Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remastered: Lightning Strikes Twice

Final Fantasy X’s release was much anticipated, with a lot to live up to. ‘Final Fantasy’ is a juggernaut franchise and is nothing to sneeze at. Would their first foray onto the new generation PlayStation2 be a success? It was hard to doubt, but that’s the thing with giants; they have further to fall. Living up to the legacy, FFX burst onto the scene with gorgeous graphics, a myriad of mini-games and a breath-taking story. Averaging a whopping 9 out of 10 from critics and quickly becoming a fan favourite, it crushed it’s 2 million copies sale goal, 1.4 million in the first four days from Japan alone.

It introduced us to plucky Rikku and imposing Kimahri, haughty Lulu and lovable Wakka, mysterious and knowing Auron; Yuna, who shoulders an incomprehensible burden, and Tidus, whose story is one we didn’t want to end. We became beasts at BlitzBall and mastered the SphereGrid, all while completing the Cloister of Trials on our journey to Zanarkand. Your mileage may vary, but Final Fantasy X is a trip worth taking, and SquareEnix has kindly presented it for your playing pleasure in a format that doesn’t require digging your PS2 out of the closet.

That’s right; FFX has been remastered for PlayStation 3.

So what’s new? The first thing you’ll notice is the fresh coat of paint (it is an HD remake, after all). The game features scaled up character models and textures, as well as sharper lighting, shadowing and enhanced pre-rendered movies for better quality. Now running in 16:9 widescreen (hooray!), but you still can’t skip cutscenes (boo!). For those interested in a challenge, might I suggest the new mode Enhanced SphereGrid, where power ups and abilities are spread further apart, asking for a more tactical and careful approach to boss encounters.

Another reason to pick this bad boy up is it comes with it’s sequel, Final Fantasy X-2. Taking place two years after the end of X and starring Yuna, we follow the adventures of her new squad, the Gullwings, in a post-Sin Spira. With a lighter story with dips into the profound, the meat of this title lies with the battle system. Strategy is the name of the game, utilizing a job system similar to Final Fantasy V that you can swap between mid-battle. Equipping multiple DressSpheres (jobs) before a fight allows players a multitude of options and combinations to handle any situation.

Getting the same graphical upswing as it’s predecessor, X-2’s big change lies with its job system, as it should. Two new DressSpheres have been added: Psychic and Festivalist. Psychic acts a buffer class, with an emphasis on nullifying attacks and boosting stats. Festivalist works the ‘aww’ factor: the models were based on the drawings of the eight-year-old winner of a design contest SquareEnix held, and functions almost like the series’ long lost fencer class, doing varying, randomized elemental damage on top of a physical attack. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to try them out in the new dungeon, Iutycyr Tower.

Final Fantasy X and X-2 were whirlwinds for me, and the nostalgia hit hard. Best of all, the games held up on their own, and the added features are seamless; perfect for old pros and newcomers alike. If you missed out on this adventure the first time around, this is a great opportunity to get in on this instant classic, and if you’ve mastered the game before, you know you want to do it again. Come on, guys.

Let’s go ride the shoopuff.