Having bought this on a sale a while back and in my quest to finish every Final Fantasy game I can (I don’t know why) I decided to finally tackle FF8. Fortunately, I was able to get the remastered version, where Squall truly was the best looking guy in the room. 😂
As you can see, the original is hideous, and I strongly recommend everyone play the remastered version (Unless you really want to make use an old PSX you have lying around?? 😂) On sale the remastered version is only $13 for the Switch port, which I would also highly recommend as it appears that basically every Final Fantasy game prior to 10 (and including FF13-2) is a shit show crash-a-rama on the Steam port and I would not recommend it. The only downside, is FF8 doesn’t let you screencap the final ending cut scene on the switch version so I had to trot over to Youtube with IRFanview in hand. 😩
Anyway this whole time I thought the emo protag of the FF series was Cloud, but actually, turns out it’s Squall Leonheart.
It’s probably the localization’s fault but they translated his 悪かったな (my bad) to Whatever. So basically the entire game he just sounds like Mr. I don’t give a fuck which not only made him not very likeable, but also made the game funny for all the wrong reasons.
That’s the other thing – in the first disk of the game (out of 4) I would walk around talking to random NPCs which had absurdly ridiculous localized lines that I was HOWLING from laughing so hard and tears were streaming down my face. Here’s a gallery of some examples:
The unfortunate part was the game’s system kept me from pursuing a lot of what probably would have been hilarious and fun side quests. Unfortunately because this game is 22 years old, it uses 2D maps which you have to basically GUESS where you can go and what is actually a wall.
Example above is the obvious door and then the “hidden” door to the left. So you basically have to run in circles figuring out if something is an exit/entryway and figure out if something is a switch, a ladder or an elevator. EVERYTHING IS FLAT so I’ve wasted countless hours running in circles trying to figure out where the hell to go, and then giving up and just looking up a guide telling me what to activate. That was so frustrating that it made me just ragequit any side quests (including triple triad which I love btw lol) and just follow the main story straight down to the ending.
Fortunately if you’re in the same boat as me and can’t be bothered with this ancient game bullshit, like all the other FF games I’ve reviewed previously, this one comes with speed up mode and unlimited LB spam mode as well as turn-encounters-off mode. In this game, levels are pretty meaningless and it’s all about drawing skills from monsters and using your GFs (aka your primal girlfriends 😂😂😂). You can even set the LB buttons to be pressed automatically so unlike FF10 where I had to actually manually do all the LB buttons, this game just presses them for you – THANK GOD BECAUSE THE FINAL CASTLE BOSSES WERE A PAIN IN THE GOD DAMN ASS. (ノ# ﾟдﾟ)ﾉ ┫:･’∵:．┻┻:･’．:∵ Don’t even get me started on the annoying as hell Junction system and how you basically have to constantly swap your primals between characters every time the game decides that XY and Z will be in your party instead of the AB & C you had set 30 minutes ago.
Anyway after the really strange final battle where somehow Questis out survived both Zell and Rinoa (??) and in the end it was just Questis spamming Homing Missile while Squall spammed Renzokuken (after getting his demi stolen and losing like half his HP😂). Then the damn Switch port refused to let me screencap the final cut scene so I ended up having to screencap from a youtube video lol.
Actually the entire Rinoa x Squall thing is so strange to me? He basically Whatever’ed her in Disc 1 & 2 no matter how much she (and others ) tried to get them together. Then Rinoa goes unconscious for most of Disk 3 and he’s like noo Rinoaaa and when she finally comes back to life he goes back to ignoring her yet again. And then she’s captured and he’s like NOO RINOAAA again, then once again she’s saved he’s like nope don’t care lol. And then FINALLY in the CG cut scene he’s actually smiling at her and kissing her!? Makes me legit wonder if that’s really Squall or if that’s actually Rinoa’s Final Fantasy～. 😂😂😂😂
As far as the other characters go, I liked Questis for being the reliable oneesama (though I kind of found her annoying at first) and Zell and Selfie provided enough comic relief. Irvine though I’m just ?? Other than being Mr. I hit on all the ladies, I saw nothing interesting in him. My friends all liked him for some reason, maybe it’s some side quest I missed I have no idea. In the end I never used him (his LB required me to press buttons 😂😂) for any battles so overall I have a huge disconnect with him in general. Laguna and the bros were funny in their own way and I kinda wish there was more to them when they met up with Squall. (Laguna is Squall’s dad right!? lol)
One thing I thought about when going into this game was about Eden, a raid currently in FF14. The thing is, I NEVER ACTUALLY GOT EDEN IN THIS GAME LOL. It’s a primal GF like all my other GFs but it was in some idiot boss in the castle I wanted to get out of ASAP so I never got it. So I have absolutely no idea what relevancy Eden has to this game 😂😂😂. That said I still enjoyed the music in here that I heard in 14 like Force Your Way. FF8 had 3 other tracks that stood out to me among the rest which was The Man with the Machinegun, Fisherman’s Horizon and of course the classic Shuffle or Boogie. There was also Odekake de Chocobo which was apparently a PSX exclusive mini game that never made it to the Remastered version, but I guess it’s fine since my attempt at doing a chocobo side quest failed miserably. 😂
There was also a lot of really weird shit like how in that one part where Rinoa is knocked off the edge of Balamb, and it gets rammed into it 3 times and then they ram into the other thing and somehow SHE IS STILL HANGING THE WHOLE TIME LIKE SPIDERMAN. Or the fact that Rinoa just uses her god damn pet dog as a rocket launcher. ( ﾟдﾟ) Or the part where in order to save Rinoa you first had to get into a fight with some robot, get knocked outside the emergency exit and fight with him by literally BLOCKING until you could get a BIG hit in. WTF. Systematically a a lot of things made no sense in this game. Anyway the final boss aside though, I still enjoyed the localization and some of the ridiculous memeable moments and I wish I was able to stream this on Twitch. Unfortunately I wasn’t and I can only take short clips on my Switch but here’s a montage of my FF8 adventures.
