Devour, the least necessary (and greatest) ability in the Final Fantasy series

There are two incredibly funny things about the Devour ability in Final Fantasy VIII.

It is an ability that lets you EAT ENEMIES. It is not abstracted, like Quina’s Eat ability in Final Fantasy IX, which illustrates the concept of eating an enemy by having cutlery spin around your target before they die. You literally eat them alive and tear them apart. Right before you eat the enemy, the camera cuts away to a tranquil scene (reminiscent of the Relax-O-Vision gag from the cartoon Freakazoid, which I am dating myself by referencing) while you hear the horrible sounds of the enemy’s flesh being ripped apart and devoured. When the camera fades back in, the enemy is gone. They have been ingested.

Naturally, this is an ability that Selphie should use.

It’s outright comedic, explicitly violent, and bizarre in a way that Final Fantasy games rarely are. What’s even funnier is that, unless you’ve really gone out of your way for it, you don’t get this move until the end of the game.

Devour is one of the abilities that can be learned by the Guardian Force Eden, which you can find either by going through the excruciatingly hard Deep Space Research Center sidequest and fighting one of the hardest optional bosses in the game, then continuing on and fighting another one of the hardest optional bosses in the game. Or you can just get Eden at the very end, right before you fight the final boss. Either way, this is not something you get unless you’re looking for it while you’re only a few hours away from completing the game.

What does it do? It has a chance of instantly killing a non-boss enemy and recovering some health. At this point late in the game, it is effectively useless. If you’ve learned how to use the Junction system by then, you probably have no trouble fighting non-boss enemies. It also has a long animation, which means it’s not going to help you speed up battles. And I’m not convinced that many people used the weirdest novelty GF abilities that much anyway when Drawing and summoning GFs is so important in this game.

So what is the function of Devour? Simple: it’s fuckin’ hysterical. There doesn’t need to be any other reason. You’ve played almost all the way through Final Fantasy VIII, and the designers have said, hey kid, here, have fun some. You earned this. Go eat some guys.

(As an aside, over the pandemic, I worked on a very silly Doom mod, and one of the bits of content I designed was a fork-and-knife weapon you can use to eat enemies. The internal name for the weapon is “devour.” I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS.)