Ever had the experience of meeting an old friend after 10 years? The uncertainty of what may have changed, whether you still have anything in common, the joy of realising that everything is still as it was. Well that’s the experience with playing Final Fantasy X HD and Final Fantasy X-2 HD.
In Final Fantasy X we have one of the greatest RPGs ever made available on the Vita. The HD up-scaling looks great, though it does make the characters’ faces, in particular Tidus’, look quite inhuman. Whether some of the audio has been re-recorded or there’s been an issue when applying it, there’s definitely been a change to Tidus’ voice. It’s not necessarily for the worse but it does make the opening seem unnecessarily foreign.
Thankfully the outrageously good cutscenes help to get you back into the saddle. The glory of Zanarkand looks fantastic in HD and fits in well with the Vita screen, the sending on Kilika even more so. They help to link the story together and it remains as impressive as ever. It does feel like going back to an old group of friends, even if Tidus is as whiny and annoying as he always was. The system is simple enough, with a turn-based battle system and a traditional grid based levelling system. While there is complexity there if you look for it, the game on face value will sacrifice that to keep you going along and that’s no bad thing.
Likewise there have been tweaks to the battle menus and music. The menus look far sharper and neater, meaning that the age doesn’t show. The music is more likely to irk die-hard fans of the original, though it would be truer to call it a re-master than a re-mix and in truth serves the game far better than the original versions would, though it would have been nice to have the option of using the original as was originally intended. What is included is the extra cutscene Eternal Calm which links the stories of X and X-2. Though it adds little to the overall story, it is a nice inclusion considering that it was previously only available on the Japenese exclusive International Version.
X-2 was always slightly in it’s prequels shadow and it’s true that the battle system does feel slightly less satisifying, but it makes up for this by being quicker and more fluid. It starts soon after Eternal Calm finishes, 2 years after the events of the first game, with an all female cast. It is essential to play the first game to understand what’s going on but it makes for a nice continuation of the story. As with FFX, there is an epilogue mission included here called Last Mission. As with Eternal Calm, it’s the first time it’s been available outside of Japan and again helps to bring the entire story to a close.
Overall it all adds up to a package that’s fantastic value for money. Two of the PS2’s greatest games are now available to take with you wherever you go. It’s not faultless, though the faults are small and most of these are hangovers from the originals, but it is two of the greatest games in the series, now available on the Vita. If you’ve never played either of the games before then they are essential purchases, and if you have then you’ll love to be back in Spira.
Final Score: 5 out of 5