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dbarry_22's Video Game Reviews (213)

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Blaster Master Zero II 3.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Li... 5/5
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Golf Story 4/5
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Bloodstained: Curse of ... 4/5
Everybody's Golf 3.5/5
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 4.5/5
Super Mario Galaxy 2 4.5/5
Castlevania: Portrait o... 4/5
Final Fantasy X / X-2 H... 4.5/5
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Kirby's Dream Course 3.5/5
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Super Mario Odyssey 5/5
Star Fox 2 3/5
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The Legend of Zelda: Br... 5/5

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Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster   PlayStation 4 

The Last Turn-Based Final Fantasy Remastered Well    4.5/5 stars

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is a wonderful visual upgrade to a popular game from the PS2 era and is worth playing today, especially if you've never experienced it before.

This game has two different games on one disc, Final Fantasy X and also the direct sequel to it, Final Fantasy X-2. But let's face it, no one is buying this game for the sequel, it's the first game that really matters. The first Final Fantasy X is the game I played and that's what I will be reviewing here. I'll eventually play the sequel, but that won't happen anytime soon.

The original Final Fantasy X was released on PS2 in 2001. The HD upgrade was released on PS3 in 2013 and on PS4 in 2015. For those wondering the differences between these versions, here they are. The HD upgrade took the 4x3 format of the PS2 version and changed it to 16X9 to fit current HD TVs. The HD version also updated the graphics and cut scenes to 1080p. While the characters and environments aren't as smooth as games released today, they still look pretty good. The HD version of the game is also the original International release, not the North American version originally released in North America. This doesn't change a whole lot, basically a few of the really hard monsters you can fight at the end of the game are in this game that wasn't on the PS2 American version. You can cross save from the PS3, Vita, and PS4 so if you started on one console you can move to another and keep going. And finally, other than a few very small graphical improvements, the PS3 and PS4 versions are identical except that on the PS4 you can change from the original soundtrack to the remastered soundtrack at any time where on the PS3 you have to listen to the remastered soundtrack.

With that out of the way, let's get on to the story. The main character who narrates a lot during the course of the game is named Tidus. He's a blitzball (basically soccer under water) player from the city of Zanarkand who gets swept away to the mysterious land of Spira after his city gets destroyed by an evil gigantic monster named Sin. Tidus then eventually meets up with a group of people in Spira led by a summoner named Yuna who is on a quest to defeat Sin and Tidus joins the journey. I have to say I really liked the story. It's engaging and is easy to follow and understand. You want to see how things play out for multiple characters in your party and how the group will figure out how to defeat Sin. This, in my opinion, is much better than any of the PS1 Final Fantasy's as I found their stories confusing and less interesting for the most part.

One thing Final Fantasy does really well is music, and Final Fantasy X is no exception. There's a full range of pieces in this game. From somber pieces to peaceful hymns to rock-like grand boss battles all the music gets it right and gets stuck in my head. I have the soundtrack to this game and will be listening to it for the foreseeable future from time to time.

When it comes to graphics, the remaster brings it to the HD realm well enough. Obviously the characters and environments don't match up to today's top standards but they still look pretty good. The CG cut scenes still look amazing so don't worry about that. I've never been too harsh on games needing to be graphically amazing so I don't really judge too much on this. The color palette is wide so that's nice and the designs of the environments make it easy to know where you are at any given time.

One of the things you can really tell the game's age is the game play. Moving the characters in town or in temple's is hard to be precise and it's even worse when you're riding a chocobo. Normally this doesn't matter a lot since this is a turn based RPG but there are a few challenges and puzzles that require precise controls which can make this frustrating. While in battles, there's no way to speed up summons that you've seen 50 times or quick ways to recast spells you've just cast. These are all little things that are a part of turn based games that are made today but that just wasn't done 20 years ago and it shows. It got a little annoying having to go through several button presses just to get to the same fire spell I just cast the previous turn or watching the animation of a summon happen again and again.

However, while the turn based combat system is old and really not used much today I really like it. The twist in this game is that you can interchange characters in battle at any given point. So, you have 3 people fighting in any given battle but at the start of any character's turn, you can change out that person for someone else. If you've been damaged severely and need to heal, just bring in your white mage. If your magic spells aren't being effective against an enemy, just bring in a guy who does high physical damage with their sword. Early on in the game the characters tutor you to let you know some characters do better against certain enemies which helped. Not only that, but on the screen there's a list of who is going to fight next so you can plan out your battles. If you know an enemy is about to attack and do considerable damage, you can plan and get your characters with weak defense out of there.

Experience in this game is a little different as well. Your characters don't just level up like a lot of RPGs. In this game characters stats improve and learn new abilities through a sphere grid. The very first time you see this it can be pretty confusing but as time goes on it gets pretty easy. In each battle you obtain ability points which allow you to move through this grid and mark upgrades. Also in battles, you obtain spheres. For example, 2 of the spheres you can get are power spheres and mana spheres. Having these allows you to activate nodes in the sphere grid. Power spheres upgrade your HP, strength and defense. Mana spheres will upgrade your MP and magic defense. There are ability spheres that unlock new spells and different attacks among other things.

If you're looking for an RPG with an open world this is not a game for you. Final Fantasy X is almost as linear as it gets. You go from town to town, area to area following the story. There's no real exploring until you get to practically the end of the game and that for the most part is revisiting places you've been to before. Now usually I'd say that's a real knock on a game because with RPGs I like to go find things on my own and not just be led like a child from one place to the next but with the story telling in this game being as good as it is shockingly this works. I didn't mind which still surprises me to this day.

This game isn't overly difficult but some of the enemies and bosses force you to develop a strategy to be successful which I don't mind at all. I like games that don't allow you to just use the same strategy in every single fight and win. I never had to fight a particular boss more than 3 times before winning which is good because you can't skip story telling cut scenes in this game either.

Another time consumer in this game is the game referenced earlier, blitzball. I consider this soccer under water. It's not overly complicated, you try to get the ball to one end of the arena and shoot it at the goal. Your character's traits determine if they can pass, shoot or tackle well. You can get experience and level up your guys but in general, it's a weak poorly designed sport. You play in a 3D area but it's only a 2D environment you actually use. You can strategize pretty well and get good shots off but sometimes your characters are just overpowered and you just have to hope the computer does dumb things. You can get some cool stuff playing this game a lot but it was something I chose not to do.

If I were obsessed with finishing all my games 100% I'd probably have a problem with this game. There are a few really hard bonus bosses you can take on which I had no chance of defeating and if I wanted to I'd have to really upgrade my weapons and characters a lot which would require almost endless grinding. Not only that, but there are some celestial weapons in this game that if you want to upgrade them right you have to do some really hard, kind of stupid tasks. This provides a ton of extra play time in this game if you want but I didn't go for it. I just don't have the time to do that kind of stuff any more.

I put in over 70 hours in this game and really enjoyed it. I had been putting this game off for a long time because I knew this would be the last true turn based Final Fantasy game in the series for me since I've already played 1-9. This game was a good one too and is up there on the list of best Final Fantasy games. This game was good enough that I'm curious in X-2 and will get to it eventually.

4.5/5

 

 


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