Final Fantasy X HD Remaster (Vita) out now. Impressions/genuine screenshots!

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Posted by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -

FFXHD/FFX-2HD are now out in Japan. I opted for the Vita version. I've played around 4 hours. Just made my way through the jungle that separates Kilika from the the nearby shrine.

I was a little worried about the Vita version as SE has been very tight lipped about it (at times making us even question it still existed). After playing for a few hours I can't say that it is perfect, but what I've played shows mostly good news: this is a competent higher resolution conversation of the PS2 game with some sensible design choices having been made along the way and a few niggling issues.

I'm going to show off some screen from the game along with some interesting points I noticed whilst playing.

Launcher Menu

This is the first thing you see upon starting FFXHD: the dedicated launcher menu from which you can select FFXHD, The Eternal Calm bonus goodies and other bonus extras. You can also check your game saves from here without booting up the game itself. There is no option to get back into the launcher from the game but you can jump back at any time by pressing L+R+Start.

CG Screenshots

These are captured directly from the Vita and should give you some idea of what the CG looks like. There doesn't seem to be any noticeable compression artifacts from what I can tell.

What is also noteworthy is that transition between in-game and CG is really smooth (as is CG playback). There is little in the way of awkward pauses and unlike the PS2 you won't hear your disk drive whirring into action to telegraph a CG sequence.

Tidus Crying Face

Auron pose

Auron pose close-up

Dark Colours Test

Light Colours Test

GRAPHICS (FIDELITY)

The quality of the conversion here is better than that of the MGS HD Collection. Characters exhibit fewer jaggies upon closer examination and even scenes that zoom out on architecture hold up quite well.

Zanarkand Skyscape

The character models in this HD remaster version also exhibit extra details not present in the PS2 version such as the leather effect on Tidus's not-quite-overalls. These effects are often cut from Vita ports (the leather/silk textures in games like Hatsune Miku/DOA5+) but are present and well here.

Smell that leather

The game also appears not to have taken any shortcuts with shadows. All characters (including NPCs) exhibit correctly shaped shadows. There is no pixelation or flickering readily apparent in the shadows either.

Blitzball's cast shadows:CONFIRMED

The same goes for enemies big and small.

However some of the graphical limitations from the PS2 version are also apparent here. In the PS2 version the VFX layer used for item/spell effects was the same one used for some of the environmental effects. Long story short sometimes environmental effects disappear for a split second whilst the item/spell effect animates. So far I've only noticed this in underwater segments of the game where the water shimmer will disappear for a split second and making the scene look flat and less convincing for little while.

Also almost none of the objects in the world that look like they should be light sources actually illuminate characters as they pass-by (though baked environmental shadows shade correctly). I can't remember if this was the case with the PS2 version or not (and I don't know if the PS3 version includes this). But something to keep in mind.

Generally speaking the game looks clean, sharp and colourful.

With the exception perhaps of one in-game location I've taken to calling 'Shimmering Hill':

Shimmering Hill

The lack of texture filtering on this scene in the PS2 version made it easily the ugliest spot in the entire game. The shimmering effect is still in the Vita HD version but the smaller screen makes it a little harder to make out.

The pre-rendered sequences in the game also look a little flat (though that was always the case) and not 100% pin-sharp but they don't appear to be a blurry mess either.

Don't go outdoors...it be three-dimensional out there:

PERFORMANCE

MGSHD was an interesting collection in that it improved the graphics and framerate but the loading times actually increased over the original game (which was near load-less).

FFXHD performs well on the Vita for the most part. The game maintains a solid 30 FPS almost all the time and when coupled with the smooth animations and pretty colours it looks great in motion...99% of the time.

Occasionally the game will hiccup just for a split second whilst it does something new. Sometimes it will be the way 'screen-crack' animation before battles appears to be a little rougher than normal. Once I got a really minor snag when I attempted to summon Valefore. There really isn't any rhyme or reason to it; it happened once under conditions x and I simply couldn't replicate it.

