This might come as a surprise, but back in the day it was pretty common that you could only get games on a particular platform. These were known as “exclusives,” and they often informed your decision on what consoles you’d buy. Take Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy X, for instance, which is the reason I traded in most of my old beloved retro gear to snag a PlayStation 2 back when they were relatively new. Years after its 2001 release, and subsequent 2003 sequel, it was hard to play these games on hardware that didn’t include PlayStation on the box, excepting the original 2014 remaster on the PS3 and Windows.
But this is a new era, a better multi-platform era, which means we’ve now got Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster available on the Xbox One and Switch. Expanding these games to other platforms is great, of course, though they’re still very much the same games – just remastered.
I’m going to be honest: these aren’t my favorite Final Fantasy games. Released in 2001, Final Fantasy X reminds me a little of the old anime tie-in RPGs that Japan got on the SNES – it’s a vehicle for delivering plot that never feels like it has a whole lot of gameplay behind it. X’s combat and exploration feel pretty limited at first and they don’t really open up in terms of options and strategy until later on. At that point the game is pretty acceptable, but if the plot doesn’t grab you early then it’s something of a slog. Really, it reminds me of how FFXIII would eventually feel when that dropped on the PS3, with a lot of looks and little substance. Don’t @ me.
Likewise, 2003’s Final Fantasy X-2 premiered what I eventually started calling “official fanfiction.” Tales of Xillia 2 was a big offender here for me; it’s when you take a story that felt fairly sewn-up and slap a sequel onto it that doesn’t quite live up to the storytelling chops of the original. While X-2 has a lot more gameplay right from the get-go than X, it was also pretty plainly designed to sell strategy guides, given the near-necessity of using one if you want to complete the game to any significant degree and earn the best ending. It’s also got a very cutesy, pop-heavy tone for much of its runtime that both contrasts heavily with X and might leave a bad taste in some players’ mouths. Still, it’s probably the better option of the two.
Both of these are represented in their International versions. This means you’ve got a nice additional chunk of content added to both; X sees the inclusion of some mean superbosses and a new Sphere Grid setup that allows for more creative character development, while X-2 has a bizarre Pokémon-style monster-raising segment slapped on top. Since these versions weren’t originally released in North America, you’ll find that this content is new to you if you haven’t played since the games’ PS2 releases here. There’s a short film to check out and an audio drama to listen to as well. It’s…probably best if you skip the latter, let’s go with that.
Along with these additions, the main reason you’d be checking out an HD remaster is for the presentation, right? Naturally, both games look and sound great on every platform, and that includes these Xbox One and Switch editions. It helps that both sported a heavily stylized look that’s managed to hold up over the years, one that easily scaled up to modern standards – see also how World of Warcraft and such games still manage to impress years later – and the touch-up they receive here only helps. Additionally, X’s music is rearranged and sounds much better.
In other words, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is definitely the definitive version of both of these games. While I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of either, I understand those who are will fall in love with these titles all over again in their latest revamped forms. Considering that you’re getting both games for one price as well, it’s clear that the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is a great value. If you haven’t tried either before, well, you might be into ’em, so this is the way to go for you as well.