Retrometrics – Final Fantasy X and X-2 Remastered

The image above looks so great taking on the Final Fantasy classic style. Now if it had felt like the classic style, I may have enjoyed both of these games more. I’ve owned both these games on multiple platforms (original PS2, PS3, PS4, Switch) – I’ve owned the original since back when the PS2 was the dominant system. However I never played them until now. Though I had the choice between two modern platforms, I chose the PS4. Enjoy the announcement trailer for when this first came to PS4 six years ago:

I guess my biggest issue with both these games is that I felt the story was uninteresting and I just didn’t care. From Final Fantasy X the only character I cared for was Auron, and that is solely because he shows up in the Kingdom Hearts franchise. I get that tons of people like this game and have fond memories of it – but since my last RPG was Dragon Quest XI – this is very hollow (which truly is a unfair comparison).

The one thing I did notice is that while the game looked pretty, the controls and such were very much still PS2 controls. There is no camera spinning, movement can be choppy and lacking precision. Thankfully there wasn’t as much grinding as I feared. The biggest challenge battle I had in Final Fantasy X was the big battle right before the wedding sequence. So while I have comments about both games let’s separate them out.

Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X, like I mentioned, didn’t give me any emotional hook that I enjoyed. I was very very very meh about the whole whole experience. If anything this one took me the longer of the two for in front of the screen paying attention (more on that in the next game). I skipped the whole collect monsters for the arena – to be fair I skip most side quests in RPGs. I get joy from the main story line more than how complete I’ve seen of the game (hence I’ll never ever get knights of the round in Final Fantasy VII).

If anything it dragged on, there was some neat sections like the lighting strikes and even climbing the mountain was fun. I had to do some grinding but just enough that it didn’t seem unbearable. I also wasn’t a fan of the board game based leveling system. The limit breaks and such were fun an interesting, but later I just ended up using the summons as a crutch to get through the game. The final boss battle was all about the proper order of deploying summons.

Most this game is a train going down the railroad tracks, there is a rarely ever a need to backtrack to complete the game. I mean this good or bad depending on how you are used to playing RPGs. Some have you go back and visit the same area multiple times – others it’s a continual march forward. So it’s something to be aware of more than it is a problem.

Finally the version of level editing using the sphere grid system. I prefer more of a traditional leveling system. You spend the whole time with this wondering where you missed out on or if you should have gone a different direction. It was neat at the point that I could switch from the white mage line to the black mage line without losing any spells – but beyond that I wasn’t a fan. It made leveling feel slower overall and grinding (if you were targeting a specific skill) feel longer. I know it may just be a mental thing for the length of the grinding. Maybe traditional leveling would have taken just as long. It just didn’t feel like it.

The most unique thing for me was playing all the characters in each battle. While in a traditional FF game you can’t switch out party members mid-battle. In this game it’s encouraged (if not slightly required at times) to switch out members quickly from those in stand-by to those that are active. This was probably the most interesting thing about the game to get used to, it also allowed for a much more varied combat experience.

Final Fantasy X-2

Final Fantasy X-2 same world as Final Fantasy X – but it’s a much different game. First they try a more open world system overall. This gave you the option for more exploration and revisiting of areas than X. Which means in theory if I had availed myself to the side quests and activities, I would have had a much longer game. However since I prefer to just plow through a main story – I will say I likely missed out on half of the game offers.

Going into what it offers, let’s jump to the job system for a second. Your character (once you find the job within the game) allows you to switch between different job classes. I do know as I would looking at strategy guide it would say use this class for this battle and this class for another. However, since I didn’t do many side quests – I never even had those classes. I will say the setup made grinding a piece of cake though. Whenever I did get a new job class, I took my characters to the arena. I would find a battle they could easily win by just hitting X over and over again. It was taking advantage of the system instead of random level grinding across the world.

An important to thing to note, like I stated – I just play the main game and avoid side quests. However, by avoiding side quests, when there was a tough battle I would look online. Every single time it told me to use a job class I didn’t have. I managed to make do and plow through, but honestly if you want the full design of what the game is meant to be – you are better exploring and treating this more as an open world game than I did.

Conclusion

It’s good that re-releases bundle these two games together. There is a balance between them. I prefer the story of Final Fantasy X more than X-2. However, I enjoy the game play more in X-2. The story is streamlined in X – and open in X-2. It’s a difficult decision. They are far from my favorite Final Fantasy games, but likely they will be unforgettable. I do wonder if I would have been more open to exploration in X-2 if I was playing on the Switch vs. PS4. It opens up the mobile option to play when others are using the TV.

The one thing I won’t miss, Blitzball.