Black Sheep from the PlayStation One-era Final Fantasies series, Final Fantasy VIII is finally enjoying its well-deserved time in the spotlight with a remastering that now looks better than ever on the Nintendo Switch. Follow a student of the SeeD’s famous military academy, the stoic Squall student Leonhart, who is in constant conflict with his rival Seifer as their country prepares for war.
Final Fantasy VIII was one of the first games in the franchise that I played. If you’ve been following my other reviews of Final Fantasy VII and IX for Switch, you’ll remember that IX was my first entry. VIII was my second game in the franchise and it’s pale in comparison to its brother IX. It didn’t help that I bought the game used at GameStop and couldn’t access the second drive because the first was scratched beyond recognition, so I could never finish the game before playing the Steam version.
What bothered me the most was the unnecessary complexity of the Guardian Forces and Junction systems, but how great it was when everything worked properly. VIII may not have a compelling history and world-famous characters like VII or the simple but nostalgic return of IX, but it’s still a fascinating JRPG in its own right.
It’s hard to recommend this game to someone who isn’t a fan of the game series or the JRPG genre. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this game as the first game in Final Fantasy (that would be Final Fantasy IV), because it’s actually famous enough to be one of the most controversial games in the series.
Not only is the game a tricky middleman, but it’s also very different from the rest of the franchise. As I said, the game is quite difficult because of the love it or hate it node system, which forces the game down your throat with several tutorials. Junction works with the Guardian Forces (Summoning) system, which can equip players with certain characters, giving them team skills like magic and summoning. GFs equalize the characters they equip and provide different passive statuses for attributes such as magic or power.
Even the magic system is different from the other installments of the series, as it is based on the character command, where characters can pull magic from enemies and score points. Magic, on the other hand, can be endowed with certain attributes and, when combined with the clutch system, also increases stats.
It’s a bit too much and it might discourage new players, but this remastered version has several quality features that make it more accessible than ever. As with previous Final Fantasy remasters, there is an option to triple the speed of the game, which is ideal for classic and heavy grid JRPGs like this one. Players can also enable or disable random and annoying monster encounters, reducing fragmentation. There’s even an option to maximize your character’s HP and limit the escape bar if you want to fly through the game to enjoy the story.
This is the most beautiful version of Final Fantasy VIII I’ve ever seen. The first time I turned it on, I was completely blown away. Square Enix has done an excellent job of redesigning the character models so that their features are recognizable and clearly defined, unlike their first release on the PlayStation in 1999. Not only are the character models prettier, but they’re totally different (even censored for some female characters like Siren Calling), which some loyal fans have pointed out on Twitter. Even Squall’s face and features seem radically different from the original. It wasn’t a problem for me, as I’m just happy to see the details on the screen without tiring my eyes, but it might frustrate some FF VIII’s on a diet.
When fans of the Steam version of Final Fantasy VIII were concerned about the lack of a soundtrack compared to the original version on PlayStation. Players will be happy to know that this version offers the best of both worlds, and includes the game’s original music that is still exciting twenty years later.
For some reason Final Fantasy VIII has not been remastered, while its siblings have benefited from multiple re-releases. Thankfully, this remastering is prettier than ever and sounds as good as I remember. It’s the most affordable port in the JRPG class, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly deserves another chance to shine on the Switch with a whole new generation of gamers.
Final Fantasy VIII remastered version revision
- Charts – 9/10
- Sound – 9/10
- Gameplay – 8/10
- Last call – 9/10
Final thoughts : EXAMPLES
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered is the best way to experience the classic adventure and is perfect for Switch on the go. After all, he is the handsomest man in the room.
Tony has been playing since he could walk. Pokémon Blue Version helped him learn to read. His greatest achievement is not only that he has played the entire Kingdom Hearts series, but that he has understood it.
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