Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is exactly what it sounds like: an HD remastering of two of the PS2-era Final Fantasy titles. Right, that’s it. Off you pop.
Oh fine, I’ll give you some details. I suppose after downloading 40GB of data and spending some time with a half-decent Final Fantasy game (and also one of the single stupidest games ever created) I should probably write more than one paragraph.
And yes, I said 40GB. That was not a typo. I’ve got a suspicion as to why it’s so big, but I’ll outline that a bit later.
Here’s your launcher, complete with its options:
At this point I’m starting to wonder if the launcher options thing is actually just habit, because there are far more detailed in-game options. Here we are:
Truthfully, that’s actually way more than I expected. Full settings for shadow resolution, anti-aliasing, colour correction, and ambient occlusion? That’s a bit above and beyond the usual port stuff.
On a technical level, both games function in basically the same way. They offer up the same options, and graphical options are actually shared between the two games. Keybindings aren’t, but the different battle systems of both games mean you’ll probably want to manually configure a few bits and pieces there anyway.
They’re also both locked at 30FPS, which I’m certain is going to piss a bunch of people off. I actually don’t mind this, though (and for the sake of it, my i7-3860 and GTX 970 ran it at a constant 30FPS with everything whacked up to full).
I’m not sure whether this FPS lock is down to laziness or technical impossibility, but I’d guess at the latter; if memory serves, these Final Fantasy games used quite a lot of little timings and rendering tricks in the background. Now, that might be my memory throwing up a lot of total bullshit, but either way they were basically built for 30FPS on the PS2. I wasn’t really expecting 60FPS, and I’m not surprised by the lack of it.
In any case, the 30FPS “feels” authentic. It’s definitely noticeable – animations and controls feel ever-so-slightly sluggish – but I don’t think it’s a big issue. If you played either game on PS2, you’ll feel right at home. For the sake of it, I’ve stuck two screenshots below showing the game at maximum settings and minimum settings, but I didn’t exactly pick the best moment to do this, so, uh, sorry. I’d have ideally picked a spot from Besaid but I also wanted to get this article done sooner rather than later.
Both games ran quite happily with the Steam Controller, but both games also function decently on keyboard. Final Fantasy X is definitely the “better” of the two on keyboard, as its turn-based nature means it’s less reliant on any sort of twitch-based analogue controls, but both seemed entirely playable. Hell, using the keyboard even resulted in getting keyboard prompts on screen, which I heartily approve of. That said, I didn’t play far enough into FFX to try out Lulu’s “rotate the analogue stick” Overdrive, so I’ve got no idea how that’s going to function on keyboard.
Also, pressing Escape does not instantly quit to the desktop. It opens up the options menu. Well done, chaps; you’ve cracked PC gaming.
Anyway, that 40GB download size. I have a feeling this is because it’s a dual-audio game that actually isn’t dual-audio.
Apparently, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster includes both English and Japanese audio, but due to either technical or legal restrictions, you cannot play in, say, English with Japanese audio. It’s either English with English audio, or Japanese with Japanese audio, and it’s dictated by your Steam language. Considering there’s already a user-made mod that apparently fixes this, I’d wager it’s probably “legal restrictions.” (Note: I haven’t tried the mod, and it involves downloading and replacing an .exe, so… run at your own risk for now.)
Also considering that mod exists, I’m guessing that it downloads both sets of audio regardless of your Steam language. That’d go some way to explaining the massive filesize. As everything appears to be packed into a couple of utterly massive files, though (FFX_Data.vbf is 20GB, while FFX2_Data.vbf is 17.5GB) I don’t know if there’s an easy way I can check this without either installing that mod or changing my Steam launcher language.
There are a few other aspects of this release that bear mentioning. Firstly, Final Fantasy X offers up both its classic BGM and an “arranged” BGM, depending on what you care to listen to; I’m actually rather partial to the arranged BGM, based on my first hour or so of play.
Secondly, Last Mission and Eternal Calm are both in this release, which also contains all the stuff from the International release. European players are already used to most of that – Dark Aeons, the option to completely customise characters via a different Sphere Grid layout, etc. – but it’s good to have.
Third, there are a variety of little cheats and boosts in here, and these are rather welcome. These are accessible both through the menus, and through tapping F1-F5. The most useful of these (insofar as it’s the one pretty much everyone should use) is F1, which activates “Turbo” and doubles or quadruples the speed of the game depending on how many times you tap it. While this maybe isn’t so useful for Final Fantasy X-2‘s real-time combat, it’s awfully helpful during Final Fantasy X‘s lengthier combat animations.
Turbo doesn’t have any effect on cutscenes or anything of the sort, although it’s arguable whether or not that’s a good or bad thing. I’d err on the side of “good” simply because most of the cutscenes are skippable anyway.
Other than that, you can get every item in the game, or have your characters learn every skill, or whatever. Handy.
The games themselves are… interesting. Final Fantasy X was the series’ first real experiment with voice acting, and God, that shows. It has one of the more unlikeable protagonists of the franchise, a rather rubbish recurring villain, and a story that makes basically no sense until you’re 80% of the way through it and get a sudden info dump that tries to explain everything.
That said, the gameplay is really good. The Sphere Grid offers detailed and customisable character development (particularly with the International version’s bonus Sphere Grid), and the turn-based combat system rewards strategy and tactics. I’d also argue it’s got some of the cleverest boss fights of the series, and I still love the intro, particularly because of the gloriously silly rock track that plays during it.
Final Fantasy X-2 is possibly one of the stupidest fucking games the world has ever seen, although I’m not sure I mean that in a bad way. Following the po-faced and serious events of Final Fantasy X, in which the world was cowed and facing regular apocalypses, heroine Yuna has… uh… become a pop singer/treasure hunter. Sort of. Everything is light and upbeat, and played for laughs or fanservice. I mean, I mentioned the other day that it has a massage mini-game and a hot springs scene where the three protagonists compare breast sizes, and I was not exaggerating at all. It’s weird.
Again, some decent mechanical ideas mean it’s worth a play, but in terms of ridiculous thematic departures from the source material, it’s bordering on being as ludicrous as Final Fantasy IN SPAAAAACE. Except… now that I think about it, Final Fantasy VIII did that. And Final Fantasy VIII was also a game with a really stupid plot, but that was actually attempting to be serious. And Final Fantasy VIII was a totally shit game, which this isn’t.
I forget where I was going with that, but basically I don’t like Final Fantasy VIII, and I prefer to think of Final Fantasy X-2 as a silly “what if” game rather than a canonical sequel. Also, Final Fantasy VIII is rubbish.
In terms of portish-ness, then, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is actually pretty good. I’m satisfied by the options and by the keyboard controls, and while the 30FPS lock and not-really-dual-audio are both kind of irritating, I was honestly expecting a 30FPS lock and absolutely-no-dual-audio. It’s hard to tell how well optimised it is because my machine is a bit overpowered for this, but the fact that I have no issues running it on max means that lower-end machines should probably be able to run it comfortably.
Thumbs mostly up. Not a perfect, super-gorgeous, super-shiny remake with full-fledged mouse-and-keyboard controls and an uncapped framerate, but then I wasn’t really expecting that. If you want to play the Final Fantasy X games on your PC, this should fit the bill rather neatly.