Final Fantasy VIII Remastered – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-based action-adventure RPG
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: Xbox One

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: It's one of the best Final Fantasy games around
Bad: Really meager remaster
User Score
8.8
(5 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.8/10 (5 votes cast)

With a lot of people waiting for the full remake of Final Fantasy VII, it probably felt like those preferring VIII were being left behind. Especially with all the crazy new visuals and gameplay that fully overhaul VII, VIII maybe just needed something. Anything at all would be nice, right? Well, in comes Final Fantasy VIII Remastered. Which is nice. But don’t expect a complete overhaul.

Story

A lot of people have some form of memories of some part of the Final Fantasy series just being very good. In VIII, this was mainly because of the crazy story that unfolded. So without too many spoilers, you are playing as Squall Lionheart, or ”blank” Lionheart as you fill in a name of your own choosing. So people can go crazy with their own name or stupid, immature names.

Anyway, Booty Lionheart is a student of some extreme elite military mercenary force. Once he is graduated he will be ranked as a ”SeeD”, and dispatched on missions all over the place. His garden, which is what the giant and possibly floating SeeD schools are called, is basically his home with friends that are like family. Even though he seems quite arrogant, he learns to develop and express himself more as the game goes along. The story is renowned for its crazy, intense plot twists and events, as well as hiding a beautiful tale of teenage love.

Graphics

The graphics are pretty much everything that the ”remastered” in the title is about. But how right is it to give it such a title? Two things happened. One, the most important characters got a higher resolution, allowing you to actually see them a bit more detailed with eyes that aren’t pixels. Two, the cutscenes got rendered in a higher resolution as well, making them more enjoyable. But that’s it. Yes, the original graphics are cool as well, and yes, the ads for the game claim there are some new ”lazy” options a.k.a. instant cheats to make combat and what not easy, as well as having trophies/achievements now. But there was already a PC release in 2013 that also had these options. And besides the main characters being in higher resolutions, some others are still in their blurry, originally pixelated state. It just makes the game feel lazy and somewhat of a desperate attempt to fill up the old money tank.

Sound

Final Fantasy VIII had an amazing soundtrack, and nothing has changed about that. It brought forth many iconic themes and songs. From the battle theme to the popular ”Eyes on me”, which is kind of the love song that represents the game, nothing has changed about any of it. The characters still have no voices, and any sound effects are triggering some nostalgia, like Chocobos and the gunblade (the weapon used by the main character which is part sword and part revolver) as it shoots.

Gameplay

If you ever played one of the earlier Final Fantasy games, you know that turn-based combat adventure RPGs like these have a very original and game-defining system. Basically you are either on an adventure by following the story, or free-roaming to explore the world map and creating your own adventure (before you continue the story). During this adventure, which is a long one with many options,  you will encounter many foes and fight them accordingly. This is where the ”game-defining mechanics” kick in.

First of all, there’s a bar that fills up over time for each character on the battlefield. Your allies’ bars are visible, the enemies aren’t. When the bar is full, a character can choose an action while the other bars keep on loading. This system forces you to react faster and faster as the timers are literally still running as you make your choice. In more traditional games with similar systems, you can normally pick something like ”attack”, ”defend”, or ”magic”. In Final Fantasy VIII this concept is a bit overhauled by allowing you to learn new skills depending on which GFs you linked to yourself.

A GF is some kind of giant Pokémon in a way; a Guardian Force. These are very powerful beings that you can summon during a fight to wreak havoc on your enemies. But you have to link, or junction them to the character you want to be able to use a GF’s greatness. By doing so, you don’t only get to summon that GF, but can also allocate any learned skills by that GF to use in battle. Skills such as Card, making the character try and transform an enemy into a playing card you can use for the amazing Triple Triad, the in-game collectible card game. And to top it off, you can also junction collected magic to certain slots depending on which GF you junctioned to your character. This allows you to push your character in a certain direction by enforcing their i.e. melee and defensive or magic skills.

It’s not an easy system but it also brings the game some depth that it slightly destroys by bringing optional cheats into this remastered version that you can activate by pressing two buttons. Perhaps it would have been nicer to update the junction system a bit to avoid frustration by GFs being removed when the story switches characters and such, forcing you to go over the same process a ton of times. But hey, real updates to the game wouldn’t have made it an easy cash option.

Conclusion

Final Fantasy VIII truly remains an amazing game with an insane and adventurous story, as well as a cool soundtrack. The gameplay is still a bit complicated to get in to for new players with all the possible status possibilities and magic and GF junctions, but it stays as strong as ever and passes the test of time. The real question is if the ”remastered” is really worth it because it barely has anything improved besides some re-rendering of (not even all) models. If this didn’t feel like a quick money grab, it would get an even higher score for the game it is.

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Rating: 8.8/10 (5 votes cast)
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Final Fantasy VIII Remastered - Review, 8.8 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Inside Final Fantasy Remastered
    October 17, 2019, 9:50 pm

    […] Square Enix is proud to present a behind the scenes look of the making of the Final Fantasy VIII Remastered game. Members of the original team that made Final Fantasy VIII give insights into how it’s all been made. Most of their ideas came from everyday life, like the parade for Sorceress Edea is actually based on the Disneyland parade. The creators also discuss the mini-games and how they became popular outside the game, The card game was featured as a standalone game on several websites. You can also see a huge improvement in the graphics on the Final Fantasy VIII Remastered version compared to the PS1 version. Be sure to enable subtitles for this one by clicking the settings and choosing a language. You can find our review right here. […]

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