Square Enix was the recipient of a lot of hate and skepticism when they announced that they would be bringing Final Fantasy X and X-2 in HD to the PS4. The reason? It was only a year ago that the same titles were released in HD on the PS3 and PS Vita.
But why the hate? Square has a track record of not catering to the desires of their fans, but surely this release proves otherwise. Considering that the PS4 doesn't support any backwards compatibility whatsoever, if a PS4 owner upgraded and got rid of their PS3, they were then stuck without the means to play one of the greatest games of all time in HD. Personally, I think releasing the titles on the PS4 is a great move by Square Enix.
But enough about that. You're here for a review. I won't be reviewing the game as a whole since it is already nearly fifteen years old. All you need to know is that FFX is a fantastic game, and if you haven't played it, you really should, regardless of your gaming preference. X-2 is slightly less amazing than is predecessor (okay, maybe a lot less amazing) but in terms of battle party customization, it is second to none. I will be reviewing the finer aspects of the HD remaster, and comparing it to last year's PS3 version.
Square has gone above and beyond with the music in this remaster. Like the PS3 version, every song has been re-recorded to the highest quality, with new instrumentation and new arrangements. But the PS4 version has a new feature that last year's release did not. Players now have the option to instantly switch back and forth from the remastered audio tracks to the original arrangements via the options menu. The new track arrangements feel a lot more natural and authentic sounding, and are orchestrated with many actual real instruments and not just played on a synthesizer. I strongly prefer the new tunes, but many other hardcore FFX fans will definitely appreciate the ability to listen to the old soundtrack in all its synth-y glory. If you want to hear the drastic differences between the two soundtracks, check out the video below.
In addition to the music overhaul, the visuals for both games have been re-worked as well. Compared to the PS3, the PS4 version doesn't have a huge difference, but it is noticeable. The images are smoother and crisper, and the colors are more vibrant and tend to pop off the screen much more dramatically. Textures and shading have been improved, and characters, both playable and not, look softer and more realistic. Actually, perhaps one of the biggest differences between the PS3 and PS4 versions comes in the appearance of NPCs. The PS3 and Vita versions looks almost as if background characters had been unaltered from their PS2 forms. But in the PS4 version, they have all definitely been subject to major overhauls. So, while the enhanced graphics may not be anything to flip out over, a keen eye will enjoy what the PS4 has to offer. And if you haven't played FFX/X-2 since their PS2 releases, then you're in for a real treat.
The new release also supports cross-save compatibility between it and its PS3 and Vita counterparts. So if you're like me and FFX for the PS4 is the fourth copy of the game in your collection,you don't have to start the game all over again, unless you feel so inclined - and it's pretty tempting to do just that in order to avoid those dreadful Chocobo challenges. You can also, of course, use Remote Play to stream the game from your PS4 to your Vita (assuming you don't own the Vita copy already) or your PlayStation TV.
So, what's the verdict? For those who have never played Final Fantasy X and X-2, haven't experienced them since their initial releases, or are hardcore fans of the series, the PS4 HD Remaster in a must-have. But if you have already picked up a PS3 or Vita copy and aren't interested in experience the finer and minute details of the game, the version that you currently own should suit you just fine.
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