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I Just Realized: It's Impossible to Review Final Fantasy X Now

How do you review a prettier version of a 12-year-old game? What are the parameters?

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Yeah, I know what you're thinking.

"Of course you can review it. It's just your opinion, anyway."

Okay, first, a professional review is never "just opinion." That's false and always has been. Second, the analysis itself is rife with potential pitfalls: What are the scoring parameters? What are you comparing it to? Are you comparing it to modern games? If so, are you only going to see limitations? At what point does nostalgia start to unwittingly rule your analysis?

It's a minefield, damnit. There doesn't seem to be any good way to produce a proper, accurate review for the freshly released Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster.

Imagine what the uninitiated would say...

"LOL What's that?"

Even with the high-def overhaul, both games in question will appear dated. Firstly, the obvious Japanese influence might turn off a lot of Western gamers these days, simply because they didn't grow up in a world where Japanese culture wasn't prominently displayed in every single game on store shelves. That's problem one.

Problem two is that despite the visual upgrade, modern-day gamers might just see a wall of "old-fashioned" features. The linear nature, the lack of multiplayer, the turn-based mechanic; it all just screams "old" to the youngsters out there (many of whom have been conned into the idea that the turn-based mechanic is inferior).

Sure, you could say it doesn't matter what they think. Just write the review, right? Wrong. A good reviewer does a service to the buying public, and that service is essentially a guide. At the end of reading a well-written review, a consumer should have a better idea as to whether or not to plunk down cash for that product. Hence, if you give a game a 9 and someone sees it (and doesn't actually read it, which happens way more often than you'd like to think), buys the game, and comes to the conclusion that it's just "outdated garbage for aging gamers who can't let go," they're gonna be pissed.

See?

Maybe, in the end, a review score is completely unnecessary.

If you really think about it, the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is for the fans. 99% of the people who buy it have already played one or both of the titles included, and they really don't need a review to tell them what to expect. Yep, prettier versions of games we loved back in the day. What more needs to be said? Are we really going to find some major technical glitches that didn't exist in the PS2 version? Probably not. Does the extra content greatly enhance the experience? Eh, not really.

Maybe I shouldn't be hemming and hawing about this. I get the feeling that despite the anticipation, the FFX/X-2 HD reviews will be some of the least read reviews on the Internet, just because everybody who wants it needs no convincing, and everyone else just isn't interested. They weren't interested back then and they're not interested now. I suppose there's a small group of younger gamers that might want to see what all the hubbub is about, but then we're just back to the original problem: How can you possibly compare these titles to games today?

See? I keep coming back to that problem...

Originally Published Mar. 18th 2014

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.

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Comments
  • 12
    Cortalia 6 months ago
    Contributor
    Being that I don't review squat my opinion may not matter, but I feel that the game isn't a remaster at all. I've played X-2 HD for about 4 hours and was sorely disappointing.

    Why?

    Halo CE: it set the BAR for HD remasters for me, they completely re-did the levels, added in extra flare, effects, sounds, ect to bring the game up to the standards of other games on its re-launch date, without interrupting the game play mechanics of the original. like I said it set the bar.

    Was it all bad.. no, it's still leagues better than the Zone of the Enders Remake, which was pretty much just a up-render, at least SE re-did the textures to make them a bit more plausible, and so on, the game looks nice and the added in features that NA missed out on in the original releases are enough to make it worth the 40 bucks.

    So although agreed, its hard to review a HD remake on technical merits since its a retro fit of outdated graphics, ect but maybe a good place to start would be to compare it to other remakes (less biased than my quick two-fer here) and go from there? How well does the graphics compare to the original?, was anything added or taken away? Have things like frame rate issues been addressed (in the case of ZoE.. the frame rate still continuously lags and the developers did nothing to address bad coding even though the game was obviously moved to a system with way more power and addressing these issues would have made the remake 3 times better than the original)

    Its just an idea mind you.

    And seeming as I named my best friends kid Auron.. my opinion of this game is totally biased.
  • 1
    Darren_1390 6 months ago
    You're right. It IS impossible to review a game this old. Reason being, you can't compare it by today's standards, and you can't compare it to older games because no one is interested. I know I'm just repeating what you said but it's true. I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone even thought it's one of my top 5 games of all time. Unless of course they grew up playing final fantasy's or other similar RPG's at the time and somehow missed this one.

    My main problem is that you can't properly explain to someone why the game is the way it is without confusing them. My partner asked me why I was fighting the same enemies over and over. Why I was running 5 steps and getting into battle. Why the voice acting is so ridiculous at times and why the same battle them played over and over. In her eyes it was repetitive confusing nonsense that only kids should play.

