Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD

Another post / remaster to cover, but unlike some, we really don’t mind these happening. They bridge a gap between major releases and don’t actually stop progression. Anyway, I digress.

I reviewed the Vita release of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD and pretty much enjoyed the experience, it is always good to go back to a game you played in your younger days and find out it still holds up today. However, I am not going to talk about that today, this is more a story of why I am grateful for the option of another port. If you want to find out what I think of the game click this link!

I am still playing Final Fantasy X on my Vita, I don’t play it for huge chunks of time, but I do like an hour or so every now and again, it is a bit of a safety net of a game for me at the moment. The thing I have to put up with now, as a father of an 8 year old, is everything I get, he wants, or at least shows interest in and this is certainly the case here.

He is mesmerised by the visuals in the cut scenes and wants to play along with me, however he doesn’t have his own Vita and I won’t let him touch mine, it is my precious! So having heard there was to be a PS4 port of the X/X-2 collection, we jumped at the chance to pick it up so we could share the experience properly on the big screen.

There is one thing I love about this port and it is the ability to import my Vita save data, which whilst only being a minor thing, means I can carry on where I left off and despite it not being a new thing, there is always that fear you need to jump through some hoops…I’m looking at you Borderlands: The Handsome Collection! But that isn’t the case here, the process is very user friendly.

Let me get back on point. As a family we rarely watch much TV, mainly because most of it is trash, so we get the stuff we want via Netflix and other such services, but also because we love playing games, so a game that can be very story heavy is a great way for us to sit as a family and enjoy some entertainment. Final Fantasy X/X-2 is a perfect game to allow us to do just that.

Despite firing up my save initially and playing a couple of hours, we decided instead we’d use the family profile on the PS4 and play it through together. Again an hour here, couple of hours there, fitting it in around our other activities (mostly down the ice rink for my son to do ice hockey training).

That’s the thing about the old style Final Fantasy games, you don’t need to dedicate 5-6 hours at a time, every single day to get the most from them, or to play them competently, it is easy to play, leave for a while then go back.

Despite an initial overload for this article, so we know enough had been played to write about it again, it will now be treated like a tradition weekly TV show, we’ll sit down one evening as a family, play for an hour (maybe two) and then move on until the next week. It is just great to be able to share these experiences with the ones that you love.

I am going to recommend this, but with a slight caveat. If you have played and are done with the Vita release, there isn’t really anything to push you to picking it up again, unless you are really sure you want to play it once more on another format. For everyone else, pick this up, enjoy and share the experience.



Bastion – Yay or Nay

I will make no secret of my love for Bastion, I have played and finished it on Xbox Live Arcade, iOS, PC and even on the Chrome store as a browser game. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it and I will return to it many times before I die.

So I am not here to tell you about the game, nor am I going to tell you what you should think about it. You can make your own mind up, try various demos, try it in your browser, wherever.

There are many issues people have with remasters; for some it feels like a pointless cash grab, others see them as harming the production of the next AAA game, others simply don’t like paying for content they already own on another system.

Yet, here is Bastion, a game that has been released on pretty much every system out there, bar the ones owned by Sony. There is no PS3 version of this game, that you’d likely already own, so in all fairness, you shouldn’t expect some kind of free upgrade. But hey, if it was on PS3, you can be sure there’d have been a cross-buy option, which is the case with the PS4 release. You’ll also get the Vita version when that too arrives.

As for the updates, there really are none, it is the exact same game you may have already played, so someone coming in fresh isn’t getting any special treatment and if you decide to leave this release alone, you’re not missing out on anything.

In actual fact, it is only a bump up in resolution that really shows, it looks nicer than on iOS and the Chrome store, but really only marginally better than on XBLA and barely any difference to the PC at all.

Much of that comes down to the art style, it is still just as wonderful and striking as the day it first graced us in 2011 during the XBLA Summer of Arcade. For me it was one of the first games that really showed just how amazing an Indie title can actually look and what can be done when a developer gets to control their own content.

So listen, Bastion isn’t for everyone, there isn’t much I can sell you on if you have finished the game already and I know everyone isn’t the same as me with their love for this great title. But to have it on another platform, where it can potentially find a new audience? That makes this verdict easy.


Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

Part of me wanted to do a full review for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. However in terms of what the games actually are, there is no difference. If you’ve played any of the original releases you’ll know exactly what you think of the games. If you haven’t we have reviews on our very site.

So I decided this was a case of seeing if it was worthwhile buying this new version, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. We’ve already looked at the slightly disappointing special collector’s edition (Clap Trap in a box) with the remote control Clap Trap, for the bewildering £290 pricetag. But not everyone has £300 to throw at such a thing…we’d like to, but we don’t.

The Handsome Collection on its own is a much more palatable £40 RRP and can often be found cheaper if you look around. With that you also get all the DLC that is available which truth be told adds a ton of value and whilst the box claims of ‘OVER £100 of Content’ should probably be taken with a pinch of salt considering the various sales since release, there is no denying that £40 for what is on offer is value for money.

I myself have never completed a Borderlands game to 100%  and I have never really jumped into the DLC, purely because I often don’t have the time, but every now and again I get tempted to jump in. My problem here? I have pretty much retired both my PS3 and 360, meaning I would have had to look at buying on PC for extended play time and needing to start all over again.

Well for me, that kind of is the case, as I have saves all over the place, on a lost 360 profile, PS Vita for one, PS3 for another… My furthest progress was on the 360, so that is now lost and starting over isn’t that big a deal. But there are plenty of people out there who have progressed pretty damned far and the idea of starting again just doesn’t appeal.

Luckily The Handsome Collection allows you to import previous saves, which needs a bit of farting around, but it is possible, also there is no cross-platform importing, which is even more of a pain for those who jumped from 360 to PS4 and vice versa. This is where Diablo III was very impressive, as was GTA V. So it really is a shame that this wasn’t possible here.

The other issue with The Handsome Collection is that the ports themselves aren’t all that great, there are various performance issues that stop them being the definitive versions at this moment in time. The Vita port got a public slaughtering, but it was still so impressive to get Borderlands 2 on to a handheld that performance issues can be forgiven.

But jumping from PS3 and 360 to PS4 and Xbox One should be as big a task, especially when there seems to be no plans to port to PC and it is easy to see why, as those versions are clearly the best still. Which then begs the question… why not port the PC versions? Wasn’t one of the big selling points of the new consoles how much closer to PC infrastructure they were?

The Handsome Collection could have been one of the most impressive remasters so far, because content wise it does feel like the best value for money, but some odd decisions and what feels like second rate ports leave a bad taste in the mouth.