One thing I was keen to check out while I explored Square Enix’s show floor was the HD collection of two of my favorite Final Fantasy games, the Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster. And yes, I did say two: judge me all you like, but strip away the campy and silly Charlie’s Angels/J-Pop take on Yuna, Rikku and Paine, and you have an enjoyable, fast-paced, stylistic game which didn’t sacrifice Final Fantasy core conventions and key strategic RPG elements to appease a larger, more action-oriented crowd. Moving along, I only wanted to see one thing: just how “high definition” was this remastered edition, and just how well did it run on the Vita?
Unfortunately, I never got an answer for my latter question while I was there, since the only available demo was the PS3 console version. Hopefully that’s not a terrible omen of the portable version’s fate, since I’ve been happy at the prospect of playing through the world of Spira again – especially to dive back into Blitzball – while on-the-go. Unfortunately, I was also unable to get a look at the remastered version of X-2 on either the PS3 or PS Vita, which probably speaks more of the game’s divisive nature among hardcore fans than of the game’s HD quality.
What I did get to see was the entire beginning of the game, played from protagonist Tidus’ time in Zanarkand, to the arrival of Sin, to his and Auron’s departure to Spira. Boy did it run well. Beautifully well. Square Enix has never been a slouch when it comes to visuals, so its no surprise that the game has been up-scaled without a problem. Don’t expect the game to look like a Lumines Engine Demo, but expect it to look good. Seeing the first Blitzball cut scene while Nobou Uematsu & The Black Mages’ heavy metal “Otherworld” track played in the background was a delight.
The actual gameplay, of course, hasn’t been touched mechanically, but the in-game graphics have similarly been given a decent new coat of paint, smoothing out some textures and adding new models for each character and monster.
One thing’s for certain: this remastering is pretty much the same you’ve seen before, but if you haven’t played these games yet (shame on you) or if you haven’t played them in a while (I’m definitely guilty of this), then this seems to be one collection worth looking forward to, especially if you ever want to use the Jecht Shot again while riding to work.
The Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster collection is set to release later this year to the PS3 and PS Vita, along with the International content that U.S. audiences missed out on the first time.