The frame-rate is mostly a smooth 30 but in one scene where there were a lot of NPCs on screen (the scene where Yuna does her first summoning) the game chugged, only to go right back again to a smooth 30 during a close-angle when fewer NPCs were around (and then back to chugging again for a second when it returned to a wide-angle with all the NPCs). I've not seen that happen in any other scene so far and nothing like that during exploration or battle. If you are worried about it being a Jak Trilogy all over again though you can put your fears to rest.

The load times are also universally better than the PS2 version (battle-to-field/indoor-to-outdoor/cutscene-game) and actually some of the snappiest loading I've seen on the system. Even loading and saving save games is pretty much instant.

There is just...one minor grievance. This thing:

The thing I was am grieving over:

This moving loading screen animation is new to this version of FFX. This animation will appear seemingly at random during scene transitions or when moving between places (never during the field/battle transition). Some of the loads are so fast you'll only see this thing flash up for a split-second and then you are loaded into the next part...making you doubt if you saw it at all. At other times the animating icon will appear during the entirety of the load and at other times it simply won't appear at all and you'll get a graceful black fade-out instead. You can sometimes even pass back and forth between the same doorway having it only appear sometimes but not at others. It is really random. Given how fast the load times are I am not sure why they just didn't stick to a simple (and consistent) fade to black.

SOUND

FFXHD is based on the International version of FFX (complete with the advanced sphere grid) but has had the Japanese voices added back in. There is no option to change the text or voice language for the JP release of FFXHD. The game is around 3600MB so maybe they felt they couldn't cram in dual-audio. That also means the game has the same uneven presentation as the original, where NPCs sometimes voice but sometimes don't. It would have been nice to see NPCs get voices added at the very least. The English release will likely only have English (unless SE have some DLC planned).

The game also has a reworked soundtrack (with no option for the original) which uses real instruments. It's a mixed bunch but they tend to evoke the right emotions. Parts of the game that didn't hit me the first time I played them (the gunner begging Yuna to allow him to protect Kilika) definitely got me this time around.

There are no options to alter the balance between SE/BGM/Voice but the game seems to have done a good job of balancing them anyway.

Sound effect quality is also mostly good. Even in stereo through headphones it is possible to hear from which direction the deep humming of the podiums in the 'trials' is coming from. Attacks hits such as Tidus's sword attack sounds as convincingly slicey as Yuna's staff swing sounds whimpy. The only sound effect that sounds odd to me so far is the sound of picking up spheres during trials; they make a sound that is a little too high pitched and I detected a bit of cracking.

There is one pretty big fault with the sound though; lip synching. It appears the voice audio and lip synching are ever so slightly out of sync (maybe by a 1/5 of a second with the lip synching animation being the one in the lead and the voice audio trailing behind). It's pretty distracting. This isn't the first game I've experienced this either (Time Travellers) but given no one else has said anything so I'm inclined to believe this is a quirk of playing the game off a memory card (IIRC Vita memory cards read/write is slower than a Vita game card). I hope that a patch is released for this. It does make me worry a bit about the digital only FFX-2HD Vita release for the English speaking markets though. Get it sorted SE!

GAMEPLAY

It's mostly the same...well, mostly. So it is a shame that there is no option to disable or skip tutorials (come to think of it you can't skip cutscenes either. Don't worry, you'll beat Yunalesca first time...probably).

The biggest change is the 'swipe menu'. It hides off the left side of the screen. Swipe the touch screen right and you pull it out. Swipe left and it slides back out of view.

SWIPE MENU

You can summon this menu in the field:

When used in the field you get two options which allow you to insta-heal your entire party in an automated way (removing the bureaucracy of post-battle healing). You can select to heal using:

1. Healing magic: The game attempts to heal everyone whilst trying to keep from wasting MP.

2. Items: the game prioritises using low quality healing items (potions over hi-potions for example).

After you tap the icon you get a text box in the middle of the screen saying who did the healing (and the MP cost to them) or the items used.

