Final Fantasy VIII: Remastered logoThe black sheep of the Final Fantasy titles got remastered! Final Fantasy VIII: Remastered is the same Final Fantasy VIII and is one of the few games that garnered the name black sheep. Being a big title in a franchise about JRPGs (Japanese role-playing games) it came up short in a few areas. But despite these issues, it helped pave the way for features found in the inclusion of newer Final Fantasy titles.

First and foremost my friends and I hated we hated the Final Fantasy VIII: Remastered “Draw” system which involves taking magic from Monsters in combat or finding them placed around cities or the world map. There are no magic shops, and developed skills aren’t a thing either, it’s just found monsters with spells you like and suck them dry.

Riona in Final Fantasy VIII: RemasteredFinal Fantasy VIII does however introduce the series to the trading card game Tetra master where players place monsters and flip them accordingly due to elemental bonuses and stat bonuses. This card game became a main staple later in the franchise appearing in Final Fantasy IX and even Final Fantasy XI.

Narrative-wise, however…Final Fantasy VIII: Remastered asks the big questions what do Time Travel, Witches, and Orphans being raised as trained mercenaries have in common? If your answer was anything other than Final Fantasy or absurdity then you’d be right!

You’re playing as Squall Leonheart a brooding protagonist who also happens to be an orphan trained as a mercenary out to do missions and ultimately become a hitman to take out the Witch who raised you. Life, it’s not easy for Squall let alone any protagonist in a Final Fantasy franchise.

Now major spoilers here but the villain of the series Ultimecia is a Witch, and game lore dictates that before they die they have to pass on their powers to another Witch and so she does this by going back in time and giving her powers to the person who raises Squall and pretty much all of his friends also. As I said, they play the coincidence card here quite a bit with being an Orphan and everyone being trained to kill the witch. Because Ultimecia is a witch she can control another Witch over the bends of time from the far future which leads to every encounter Squall faces while having visions of the past shown to him by another person named Laguna Loire and honestly trying to explain the narrative is hard.

Final Fantasy VIII is a really fun game despite its mechanics that helped give it the nickname the Black Sheep. My friends and I despised the “Draw” system so much that we pretty much just used a game shark as kids to enter the debug room and gather all the unique magic spells and summons early game. Squal Lionheart in Final Fantasy VIII: RemasteredJust so we could focus on playing through and reading the narrative only.
As a brooding teenager growing up, I could relate to Squall a lot and I really enjoyed his dynamic with the other party members and his love interest Rinoa Heartilly. Each one either brings a style or characteristic which remains unique to the franchise solely found in Final Fantasy VIII.

But what I end up loving the most about the game is the composition for its orchestrated music even now. I find myself listening to the soundtrack imagining what it would be like flying in Ragnarock across nations of the world.

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered has its ups and its downs its “Draw” system being the biggest down of any Final Fantasy title. But the rest of the gameplay and the narrative are pretty solid from my experience it’s still a game worth checking out and even if it wasn’t the fact that Square-Enix remastered the title for re-release proves that there is a demand for it.
I recommend checking Final Fantasy VIII out if you get the time or have the money it’s worth playing.

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