Tidus & Yuna Yet Again
A little over a year ago, Square Enix brought out one of the most beloved JRPGs of the sixth console generation, Final Fantasy X and its less successful sequel Final Fantasy X-2, both originally on the PlayStation 2 in 2001 and 2003. It was a way for people without backwards compatible PS3s (and no original game discs) to finally play the games, but now in shiny high definition and widescreen. Now it’s back on the PS4, and while its shinier than ever, it’s still lost some of its lustre.
First off, it does need to be stressed again and again that Final Fantasy X is one of the classic JRPGs of the genre, and anyone that’s looking for a big, sprawling adventure with turn based battles, drama, romance, angst, likable characters and some truly inspired art direction will enjoy this game. Even after 14 years, it holds up. Final Fantasy X-2 was not as critically well received, but it’s got some incredibly solid, hub-based gameplay that stands the test of time, even if the “girl’s night out” vibe of the story didn’t appeal to everyone.
Having said that, this is the exact same HD compilation that came out last year for the PS3, only now it’s CAD$60, if you’re not willing to wait for the inevitable price drop a few months from now. In terms of content, it has everything that the original compilation had, which means you get two massive JRPGs, plus additional “International Edition” content and some story extras like an audio drama, and new cut scenes. So where does the hiked up price point come from?
To be fair, this isn’t a total copy and paste of last year’s PS3 version. Squenix has gone back to the engine and they’ve sharpened the resolution up yet again to a full, vibrant 1080p. The difference this time is, obviously, not as massive as the jump from standard definition aspect ratios and resolution to HD widescreen. You can tell that this is sharper than the PS3 version, but not at a casual glance. Surprisingly, Squenix didn’t opt to bump up the framerate to 60 frames per second, probably due to the fact that the game was never intended to run at that speed, and, being a JRPG, doesn’t actually benefit from that boost. It does however stay at a super solid 30 fps regardless of crazy, 2001 era light and particle effects during big fights. Also included in this PS4 version for the purists that complained last year is an ability to switch between the new arranged soundtrack and the original PS2 soundtrack. You can do this at will any time you feel like it, though it’s not a feature most will toy with on a regular basis. It’s also cross compatible with earlier versions of the game, so you can use cloud saves to carry on playing the game on your PS3 or Vita before returning to the PS4, although that means buying separate versions of the game on those different consoles.
It seems pretty obvious that Squenix is targeting two markets with this compilation; they’re going after “lapsed PS owners” that went with the Xbox 360 in the last generation and missed out on this release last year, who now have a PS4 and would like to play this game again. They’re also going after the early adopter PS4 owners who might have seen the game available for their PS3 last year, but, as with Grand Theft Auto V, decided to hold off, confident that a PS4 port would eventually arrive. That time has now come, and the game is $10 more expensive now that it was during its PS3 debut, with the original PS3 remaster now selling for $20.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your particular JRPG/console owning situation to decide whether this game is for you or not. For $60 you’re getting hundreds of hours of gameplay in a big, well realized world. But it’s an experience that already came out last year and is a lot cheaper if you’ve still got a PS3 kicking around. There’s no denying the quality of FFX, as it’s often hailed by some as the last “good” JRPG Square Enix has made in the last 15 years, but there’s already a much cheaper, slightly blurrier version of this compilation out there on the PS3. If you got it the last time, you don’t have much reason to splurge again.