Video Game Review: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS4)
While there has been no shortage of remastered games on the PlayStation 4, Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster might be the first to take it a step further as it’s essentially an even more remastered version of the one that hit the PlayStation 3 and Vita last year. It did a wonderful job updating the source material, and now it’s time to find out if the extra time to polish the finished product and a move to a more powerful console has created a superior iteration.
From a content standpoint, things haven’t changed. You’re still getting Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 along with the Eternal Calm and Last Mission, which is a ton. To read more about the games’ respective stories and gameplay, please check out our review of the PS3/Vita versions.
As you’d suspect with the additional time and jump to the PS4, the game’s presentation has been noticeably improved — that’s not to be confused with “dramatically improved,” however, as there is very little (if any) difference in the way the main characters look. Of course, they’re the ones that got all the attention in the first place, so it’s not really all that surprising.
What has gotten some love are peripheral characters, which has resulted in a lot fewer jarringly bad looking NPCs with old PS2-style block hands instead of fingers. They do pop up from time to time, so it hasn’t been completely eliminated, but it’s still a welcome change. Environments have also been cleaned up with more depth being added via superior models and textures. Everything outputs at 1080p with no aliasing at a steady 30 frames per second.
All of that adds up to the best looking version of the game, but to be clear, the leap from PS3 to PS4 pales in comparison to the original jump from PS2 to PS3. This simply builds on all the work that was done in the first remaster, making peripheral tweaks to squeeze a little more graphical juice out of the source material.
One other addition that should be mentioned is the reintroduction of the game’s original soundtrack after the PS3/Vita version offered only the rearranged tunes. Although you can switch freely between the two, it does lead us to a pair of unfortunate new bugs.
The first one relates directly to the soundtrack as now the game’s background music will reset to the beginning at the conclusion of each random battle. Given that some of these pieces last a number of minutes you’re unlikely to hear more than 30 seconds unless you go out of your way — standing still so as not to trigger random encounters or equipping an item that prevents them entirely.
Of greater concern is an issue with Random Number Generation (RNG) that appears isolated to FFX in which random encounters have essentially become scripted with fights triggering in the same spots against the same enemies with the same blows connecting or missing in the same sequence. We’ll spare you our feeble attempt to clarify the problem, but suffice to say a search of message boards will explain it in greater detail.
If that’s not an issue for you, and you’ve already picked up the game on PS3 or Vita, you’ll be able to quickly and easily transfer saves to the PS4 so you can continue seamlessly from where you left off.
On one hand, the PlayStation 4’s Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is the best looking and features the original score. On the other, it has a couple of notable issues that aren’t present in the older (and now, cheaper) PS3/Vita versions. If you don’t have the other systems and want to experience these games on your PS4, don’t let the issues stop you. Otherwise, you may want to wait for a patch or a reduction in price before taking the plunge.