals the events leading to FFX-2. Although not mandatory to watch, as you will not miss out on much, it is an entertaining film that bridges the gap between the two games and can provide players as a whole with a smoother transition from one game to the next.
Two years after the events of FFX, and almost immediately after the Eternal Calm film, is when FFX-2 begins. It opens with a pop concert performed by Yuna while her pals Rikku and Pain are pummelling some baddies. FFX-2 is lighter hearted and quirky than FFX and it’s an amusing and enjoyable sequel that feeds players with more of the world of Spira and its loveable characters. It definitely shows players a different side of Spira, as well as Yuna, Rikku, and Pain, not to mention there are some fast-paced and entertaining battles too. There is also new content that includes the Psychic and Festivalist dresspheres, Creature Creator, and Fiend Arena Tournaments.
Another goodie only in the international version of the game is the addition of Final Fantasy X-2: Last Mission. The Last Mission takes place three months after the events of FFX-2. Here you again play as Yuna, Rikku, and Pain, but you’ll find yourself controlling them as they battle their way up a tower. It’s a fun side adventure that can last for hours.
Something completely brand new, and made for FFX|X-2 HD Remaster, is a 30-minute audio drama entitled Final Fantasy X –Will–. This audio drama picks up one year after the events of FFX-2 following two new characters named Chuami and Kurgum. While the story unfolds, beautiful concept art is shown on the screen; however, if you don’t fancy listening to people talk for thirty-minutes while watching still images, it might get a tad bit boring. Nevertheless, it’s definitely a treat for fans of the FFX series as it gives a glimpse of certain characters’ lives after FFX-2.
“…the differences between the PS3 and PS4 versions visuals are subtle; however, as you progress farther in the game and encounter more NPCs and enemies, you start to see how the power of the PS4 is utilized and where the improvements are made.”
For a majority of the time the differences between the PS3 and PS4 versions’ visuals are subtle; however, as you progress farther in the game and encounter more NPCs and enemies, you start to see how the power of the PS4 is utilized…” The remastered package on the PS4 it is almost identical to its PS3 counterpart in terms of content and features, aside from three things. First, you have the ability to cross save amongst the PS Vita, PS3, and PS4 copies of the game. Whether you want to continue where you left off on the go, or already bought a copy on the PS Vita or PS3 and want to play your game save on your PS4, this is a nifty feature to have. Second, you can now utilize remote play with the game. The last new feature is that you can choose either the remixed or original soundtracks while you play through the game. Minor additions to say the least, but I do appreciate the ability to play on any PlayStation platform and listen to new remixed music. In terms of the latter though, you cannot play the remixed music on the PS3 or PS Vita version of the game.
In regards to the visuals, without a doubt the definitive way to play FFX and FFX-2 is on the PS4. For a majority of the time the differences between the PS3 and PS4 versions visuals are subtle; however, as you progress farther in the game and encounter more NPCs and enemies, you start to see how the power of the PS4 is utilized and where the improvements are made. Everything collectively shines and really presents itself as a well-knit visual package. No more obvious and pitiful looking NPC villagers, awkward blurry encounters, and things that pop and standout amongst other things. What I’m personally happy about is that the slightly creepy stiff and no-spirit eyes Tidus and Yuna had in the PS3 version aren’t as noticeable in the PS4 version. As a whole everything blends in extremely well and looks just as beautiful as I thought it did when I first played it back on the PS2, but now in 1080p glorious HD. Sure, it’s not a drastic upgrade from its PS3 counterpart, but it still is an upgrade and something that you will notice.
Unfortunately something that still exists is the voice synchronization issue found in previous versions, so during certain cut scenes you’ll see mouth movement but hear no voice acting. This results in the odd occasion where there will be a few seconds of silence with awkward mouth movement from a character. Another issue is the fact that you cannot skip cut scenes or tutorials. While these aren’t big problems they do get annoying, and in regards to the latter, it can be especially annoying if you’ve already viewed the cut scene in question before.
In regards to the game’s sound, having the option to choose between the remixed or original soundtrack versions is definitely a plus. While the remixed soundtrack doesn’t deviate much from its original version it does have a modern and pop-like twist to it, which might not be favourable to some. I personally didn’t mind the remixed soundtrack, but I also enjoyed having the option to choose the original version too. Like the voice acting, the sound effects didn’t really change since it’s just remastered to be on par with the graphics and to please our ears in this day and age. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to the sound quality of games today, but I can say that in terms of the audio it definitely does Final Fantasy X|X-2 Remaster justice by sticking to its roots.
“If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster yet and have a PS4, don’t hesitate…”
Although Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on the PS3 already did a superb job in bringing back two classic games and adding extra content, the new PS4 counterpart has managed to outdo it. That being said, while the definitive version resides on the PS4, if you already own the PS Vita or PS3 version it is a pricey upgrade for only a few new features and a visual upgrade. If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster yet and have a PS4, don’t hesitate on experiencing two classic games upgraded and fit for this day and age on Sony’s current-gen console.
***A code was provided for the PS4 by the publisher for review purposes***