Thursday, 20 March 2014

First Impressions: Final Fantasy X HD (PS3)

FINALLLLY!

I pre-ordered Final Fantasy X HD back in August last year and I've been the same level of excited for that length of time. I've put off replaying my PS2 version of this game for even longer because I was waiting for this game....oh and I did get pretty into Persona, but that's irrelevant!

A little background: I played this game A LOT in high school. As I've said to a few people, it was nearly my life. I had a bustling social life in high school (lol what happened?), don't get me wrong. But most kids my age in high school except for a few really cool people weren't really into JRPGs, so when I wasn't being a raging musical emo, gaming was my quiet little habit and Final Fantasy X, X-2 and the Kingdom Hearts series were my jam. I was very lucky to play Final Fantasy X at all, actually. It was an M15+ in Australia and my Mum did not allow me to play those games until I was 15 years old. Mum however made the exception when I was 13 or 14 because a close family friend of mine had played it and because I probably begged her (Thanks Mum and Cassi who got me into Final Fantasy at all! <3). I played this game so often, my Nanna would often come round and be like 'oh, you're still playing that?' haha. I wanted the celestial weapons, the completed sphere grids, all of it. However, being social at that age, I didn't finish these. But that's okay - I can now do this now....with TROPHIES!

So yes, no regrets and I'm very glad I waited to be honest.

Because I know this game quite well, I noticed the altered faces, bright eyes and colours and HD visuals and tweaks immediately. The colours are something that really pop, making me feel like this game will look incredible too on PS Vita's O-LED screen. Things I really noticed were the orange of Wakka's hair, the blue of Tidus' eyes and the purple of Lulu's lipstick. Also, little things that weren't so noticeable like the detail on Yuna's Obi and the bumps on Blitzballs (which I used to think were water droplets!) are now visable and make each character look very well created and extremely detailed. Most jagged edges are gone although occasionally I see some on the Aeons and the food when Tidus is on the Al Bhed's boat still looks kinda terrible. But, this game is from PS2 times and I'm sure they had better things to remaster than a tray of food.

The faces of the characters are a hit and miss to me. Sometimes, expressions will really stick out and you feel more emotion from the characters. Other times, they seem misplaced or a little distant from what they're actually saying. Tidus' eyes bug me most of the time too - the difference between the light blue in the FMV sequences and the deep, bright blue in the cutscenes is noticeable and sometimes he looks like he's wearing crazy contacts. The lip syncing for cutscenes is still quite terrible as well, but I'm taking it as part of the leftover PS2 charm.

The redone music isn't too shabby. I've noticed little synths and more layers of strings and horns added and most of the tracks are remixed (though I felt like 'Otherworld' was the same...that's okay though, it was still awesome.)

The graphics of the FMV sequences really really good. I would love to play those scenes on a large TV, I truly think they would look brilliant. They also still run seamlessly between regularly cutscenes and this fluidity is felt throughout the whole game so far, even in the field movements.

I'm currently only just on the boat from Besaid to Kilika, but I can say so far I'm enjoying this blast to the past and am intrigued to play the other games on the disc. For anyone who loved the game, I recommend this so far for a little nostalgia and a beautiful story that I continue to enjoy 10 years on.

-Tara
(PSN: guittaraxx)

Ps. I plan to do a review on the Final Fantasy X saga as a whole eventually, so keep an eye out! First I have to finish all the games and review them individually but it is in my mind. :)

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