I Just Realized: It's Impossible to Review Final Fantasy X Now
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it, which happens way more often than you'd like to think), buys the game, and comes to the conclusion that it's just "outdated garbage for aging gamers who can't let go," they're gonna be pissed.
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...