‘Ultimate Fantasy VIII Remastered’ Assessment – I Dreamt I Was a Cellular Port – TouchArcade


Sq. Enix has made some tasty salad of porting its Ultimate Fantasy video games to cell for a really very long time now. It’s been roughly eleven years because the first two video games within the collection dropped on iOS, and because the years handed the others got here. In 2011, Ultimate Fantasy 3. In 2012, Ultimate Fantasy 4. 2013 and 2014 noticed the fifth and sixth video games arrive, bringing us to the sting of the PlayStation period of the collection. In 2015, the massive second arrived: Ultimate Fantasy 7 got here, albeit with fewer modifications than the earlier iOS releases. Certainly, it felt like one thing working in an emulator, but it surely was nonetheless cool to see such an enormous recreation hit our little screens.

Following this sample, it might appear logical to suppose that Ultimate Fantasy 8 would arrive in 2016. Properly, we did get a Ultimate Fantasy recreation that 12 months, but it surely was the fairly spectacular port of Ultimate Fantasy 9. Not like the earlier recreation, this felt prefer it was rebuilt for the {hardware}. Maybe that was the hold-up with Ultimate Fantasy 8? On the time, I believed we’d see the eighth recreation arrive in 2017. As a substitute, we bought the unique title Ultimate Fantasy Dimensions 2. Hm, perhaps in 2018? No, that ended up being Ultimate Fantasy 15 Pocket Version. Oh, I see! 2019 is the twentieth anniversary of Ultimate Fantasy 8! Sq. Enix, you sly canine. However no, no such luck on cell that 12 months. It did come to different platforms. Maybe it was only a bit behind on cell?

2020 passes, nothing. I’ll stage with you, pals. I believed Sq. Enix wasn’t going to do it for no matter cause. Then final week, I’m checking the App Retailer for the brand new releases and, pow, Ultimate Fantasy 8 Remastered ($20.99) is sitting proper there. Properly, okay. Higher late than by no means, proper? I ponder how lengthy we’ll have to attend for Ultimate Fantasy 10? A query for one more time. I had already gone via this remaster when it hit the Nintendo Change a 12 months and a half in the past, so this run via the cell model was extra of a test to see the way it made the transition than the rest.

So let’s get to that half straight away. Ultimate Fantasy 8 Remastered is extra like Ultimate Fantasy 7 cell than Ultimate Fantasy 9 cell, I’m afraid. Principally, it looks like the sport is working in an emulator shell. You’ve gotten your button overlays, and every thing is finished via these digital buttons. A pause button brings up a menu with a couple of options you possibly can tweak, together with the cheats, the colour and opacity of the management overlays, and a selection between an analog stick or eight-directional dpad in your digital motion. There’s an auto-save function, and… effectively, that’s about it.

It’s not that this can be a unhealthy factor, but it surely does really feel a bit underwhelming after the additional care put into Ultimate Fantasy 9. The way in which the digital buttons are laid out additionally makes some Ultimate Fantasy 8-specific components extra awkward. Squall’s gunblade entails a well-timed R2 press to deal further injury. A trifle when it’s on a shoulder button, however much less intuitive when it’s a digital button sitting up within the nook of the display screen. Anytime the shoulder buttons come into play, this method exhibits its disadvantages. In the meanwhile, you haven’t any selection however to cope with it. Issues like controller and iCloud help are apparently on the best way, however as of proper now you need to use the considerably careless contact controls.

In any other case, this port fares effectively. Certainly, the noticeable distinction between the higher-resolution characters and the backgrounds is that a lot much less noticeable on the smaller screens of most cell units. It seems to be good and it runs effectively, falling someplace between Ultimate Fantasy 7‘s largely untouched visuals and Ultimate Fantasy 9‘s intensive work. If you happen to bought on effective with Ultimate Fantasy 7‘s cell model particularly, you’ll in all probability be effective with Ultimate Fantasy 8 Remastered. Given the worth being requested, I do want Sq. Enix would have dealt with issues a bit extra elegantly at launch, no matter replace plans.

Getting past the port high quality to the sport itself, Ultimate Fantasy 8 has discovered itself as one of many black sheep of the collection for quite a few causes. Like the opposite black sheep (Ultimate Fantasy 2 and Ultimate Fantasy 13), it’s each straightforward to grasp its repute and nonetheless love the sport. It makes some choices with its plot that I personally don’t actually take care of, however I may make that argument for many Ultimate Fantasy video games. The forged is a bit smaller than the installments sandwiching it, and their extra grounded nature (there’s nobody like Cait Sith or Quina on this lot) finally ends up pushing quite a lot of the character work into pure coming-of-age drama stuff. The principle character is deliberately obnoxious within the first half of the sport, and that’s a facet of the plot that always doesn’t sit effectively with individuals.

Maybe extra troublesome than its plot is its uncommon mechanics, nevertheless. Ultimate Fantasy 8 truly has quite a lot of fascinating, quirky techniques, but it surely’s not excellent at explaining to gamers about one of the best ways to make use of them. Even worse, in the event you attempt to play this like some other Ultimate Fantasy recreation, you’ll have the least-pleasant doable time you may with it. Enemy ranges scale together with your occasion’s, so grinding up ranges can truly chunk you within the hindquarters. You need to use your summons very often, however there are such a lot of higher methods to deal injury that don’t contain sitting via unskippable animations. There’s an important card recreation right here that you just is perhaps tempted to disregard, however its rewards are tremendously helpful.

You possibly can brute drive your means via, albeit maybe not as simply as in different video games within the collection. However the true pleasure of Ultimate Fantasy 8 is available in profiting from its mechanics (particularly the junction system that enhances your stats) and breaking the factor over your knee. Leveling up must be prevented the place doable, however don’t fear an excessive amount of about that. So long as you’re utilizing and abusing that junction system, issues will work out pretty effectively for you. Oh, and don’t neglect any of your occasion members. There’s a reasonably robust probability you’ll want even your least-favorite of the bunch at a really inconvenient time. Belief me.

I’m wandering into guide-like ideas right here, however there’s a cause I’m doing that. I used to hate Ultimate Fantasy 8. The characters aggravated me. One of many large plot twists felt silly to me. A few of the character growth got here off unearned. However the backdrop behind all of that, and the possible cause why this stuff aggravated me a lot greater than common, is that I failed to grasp the sport’s mechanics. As soon as I discovered that typical techniques weren’t one of the best ways to proceed, that I needed to method the sport on its phrases fairly than my very own, I ended up loving it. It takes a bit of labor to take pleasure in Ultimate Fantasy 8 correctly. I’m unsure if that’s factor or not, but it surely’s completely one thing it’s best to know in the event you’re wading in for the primary time.

Ultimate Fantasy 8 Remastered took its time coming to cell platforms. The port isn’t optimum however it’s sufficient. Actually well-done sufficient that it’s best to be capable to benefit from the recreation for what it’s. Now, whether or not or not that recreation goes to be to your tastes is one other matter totally. It’s an odd duck, but it surely has a faithful following for a cause. If you happen to’ve bought an open thoughts for a JRPG that wanders off the overwhelmed path in additional methods than one, and never at all times in a great way, you would possibly find yourself a fan your self. I’m unsure it was the correct follow-up to Ultimate Fantasy 7‘s blockbuster success, however there’s a lot to like about Ultimate Fantasy 8‘s distinctive charms.

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