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Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . True to its name, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is an upgraded port one of the best Final Fantasy games of all time, and its much less interesting sequel. Jabs at Final Fantasy X-2 aside, this compilation offers a staggering amount of twists, turns and big moments. It also looks amazing on the PS Vita's screen. Tidus and company's big adventure will make you forget all about Lightning's return. Rating: 85%
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
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Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
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I probably didn't need to spend as much time as I did playing Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster to come to the conclusion that it's a good game. The truth is, I knew early on that this two-game compilation was worth recommending. And yet, despite having already played these games and knowing the time commitment required, I couldn't pry myself away from this collection. After more than a dozen years, I'm happy to report that Final Fantasy X remains one of the best installments in the long-running series.

Although Square is known for remaking and remastering their aging classics, this marks the first significant upgrade to any of the modern-era single-player Final Fantasy sequels. As the title suggests, this is a remastered collection of both Final Fantasy X and its girl-power sequel, Final Fantasy X-2. While not a complete overhaul of the PlayStation 2 graphics, this PS Vita compilation (which is also available on the PS3) looks incredible. It's bright, colorful and full of interesting baddies to beat up. I dare say this HD upgrade looks better than Square's most recent Final Fantasy outing, Lightning Returns.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

As I mentioned, this was not my first trip to Spira. I played through Final Fantasy X on the PlayStation 2, but it's been well over a decade since I've thought about any of these characters. In fact, I quickly discovered that I had forgotten all but the beginning and end. I knew the big twists and remembered the cast of good-natured characters, but for some reason the various story beats didn't stick with me. For this reason, I was excited to have a chance to reconnect with Tidus, Wakka, Rikku and the rest of Yuna's guardians.

For those who missed out on the game in 2001 or just need a refresher, Final Fantasy X tells the story of a professional Blitz Ball player named Tidus, who gets sucked into a giant wormhole and spit out a thousand years into the future. On the plus side, Tidus wakes up in a tropical location where all the locals love Blitz Ball and can't get enough of the star athlete's moves. Unfortunately, none of this matters when Tidus discovers a sinister force that threatens to destroy Spira.

Along the way, Tidus meets up with Yuna, a High Summoner whose destiny is to battle this mysterious creature, simply known as Sin. As it turns out, Yuna is just one of a long line of High Summoners tasked with defeating this monster. It doesn't take long for Tidus to realize he has stakes in this war, so he, along with his Blitz Ball-loving buddy Wakka, join forces to help Yuna make the long trek to Sin.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Final Fantasy X is not a short game. It took me over 50 hours to make my way to the final battle, and even then I'm sure I missed a lot of the extra items and collectables. And despite its length, it never felt like I was being dragged down by filler. Tidus and company end up going on a real adventure, complete with a number of mesmerizing locations. The game finds an excuse to send the heroes deep into the snowy mountains, through a wasteland, into the forests, into dark castles and even underwater. When the credits finally roll, it definitely feels like you've journeyed from one side of the world to the other.

The combat is turn-based, not unlike the classic Final Fantasy games from our past. A party can consist of three players, each taking turns casting magic, using items and attacking the intimidating enemies. But here's the thing that sets Final Fantasy X apart from every other game in the franchise: Players can swap out party members at any time, even in the heart of battle. This means that you can use all seven characters in a single fight, not only giving players the freedom to mix and match teams, but also giving everybody a chance to earn much-needed experience points.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

And wouldn't you know, leveling up is the other important change this sequel makes. While most role-playing games give you a few points to spend on player attributes, Final Fantasy X turns the process into something that resembles a board game. The trick is how easy it is to level up, earning players a chance to move their character around a labyrinth full of new abilities, strength upgrades and other useful enhancements. This leveling-up system is weird addicting and something I wish more RPGs would steal.

Even with these gameplay enhancements, Final Fantasy X still suffers from a number of outdated (or just plain annoying) cliches. Some players may be turned off by the random battles; a trope recent Final Fantasy games have done a good job of shaking. I was also annoyed by some of the characters, which seem way too young for what's going on. There's no way Rikku is more than 15 years old, and yet she's burdened with the responsibilities of somebody twice her age. Part of me wishes that this HD remaster featured a rewrite of some of the more painful dialog.
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