Square Enix is no stranger to the Google Play Store. In fact, it’s probably one of the most present and prolific developers on the mobile market. It’s added many of its popular series to Android in the form of ports and remasters, but there’s always been a problem. My disappointment with the lack of cloud save and controller support for such story-driven, incredible titles is something I’ve stated plenty in the past, particularly with my favorite title, Final Fantasy Tactics.
The developer has had a very tonedeaf approach to its games on mobile – gamers have been asking for these two features for years, and the reviews show it abundantly. In what seems to be a surprise turn of events, Final Fantasy VIII, yes, that one – the game that Square Enix has seemingly chosen to forget on most platforms, but is invariably one of the best – has received both controller and cloud save support today!
What this means is that you can enjoy the remastered classic on a larger display that just your phone. Yep, fire this bad boy up on your Chromebook, connect a bluetooth gamepad, and you’re off! Bonus points if you connect it to your living room TV via HDMI as Final Fantasy VIII truly does deserve to be enjoyed on the largest screen in your home. Afterward, you can pick up where you left off by swapping over to your phone and pulling down your save file from Square’s cloud. As I see it, this is the first time that fans have a win-win-win scenario.
However, there is one major caveat – the number of Chromebook models that the game seems to be compatible with is severely limited! I wasn’t able to install it on my Pixelbook Go, or my Lenovo Duet. Add to that the fact that many of the other Chromebooks around the office were incompatible (aside from the new HP Chromebook X2 11), and it’s looking like Square Enix missed the boat here for many, which is a real shame. If you’ve got a device that can run it, then you’re in luck, otherwise, here’s to hoping that more Chromebooks can play it sooner rather than later.
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered
The Remaster comes in at just under 3GB and includes a number of notable changes from the original. For example, character models, and portraits, GF models and portraits, weapon and environment models and card artwork have all been remodeled and retextured. You can see a full list of changes on sites like Fandom, which have chronicled them, but if you played the game when it first came out, you’ll notice that everything truly feels like it’s been brought up from PS1 graphics to something more akin to PS2. A good comparison of what you’re seeing visually is that of Final Fantasy X and X-2 – passable, but not super impressive.
My hope is that Square Enix goes back over its catalog and finally adds controller and cloud save support to all of its titles. With its new games – Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis and Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier – I hope that the company considers Chromebook and larger screen gamers out of the gate as opposed to a decade down the line. While that’s unlikely, I do believe that VIII Remastered gaining these two important features hints at what the future could hold, and that gets me excited!