A game came along one time and introduced us to a new cast of characters, a decent storyline, and a lot of memes, that’s right I’m looking at you “you are the best looking guy here.” Square Enix has gone and remastered Final Fantasy 8, including updated character models and a few extra options including removing encounters and 3x the speed. Today we come to you with a few tips and tricks to get your first Final Fantasy VIII Remastered game up to par with everyone else.
Triple Triad is the card game that you are introduced to in the very early stages of Final Fantasy 8. It is a game where you take your cards, which each have four numbers on them of varying amounts, and place them onto a 9 square grid. The objective is to put your card onto the field with the higher number side by side with a lower number of your enemy’s card. This will flip the card and, for lack of better words, capture it. The person with the most cards of your color wins the match. So back to the tip. You will want to learn two skills early on, and they are both on your Lightning Guardian Force Quezacotl, card, and card mod. Once you have these two abilities you will be able to use them to create very powerful magic from the cards you win in triple triad duels. Magic becomes super important once you learn about your Junction System. This also means you will want to play a lot of cards with people, especially around Balamb Garden very early in the game.
One thing you will want to make sure you do is to visit the Queen of Cards, who is in Balamb Town near the train station. The trick is to enter her duel screen and check the rules she has for the region. You want to make sure you DO NOT DUEL HER. Instead what you want to do is enter and leave this screen until the region’s rules say ALL. What will happen from that point forward, is when you win a card game you win every single card in the opponent’s hand. This gives you more cards to collect and mod for acquiring new magic for your characters.
Guardian Force Abilities
Another important key for early play is knowing your Guardian Forces abilities, and knowing what to learn early on. For example, you start with Quezacotl and Shiva, and within the first fifteen minutes of the game, it should be your objective to also collect Ifrit from the fire cave for your SeeD qualification exam. This is very important for a couple of reasons. A) Ifrit has the HP-J ability, which is important for being able to junction magic to increase your health. B) He also has STR-J and the Ammo Mod ability (once he reaches GF level 10) which will allow you to equip strong magic to increase how hard you hit the bad guys, and the ammo mod helps you to transform items that you received when using the card mod ability to create ammo for Irvine later on in the game, it is also a good way to get part of the materials required for Squall’s Ultimate Weapon early on in the game, the Lionheart.
The way you learn these abilities and junctions is by going to your GF menu, from here you will see each of your collected Guardian Forces. Simply click on the ability that you want to have learned. After that, you will go through the list and anything that isn’t already showing finished you can click on. Once you earn enough AP (Ability Points) from battling monsters and enemies, the skills will be learned and then you can move onto the next one. You should attempt to get Boost, HP-J, STR-J, and then the abilities that allow you to make magic and tools to turn into magic first. These are the key to having strong characters early on in the game.
The Junction system is the most important part of the entire game. Without it, you will not progress any further than a character would normally through leveling up. To junction anything, you must first equip your Guardian Force to a character. Once you have equipped your GF you will be able to start putting magic into the slots available to you, as well as setting up your abilities, such as draw, magic, GF, and item. These are your main abilities to use during the game, but you can only equip three abilities at a time. Depending on the GF abilities you have learned, you will also get other skills to choose from like Card or Doom, and so on. When equipping magic you will want to choose specific types for each different slot, for example, the best magic I have seen used for gaining health in the HP-J would be something life magic based. Death,(yes I know) curaga, and regen are some of the best options to gain lots of health quickly. Equipping magic like water, tornado, and other elemental type magic to your STR-J stat will likewise increase that more than some others, and right down the row. There are other menu options further to the left of these two which are for elemental junctions which we will discuss at a later time.
Guardian Force Quick Leveling
Some abilities will come to your GF as you level them up. If you are trying to play a low-level game though, this could be problematic. If you aren’t earning experience points for your character by defeating monsters, then you won’t level up your GF. So how do you get around that? The easiest way is during your SeeD Exam to Dollet. You will gain Seifer as your Squad Captain, and he will be playable as a character for you. The greatest thing about Seifer is that you will not need to worry about leveling him up at any other point in the game. What you will want to do is junction the best magic that you have to him, allowing him to increase his health and his strength at the very least. The next thing you will want to do is equip one GF to each of your active party characters. This part is important. When you have all the GFs equipped to one character they share AP, when you have them on different party members they do not share AP and all get the full benefits from your battling.After equipping Seifer properly, and likewise with your GFs, you will want to kill off your other two party members. This is highly critical if you don’t want them gaining experience and ruining your chance of doing some end game activities on the first disc. Either way, with the party members down you, can use Seifer to run through enemies as you see fit.
The best option here is fighting on the bridge in Dollet or just up the mountain and fighting the Anaconduars that are on the path. After about forty-five minutes of fighting enemies, my GFs were all around level forty. What this does for you is tip the scale of future battles in your favor. With your GFs leveled up their attacks will be stronger, and you will probably have earned enough AP to get almost all of their abilities learned before completing your initial Seed Exam. Once you fight Biggs and Wedge, and eventually the boss at the radio tower, (don’t forget to draw Siren) you will leave the radio tower and be introduced to a boss that you normally can’t beat if you play without using any of these tips. After knocking it down the first time, run away. After you run down the hill a little you will get to a second fight with it, and this is where you will unleash your GF fury on this mechanical spider boss. With one Quezacotl attack (boosted, learn this skill as well, and if using a gamepad for Xbox the back button will allow you to use the boost, or the pad on PS4 controllers. You then hit x or square, based on controller type) and one Shiva attack. If they are leveled enough, then these two hits will devastate and destroy the boss that you normally can’t beat. You get some rewards for doing it and then finish your exam.
These are just a few tips for you to quickstart your Final Fantasy 8 escapades. I hope these tips find you well, and hopefully not too far into your current save game in case you want to start over. These tips have helped me level up my abilities and collect magic and cards that I never have before, and it feels like I am getting a fuller feel for the game than I ever did before. If you want more guides like this, leave a comment and I will work on some others.