Square Enix has released a HD remake of the remastered version of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, which first came out on the PS3 and Vita last year. That now brings the PS2 classic, arguably the best Final Fantasy game ever (at least in my opinion), to Sony’s latest console. I really wanted to review the latest iteration of the game considering the last time I played it was two consoles ago. However as Re-Remaster, as it were, there’s honestly no point in giving it a full review. If you want to know whether or not Spira is the holiday destination for you, you can read Shaz’s reviews of X and X-2 here and here respectively.
This brings us to the question that everyone seems to be asking: considering the last time we visited Spira was January 2014, is it worth buying this remake of this remaster so soon?
In short, yes, kind of. This really is the definitive edition of Final Fantasy X, and probably the last one we’re going to see any time soon. It’s stunning to look at, the music is sublime and the game itself is certainly in my Top 10 along with the likes of Resident Evil 4 and Transistor. If it’s worth buying though, it has to be significantly different from the PS3 version. So is it?
Graphically, yes. The PS3 had some well-reported issues with frame rates dropping and in cutscenes, the PS4 rolls along at a smooth 30fps at 1080p. The PS4 edition of FFX HD really is a spectacle to look at – especially in the cutscene department. Certain character models have been retextured, and some of the monsters you fight have been retextured to make the fur look more realistic. While a number of the Al Bhed tribesmen have been retextured, making them actually look human for once, there are a few important characters which still look decidedly shoddy. Brother’s eyes look drawn on, Maester Kinoc looks like someone hit him in the face with a shovel, and other important but secondary characters have fallen by the wayside.
Some parts of the game are clearly lifted straight from the PS2 version, like the crowd at the Blitzball stadium and the waterfall at the top of Mt Gagazet where Tidus et al. see the wall of The Fayth. It’s perhaps a little unfair to have expected Square Enix to update everything, characters, backgrounds and cutscenes, but it’s noticeable – particularly when characters that have been redone stand next to some of the assets and characters that have been redone. Personally I was hoping that Tidus would look like Tidus, but alas Cutscene Tidus and Gameplay Tidus are two different people from seemingly two different races. Just like all remasters on the PS4, if you’re expecting for a perfect remaster of a PS2 Classic in PS4-level quality, you’re going to have a bad time
But by and large what you’re looking at is the same texture map on a better system, giving better depth and realism. Without getting into the nitty gritty of graphics cards, processing and how the ambient occlusion works, let’s just say that everything now has shadows where they should. In some places this is more obvious than others, like with Lulu’s victory pose for instance, though by and large the game looks a lot better.
So what does the PS4 version bring to the table that the PS3 version didn’t? That’s really what everyone wants to know, isn’t it? We still have the advanced sphere grids and the terrifying Dark Aeons which Europe and Japan saw back on the PS2, and America saw on the PS3. We still have the additional content we saw on the PS3 version a year back. Other than the optimized graphics, we now have the choice of either listening to either a rearranged score or the original as we play – a nice touch which hardcore fans are sure to appreciate. There’s been a few tweaks other than that, such as the fact that No Encounters now works in Omega Dungeon, but mechanically FFX Re-Remastered is almost identical to the PS3 version. Yes, that means the lag when dodging lightning with Lulu is still there, and yes it’s still frustrating as all hell.
What we’re looking at here is simply the definitive edition of the game. Is it strictly better than PS3 edition? Yes, it looks sublime and the choice of soundtracks is a nice touch. If you have the PS3 version is it worth buying the new one? Well that depends on how much you love living in Spira – same as the PS3 to PS4 remaster of The Last of Us. It really is gorgeous (those aforementioned dated-looking characters aside), but if you’re strapped for cash you could probably wait a bit. If you haven’t played it, or haven’t played it since its original release on the PS2? Well that’s the boat I was in and I’ve just come down after playing it for 19 hours straight. It’s really that good of a game.