Oh and as usual, please watch the Rabtoons parody. 😂
I leave you with my husband’s thoughts on the game below as he pretty much played/watched along with me (and organized my disaster of a spell inventory.)
I was fearing the worst coming in because I had heard that FFVIII was infamous for its back-asswards character stats system and its incomprehensible plot. Both of which definitely were overblown when we actually got into the game. The biggest learning curve with the stat system was mainly understanding all the bizarre terms that they gave for everything. Even when I tried to read guides I’d see a sentence like “draw magic and then junction to a GF” and throw up my hands and give up, but eventually I just realized “ohhhhhhhhhhhh, what they’re really saying is ‘steal from the enemies so that you can equip socketed equipment that you fill with the appropriate buffs.'” Granted after that point it was still very opaque as to what anything did and how to make any kind of optimal build decisions and whatnot (which spells are good at buffing which stats, how you get more of them, which GFs give more appropriate benefits for which characters, etc.) but at the same time you can still essentially yolo all the build stuff and still GENERALLY be fine.
I say GENERALLY though because you can still end up in awkward situations where you’ll need to reload older saves in order to beat some bosses that need specific tricks to beat. We had a rerun of the same situation with FFXIII where we encountered bosses in the final dungeon where you actually need to debuff them. Again, like then this is the kind of thing that you generally don’t learn before that point since most bosses are immune to status ailments anyway and the Meltdown spell is a new one that you just got (or, as we did, use percentage HP damage spells, which again often don’t work on bosses.) The cheat mode included in this version is more like a way to sidestep time wasting elements like constantly needing to go back to an inn to sleep to get your HP back or carry giant stacks of potions, since you still can die to specific boss oneshot mechanics so you can’t necessarily just brute force everything. It also felt kind of weird in that I sorta wanted to optimize the characters more and maybe unlock new weapons or limit breaks, but at the same time realized that there kinda wasn’t really even a point to doing so. Partly cheat mode of course, but also probably because our lack of desire to go around grinding to improve everyone also meant that our average level at the end of the game was somewhere around 25-30 which meant that everything was often scaled fairly low anyway.
Now as for the story, I vaguely remembered hearing something something Squall is dead and also a time loop something something, but honestly other than the ending movie (which was like 15 minutes long and didn’t really make much sense until the final seconds of “oh right, guess he made it back through the time compression after all”) it seemed fairly straightforward. This was nothing like the FFXIII games, where three games later and I still don’t have the faintest idea what happened or what a fal’cie or a l’cie is AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME LEARN. What REALLY was baffling about the story line though was the truly bizarre dialogue and actions that the characters often did. Like there’s typical comic relief scenes from characters like Zell and Selphie, but I’m talking about stuff like “You like beverages, don’t you?” or Rinoa casually pushing Irvine down a flight of stairs or “I dreamt I was a moron.” I don’t even want to say this was ‘bad” or whatever because it was funny but like…funny because it felt like it had no place whatsoever in the game?
The other thing I was not really prepared for was the awkward 2D/3D hybrid system. I hesitate to even say something like “that’s what old games were like” because you can go back to older games in the series like FFVI which have a top down grid setup so you know exactly where you’re going and what you can interact with. It doesn’t need to be the modern hand-holding like fast travel or activation icons since even those really old games had a straightforward visual grammar that was easy to parse. The map design reminded me almost of those old Sierra and LucasArts adventure games, but the big difference is that those games again would have very clear indications of how the player could travel (like having a doorway, ramp, street, etc. showing directions) and enough leeway regarding interactive elements that you weren’t playing such extreme situations of Hunt The Pixel trying to figure out how exactly you need to be facing in order to press the conspicuous button on the control panel.
All in all, probably kinda far down on the list of ones that we’ve played but still not unplayable. Just the of thing that needs those very rough edges sanded off, which in turn would’ve made us want to do even more side content. And who knows how many more “I dreamt I was a moron”-level gutbusters would we have not missed had that been the case?