You can also summon this menu mid-battle (screen below) but here it does something different; it lets you toggle between long/short summon animations mid-battle (no skip option unfortunately):

BATTLE UI

My favourite part of this conversion has to be the battle UI. Many Vita games simply shrink down the UIs of their console counterparts 1:1 with no regard for legibility. FFXHD Vita does not make this mistake. The Vita game has a jumbo-sized UI that makes everything easily readable without cluttering things too much.

The only gripe I have with the battle UI is that there is a split-second period between moving the cursor between menu items that makes it harder to quickly move through lists. This is only in the battle UI and nowhere else (and doesn't appear to be caused by frame issues). Weird. At the moment it isn't a big deal as I don't have many things to choose from but later on in the game it could be a pain.

The rest of the game UI is not quite as jumbo sized. But given that FFX is not text heavy it isn't as big a deal as it could have been (and the UI isn't super tiny either). You can see the examples of the UI here:

Party Menu

Pressing Triangle calls/dismisses the party menu smoothly. It doesn't feel like the game is doing something heavy to get the menu to open at all. It's strange that this particular part of the UI is so plucky when the battle UI isn't.

Sphere Grid

Sphere Grid zoomed-out

Well, those are my impressions so far. If SE can get the lip-synch issue sorted and give us an option to banish the loading-animation I'd say this would be a pretty close to perfect.

#1 Posted by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -

Looks like GS's picture posting has changed a bit. I've fixed the pictures now.

#2 Edited by Netret0120 (2086 posts) -

This has just gotten me even more hyped for this game:-) I loved it on PS2 but it has been years since i last played it.

I have a few questions.

1. Do you have a PS3 copy too? If so, how does cross-gaming work?

2. What is in the bonus stuff?

#3 Edited by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -

@Netret0120:

1. I don't have the PS3 copy but from playing around with the Vita game and looking at the manual it looks like you simply choose 'Data Transfer' (this option appears below New Game/Load on the title screen). You then choose the save game you want to upload to the cloud. Then you log onto your PS3 on the same SEN account, start the game there and choose Data Transfer and download the save you put on the cloud:

Console <> Cloud <> Console

If it is the same as Sen no Kiseki you won't need PS+ to take advantage of this but you will need internet access and for PSN to be up and running normally (sadly no data transfer by cable like MGS:HD).

2.The Eternal Calm is a cutscene set 2 years after FFX and told from Yuna's perspective. The Bonus/Credits is the credits for FFX/X-2HD that has a narration played over it (from Tidus's perspective). This too is set 2 years after FFX.

I don't know how long each one is as I've not sat down and watched them.

#4 Posted by blamix99 (1830 posts) -

i'm getting it for my VITA

#5 Posted by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

thanks for the detailed impressions. god, it was like SE was hiding something. in the pre-release media, they only showed screenshots and video of out of engine cutscenes and some of those canned in-engine ones. i half expected it to look like sh*t but it sounds like a pretty solid port.

#6 Posted by touchscreenpad (220 posts) -

I kinda feel nostalgic seeing this. Hahaha...

#7 Posted by CarnageHeart (18316 posts) -

I loved almost everything about FFX. I even enjoyed FFX2 (it was more than a little loopy, but I enjoyed the return of the a Jobs system and the nonlinearity) so I'm going to get the Vita versions when they hit the US.

#8 Edited by BranKetra (48462 posts) -

Good impressions. I will be buying this remaster for the PlayStation 3.

#9 Posted by ShepardCommandr (2581 posts) -

You can use the touchsreen in the menus and the battlescreen,right? Otherwise the vita version is pointless.

#10 Posted by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -

@ShepardCommandr: You can't use the touchscreen for menu navigation. The UI has been made big enough to be handheld friendly, but it isn't quite big enough to be touch friendly (with the exception of the swipe menu which is both touch sized/accessible).

Changing topics; I'm not around 8 hours in (just after the Blitzball sequences) and I've not seen any other framerate dips like the kind in the first summoning.

