To say that gamers grew up alongside Yoshinori Kitase and his work with Final Fantasy X and X-2 is an understatement, especially considering that the two classic and riveting tales of Spira brought a lot of firsts for Square-Enix, and set the bar pretty high for other role-playing games at the time. It’s been a while since the battle against Sin; thirteen years to be exact.
While players still look back to these games with their old, and probably dusty PlayStation 2 consoles, Kitase knew that he could help them relive summoner Yuna’s pilgrimage with her guardians, traverse through Spira again as Yuna with Paine and Rikku by her side, learn the truth about Yu Yevon, and discover whether Yuna’s dreams of Tidus were actually a telling of his resurrection.
Enter Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster. A game with an impressively long title, but one that sets out to live up to it. Not only does the game offer avid Final Fantasy fans a high-definition remake of their nostalgia, but it also brings with it extra content previously unreleased in the North American versions of X and X-2.
The updated in-game visuals are clean and crystal clear, thanks to improved lighting and polish across the layout design — especially with the crisp 1080p presentation. Much of the aesthetic build, however, remains the same. Besaid Island looks like Besaid Island, as does every other location. However, this time around, the world is brighter, and more attention was dedicated to background textures. Spira has entirely been reworked from scratch, and it truly shows.
Character structure has also improved. The HD transition has donned a hugely noticeable change in some of the main characters, which is most apparent in their faces. This is interesting considering the facial expression technology that was supposed to be the next best thing when Final Fantasy X originally released in 2001.
The Remaster puts that technology to test. Eyes are bigger, mouths move along nicely with the dialogue and Tidus’ hair no longer looks like a wig stuck to his dome — this time, the strands of his locks appear genuine. Auron, Rikku, Seymour, the gigantic bestiary and the rest of the X/X2 cast have received the same makeover treatment from character developer Tetsuya Nomura.
The entire musical compositions for Final Fantasy X has also taken up some rendition as well. Music director Masashi Hamauzu, and assistant composers Nobuo Uematsu and Junya Nakano, have taken many of the 60 tracks of the game and sonically reworked them, adding different instrumental elements and improving on the previously computer produced masterpieces.
With story and side-quests being imperative parts of the game, both remastered versions of FFX and FFX-2 make the experience refreshing by adding incentive to journeying through the two sagas once again. This means North American fans will finally be able to discover new ability unlocks with the new Sphere Grid, clothe Yuna, Rikku and Pain in new dresspheres, hidden boss battles, Creature Creator, conquer Iutycyr Tower dungeon, and more. Compound this much content with the addition of PlayStation trophies, Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster looks to redefine the meaning of replayability.