Sunday Meditation: Why You Should Buy FFX HD
The time has finally come for this generation to get an exciting Final Fantasy entry.
Never mind the fact that it is more than 12 years old, there are special reasons to meditate on this HD release. At risk of irritating the community I feel I must mention the epic decline of the franchise of late. After all it is the chief reason that the original fan base is so ramped up for this Tuesday: we want a classic experience. Another reason is that we want this current generation of gamers to see what a real Final Fantasy is like.
There have been some cool JRPGs on PS3 but for all intents and purposes an entire sub-genre just disappeared from the face of the earth after the PS2 sailed into the sunset. Grandia, Legaia, Suikoden, Shadow Hearts, Xenosaga, all gone gone gone. When Final Fantasy XIII did what it did gamers who missed the greats of the last generation or only became serious gamers with the newer generation never got a chance to experience the particular brand of awesomeness that games like these brought.
Of course X-2 is included, which is a decent enough game with an even better battle system but at its heart it is clearly a Square-Enix game where X was a Squaresoft entry. I'm thinking of X-2 as a bonus in any case because going through an HD version of FFX is well worth the $40 cost of admission.
So, why else do we need this infusion of energy from the past? There's always the potential that its success could turn Square-Enix in the right direction at some point. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII continued the sales downfall of the series with VGChartz estimating sales at a little over a million copies across the PS3 and 360. By comparison the original Final Fantasy X sold over 8 million copies on PS2 alone. Granted Lightning Returns' numbers are only after about a month on the shelves but any sane person can tell you that a game like this with its low and mixed review scores isn't going to do much better over its life span.
Which brings me to another point concerning why you should play this game whether you are replaying it, playing it for the first time, or not yet interested. As opposed to the XIII series (and I would even argue the XII entry) all classic Final Fantasy games had a special quality to them that most games lack. They are timeless. The characters, their interactions throughout a twisting, overarching plot with various themes and depth of meaning added up to something special which held as many different meanings as there were gamers playing them. Final Fantasy X is the best example that can be shown of this now because it will have the graphical punch to keep modern gamers happy, enough of the classic gameplay to show people what was thrown away for no reason, and a story that ranks among the best in the franchise.
I know we've gotten used to crazy gamers these days ranting and raving about every little change so it's easy to discount the appeals of old fans but there is a reason that classic Final Fantasy games are considered classic and games like the XIII series never will be as far as any serious critic is concerned. As with Final Fantasy X you can play them over and over, or you can play them 12 years apart and it will mean something new to you every time. Any truly great experience speaks to you in new ways when you re-engage it after more personal growth. This is why I've read Moby Dick six times now and lost track of how many times I've played Final Fantasy VII.
You should get this game because it deserves a chance to speak to you again or for the first time. You should treat yourself to a style of gaming and storytelling that died well before its time. Whether you are a repeat customer or a first timer you should play this because it comes at a time when there is a concerted effort to destroy the kind of depth of feeling and gaming that the classic Final Fantasy series represents. Also, let's face it, this may be your last chance to experience one of these exceptional, truly epic journeys ever again.
3/15/2014 David D. Nelson