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Final Fantasy VIII Remastered Review — PC, PS4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered Review — PC, PS4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch

The arrival of Final Fantasy VIII on modern consoles was something players had to be patient for, unlike other outings in the series. This comes after worries we would never see a port, given internal technical concerns, but thankfully it’s now here for our enjoyment.

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered Review — PC, PS4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch

Final Fantasy VIII is part of a golden generation of titles in Square Enix' illustrious series from the first generation PlayStation, alongside Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX.

These three legendary episodes in a storied franchise, adored by both players and critics alike, are celebrated for their narrative, gameplay and pioneering graphics at the time.

Now, 20 years later, FFVIII finally makes its way to new platforms. But, has it been worth the wait?

  • Genre: JRPG
  • Release Date: September 3, 2019
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Price: $19.99
  • Review Version: PC

“You’re the best looking guy here.”

Final Fantasy VIII needs no introduction, with its characters and its world having quickly become key references in the JRPG genre. Having visually taken a rather radical turn compared to its predecessor, Final Fantasy VIII offered a more realistic world with more detailed graphics, whether in the setting or characters with more accurate human proportions.

However, despite the tremendous work done by Squaresoft at the time, it must be said that twenty years later the models look somewhat dated. In order to give characters the boost they need for the Remastered edition, Square Enix turned to French developer Dotemu and Japanese studio Access Games Inc.

The two have succeeded in the challenge, with character models now looking more like those from Final Fantasy-themed battler Dissidia 012. It’s a real pleasure to see Squall, Rinoa, Quistis and the rest looking so detailed.

This is not the only positive to see the light in the Remastered edition, with Square Enix also opting to replace the horrendous soundtrack of the Steam version of the game with that of the original PlayStation release, bringing aural pleasure to our ears.


Unfortunately, not everything is perfect with the remaster. The environments, despite being highly detailed for 1999, no longer shine as brightly as they once did. No alterations have been made, and the contrast between the new character models and old backgrounds is challenging on the eyes.

This is all the more true on the World Map, which is simply awful in its current state. It’s not unbearable by any means — far from it — but the blurred images and dull colours feel omnipresent as you traverse it. The kinematics have not changed at all, but at least they can still be appreciated.


The Modern Experience

Those who have finished Final Fantasy VIII already know that the game offers an incredible experience overall, but also that it can be somewhat difficult. To overcome this, Square Enix have followed the same path as previous re-releases, in adding ‘cheat’ features.

Players can now boost the speed of the game 3x without distorting the music or ambient sounds, and without altering timers. They can also instantly restore their HP or refill their ATB bars, or disable random encounters.

Of course, Enc-None was a thing previously, but now it comes without the requirement of a tough boss fight!


The additions stop there for console players, but players who buy the game on Steam have access to even more cheats. For the less patient, all items, weapons, Limit Breaks, Gil and cards for Triple Triad — the hugely popular and highly addictive side game.

Of course, we recommend appreciating the game as it is, without using any of these features. One exception is the time acceleration, which will be much appreciated during certain sections — especially the lengthy tutorials. Although essential to understanding some of the complex mechanics in Final Fantasy VIII, they will be slow and tedious for those who are already familiar.


From the spectacular opening battle between Squall and Seifer, set to Nobuo Uematsu’s supreme Liberi Fatali, to experiencing the game with cleaner models — rediscovering Final Fantasy VIII is an absolute pleasure.

Overall, it is not affected too much by the backgrounds, which are certainly a little fuzzy today, and a resolution that perhaps deserved a little more work. All in all, the eighth numbered outing in this illustrious series is a great adventure.

Thanks to the new features creating a greater accessibility, Final Fantasy VIII also offers a great opportunity for newcomers to try their hand at a legendary title. For long-time fans, this adaptation allows for an enjoyment with more visual comfort.

One thing is certain — we’re not going to forget the impact of this classic JRPG any time soon.

New character models and their weapons
The return of the original soundtrack
The 3x speed boost for those long sections
A fantastic adventure, even after twenty years
Old backgrounds in contrast to new character models
4:3 resolution still a thing
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David Duffy
David W. Duffy

Editor in Chief, MGG EN | Repatriated Geordie, former teacher, grammarian. Editor of many things for a decade and a half, most of which you've probably never heard of.

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