Review by RAMS

"Mediocre"

Introduction
Final Fantasy VIII (FFVIII) was released in 1999. Its release was very much hyped. This following the tremendous success of FF VI and FF VII, which are regarded by many as one of the best RPG out there. FF VIII, was a groundbreaker. Square injected a fair amount of changes that made it unique to many Final Fantasy games, if not all RPGs. Sadly to say, these changes were not well received by the fans of the series. Despite its pre-release hype, Final Fantasy VIII definitely had failed to live up to its expectations.

Storyline
The Storyline is pretty decent. In fact, it started out in a promising note. You are an aspiring trainee wishing to be a SeeD cadet (A Special Forces of mercenary groups the Balamb Garden). The introduction to the game is definitely unique; that for a moment players might arrive at a conclusion that FF VII storyline would be unique compared to the rest.

However, soon things fall apart. The story goes back to \'\'Save the world\'\' scenario. Another ambitious empire, and a greater villain behind the scene. (Reminiscent of FF VI storyline, doesn\'t it?). By this time, the idea of an RPG with the story of \'\'Save the World from evil empire plus greater evil behind it\'\' would be the most uncreative plot.

However, FF VIII does introduce new element in its story which rarely seen in other Final Fantasy Games - Love. FF VIII attempt to create a love story, it\'s not bad, yet it does not manage to do what Lufia does. In fact, the development of love between the two main characters - Squall and Rinoa, didn\'t existed much until the later part of the game. This part of the game could certainly been improved. FF VIII has the potential to be a great love story, yet it failed to live up to its potential. Unfortunately, it would have been impossible to discuss how this story could have been made better without revealing too much of the plot.

The flow of the storyline is decent, if not above average for the earlier part of the game. It makes sense to the players. Yet, at a certain event, the story is not believable, even for a fantasy story. It comes across to me as a poor attempt to tie up together the plot.

Characters
Final Fantasy VIII offers quite a large pool of characters. Sadly, unlike most Final Fantasy games, the casts of FF VIII are lacking in diversity. Most of the characters are of the same age.

Characters developments are only prevalent in major characters such as Squall, Rinoa, Edea, and Seifer. Meanwhile, the character developments of other characters are often neglected and lacking.

However, Square managed to developed the main characters well. Changes in characters such as Squall and Edea are an example of this. Even the villains such as Seifer and Edea are not two-dimensional characters at all. Square has definitely do a good job on the character\'s development on the characters mentioned previously. Many stills could be done tough for the others.

Gameplay
Either love it or hate it. There are no doubts that the Junction system raised much controversy. Square implemented radical changes to its battle system by having junctioning. Gone are the equipment such as armors and shields that boost your character\'s stats. Instead, a character could become stronger by junctioning magic to your respective stats.

Personally, I like the new system. Apart from the use of Guardian Forces become more significant, with the junctioning system, it allows players to customize their character to almost limitless combination.

Of course, it depends on your style of playing, weather you\'ll like the new battle system or not. The junction system did not come with its flaw. The source of magics in the game would be drawing from the enemies. At times, this could be a tedious task, especially without any magic refining abilities, strengthening your character could be a time-consuming experience.

Graphics
The graphics are one of the good points in this game. The FMVs are awesome and done to great details. It would not be an exaggeration to say that its introduction FMVs is among one of the best so far in the series. (I-VIII). However, at times there are lacks of expressions in the characters.

Conclusion
While Final Fantasy VIII might be a mediocre game, some people might like it better than others due to its unique junction system. I would recommend for you to try it out. Nevertheless, this game is incomparable to the much superior FF VI and FF VII.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 08/06/03


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