Final Fantasy 8 remastered Switch review

After waiting patiently for this game to be reduced on the Nintendo E-shop, I managed to grab Final Fantasy 7, 8, and 9 with 50% off during July 2020. Having the games for the original consoles, I wanted to re experience these classic games on my Switch.

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered. Image: Square Twitter.

If you asked me what Final Fantasy game is my all time favourite, 8 would be my answer before that sentence has even finished coming out of your mouth. Although I may have been 8 years old at the time, I can vividly remember getting emotional playing this game, getting excited when having to switch the disks up, and mass saving on my memory card so I could go back and replay certain missions.

The storyline, character development, gameplay, graphic and art style difference compared to previous games and above all, the movie sequences, were outstanding for its time, still looking amazing to this day. The remastered edition looks a lot cleaner and refined, not as grainy as the PSx version, but still manages to look modern enough not for new players to not want to experience.

My first thought on this was hearing the music, still knowing the melodies and the noises the dogs make when you approach them, and the excitement of seeing the different characters enter the game and watching their into movies. That excitement I had as an 8 year old came back.

The plot of the story follows Squall, a Balamb garden student who wants to become a SeeD member to help the world be protected by sorceresses, following his self discovery and understanding his emotions with help along the way from classmates Sell, Selphie, and tutor Quistis. I won’t say too much about the plot as it does have some major character developments along the way which are vital to how the story progresses.

One thing I did find that spoilt the game for me, was after getting to the SeeD exam at Dollet, while watching the movie sequence, I pressed in my joystick buttons to discover what is basically god mode. You can speed up the gameplay by 3 times the speed, always have Limit breaks, and have health regeneration. It was a blessing and a curse, as I could now play the game and enjoy the story and not worry about grinding as much, but after completing the game in just over 30 hours, I did feel like it ruined the true experience of this RPG. I could have played this game without using these functions, however, knowing they were there was too much temptation for me. As I have said, this helped to really enjoy the game for the story Vs playing it, grinding, getting frustrated, and leaving the game for a few days to cool off before resuming.

The updated, smoother look really helped me enjoy this game more, with it’s remastered details and crisper look for the Switch port. I saw no difference with using the Switch handheld mode or the TV, which some games such as Warframe and Overwatch look pixelated when in handheld mode. However the game played smoothly and looked great on both.

Image: courtesy of Final Fantasy Gamer YouTube.

The cut scenes looked incredible, still as great as they looked when first played. After watching each one it kept me hooked to play more and wait for the next one to happen.

The game still has classic gameplay features such as the Triple Triad card game. I loved revisiting this, as when I was younger I didn’t really understand it, however now being a lot older I loved challenging characters and getting top cards.

This is a game I really wish they would bring a new remake version out like they have with Final Fantasy 7, I think this game was truly underrated at the time. It was definitely a hard title to release and compete against FF7, however with its unique storyline of time continuum, the characters appealing to all people playing, and the updated look of the game, it’s one that should be experienced if you haven’t played or have played before. 8/10


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