Nostalgia has a way of making things from our childhoods seem amazing, regardless of if they were or not. Take the 1998 Godzilla movie, for instance. Despite being panned by critics and movie-goers alike, my seven-year-old self loved that movie. And even though I can see the movie’s flaws now, I still love it. The same thing goes for other things from my past, like Britney Spears and NSYNC’s music. I like it even though it’s absolutely terrible. It’s an oddity of human nature and it makes no sense.
That being said, not all things from our past that we hold in a high regard are bad. In fact, some things are actually worthy of all the praise we give them. Final Fantasy X is a game from my childhood that definitely holds up to the the high standards of my biased memory, speaking as objectively as possible, of course.
Final Fantasy X was one of the first truly great games for the Playstation 2, and was the first Final Fantasy game to feature voice acting (more on that later). It was also the first game that I had ever played that had a story that really pulled at my emotions. In fact, its story is one of the best things about it.
After nearly a decade since I beat the original, one of the first things I noticed when I started playing the the HD remaster was just how many cut scenes there were. I’d say that I spent nearly as much time watching the characters talk to each other as I did actually moving them around. At times it felt more like I was watching a movie than playing a video game.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, as the story, to this day, is one of the most well thought out and entertaining ones ever put into a game. You really start to feel for the characters as they develop throughout the game. And in a franchise known for great stories, Final Fantasy X is one of the best, and it certainly has some of the most dynamic and fleshed out characters in the series.
At its core, Final Fantasy X is a love story, and like half of all good love stories, it ends in tragedy. If you like true love and unfortunate plot twists, then you’ll certainly like this game.
Of course, there’s more to a game than just its story, and Final Fantasy X delivers on those things, too.
The gameplay is as fun as it has ever been, combining a mixture of exploration, treasure hunting, and classic turn based battles. In fact, Final Fantasy X was the last Final Fantasy game to feature the turn based battle system that had been a staple of the series up until that point. That’s a shame too, because it really is a lot of fun. The only downside to it, and probably the reason it was replaced in later installments, is that it slows down the pace of the game considerably. Final Fantasy X, however, did a good job of adding dialogue and story elements into some of the important battles to make them seem more like they were part of a cut scene.
Unfortunately, the voice acting isn’t very good. At the time, voice acting in video games was relatively new, and wasn’t very good no matter what you played. The problem is, this game has a lot of it. Even some of the random characters on the street have voice actors. To be honest, I’m probably making it sound worse than it really is, and it didn’t take me long to get used to it.
The updated graphics are the biggest change to the game. Not only are edges sharper and more defined, but colors are more vibrant and new detail has been added to make the game look more up to date. The thing is, it really doesn’t look up to date. The characters appear a bit like paper cutouts laid on top of the backgrounds. There just ins’t much depth. I’ve seen smartphone games that look better. That being said, Final Fantasy X was released nearly 13 years ago, so I really can’t fault it too much for being old. And to be fair, the HD remaster looks much better than the original did.
The most frustrating thing about the game, and what makes it really show its age is all the loading screens. The areas that a player walks around in are minuscule compared to modern games, and because of this there are loading screens galore. Fortunately, the loading times are fast, usually taking only a couple of seconds, and I stopped noticing them after a while.
The added content to the game isn’t very significant. There are a few new optional, albeit extremely difficult, bosses, a slightly different, optional “expert” leveling-up system, a few new abilities, and a short cinematic sequence that connects X to it’s sequel, X-2 (which has also been remastered and is bundled with X, though I have not played it yet). The new stuff isn’t anything to go crazy over; however, I did really enjoy the new leveling-up system.
Another thing worth mentioning is the music. It’s fantastic! I don’t know what it is about Japanese games, but they always seem to have awesome music, and Final Fantasy has some of the very best of it. The only franchises that I would say has it beat in that regard is Mario and The Legend of Zelda.
Overall, Final Fantasy X HD Remaster is a wonderful gaming experience. Its story has held up very well over the years, though its graphics certainly haven’t. Its old turn based battle system is a lot of fun, and I wish that it would be implemented in some newer games, even if it does slow the flow of the game down a bit. Nevertheless, the things that made this game great back in 2001 make it great today, and though it does feel a little dated, its pros certainly outweigh its cons. If you’ve never played it, you’d be doing yourself a serious disservice by not picking it up. If you have played it, and are a bit of a nostalgia nut like me, you won’t be disappointed. I’ll bet it’ll be almost as good as you remember it.
All in all, I give this game a 8.5 out of 10.
- Fantastic story
- Fun battle system
- Great music
- Lousy voice acting
- Dated graphics
- Lots of loading screens