Final Fantasy VIII: Fresh Coat of Paint

With long running video game series, the first one you play is always the best. Such is the case with many games I have played through the years. There’s Street Fighter 2, Dragon Quest VII, Elder Scrolls 3, NHL 2001, etc.

But today I’m blogging about my first Final Fantasy game, which is Final Fantasy VIII. FFVIII will always be my favorite Final Fantasy game, it’s better than VII in my opinion. When Square Enix was re-releasing all the other FF games, it made me a little sad that VIII was excluded, even if they alleged to losing the source code. I never thought we would be getting a remaster of the game, until E3 this year.

There was shock, surprise and finally the early September release date. I didn’t expect the game to release so soon (I was expecting a Christmas release because Square Enix likes to drag those release dates out with occasional delays).

So here we are, with a Final Fantasy VIII remaster, and a little late with the posting. But I plan on writing a thorough little adventure of this.

My adventure begins 21 years ago, whenever Brave Fencer Musashi was released. Brave Fencer was an underrated game that came with a demo of FFVIII, and likely a reason people bought the game to begin with. But back then I just got my Playstation (late to the game, I know), plus Brave Fencer looked really fun. And I was super into anime stuff back then. I didn’t know the influence of Final Fantasy at the time.

The demo was hard, took about a month to beat because I didn’t know the mechanics of RPGs at all, I was playing Pokemon during that time (baby steps). But eventually I had some help with some friends at school and beat the demo. It was great, it was pretty and I wanted more. But I would have to wait for the full release

At the beginning moments we are introduced to Squall, the moody hero and the rival Seifer. They have this cool sword fight while we are introduced to the different character/scenes. Both characters slice each other up with those anime scars. We are then introduced to the school setting, Balamb Garden. Playing this as a 10-11 year old, the school was cool, I was a little envious (this was also pre Harry Potter Aaron, mind you). Being a SeeD seemed like such a cool thing at the time

After playing this game as a 30 year old, I reconsider the thoughts because these are kids, going out to war.. One of the schools gets bombed. The scene with Irvine (towards the end of Disc 1) didn’t impact me until I played the game again when I first started college.

Back to the game though, the introduction begins with a simple dungeon, The Fire Cavern, and you are accompanied by Quistis Trepe (the instructor). Qustis was a cool character who desperately wanted to hang out with the kiddos (even with her being a year older). She was a victim of growing up too fast and was also a permanent fixture in my party throughout the later half of the game.

With this play-through, I grinded to learn most of the abilities from Shiva and Quetzalcoatl. Most importantly, the Card ability and the ability to learn magic from the items dropped from enemies. I was in the Fire Cavern with Squall and Quistis over powered. I took the 10 minute time limit and beat Ifrit within 5 minutes, then I got his card.

One of my favorite parts of Final Fantasy VIII was the card game. It’s super addictive and contributed to my large playtime. I got the Mini Mog card first and then the Quistis card.

After that I started the mission with Dollet, our first big mission. If you are well versed with the draw system, then you can easily manipulate the game, which is why I learned high level spells from the start. I spent a long while drawing magic from the Galbadian troops. Eventually Selphie joins the team, we have our first boss fight, and then get our 3rd GF (Siren).

I tried to kill the XATM092 because I had about 50 Thundaga spells junctioned to Squall’s attack but gave up once the 30 minute timer ticked down to 15 minutes.

Mission accomplished though. I then spent 1 freaking hour trying to get Zell’s card from his mom, with success.

With the mission completed we get to the famous dance scene/introduction to Rinoa (but shhhhh, we don’t know her name yet). I remember falling in love with that scene when I was little. I had a save file dedicated to that scene. And then we have have the scene with Quistis stating that she doesn’t want to be an instructor anymore, being a grown up sucks. I don’t blame her.

Graduation commences, but there’s no party afterwards. The crew (Squall, Selphie and Zell) have to head to their first mission in Timber. Headmaster Cid tells us goodbye, gives us a cursed item and then we head out.

…wait, cursed item? I immediately used the Magic Lamp after receiving it from Cid. How strange was that to Cid? Just vanishing into this weird world? Anyway, I normally had difficulty with this boss (mostly because I did the battle mid-game). There wasn’t any difficulty this time around because I had spells junctioned to their appropriate places. Gravija still hurt like a bitch, but we had Curaga to counter!.

10 minutes later, we had the Diablos card, then we challenged Headmaster Cid to the Seifer card, which he quickly relinquished.

I am on my way to Timber but wait, who is Laguna, Kiros and Ward? What is this beautiful town called Delling City? Current playtime is…

8 hours and 56 minutes

Next time we will discuss this guy named Laguna, Timber and more.

Thanks for reading! Hope you all have a great day!

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