In terms of gameplay, Final Fantasy X-2 adopts the “active time battle” system that was used on the famous Final Fantasy games from the PSOne. Battles have a faster pace than the traditional turn-based system seen in Final Fantasy X. The battle system is not as fast as the recent Final Fantasy games, but it had a system that made you make decisions quickly before the enemies start attacking you. Also, the dressphere system allowed you to make the characters change into a different class type during battle. Yuna is a “Gunner’ by default, but I can make her a “White Mage” to heal Rikku and Paine if I needed to during a hard boss battle. Allowing you to change class types is awesome and is a system that has now been adopted in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Visually, HD remakes look good but the cutscenes are usually displayed in the old aspect ratio. I remember playing the Splinter Cell HD remake and the cutscenes were still output at 480p. Needless to say, they looked horrible playing on a new HDTV. With Final Fantasy X-2 HD, the cutscenes have been upscaled to HD and they still look as lovely as ever on the PS Vita screen.
In terms of in-game graphics, Final Fantasy X-2 HD is stunning. The level design in this game was downright beautiful back on the PS2 days, but to see them in HD is a sight to see. I still think that the levels in both Final Fantasy X and X-2 are the best looking locations I have ever seen in a video game. Just walking through the peaceful island of Besaid always puts a tear to my eye on how beautiful it looks. Besaid isn’t the only visually stunning place to see as there are a lot more locations that will make your retinas gleam with joy.
If there’s anything bad to say about this re-release, there are a few niggles. The character models look great, but sometimes they lack expressions on their faces. It’s weird how the original PS2 character models are able to show more facial expressions than in this HD re-release. Not to mention the PS Vita version is sold separately from the PS3 version. If you want to play the games on both consoles, you have to shell out some extra money. You can however exchange save files between the two versions if you want to buy both versions.
Another thing that needs to be considered is if it’s worth paying for the game again if you still own the PS2 version. I loved Final Fantasy X-2 and still have my PS2 copy lying around and working. As a hardcore fan, I still loved playing the Vita version with all its new features and HD graphics. However, if you’re not a hardcore fan of the game, you may think it’s a waste of time paying for the game again. There were some moments that I remembered too well and wanted to get through quickly since this is my fourth time playing the game…
In terms of HD remakes, Final Fantasy X-2 HD is right up there as one of the best ones ever made. It features new additions that never made their way outside of Japan and the visual upgrades that have been done is more than just an upscaled PS2 conversion. If you had very fond memories of playing Final Fantasy X-2 on the PS2 (like me), you should definitely pick this game up. One advantage of the PS Vita version is that you can play the game anywhere at any time. This was helpful for me because leveling up can be time consuming and/or annoying if other family members are nagging you to use the TV. All in all, this is a great game that shouldn’t be ignored because of its different style over Final Fantasy X. Deep down, it’s still a fun and exciting game with gorgeous graphics and one of the best soundtracks ever made.Final Fantasy X-2 HD (PS Vita) Review ,