Square Enix has unexpectedly published Final Fantasy VIII Remastered on mobile devices, making the series’ first nine games available wherever you go.
Originally released in 1999 on the PlayStation, Final Fantasy VIII was remastered for modern consoles in 2019, and now this version can be played on the go with iOS or Android devices. In addition to improved visuals, the updated version also includes some optional features like Battle Assist, which maxes out health and makes limit breaks available all the time; a speed boost, to play all scenes at 3x speed; and a no encounters mode, which turns off random encounters.
As a launch promotion, Final Fantasy VIII Remastered is on sale for $16.99 ($23.99 CDN) from March 25 to April 4, when it will increase to its normal price of $20.99.
Following in the footsteps of Final Fantasy VII, this installment was a departure for the series, using a unique “Junctioning” system to customize the build of each character. The player can equip Guardian Forces to each party member—which can be summoned during battle, giving them access to various commands. Magic spells function like an item inventory, and must be either crafted or extracted from enemies; spells can then be “junctioned” to a character’s stats, boosting core attributes or elemental affinities.
The story revolves around Squall Leonhart, a mercenary in training at the Balamb Garden academy. As he becomes a full-fledged member of SeeD special forces, he encounters Rinoa Heartilly, a would-be rebel leader who challenges the way he looks at the world, and becomes caught up in a war with the dictatorship of Galbadia and the mysterious sorceress who appears to be pulling its strings.
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered isn’t a perfect remaster, as the original source files were not properly preserved—for instance, the backgrounds have not had the same level of care as character models. However, it did make this acclaimed piece of Final Fantasy history back to modern consoles for a new generation to experience. If nothing else, it’s a way of playing the addictive Triple Triad card minigame on your phone, and that’s a pretty big win.