    She doesn't know that was the style of RPG's back then, that it was created by Japanese and that voice acting was a particularly new thing for console games back then. She just compares it to games I play now which is the main reason you can't give this game a score or review by today's standards. As auron would say "It is futile" :)
  • 3
    Ryu Sheng 7 months ago
    Giving games scores is pointless regardless of what they are. And yes, reviews are ALWAYS personal opinion, because it's based on how YOU interpret what you see and hear. Even the the interpretations of how dated games look like is personal interpretation.

    What i would say however is that it's impossible to review X and X2 on the day of it's release. To do a review you have to have completed the game, know it's flaws and form a proper opinion. You can't do that with any game in an hour or so, and definitely not a Final Fantasy game, hell any less than 40 hours of game play is to little time with a FF game to review it.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 7 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    No, it is not always opinion. That's a lie and an insult to professional critics.

    Opinion and personal preference do not dictate quality. Quality is mutually exclusive of opinion. Just because someone may prefer a Big Mac to a fine cut of filet mignon doesn't make the Big Mac a higher-quality piece of meat. Just because someone might prefer the color and shape of a cubic zirconia for whatever reason doesn't mean that stone is superior to diamond.

    Interpretation requires knowledge of objective factors. Anyone can have an opinion on anything. That does NOT mean that anyone can write a review of a music album for Rolling Stone. I can't. I don't know enough about the music industry to do it. I can give you an opinion on the album in question, sure. But I certainly don't have the acquired expertise necessary to do accurate compare-and-contrasts, nor do I have the necessary experience to evaluate the quality overall.

    There are subjective and objective parts to any game. An expert deals with both in a review. If you want to think there's no such thing as experts in various fields, that's your business. But this "oh, it's all just opinion" argument is incredibly insulting to people who actually know what they're talking about and do it for a living.

    I know good food, but I'm not about to say my review of a certain restaurant is on par with the review of a professional critic written in Gourmet magazine. Why? Because I'm not foolish enough - or egotistical enough - to think that.

    And P.S. You NEVER need to play 40 hours of ANY game to write a proper review. That's just plain false.
    Last edited 7 months ago
  • 1
    joe_2556 7 months ago
    To born_naughty, it is a good game if you're looking for a story and you liked your pokemon games.
  • 13
    John Smithu 7 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    I was a big fan of X and X-2, I've played through both twice. I think what it really comes down to in buying this remake is:

    1) Do you want to play it on handheld, or on a current gen console?
    2) Do you want to play the International Version content, which has never been seen in North America?
    3) Do you want to experience sharper graphics and re-recorded audio, as well as bonus storyline content that was added specifically for this remaster?
    4) Have you never played a Final Fantasy game?

    Even though it's 10 years old, this Final Fantasy was in my opinion the last of the greats. It should be appreciated like a fine wine of a video game and not gobbled down like CoD title.
  • 1
    FF_Player 7 months ago
    Edit: Removed double post
    Last edited 7 months ago
  • 1
    born_naughty 7 months ago
    Eum... I'm one of those 1% I guess. Because I have never played a FF game ever. And I keep reading how FF X is one of the best. So I thought this would be a good game to start with. I've read A LOT of reviews about it. Only one of which seems to talk about how dated the game really is. And I still can't take a decision if I should buy it or not.
    I bought the HD remake of Kingdom hearts in the same way and hated it. So I'm afraid this will do the same.
    Oh, if it helps you're analysis at all, I'm 26yo.
  • 1
    FF_Player 7 months ago
    Well, it matters on your preference. I grew up with all the Final Fantasy's and can see the differences in each one, i can say FF6, FF7, and FFX was probably the best of all time (only my opinion though). The storyline to this is pretty linear until later in the game, but as of bringing something different to the jRPG series, I think this one ranked the 2nd best for leveling up your characters with the Sphere Grid (FF7 was my favorite with materia), plus all of your characters are completely different from each other (except for one).

    It is a turn based game but are able to swap characters during battle (unless there are only 3 or less in your party at the time). I really enjoyed the sidequests and grinding for the ultimate weapons (except the lightning one... you don't want to know), and blitzball was pretty fun too.

    If you want to see one of the best stories in the FF series, I would say most definitely pick this one up, just remember though, this is a remaster so the graphics aren't super 1080 quality.

    Hope this helps (PS - I have not played FFX-2 yet so I can't speak for that one)
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 7 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    "And I still can't take a decision if I should buy it or not."

    Exactly, precisely my point. :)