From the second protagonist Squall Leonhart is dragged onto the dance ground by a headstrong lady within the opening hours of Closing Fantasy VIII, I knew it was love. I’d develop to adore this recreation and recognize it regardless of its flaws, and far of that was due to the central story of Squall and Rinoa. Within the 25 years because the recreation’s launch, it has gone by way of waves of vital re-appraisal, usually centered on the sport present within the shadow of its extra well-known predecessor (the one with the man with the large sword and a big-budget remake). Whereas it stays an underrated and oft-derided entry within the franchise, Closing Fantasy VIII nonetheless stands as the most effective love story within the collection.
Moody teenager Squall is a superb encapsulation of Closing Fantasy VIII as a complete. He’s abrasive on first assembly and it takes time to really peel again what’s going on beneath his exterior. Lots of people don’t like Squall due to his asshole tendencies within the recreation’s opening hours. When you thought Cloud Strife had a “too cool for college” perspective, then Squall will break your mind in how uncaring he’s. His response of option to any dialog is “No matter…” However when participant’s attain the Balamb Backyard commencement celebration Squall’s persona will get shattered by the straightforward act of dancing with a reasonably lady.
Rinoa, the beautiful lady in query, is the exact opposite of Squall: Outgoing and sort. She breaks by way of Squall’s exterior by dragging him onto the dance ground and forcing him to sway and spin along with her. He’s horrible at dancing to the purpose he can’t cease stepping on Rinoa’s ft. The participant can’t assist however chortle at Squall, seeing for the primary time he’s nothing however a child attempting to placed on a courageous face. The commencement celebration can also be the most effective meet cutes in gaming, telegraphing instantly that that is the couple we are going to watch develop shut over the course of the story.
This isn’t the primary or final recreation within the collection to have a romance in it. Most Closing Fantasy video games do. However solely a handful of entries have love and romance as the principle theme. Whereas Closing Fantasy VIII has the anticipated political intrigue between nations and world-ending magical threats, it’s all backdrop for the story of Squall and Rinoa’s relationship. Squall and his celebration are tasked all through Closing Fantasy VIII with finishing up a collection of orders they’ve little enter or data about, they’re merely troopers, and Squall is superb at making use of chilly logic to his missions and finishing up goals with little questioning. Rinoa, once more, is his reverse. She’s pushed by ardour for the trigger and maintains a vital eye on these in energy. The narrative continues to push the 2 collectively, giving Rinoa the position of slowly taking down Squall’s partitions. Consequently, this makes Squall change how he thinks about his place on this planet.
With the backdrop of countries preventing and a time-traveling sorceress making an attempt to finish the world, Squall and Rinoa develop nearer, to the purpose they finally come to like one another (even whether it is nonetheless onerous for Squall to know what these emotions are). However this delicate relationship is threatened when Rinoa have to be put in stasis to save lots of the world. She’s going to successfully be lifeless after this determination. The Squall we all know from the beginning of Closing Fantasy VIII wouldn’t bat a watch at this determination. There’s a chilly logic to it that he would perceive. However he isn’t that boy anymore.
Rinoa has labored her manner underneath his pores and skin and made him a extra caring particular person—and one who is ready to query the orders he follows. He involves the belief that with out individuals you care about, with out Rinoa, with out love, there isn’t a level in saving the world. Casting apart the nice of the world, he frees Rinoa and takes her in his arms. From this level on the 2 are capable of finding a brand new option to save the world whereas additionally saving Rinoa. In a collection stuffed with dramatic tales about saving the world from sure loss of life, Closing Fantasy VIII’s specific message that love is the factor that provides us purpose for being on this planet within the first place makes it an emotional excessive for the franchise, one which deserves wider recognition.