When I saw the news that Final Fantasy VIII was seeing a PC rerelease on Steam I got excited. Final Fantasy VIII was one of the games of my childhood. Well really, we all know that it was Triple Triad with that side game of Final Fantasy VIII, but details, details. It was always known that the PC version of Final Fantasy VIII wasn’t the best – in other words, horrible MIDI music.
Well, Final Fantasy VII recently got a patch on the Steam version that fixed the music to be the same as the PlayStation version. You’d think this would tell them to just do that for FFVIII off the bat… right? Nope.
Unfortunately this new Steam release – a rerelease of the original PC version – still features that lovely, ear killing music. On top of that, the textures, something that the PSX version at least hid (though if you tried to look you could see it) look absolutely awful. There are very, very clear seams everywhere and areas – or part of areas – look like these blur blobs. On top of the textures, the screen backgrounds have some absolutely terrible pixelization in places. You can really tell it is being “stretched” to try and fit these higher resolutions. You can also see many situations of characters becoming see-through – Quistis had one incident where her eyes were completely gone!
To those wanting to read character names in battle, good luck. It would seem they decided to remove the black border around the character names, and now you get some very lovely situations of that name being completely unreadable. GF names appear fine as they get the box behind them.
There also seems to be some music issues outside of the MIDI files. Transitions to and from areas are just sudden cut offs of the previous song. I found while playing Triple Triad in Balamb that when I’d leave the match, the song would play for around two seconds and then just stop. Going back into a card match would fix it, but moving around Balamb would not. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately, depending on how much you can stand the MIDI tracks) it fixed when I left the city and re-entered the world map.
Thankfully the core game is still the same. You’ve still got your Triple Triad with some absolutely terrible card luck at times. You’ve still got all your GFs, magic, limit breaks, and so on. Though of course… there is something “new” here too.
While the re-release of the PC version of Final Fantasy VII had that lovely Character Booster, it seems that Square Enix decided to add a “Magic Booster” to this game. Make a save file, exit out real quick, and go over to click this in your launcher and you too can have 100 stock of a fair number of spells. While most of these spells aren’t really that useful if you know how to use the Card system at all, there are a couple useful ones – who wouldn’t say no to a free 100 Curagas, something that junctions fairly well? Or to 100 early Breaks, another decently early junction spell that will carry you til if you decide to get better spells through cards (or drawing if you so choose)? Thankfully though you can ignore the Magic Booster just like you could the Character Booster in FFVII.
To those who had only ever played the Western releases of the PlayStation version there is some good news though. The Steam release also includes Chocobo World – something that used to either be a separate program with the PC version or required the Pocketstation. So now you can finally go ahead and make more use of the Chocobo stuff in the game. Of course, you could do as some of my friends have and JUST play that, no one is stopping you!
In the end though, it is fairly disappointing that they didn’t fix the music prior to release. It is also a bit disappointing to see all those lovely, lovely texture seams in places, really proving that FFVIII is not aging well anymore.
Review Score for the Steam release of Final Fantasy VIII
-As mentioned above, the music being absolutely MIDI butchered still is a huge downside. Also, the fact this “enhanced for modern computers” version makes the graphics look absolutely terrible in spots. The saving graces are in fact the included Chocobo World and that at least the core game hasn’t really been messed with in some dumb way.
-Also please keep in mind this is a review for the Steam release itself, not the game.
If you skipped ahead to the score, please go back and read the review to see where the score came from.
Is it worth it?
If you enjoyed Final Fantasy VIII as a child/teen/whichever you may want to hold off until it is on sale. If you’ve never played the game before it is worth it to experience one of the better PSX games.
Yes this review is around a month late, unfortunately I’ve been busy and have been unable to post this.
If you wish to purchase Final Fantasy VIII for Steam you can do so with one of the following options – all options are priced at $11.99 (when not on sale) and all will contain the Steam DRM: