It has been well over a decade since I first played through Final Fantasy X (FF X) on my Playstation 2 (PS2), but I remember the adventure so incredibly well. Who can forget that first introduction to blitzball, washing up on the shores of Besaid, fighting Sin, or any of the other events that took place in Tidus’ story?
FF X was the most memorable game I played on my PS2, and now Square Enix has brought it to the Playstation 3 and Vita. The question on every fan’s mind though is, does it hold up?
This is Tidus’ Story
FF X takes place in a land called Spira that is being terrorized by a seemingly indestructible monster named Sin. At the start of the game, you control the main character, Tidus, as he is getting ready for his big blitzball match. During this match, Sin rises out of the ocean, destroys the city, and transports Tidus 1,000 years into the future.
Once in the future, Tidus finds himself alone and confused. After a series of events, he washes up on the shores of Besaid and meets a young summoner named Yuna and her crew of guardians; Wakka, Lulu, and Kimahri. Summoners are tasked with a pilgrimage to obtain the final summon, the only method of defeating Sin, and Tidus joins Yuna and her crew in hopes of finding someone who can help him get back home.
Along the way, Tidus finds both adventure and romance and his quest to return home develops into a quest to protect Yuna and save Spira.
Along the way…
As you voyage from temple to temple, your party will encounter fiends (monsters) that you will have to fight. FF X uses a straight turn-based system that does not contain time meters. Once it is your turn to attack, you could leave your controller, go make a snack, watch a movie, come back, and nothing would have changed. This is different than the typical Active Time Battle meters used in previous Final Fantasy games, and allows for what seems like faster gameplay.
Your party is made up of three out of the game’s seven playable characters at any time, but these party members can be switched around with a press of the L1 button. You can change up your party members without having to waste a turn, which makes it easy to develop your entire party instead of relying on three characters the entire time.
Something else that differentiates FF X from the Final Fantasy games that came before it is its Sphere Grids. Sphere grids contains nodes like Strength, MP, HP, and various abilities to learn along the way, and are unique to each character. The more you progress along the Sphere Grid, the stronger your characters will be.
What makes the Sphere Grid better than the traditional leveling system is that you can control and mold your characters into the types of fighters you want them to be. If you want Yuna, your white mage, to be able to deal out devastating physical attacks, you can take her down that grid. The grids all weave into each other like a massive spider web, so although it may take time to get there, any character can learn any ability and obtain any boost in attributes. Definitely a step up from the typical linear leveling paths in most RPGs.
Does it hold up?
Now if you’re a fan of the original game, you’ve got to be asking yourself, “does it hold up?” One thing you need to remember is that this remastered version of Final Fantasy X is just that, a remastered version. There are not a whole lot of additions to the game, and certainly no story changes. What this remastered version brings to the table is a better looking and sounding version of the classic game.
Before I throw a bunch of words your way, why not let this video show you the difference.
As made painfully obvious in this video, everything in the remastered version is much more colorful, crisper, and just better looking than before. Although the argument could be made that character faces look a bit oily in this remastered version, the game just looks better than ever.
That being said, it is still just a face lift. While playing, you are sure to notice the limitations that the PS2 had. When any character touches another, for example, it is almost cringe worthy how obvious it is that their hand is not actually on the other person. The game brings new definition to the term hover hand. But enough about the visuals.
FF X has also gotten its sound remastered, along with rearrangements of some of the songs. It’s no secret that I love the game’s soundtrack, and in fact it was voted as our favorite soundtrack from a JRPG. I’ve listened to Zanarkand thousands of times. So when I say the remastered version of the soundtrack puts the original to shame, you know it is high praise.
See: Our favorite JRPGs
One unfortunate issue with the sound that I ran into while playing the Japanese version on the Playstation Vita was that, on no less than three occasions, the background music and some of the sound effects cut out on me. I would have to restart the game for the sound to come back. This was annoying, but easily fixed by restarting my system.
Some new tricks
One nice feature that was added to this remastered version was an instant heal button. On the Vita, you can tap the screen at any time outside of a battle and select if you want to heal your entire crew. This makes healing much quicker and easier, but in all honesty I didn’t end up using this feature all that much, seeing how save points heal your crew for free anyway.
Overall Final Fantasy X plays and feels exactly like it did all those years ago. The remastered graphics and sound give a nice facelift to an otherwise timeless game.
The story doesn’t end here though:
[review “JRPG” “PS3″ post_id=158060]