It’s no secret that I love Final Fantasy X. I was in high school when the game first released for the PlayStation 2, and, seeing how I was under my father’s roof, I had to live with a primitive form of torture that restricted video games to a weekend activity. This left me with nothing but my imagination during the weekdays, and I have far more memories of my daydreams in Spira than I do of what happened in my Earth and Space science classes.
I say all of that to say this: I openly admit a bias. I love this game. I would have found myself ecstatic with a straight up port, let alone remastered in HD. So when I say these first five hours of playing through FFX has been my favorite gaming experience in the past decade, take it with a grain of salt.
Having been over a decade since this game came out, it’s highly likely that many haven’t played or simply have forgotten about the game. So let’s have a quick refresher.
Final Fantasy X is a roleplaying game that takes place in the world of Spira. The game starts off by introducing you to Tidus, a big shot Blitzball player with daddy issues, who has his world turned upside down by a seemingly indestructible monster named Sin. Sin sends Tidus a thousand years in the future where he is introduced to a world void of the luxuries and technology he is used to.
As Tidus quests to figure out what is going on, he decides to team up with a summoner and her guardians in an attempt to defeat Sin. FFX is a story of love and adventure, but as you learn more about Yuna’s plight you see that above all else this game is about sacrifice.
Enough of my ramblings though, let’s talk about what’s new.
Saying that this game is gorgeous just isn’t enough. Everything from Kimari’s shiny fur to the bounce in Lulu’s bosom looks absolutely incredible in HD. Then there is that opening cut-scene that shows Tidus playing Blitzball and Sin approaching Zanarkand…it just all looks sooo good.
I will say that although the cut-scenes look better than ever, and the overall look of the game is incredible, there are some aspects of layering that are a bit off. For instance when Yuna first summons Valefor in Besaid, she gets close to him and pets his neck. Everything looks fine except for it is very obvious that Yuna’s hand isn’t actually touching Valefor. It looks as if her hand is hovering right over its neck. Awkward, but forgivable seeing how it is a remastered version of an older game, and not a new installment.
As someone who owns two versions of the FFX soundtrack and has listened to To Zanarkand 2,745 times on iTunes, the upgraded sound was at the top of my list of things to look forward to with this remastered version. Square Enix did not disappoint. At the very first note of To Zanarkand from the opening scene, I was so overpowered that I had to close my eyes and just listen. The voices are crisper, the sound effects are just nicer, and everything just feels so much better with this remastered sound.
Just better in Japanese
It should be noted that I’m playing through the game in Japanese. FFX was released in Japan a few days ago and will not see an international release until March 18, 2014. With playing the game in Japanese as opposed to English, there were some expected changes like name changes, as well as some pleasant surprises.
The most notable surprise was that Tidus doesn’t sound like a whiny brat. I loved Tidus in the English version, but he always came off a bit too whiny and at times awkward. The Japanese voice acting gives the character a far cooler and seemingly calmer persona, which I love.
Another thing that makes playing through the game in Japanese better is that I can see it as it was intended. For instance at the beginning when a crowd of boys approach Tidus and say, “Two, three… Teach us how to Blitz!” it comes off slightly awkward in English. However, when they say the same thing in Japanese, it is the most normal thing ever.
The conversations just flow far more naturally, and it makes me wonder if I will ever willingly play through a JRPG in English again. It’s just that much better.
As soon as you boot up FFX you are taken to a menu screen and given three options. The first being the actual game, the second is a new video titled, “Eternal Calm”, and the third is a video that shows the credits and additional audio.
The game itself doesn’t need much of an explanation, but the “Eternal Calm” and “Credits and Bonus Audio” are huge additions for any fan. The Eternal Calm clip takes us to Besaid where Yuna is adjusting to life immediately after defeating Sin. Everyone wants something from Yuna, and she has decided to submit herself to service when Rikku shows up with a sphere that will change all that. Yuna decides to take off with Rikku to find out more about the sphere, which is the lead up to Final Fantasy X-2.
As interesting as this short clip is, it’s nothing compared to the massive 30 minute “Credits and Bonus Audio.” As the video runs through what seems like thousands of pictures and names of people who worked on FFX, there is an audio drama that runs through the story of Chuami. Chuami, who reveals herself as Auron’s daughter, is sent with Kurgum on a mission to speak with Yuna in Besaid, and through a series of events gets wrapped up on a whole new adventure. Is this an introduction to FFX-3? I don’t know, but I hope so. Watch for yourself.
That’s what I’ve found so far. I’m absolutely loving FFX Remastered and can’t wait to dive even further into the world of Spira to see what else is new. I’ll be sure to write up a full review later this month, so stay tuned!
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