Nintendo is no stranger to sporting Final Fantasy games on their consoles. Heck, Nintendo consoles were the only way to play the games when the series first started. With the release of Final Fantasy VII, though, the main series made a leap to PlayStation that lasted for years. Nintendo still saw a bevy of spinoffs land in their territory from DS tactics games to Wii-exclusive adventure games. However, a long string of modern mainline Final Fantasy games have never seen life on a Nintendo console. Square Enix is starting to change that, though, by dropping almost every Final Fantasy between VII and XII onto the Switch, and their latest effort sees the Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster make its way onto the hybrid Nintendo portable.
Much like with every other Final Fantasy game, this is roughly the millionth time that Final Fantasy X has been re-released. After getting a massive HD overhaul back in 2013 for the PS3, Square Enix has polished and pushed out this collection of Final Fantasy X content onto almost every modern console.
I can’t blame them, though, because it’s a pretty stellar package. You get a high-quality version of Final Fantasy X with new textures, updated models, and a suite of quality-of-life improvements. You also get a similarly touched-up version of Final Fantasy X-2, one of the rare direct sequels in the world of Final Fantasy.
On top of that, though, you also get a few auxiliary bonuses that fans of Final Fantasy X might have never experienced or heard of before. There’s the short film Eternal Calm, for example, which bridges the gap between Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. It focuses on Yuna and her life after the ending of the first game, and the series of events that lead her to rocking a pair of boots and a matching pair of pistols. Eternal Calm isn’t a mindblowing feature-length film on the same scale as Advent Children or Kingsglaive, but it’s a nice little thing that helps tie the two games together a bit more neatly.
You also get access to Final Fantasy X -Wish-, a 30-minute audio drama that was written and recorded just a few years ago for the PS4 release of the Final Fantasy X HD collection. It’s a short new story that takes place after the events of X-2 and should absolutely be avoided at all costs. Any dedicated Final Fantasy X fan will be able to tell you how rough and disrespectful of a story Wish is. It retcons major events and ruins the relationship between Tidus and Yuna. It also ends on a massive open-ended cliffhanger that the writers basically confirmed will never be addressed. Final Fantasy X and X-2 have pretty solid, conclusive endings, so only check out Wish if you want those endings to be absolutely ruined.
Finally, you get access to Final Fantasy X-2 Last Mission, which is maybe one of the wildest things I’ve ever played. This short game takes place a few months after the events of X-2, and sees you once again playing as Yuna, Rikku and Paine. You aren’t engaging in turn-based RPG shenanigans again, though. Instead, you’re climbing a giant tower, mystery dungeon-style, with grid-based movement and randomized item drops. Also, if you die, you lose all of your items and have to start from the beginning.
Yeah, that’s right, way back in 2004 Square Enix was already ahead of the curve on the modern roguelike trend. Sure, that style of game wasn’t unheard of at that point, but it was definitely niche and rarely explored. To see Square Enix repurpose the assets of X-2 into a roguelike mystery dungeon game is wild, but the fact that it’s actually pretty fun and well put-together is even wilder. There are a few issues with it like choppy mo-cap animation during cutscenes and some awkward menu ghosting, but it’s still such a treat to be able to experience this weird time capsule of a game.
And then, obviously, you have the main games, Final Fantasy X and X-2. Whatever your thoughts are on these games, they’ll be the same with this Switch release. Final Fantasy X is a lengthy JRPG epic, and Square’s first push into cinematic tools like voice acting and full 3D environments. It has a fun cast of characters and solid turn-based action, but it can definitely drag a bit. The PC release had booster features like Auto Battle and 2x/4x speed that really helped out, but those features aren’t present in the Switch release at all.
The Switch release has a few other convenient additions that help add to the experience, though. You can choose between using the standard Sphere Grid for guided character development, or an Expert Sphere Grid with a wider variety of options for more experienced players. There are also a handful of touchscreen Quick Menus that let you heal your party or change the animation speed of battle summons on the fly.
Every game in this package is also, top to bottom, beautiful as hell. The graphical quality of these releases is on par with the PS4 version of the HD collection. Models are crisp, the resolution is sharp, and I never experienced a single dip in performance or frame rate. That rings true for portable mode, as well, where the visuals and performance were identical to docked mode. Having a truly un-compromised version of this HD Remaster that can be brought on the go without a single dip in graphical or performance quality is constantly mindblowing and massively appreciated.
The Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster collection is an incredible package, and it comes to the Switch with virtually the same quality and improvements as every other release before it. The lack of speed-up options for battles and no Japanese language audio is a huge blow, but regardless, the ability to have this massive collection of JRPG goodness on the go is a treat that far outweighs those missing features.
A review code was provided by the publisher.
I’m a writer, voice actor, and 3D artist living la vida loca in New York City.
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