There have been a lot of games getting the HD treatment recently. None of them however has been as gorgeous as Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster packs two amazing PS2 games, but adds content that was previously only available in Japan. Not to mention the visual upgrades are awe inspiring as the levels and characters look better than they ever appeared before.
First things first, the cutscenes have been upscaled to fit a full HD screen. This unlike other so-called HD remakes where the cutscenes were still added at a standard resolution. Both Final Fantasy X and X-2 had some of the best looking cutscenes I had ever seen. Seeing them again in HD was a very awesome experience. The only downside is that Final Fantasy X's cutscenes cannot be skipped. If you've seen them before, it can be annoying you cannot skip them. Some scenes can be skipped in Final Fantasy X-2 though.
Graphically, both games look great mainly because of the amazingly designed levels. Every level looks different as the world of Spira is set in a time where people lived in a more natural environment. You will see beautiful locations such as Besaid Island, Kilika Island and a lot more. Seeing them for the first time in HD is breathtaking even on the PS Vita version I tested.
In terms of gameplay, both games remain the same like they were in the PS2 originals. Final Fantasy X is the more traditional RPG with its turn-based battle system and each character is only assigned to one class. Not to mention Final Fantasy X is the longer and much harder game to complete.
Final Fantasy X-2 is the more upbeat and happier game in my opinion. You can change class types even during battle by collecting items called dresspheres. It also adopts the active time battle system that were used in Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX. What I liked most about Final Fantasy X-2 is that an airship is available to you from the very start. You could travel to any of the locations at the very beginning of the game as opposed to the very end like in Final Fantasy X.
Apart from looking gorgeous in HD, both games offer some new content that never made its way outside of Japan until now. Final Fantasy X includes a new sphere grid, abilities and new bosses for you to try and take down. Final Fantasy X-2 offers a new mission where you have to kill enemies inside a large tower. There is also a new creature creator that allows you to capture enemies and train them to fight on your side.
There are only minor flaws to Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. I didn't really like the rearranged soundtracks that were made to some of the songs in the game. They sounded more "Hollywood" and less like a video game in my opinion. Also, some of the character models lack emotion in their faces now despite the visual upgrades.
Overall, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is arguably one of the best HD remakes ever made. The gorgeous world of Spira truly shines well when seen in HD for the first time. Not to mention some new content has been added for fans that only played the Western releases of the games. If you are a hardcore Final Fantasy fan and own a PS3 and/or PS Vita, you'll be insane not to pick up this gem of a collection.
Score: 9 out of 10