This one is going to be interesting. It’s strange enough to review a game that has been remastered because you have to talk more about how the remaster has affected the game as opposed to how the game itself works. So, talking about a PC re-release of a remaster is just…odd.
Final Fantasy X and X-2 were legendary games back in their day, both for their infamous stories, their groundbreaking visuals, and of course, being the first instance a game was followed by a direct sequel in the history of Final Fantasy. Whether or not you enjoyed these games, you probably heard about them during both their original releases and their re-releases on the PS3 and 4.
If you don’t already know, Final Fantasy X and X-2 are a couple of RPGs put out by the biggest RPG producer in the world, Square Enix. The first game centres around the adventures of a young man named Tidus who ends up lost from his homeland and constantly trying to get back there, fighting giant monsters and making lots of friends along the way. The second game follows the continued adventures of one of the female characters from the first game, Yuna, as she starts her new life as a ‘sphere hunter’, someone who searches far and wide to make money from valuable devices scattered all over the world. Although these stories might seem simple at this point, they both end up being unbelievably convoluted, more so the first than the second.
With the discussion of the stories out of the way, let’s start to actually talk about these games. The first thing that is immediately noticeable about the remasters is that all of the graphics have been upped to 1080p, which is very nice, but because of this some of the models end up looking…clunky at best. The PC edition has little different from the recent remasters released on consoles, other than the fact that you can play it on your PC, obviously. However, it does offer a few new things, the first of which is Steam collectable cards, another is the quite surprising but not unwelcomed addition of an auto-save feature, something a lot of Final Fantasy games to this day tend not to have, and finally things called game boosters and parameter changes, which I will get into later.
A bit of a disappointment comes from the cutscenes, which have still not been cleared up. Although they are scaled up to 1080p and are certainly better than their PS2 counterparts, the pre-rendered videos look blocky and unclear compared with the rest of the textures and visuals in the game.
Of course, Xbox controller compatibility is included for both titles, which is nice but expected these days, and thankfully you can also use a Dual Shock 4 controller if you want to, which is more in keeping with the original experience of playing the game. There is a minor disadvantage to playing this way, however, and that is the fact that all of the button prompts are for the Xbox pad, regardless of what you’re playing with. This can make some of the special abilities a little harder to use at times.
Talking about the gameplay is difficult and feels superfluous, but I will touch on both games briefly. The first has solid turn-based RPG combat, combined with traditional random battles and so on, so there is much to do in the world both before and after you return to areas for the second time.
The second game is a little less impressive, although it does have some visual advantages over the first game and is also much easier. If you found yourself struggling with the first game’s difficulty and wanting the plot to focus on mainly female protagonists, then you are oddly specific in your desires and will probably enjoy this game. Although the sequel lacks the depth and complexity of the first outing, there is still plenty on offer here, despite the considerable drop in scope since the previous game. The two nicest changes are the multiple available endings and the ability to skip pretty much any scene in the entire game, something the first was sorely lacking.
Control-wise, everything works basically the same as the PlayStation 2/3 version, but if you have an Xbox controller or a DS4, you can just plug it in and feel like you’re completely reliving the experience. There are also options for controls using the keyboard, although it’s not something I recommend unless you don’t have a choice. It’s possible that these key bindings are perfectly fine, but for me they felt wrong and sluggish to use with all the command buttons being arranged in a row. As I said though, I have played these games with a controller each time, so if you’re new to the FFX/X-2 experience, you may find that the keyboard controls are fine.
I was a little worried about the stability of the games before I started playing, I had heard from friends who picked the games up early that there had been several points where the titles had crashed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that either these reports were exaggerated, or that the issues of stability had been ironed out before I got around to starting the games up for this review.
The only real additions that the PC versions of these games supply are the parameter changes and game boosters. The game boosters do things like increase your movement and game speed, give you infinite overdrives, increased or decreased enemy encounter rate, auto-battle, and remove the HUD. Overall, these things are one of the biggest advantages offered in the games, as they can help players who have transitioned from the console versions to the PC versions to get through the early stages of the games quicker and to resume or restart the end-games in the positions they were in before. Combined with the HUD, this also helps reviewers like me get clean screenshots, which is nice.
The parameter changes are someone different, in that their effects are irreversible and feel a little more like cheating than the game boosters do. The first gives you 99 of all basic items, something which can give you access to some quite powerful effects, especially when you consider that basic items include all things used to add custom effects to weapons and armour. To give you an example of this, you need 99 Dark Matter to add the ‘ribbon’ effect to armour, which protects you from pretty much all status ailments. Normally, this is practically impossible to do for everyone as Dark Matter is very rare in the game, therefore, these parameter changes can be used to literally shave hundreds of hours off of your game time.
The other two parameter changes are unlock all abilities and give max Gil, both of which are exceedingly powerful and useful. If you use either, you’re likely to have a much easier time playing your way through most of the games’ challenges, although it should be made clear that none of these effects make the games completely broken, they just give you an extreme advantage.
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: 12th May 2016