Square Enix today announced that Final Fantasy VIII has been released as a downloadable title for PC. The game can be found on Steam and currently costs $12.
As the follow-up to the beloved Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII is often cited as a step back for the Final Fantasy series. The game's story is generally incomprehensible, featuring floating military schools, sorceresses, spaceships, gunblades (literally swords with gun barrels attached), a bland love side-plot, gigantic invisible cities, an orphanage, and some nonsense called time compression.
The game's battle system is also significantly more complicated than the one seen in Final Fantasy VII, implementing a system where spells tediously drawn out of monsters can be "junctioned" to various character stats to varying effect. The system is complex enough that smart players can easily break it, making the entire game simple to beat.
Final Fantasy VIII was also a high-water mark (or low, depending on your view) for the summoning animations seen in Final Fantasy games. The summoning of "Guardian Forces" in VIII was accompanied by ridiculously long animations, the longest of which was well over one minute. The new PC launch trailer for the game today shows off some of those summons, as well as many of the CG cut-scenes that amazed gamers in 1999:
Square Enix has tweaked the game for its PC release, allowing players to gain a collection of magic through a free "Magic Booster" rather than take hours to draw it from low-level monsters. The new version also includes Steam achievements and the Chocobo World tie-in game that was not originally available in the west.