I did encounter one part where one line of Lulu's dialogue didn't play. This didn't happen upon reloading the game. I'm guessing tiny bugs like this will be sorted soon.

I mentioned that during the game the regular UI has been shrunken down from the TV UI (with exceptions made for battle) and that this isn't a big deal because FFX isn't text heavy. So far with the exception of the Blitzball tutorial (the only text heavy part of the game so far) this has been true.

I've also found the game to be quite handheld friendly (which was pretty much the only thing I didn't like about P4G). I'm not sure if there are more save checks during the course of the story than there were in the original but it seems between save points and automated save checks you are never more than 5-10 minutes away from the next save. Coupled that with the speedy loads and it makes for a good handheld friendly game.

#11 Posted by Netret0120 (2086 posts) -

Can you speak and read japanese?

The frequent save points is beautiful to hear about because if i remember in the PS2 version, you had to play the game for 30mins-1hr before you could save.

I hope they keep it this way for the PS3 version.

#12 Posted by Netret0120 (2086 posts) -

Can you speak and read japanese?

The frequent save points is beautiful to hear about because if i remember in the PS2 version, you had to play the game for 30mins-1hr before you could save.

I hope they keep it this way for the PS3 version.

#13 Edited by Mastone123 (8 posts) -

LOL I loved this game, I even made a 3D sculpture of Auron, since it was my favorite characters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmgt3Bl44jI

stilll have nightmares about wobbly bobble chocobo race though :P

#15 Edited by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -

Can you speak and read japanese?

Yeah I do. Look over my blog and reviews because I run a lot of stuff on import games there.

#16 Edited by PyratRum (561 posts) -

I'll be buying this in hopes that SE will do a FFXII IZJS HD in the near future which they have already considered if FFX HD sells well.

I fucking hate FFX.

#17 Edited by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -

UPDATE: Reporting in after 30 hours

I'm now 30 hours into the game (just past the Gagazet Plains)

Framerate update: In almost any sequence where NPCs gather in bulk (normally just before a cutscene) the framerate drops to the 20s. This is present in many towns in the game (though revisiting them when there are fewer NPCs later on did get the framerate back up to 30 again). I also experienced this in some odd places such as the bridge near the farplane in Guadosalam, Seymours' Quarters and the shop in the middle of the Calm Plains (though the plains themselves are fine). Nothing quite as bad as the sub-20 frame chugging during the first summoning at Besaid.

So far the framerate in battle and field exploration is A-okay though. It's not a Jak level travesty by any means. Hopefully most of the frame issues can be patched out.

Graphics Consistency: Other things that have bothered me is that the presentation in the game is inconsistent. In the original FFX there were 3 types of character models (field, battle, cutscene), whereas in the HD version there are only 2 (field/battle and cutscene). The problem is the game mixes and matches them; sometimes you will have one frame in a cutscene with character models of two different qualities standing right next to each other. In another scene, hilariously enough, I found that the game would alternate back and forther between low-poly fish-eyes Rikku and high-poly green eyes Rikku everytime the camera switched back to her...well, to its credit the game is impressive when it comes to loading different character models in and out but a bit of consistency would be nice here.

#18 Posted by Netret0120 (2086 posts) -

Would you say the graphics consistency is a game breaker? I wouldn't mind it happening once or twice but from what i've read it happens often and that could take away from the emotional moments eg: Entering Besaid.

#19 Posted by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -

@Netret0120: From what I can tell the inconsistency in graphics was always the case with FFX. It's just that between the low resolution of our CRTs and the distance from the TV we probably didn't notice it quite as much back then. This is one of those things that HD'ing a game will shine a spotlight on.

On emotions: Replaying FFX makes me acutely aware of how ruthlessly efficient this game is at playing your emotions. When it aims to make you laugh it will make you laugh, when it aims to make you choke up it will hit dead on target; resistance is futile. In fact the game is hitting me harder now than it did 10 years ago (though I think the high quality of the Japanese voice work might have something to do with that) even with lip-synching issues and visual inconsistency.

