FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD Remaster for Nintendo Switch: Everything you need to know

Square Enix and Nintendo are teaming up to bring some of the best Final Fantasy games to Nintendo Switch. Those games are Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, excellent PS2 originals that get along even better with updated visuals and content in 2019. Wondering what the games are or what the remasters will have in store for you? The stuff you need to read is straight ahead.

What is Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster?

By the height of the original PlayStation's popularity, the Final Fantasy franchise had grown into one of the most successful RPG franchises ever. You'd expect momentum to slow down heading into a new console generation, but Square Enix stepped up to the plate with a really strong first entry for the PlayStation 2.

That game was Final Fantasy X, an all-new RPG adventure with an engaging story, memorable characters, new skills and skill trees, and the same turn-based gameplay we'd come to love from the series to that point.

We also got a follow-up in Final Fantasy X-2. A solid sequel to the original, X-2 built on that same foundation but changed things up by making the playable cast mostly comprised of females. The skill trees got revamped with an accessory system that changed your capabilities and strength depending on what clothes your characters had on.

Despite Final Fantasy X and X-2 launching pretty early into the PlayStation 2's life cycle, the game was also visually appealing. They weren't the most graphically intense games we'd seen at the time, but Square Enix's art direction gave it a certain charm that makes you forget all about the polygon count.

The games are being remastered for a Nintendo Switch release now, so a whole new generation of gamers can see what the last pure turn-based Final Fantasy RPGs are all about.

The Story Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Final Fantasy X and X-2 featured original stories that followed the classic Square Enix formula. The planet Spira is threatened by a monster with tremendous power named Sin.

In order to stop Sin's rampage, a young Summoner named Yuna must undertake a pilgrimage to perform a ritual and quiet its attacks. To protect her on her long, dangerous journey, a group of guardians joins her, including the game's main character Tidus. At the start of the game, Tidus is actually a young sports player existing in what seems to be a different world or time entirely. But when a devastating event shakes his world, he is transported far into the future, where he meets Yuna, joins her group, and begins to learn about the connections between the event that took him out of his world and the events rocking the world of Yuna and her friends.

Final Fantasy X-2 continues the story two years after the events of the first game. This time, still on the planet Spira, you're playing as Yuna as she reckons with the events at the end of the first game and undertakes a new set of challenges. Unlike the first game which featured a mix of male and female main cast members, Final Fantasy X-2's main cast is almost entirely female.


Up until the PS2 era, Final Fantasy games were traditionally turn-based. Final Fantasy X opted to utilize that gameplay model. Some people criticized the company at the time for lack of innovation on that front, but it being the first Final Fantasy game for the new generation, it stands to reason that Square Enix wanted to play it safe.

There's nothing complicated about it: characters take turn dishing out attacks to try and deplete their opponents' health bars to zero. Mana dictates what you can and can't cast. You'll have multiple spells, summons, and attacks at your disposal, and some enemies will require different tactics to defeat.

One of the main mechanics you'll need to make frequent use of in Final Fantasy X is the ability to swap out party members during battles. Because different characters have different kinds of abilities that may do more damage to certain kinds of enemies, you'll need to know what you're up against and who is the best choice for the fight. Some bosses even have multiple phases where you'll need one character for one segment, then have to swap to another to do damage to something else. There's a lot of strategy involved, and you'll want to know your party well.

To improve your characters' skills, you'll use the Sphere Grid, where you gain points to allocate with each level up. You'll follow a fairly set path down the Sphere Grid at first, improving a character's skills in a predictable way, but the further in you get the more often you'll have to make choices about how to improve your characters, allowing for some level of customization.

Strangely enough, this changed in X-2 to a more action-oriented battle system where you can disrupt your opponents' attacks at any time and even execute multiple consecutive attacks. This was called the Active Time Battle (ATB) system and it added another layer of strategy and debt to the gameplay loop.

ATB was governed by a timer that would deplete faster as you dish out the hurt. This system was first used in Final Fantasy 4 and was later improved with the launch of Final Fantasy 12.

What's new in the remastered versions?

As you'd expect, the games have been remastered specifically for the Nintendo Switch. You'll have updated textures and shading, improved lighting, and better aliasing. It really is a nice sizable uptick in graphical quality and it should look great for a near 20-year-long title.

As far as content is concerned, the remasters will have a bit of added oomph over the originals. Final Fantasy X will have an upgraded Expert Sphere Grid that'll let you make your characters even stronger, all for the sake of taking on some extra optional end-game bosses, adding even more replayability than the original already had.

In X-2, you'll get new clothing and accessories for upgrading your character. It also comes with the Creature Creator system that allows you to capture some of the monsters you defeat. They'll passively fight alongside you, and you can train them up with practice battles. The most interesting addition, though, is the Last Mission, which is an extra dungeon that's entirely procedurally generated. It's almost a mini roguelike that has you moving through different areas and taking on tougher and tougher enemies.

Square Enix also sought to redo over 60 tracks for Final Fantasy X, though X-2 will have its original score. A movie named Eternal Calm shows what happened in the story during the time between the two releases. Finally, the company created a special audio-only story called Final Fantasy X: Will that takes place two years after the events in X-2. You can only hear it by viewing the end credits, giving you more incentive to complete the game if the prospect of a quality remaster wasn't enough.

When can you play it?

The Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is out now on the Nintendo Switch and costs $50. Will you be revisiting the beautiful world of Spira?

Updated April 2019: Added in more details about the story and gameplay.

Quentyn Kennemer