I’ve been playing this on PS4, as well, and I feel like offering my two cents on some of these assessments. I also replayed the original PSX version around three years ago, so that’s relatively fresh in my mind.
Digital Foundry looking at the Final Fantasy VIII: Remastered version b/t PS4 and PS1 (also out on PC/Steam, Switch, X1):
The 3x and Booster functions are indeed a godsend for tedious grinds. In operation together, they make drawing new types of spells, farming rare cards with the Card command, and other repetitive activities feel like a breeze compared to the original.
- 3x speed is here as an option like it has been with many FF Remasters, likely to stop the grind & other non-sense that some of the FF's are known for (and in particular, this title w/ constant drawing of spells, lots of GF summons, etc).
This is wrong. I can’t say for certain on the textures (I’ve heard news sites saying otherwise, though), but the character models, while a big step up graphically, are actually further away from the FMVs. The faces (and in Squall’s case, hairstyle) look different enough that it can be a bit jarring switching from these new models to the pre-rendered ones in the cutscenes. The old models, while kind of crappy, did have the correct rough shape.
- Character models were redone and are more in-line with the FMV's, while the textures weren't.
For the record, this sounds like the remaster’s using the menus from the PC version, but I’m pretty sure they just redid them for this version.
- This Remaster has more of the quirks and issues (no rumble/analog support) & even advantages (better looking menus) of the old FF8 PC version.
This might be a bit misleading. Things are running at 1080p, but the pre-rendered content (which includes the frequent cutscenes and all backgrounds other than in battle and on the overworld) are the same as the original versions just run through some upscaling filters. There’s not going to be a ton of difference for those vs playing the original on a modern TV.
- Original was at 320x240, but Remaster has everything running at 1080p.
I believe this. I don’t usually care about framerate, but I’ve noticed the battles don’t seem especially smooth.
- In this Remaster: battles are capped at 16fps
A couple personal irritations for me concerning the remaster involve a lack of interface updating. I’m a purist, myself, but a few little modernization touches would have gone a long way.
• You can still only save at save points and on the overworld, which is a bit ridiculous in a remaster of this kind.
• It would have been nice to remap overworld camera controls to the right stick to bring it more in line with games from the past 15 years. Those controls are still limited to the shoulder buttons.
Additionally, they updated all the triple triads cards, using the updated in-game models for every card other than the character cards (which still use portrait art)... which is kind of awful because the original cards all either used handdrawn portraits or pre-rendered models. The models used for the new cards weren’t even placed on the right background, they’ve clearly been extracted—possibly even from screenshots. I’d have rather they upscale the original versions.
To be fair, there was usually an easier way—the Card Mod ability in conjunction with the magic refinement abilities could get you virtually every spell in the game, and most of them at a really efficient rate of exchange; though a few were still easier to draw. Once you manipulated the card trade rule to All (pretty simple), you could rake in cards really quickly.
This would've been great if they had only thought of the QTE Limit Break issues that would arise from lowering the FPS unnecessarily. The thing they really needed to work on was the Draw mechanic. Having to spend 10-20 turns drawing magic from bosses to equip to your stats was a real pain in the ass in the original.