The moment when Tidus ends up at Besaid and finds something he finally recognises in Spira (Blitzball) is one that is empathetically joyous.

I think where the difference in visuals hits hardest is with Yuna/Rikku as they have the greatest disparity between their high/low poly models (they look like different people) whereas most of the other characters look more or less the same even when they've been shaved of a few polys.

#20 Posted by klonoafanboy122 (203 posts) -

i never saw the apeal in ff i dunno why

ill just stick with persona 4 golden thank you ^^

#21 Edited by benleslie5 (7824 posts) -

I loved Final Fantasy X back on the PS2, I would consider picking this up for the Vita more then the PS3 version mainly because I'm out and about most of the time during the week

#22 Edited by syztem (7703 posts) -

Playing through the English version of this is going to show people how far dubbing has come in the last 13 years.

You thought Tidus was bad in 2001...

#23 Posted by Mr-Vamps (124 posts) -

Not a fan of Final Fantasy X. I always thought it felt more like a film than an actual game.

I am tempted to buy it though because it can sit in my trove of games and maybe one day I'll enjoy it but not anytime soon.

#24 Posted by Netret0120 (2086 posts) -

Thanks for the updates. Keep us posted especially on the dark aeons and anything new you notice.

#25 Posted by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -

Okay. Completed the game on the advanced Sphere Grid (45 hours). I reckon most people can do the game in 40 hours though if they remember the game well enough to know which skills are useful and think ahead. My grinding method was also highly inefficient (I just did a lap around the world looking for things and then a final run through the last dungeon). The game is probably possible grind-free though if you know what you are doing.

After completing the game I took at look at both of the extras.

Extra 1: The Eternal Calm

This is a cutscene set 2 years after FFX (around 10-ish minutes long or so it felt). It is told from Yuna's perspective and details the events between FFX/FFX-2. What bothered me a little watching this was that the voice actors are ever so slightly out of character; like they are imitating their characters rather than being their life-blood. It stands out quite a lot after having just spent 40+ hours with the characters throughout the main story. I guess returning to a role they haven't' done for a decade isn't an easy thing for any voice actor to do.

Extra 2: Ending Credits Audio

This is an audio drama that plays over the HD edition ending credits. Subtitles appear on the bottom of the screen and the top of the screen displays the credits as well as various bits of production art from FFX/X-2 development. The story is set 3 years after FFX (and also after FFX-2 by extension). It's about 20 minutes (ish?) long and sets up what could be FFX-3.

The voice acting here has the same 'out of character' feel as The Eternal Calm but it isn't as big a deal here because the characters would be older than they were in FFX-2 and could be forgiven for sounding different.

I said earlier that this audio drama was told from the perspective of Tidus...which isn't entirely true. For a breakdown of what happens click for spoilers.

-The story is told from the perspective of Chuami (17) and her childhood friend Kurugum.

-Chuami and Kurugum work for a kind of committee that oversees various matters in Spira. Especially those related to the paranormal. Something is going down that the committee wants to bring to ex-summoner Yuna's attention.

-Before leaving for Besaid, Chuami and Kurugum stop by the Blitzball stadium in Bebel to see the much respected Blitzball star Tidus, (called in name). Especially respected as he was one of the guardians who aided Summoner Yuna in defeating Sin. Chuami is unimpressed by Tidus, noting he appears injured. Kurugum on the other hand is taken in; he is an ex-summoner himself who drifted to the council after the Fayth were wiped out (making summoning kind of...impossible) and has the utmost respect for Yuna and her guardians.

-Chuami remarks bitterly that Tidus must be among those that knew her father.

-Chuami and Kurugum make their way to Besaid Island where they meet with Wakka and the Lulu (who is now Village Chief).

-Lulu and Wakka refuse to let the two meet with Yuna as being famous Yuna is inundated with visitors. But the persistence of the two wins out and Wakka lets them meet with Yuna who is praying at the Besaid Cloister of Trials.

