Final Fantasy is a game series known by everyone in the gaming world, and far beyond. Even though not everyone has played (one of) the games, the name will never sound unknown. The original Final Fantasy VIII was released back in 1999 and that was already the eighth main installment in the Final Fantasy series. It knew a tremendous amount of success and was well received by both critics and players. Now, twenty years later, developers Square Enix decided to take another shot at it and upgraded the well-aged game. The new version offers visual enhancements and options to customize the player’s gaming experience. We’re sure as hell curious to find out if it’s worth it.
What do you do? In a world where an ancient energy known as the Sorceress Power is passed down through generations, the peace of the realm is threatened when the evil Sorceress Edea takes power as ruler of the Galbadia Republic. Squall, a member of Balamb Garden Military Academy’s elite mercenary force SeeD, other allies from the Garden, and Rinoa, a member of the resistance, join together on a journey to fight against Sorceress Edea, who shows hostility toward the Garden.
- Characters: The best thing about this remastered version, is definitely the way the characters were remodeled. Not only are the graphics no longer pixelated, but the characters also got a little make-over. Small details like their hair were updated and this just shows that more than just a little thought was put into this remake. For the old school fans, seeing this improved version will most likely feel like their game growing up.
- Triple speed: There is a new feature that allows you to speed up the entire game 3 times, except for the movies in-between. This is nice for a quicker playthrough, especially for old school players.
- Junctioning system: So, the game and gameplay are basically the same. This means it still uses the popular junctioning system. This system was first introduced in the original version and players loved it. Leveling up doesn’t matter so much, it’s all about the junction system. This allows the player to connect spells to their stats. You collect magic from for example items and enemies and then you junction their magic stocks to their attributes via Guardian Forces (creatures you can summon) to grow stronger.
- New cheats: The new version offers some cheats, which can be interesting for both new and old players. New players can definitely benefit from these cheats if they find the game to difficult. Old players may want to relive the story without wanting to go through every little step again, making these cheats a valuable addition. Some of these extra features include turning off random encounters and getting all cards. It’s important to tell you that the PC version has more cheats than the other versions.
- Landscapes: Where the characters got a great make-over, we can’t say the same for the landscapes and sceneries. Every background you see still feels blurry and without detail. At first, I didn’t really notice this because I was focused on the characters and how much they have improved compared to twenty years ago. But once you’re a little more into the game, you’ll clearly see the imperfections when it comes to the backgrounds. A shame, really, because they put so much effort into the characters.
- Expensive: Final Fantasy VIII: Remastered costs 20 bucks. And that’s a fair price for a game like this. But this is a remastered version and not a new game. I agree with this price for people who haven’t tried this game before. However, players who purchased this game before, whether it was back in the ’90s or only a few years ago, should get a discount. Maybe even get it for free? But a discount would make sense. You’re just playing the exact same game so why would someone pay an extra 20 bucks for a game they already know the start, middle and ending to?
All in all, the remastered version of Final Fantasy VIII is pretty great. Especially the way the characters were upgraded, gives this game a new dimension. The new options are also really welcome and can help both new and old players, so it’s pretty cool that it’s not excluding either party. Even though it’s a pretty neat remake, there’s still some work that needs to be done, such as the backgrounds. The main problem for me, and I’m sure for many, remains the high price for a remastered version of a 20-year old game. Honestly, I really enjoyed playing Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, but I wouldn’t pay 20 bucks for it.
Developer: Square Enix Publisher: Square Enix
Played on: PC
Also available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Steam game store link: Click here