Final Fantasy VIII celebrates 20th anniversary with a remaster
If video game series had black sheep, prodigal sons and odd one outs, Final Fantasy has its eighth installment. Regarded back in 2006 as Famitsu’s 22nd best game of all time, Final Fantasy VIII saw success even though it went against established RPG conventions. It received praise for its unique story and superb storytelling and beautiful soundtrack. Following through with Final Fantasy VII’s 3D models, VIII introduced realistic (for its time) graphics with well-proportioned characters. Although many criticized it for some of its gameplay elements, VIII’s remastered edition is a testament that the game has stood the test of time.
Final Fantasy’s Prodigal Son Returns
Arguably, Final Fantasy defined the JRPG as a genre. The series redefined what a JRPG was supposed to be in each one of its games. Then, Final Fantasy VIII came and defied all of the tropes and trends that Final Fantasy used to lead. From its distinct but polarizing junction system that made do without magic points, to its fun but broken card game, Final Fantasy VIII broke away from the expectations set upon it to introduce mechanics never before seen in the gaming world.
Looking back, Final Fantasy VIII seemed like a detour for the series. Most of what VIII introduced never returned to the series ever again. But it would be a mistake to think that VIII doesn’t belong to the pantheon of Final Fantasy games. Fans absolutely loved the game, even if its main character was a snarky emo teen. Fans formed a very strong cult following right from the bat. They would passionately debate its merits against everyone else who thought that VII was the quintessential Final Fantasy game.
Eyes on Me
Final Fantasy VIII’s story followed Squall Leonhart, a soldier-in-training for a mercenary group. Squall leads a team from his class in an actual combat mission. Being a much better soldier than he is as a leader, he struggles in leading his team. He later falls in love with one of their clients, before getting himself entangled with a space-time problem that would make any physicist’s eyebrows curled.
Squall’s story is a big roller coaster ride. Many players would find Squall hard to stomach early on, but the whole game is his redemption arc. He learns how to become a good leader, a good friend, and learns how to fall in love. Learning these things helped Squall overcome the challenges he and his team would face. Squall and squad later saved the world, using their new appreciation of their friendships as motivation to fight.
Release date, pre-orders and what else to expect
Fans will get to play Final Fantasy VIII again when it comes out this September 3 on PS4, XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch and PC. For PS4 owners, the pre-order comes with an exclusive Final Fantasy VIII theme, which includes the game’s soundtrack and a static image you could use as wallpaper. The game comes out digitally for $20 across all platforms. A physical release may be in the works.
Just like previous Final Fantasy remasters, the game features updated HD graphics, battle assist features, no random encounters mode and 3x speed boost. With these features, you could get to your favorite parts much faster.