-Wakka guides the two to the Cloister and is asked by Chuami (who is exceptionally antagonistic towards Wakka and Yuna) about the new religion of 'Yevon-ers'.

-Wakka explains that many of the teachings of Yevon were actually worth following and so many people continue to follow this modified version of Yevon (one of the many new religions and movements that sprung up to replace the void left after the collapse of Yevon).

-Chuami is incensed by Wakka's explanation. She looks down on those who simply shelter themselves in prayer (like Yuna). In her monologue it is revealed that her contempt for Yevoners came about because her sole parent (her mother) was killed by a Yevoner-hunter for sympathising with the Yevoner cause. "If there were no Yevoners there wouldn't have been any Yevoner-hunters and she wouldn't have been killed" she seethes.

-Chuami and Kurugum meet up with summoner Yuna who isn't that interested in seeing them. She asks them to leave the item they've brought with them and return. Kurugum and Chuami twist Yuna's arm into viewing the sphere they've brought with them.

-The sphere shows two Shupaf (a male and female). This is significant because the female of the pair was confirmed to have been killed by Sin. The only explanation could be if someone had summoned the Shupaf back into existence (much in the way Seymour and Jyscal were reanimated). Yuna understand's the severity of the situation but is reluctant to intervene.

-Chuami remembers that Tidus (who is seeing Yuna) is injured and attempts to rope Yuna to accompany them to Bebel to meet the council by getting her to worry about Tidus. Yuna agrees to accompany them to Bebel.

-Before leaving Lulu overhears Chuami talking about her father; Auron. Lulu calls BS on this being true as they've had false relatives turning up on their doorstep for months now. Chuami insists it is the truth even though she has no memory of actually meeting her father (though her mother would often talk of him).

-Yuna and co make their way to the Shupaf area which is behaving similarly to the Farplane. They see a father and daughter meet with the projection of the departed mother of the family. But unlike farplane projections which are created from the feelings/memories of the viewer, this projection talks and appears to possess self-awareness. This is extremely alarming to all those around and again strengthens Yuna's resolve as she's seen reanimation like this before...and it normally doesn't lead to good things.

-Yuna meets with Tidus at Bebel (Chuami and Kurugum eavesdrop on them). Yuna breaks up with Tidus, telling him there is someone else (probably to distance herself from him to protect him).

-Tidus, bewildered and confused goes to Besaid to find out who this 'someone else' is and is sternly admonished by Lulu who tells him to get his shit together and go after Yuna.

-Now the big bit: the reanimation phenomenon that is happening results in a nightmare scenario: Sin itself is reanimated. Someone, somewhere desperately wanted to bring Sin back and that seems to have led not only to a projection of Sin, but an entire reanimation. The people of Spira look to Yuna to defeat Sin once again and Yuna pledges to do so...quite how she will manage that now that the Fayth and the Final Aeon no longer exist is something that worries those closest to Yuna. Nonetheless Yuna is resolute: she will defeat Sin.

// End

#26 Edited by I-AM-N00B (410 posts) -

Havent played it, as I didn't used to be interested at all in RPGS, but for a PS2 gen game it looks quite nice!

#27 Edited by Bigboi500 (29639 posts) -
#28 Posted by pjj2005 (13 posts) -

That's the same video as the ps2 and ps3 comparison so I'm guessing it's fake

#29 Edited by Articuno76 (18777 posts) -
@pjj2005 said:

That's the same video as the ps2 and ps3 comparison so I'm guessing it's fake

I think it's accurate. It's hard to tell but the character models on both sides of the screen appear to be the higher detail HD versions (the leather details in Tidus's overalls for example looks to me like it is the HD version).

I'm surprised someone bumped this but I'll take the chance to link my reviews on the Vita versions of the game since so many outlets out there aren't doing the Vita versions justice:

Final Fantasy X HD Remaster (Vita) Review

Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster (Vita) Review

#30 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18420 posts) -

Why would I want to see Tidus in HD?