Final Fantasy eight is a bizarre masterpiece – and playing the remaster reminds it’d make just as excellent a remake as FF7

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We’re all pumped for Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but playing the newly released Final Fantasy eight Remaster reminds how that game would be just as worthy of a totally-fledged remake.

Of that golden age run of FF6 by way of to FF10, FF8 is possibly the least talked about of the bunch. It is by no indicates a failure – it is really a single of the much better promoting of the group and is beloved by a lot of – it just hasn’t got that identical oomph. It does not have the childhood-defining significance that six has to a lot of, nor the cultural effect of 7. It is not the vital darling of 9, and neither is it the technical revolution of 10. It is the middle youngster. Immediately after two wildly effective and surprisingly comparable games in the sixth and seventh entries, this is the creators of these games attempting to break no cost into a thing unique – and it is magical.

If it is the finest is a matter that is plainly up for debate, but Final Fantasy eight is undoubtedly the most mechanically exciting title in the series, up there with the outstanding Final Fantasy 12 International Zodiac Job Technique (not too long ago released in the west as FF12: The Zodiac Age). Exactly where FF12 is a perform of intricate genius, a finely crafted Swiss Watch with nary a flaw in its a lot of gears and cogs, FF8 is glorious chaos. It nevertheless has the intricacies of a luxury watch in its deep, rewarding RPG mechanics, but it is also a program that the player can take a sledgehammer to – but it somehow bears the weight of the blow. It somehow nevertheless operates.

I say it nevertheless operates, but Final Fantasy eight is at its finest when you break it. Inside a couple of hours of beginning the game, you can make it so that random encounters by no means take place, or make enemies turn into trading cards. This has a knock-on impact: rather than a regular level-primarily based difficulty curve, FF8 has adaptive difficulty. This indicates you can entirely fight the final boss at level 9 – the antagonist will just be scaled to be an proper challenge for the level.

Triple Triad, the brilliant card game that somehow inexplicably hasn’t been turned into a Hearthstone style stand-alone, is not just a enjoyable distraction either: it is essential to the complete game. You will be winning cards in matches, turning enemies into cards or even deliberately losing cards to particular NPCs in order to force new ones to spawn elsewhere in the planet. All of this is not just in the service of an really excellent card game, but also intricately linked to the game’s RPG progression, exactly where cards can be transmogrified into essential things that are then made use of for weapon upgrades or stat boosts for your friendly summon monsters. We’ve got a guide for Final Fantasy eight Triple Triad cards ideal right here, really.

Fairly promptly it all gets rather ridiculous. It is simple to tune out in the early hours of FF8 as it bombards you with lengthy tutorials about “taking care of your GF”, “junctioning magic” and even taking in-game exams. It is undoubtedly a rival for the most obtuse and impenetrable game in the series alongside FF2’s insane character progression program. You need to stick with it, although – if you give the game a opportunity it pays back in spades with a deeply rewarding, exciting, and eminently breakable game.

When persons speak about Japanese-produced RPGs, specifically Final Fantasy, the concentrate tends to be on the story and characters. This is with excellent purpose, as that is a developmental concentrate of these titles also – but FF8 represents what the genre can be when it is extra systems-focused. It can be wild. FF8 is a game exactly where your character level can stay static but every thing about you grows ever-extra ridiculous – characters clambering to have thousands of hit points with automatic haste and counter attacks all although remaining technically weak and low-level. Take away the attached Guardian Force and the attached super soldier shrinks to a weak teenager as soon as extra, on the other hand – a thing which has exciting thematic implications also.

Speaking of theme and narrative, FF8’s uniquely broken systems also serve these who want to concentrate on it: grab Diablos, grind AP for Enc-Half and Enc-None skills just before leaving for Timber and then appreciate an encounter-no cost game, soaking up the story and only participating in boss fights. The level scaling also indicates that although these bosses will get difficult, you will by no means get unfairly crushed just for not grinding adequate. If you just want to expertise the attempting life of Squall (who, by the way, is a single of the series’ finest and most relatable protagonists in spite of an unearned reputation of a whiny teen), you can do so without the need of loads of the usual RPG padding. This game has added quick forward and encounter-stopping cheats, but the truth is that FF8 is quite substantially the only Final Fantasy game exactly where, with a small bit of optimization, you do not really require such tools.

The fascinating issue about Final Fantasy eight is that substantially of this possibly wasn’t deliberate. In the wake of the monster achievement of FF7, a Square with boundless dollars and ambition to match decided to throw quite substantially every thing at the wall just to see what may well stick. The outcome is a crazy game each narratively and mechanically. You play a mercenary college kid whose teacher desires to date him who sooner or later goes to space, and there’s a hilarious howler of a plot twist that relates to quite substantially every single primary member of the cast about halfway by way of. There’s also seemingly endless numbers of progression and development systems, all interlinking in fascinating, unexpected and typically exploitable strategies.

FF8 does not appear like a game that is broken by style, but rather by coincidence. But, y’know, the combo program in Street Fighter two was also a coincidence at finest and technically a bug at worst. It was nevertheless a perform of accidental genius that went on to define a complete genre. FF8 is a lot like that, except a lot of its suggestions by no means seriously caught on.

The new remastered version is not a best way to expertise the game, but it is definitely a much better run than the initial attempts Square Enix had with FF7 and FF9. The release is a firm reminder that FF8 is properly worth experiencing, on the other hand – and it also tends to make a single consider deeply about Final Fantasy 7 remake.

We all know why FF7 is the a single becoming remade. It is Star Wars. It is Harry Potter. It is, god, I do not know, American Idiot. It is seminal. Iconic. It defines a subculture and a generation. But when you appear at that golden age era of Final Fantasy extra objectively, I have to admit that the game I’d most like to see adapted into contemporary kind would really be FF8. How FF7’s systems translate was usually quite clear – although FF8 is crazy adequate to be a mystery. It’d be worth it just to see how some of the mad shit in it would perform in a extra contemporary game. At least we have the remaster, which is as gloriously broken as ever.

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