Digital | ON: GAMES

Making gaming better looking

by Brian Ashcraft

He’s got the look — finally

Originally released in 1999, Final Fantasy VIII is the latest Final Fantasy to be remastered. FFVIII was Square Enix’s most realistic-looking Final Fantasy game of its day. By today’s standards, though, the turn-of-the-century graphics are not quite so impressive.

In the original, when the character Rinoa meets the hero Squall Leonhart, she tells him, “You’re the best looking guy here.” But what players actually saw was a blocky, pixelated distorted face of Squall that spawned an array of amusingly unattractive interpretations and a long-standing “You’re the best looking guy here” meme.

The original game got a hi-res PC version in 2013, with improved graphics, but this latest release is a complete remaster, and there are also in-game enhancements, such as a battle assist option, the ability to triple the game speed for quicker playthroughs and an option to remove all random enemy encounters. Square Enix also revisited the famous meme, by tweeting an image of a well-defined, far more handsome Squall in response to “You’re the best looking guy here.”

Priced at ¥2,500, Final Fantasy VIII Remastered will be released on Sept. 3 for PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. The packaged game will be released on Sept. 4.

bit.ly/ffantasy8jp (Japanese), bit.ly/ffantasy8eng (English)

©SQUARE ENIX
©SQUARE ENIX

A monster expansion

Monster Hunter World is already a massive role-playing game that takes players deep inside a living and breathing universe. But this September that world is getting a monster-sized expansion.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is set in the icy and perilous realm of Hoarfrost Reach, a new ecosystem filled with new monsters and new adventures. The addition of snow means that players will have to wade through deep snowdrifts, adding a new element to exploration. There are also tweaks to gameplay, including new combos and a new clutch claw hook tool, as well as a new Master Rank for highly-skilled players.

Monster Hunter World is the most fully-realized version of the Monster Hunter universe to date. This massive Iceborne expansion looks to keep things fresh — and chilly.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne will be released on Sept. 6 on PS4 and Xbox One. The Steam version will be released in January 2020. As a standalone add-on for the original game, it’s ¥4,800.

bit.ly/monstericejp (Japanese), bit.ly/monstericeeng (English)

© NINTENDO
© NINTENDO

Switching things up

This month, Nintendo is launching its Switch Lite — a thinner and, as the name suggests, lighter version of the original Switch.

The new design, which comes in gray, yellow or turquoise, is not only trimmed down in weight and size, but also in some features. For example, unlike the original Switch, the Switch Lite cannot connect to televisions for TV Mode — it is strictly a dedicated portable. Plus, there are no removable Joy-Con controllers, so players can’t play games in tabletop mode that require the controllers. The Switch Lite’s screen is also slightly smaller at 5.5 inches compared to the original 6.2.

However, for a portable game machine, it’s still great. At 276 grams, it’s far lighter than the 400-gram original. The revamped version also packs more battery life, running between three and seven hours compared to the 2.5 to 6.5 hours of the original. For those who never use TV Mode and are looking for a portable on-the-go device, it’s ideal.

A little cheaper than the original Switch, the Switch Lite will be available from Sept. 20 for ¥21,578.

bit.ly/switchlitejp (Japanese), bit.ly/switchliteeng (English)

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