Review by Tricky

"Try too hard to create a good game and Final Fantasy VIII will be the result"

Introduction
After the highly overrated FF7, which was announced to bring something completely new (which actually didn't happen), FF8 came to life. FF always tries to be revolutionairy and to bring something new. FF8 does succeed to bring something new in which FF7 failed, gotta give 'm that. But something new is, alas, not always something better.

Story Line
Squall is about to do his exam to become some kind of soldier called a "SeeD". He works for some kind of Mercenary organization. After passing his exam, Squall and his two collegues Zell and Selphie are hired by a resistance organisation run by a girl named Rinoa. She fights against a country named Galbadia who has taken over the country she lives in. Not only that, Galbadia is being ruled by an evil sorceress. Her goals are unknown, but they are disasterous. During the mission our heroes will get dreams about a strange man named Laguna. A strange plot comes together, but Squall's and Leguna's stories will eventually come together and give a surprising outcome.

In FF7 the story was totally incomprehendable. That complaint must have been taken seriously as FF8 has a much better story, and more interesting characters. With the coming of Squall I really had something like, what does SquareSoft have with total antisocial heroes. But you can many times see what Squall thinks, and that makes you understand him a little better. Especially his relationship with Rinoa makes you get a good picture. In FF7 I always wondered what Aeris and Tifa saw in Cloud, and for the same reasons I asked myself the same question about what Quistis and Rinoa saw in Squall. But as the story goes Squall will reveal his true face and you understand that those two saw in Squall. they must have seen right through the anti-social shield he's set up around himself.

The story does by far not top (or even equal), the story of FFX, but it is a lot better than the story in FF7, so I won't complain on that one.

Gameplay
TOTALLY BUSTED!! First of all I hate ATB, and in this game they even lacked to get the "WAIT" mode of the ATB running. ATB, aka Active Time Battle, is the system well-known to any FF player, so I guess I don't need to go into a detailed description of that. But as everything keeps running while you are entering your moves (even in wait mode), you can hardly see what happens while you are entering your moves. It happened to me lots of times that my character was already killed while I was entering my move hoping to save him/her. This is especially irritating when fighting bosses, which are though, and thanks to this almost impossible. So that makes reason I why this is BUSTED!

You said, reason I, Trick. Are the more?

Yes there are!!! Reason II as that Guardian Force system (abreviated to GF), and since the whole gameplay is entirely based on that, the whole game is busted. Without GF you can only attack, so winning the game without them is next to impossible. The point is that you can only take 3 commands with you, which is rather irritating. In fact all you ever do is summoning GF. This is soooooo boring. Normal fights are too easy because of it, and bosses too hard. This is also because of reason III. Reason III is that Squall's Gunblade may look impressive, but its effect is not greater than when you'd try to kill an elephant with a tiny little napkin. The weapons of the other characters are even worse. Back to reason II is that thanks to the GF the game does not even play fluently. For instance you always must plan with GF you give to which character, and on top of that, all a character can and cannot do depends on the GF, but must always be worked out in detail. All too often a GF and all that's tied to it,gets unequipped with a result you are 90% of your time busy to reset all GFs. That's so freaking irritating.

So we can simply come to the conclusion that FF8 brings us something new, but that it did not work out for the better. That's truely a pity. It's the result of trying too hard to bring something new.

Graphics
Better than FF7. 3D chars in a 2D world. Not my favorite style, but I guess it works. I guess the graphics look good for the time game was created in. The few movie sections that are there do look really stunning. It's a pity no voice acting is in those movies though, but I supose it works out.

Music
What can I say about the music? Well, I suppose it works. It's totally nothing special.

Menus
And there we have reason IV why this game is busted. The good thing is that you can heal and take off GFs from characters that are currently not in your party, but that's where the good things end, I'm afraid. Final Fantasy has always been known for its well-organized interface. Too bad, FF8 did not live up to my expectations when it comes to that. One of the reasons lie in the GF. (Ever that GF). I guess your searching work will reduce when you actually get the hang of it, but it's one hell to sort it all out. I could understand it in the end, but I guess there might be some people who'll have a lot harder time than I had sorting it all out. It's a complete total chaos. In combat the menus are far from ideal too. That is in first that you cannot equip more than 3 commands but you can live with that as the game flows. The name of your enemies are not on the screen which is highly annoying, the "Wait" mode doesn't work, as I mentioned before, and spells and items are organized terribly which makes the situation even worse considering the busted gameplay.

Powerup
Reason V for being busted. You always need only 1000 experience points to level up, so you can easily get much levels. But does it make any sense. The simplest answer would be NO, NOT AT ALL. Your statistics raise hardly, and the enemies power up as well. So no point wasting your time on that. Which means that if a boss is too hard, levelling up won't help you.. In fact the enemies also get stronger is my impression. Starting enemies are at the start of the game as hard as they are near the end.

Your GFs do also level up, that has a few advantages, but during bosses, you won't feel much difrence.

You also need to watch the compatibility of your GF. Does that work?

No, not really. You need to change GFs so often that you can hardly boost the compatibility out truely. I only got Shiva to 100% since I always kept her of Squall/Laguna.

Vehicles
Reason VI. This would normally be just a minor issue, but if you got a lot else to complain about every issue starts to get bigger. You can get 3 types of Vehicles. A car, a moving building (fantasy out of control here), and a spaceship which can be used as aircraft. First of all the controls of it are far from fantastic. And worst of all is that they are sooo freaking slow. Really if an aircraft from Shiphol airport would fly at that speed it would fall out of the sky, even walking is faster than that. And since some parts are hard to find (Reason VII), this will annoy the hell outta you.

Bugs
Some people call them "glitch". As a true programmer I must note that word does not exist. The true programmer's term is "bug". And I guess I found two. I consider the fact that the "Wait" mode is inoperative as one.
The other turns up every time you get a "Game Over" or when you need to enter the next CD. And that makes reason VIII. The meaning of the programmers was to make the screens that come up, fade in and fade out. But that's actually not what happens. In stead of that the game makes a lot of flashings as the screen comes up and goes. I payed a lot of bucks for my TV and hereby I must thank Squaresoft for this attack on my TV Screen, because if there's one way to kill it, than that's the way to do it.

Conclusion
8 reasons why this game is busted truely fits the number of this Final Fantasy Episode. It's truely a pity that this game is busted, because the story is very interesting and deserved much more. I suppose that buying this game is not a complete waste of money, but be prepared to be very disappointed. As eight reasons (which which a few count very heavy for me) why a game is busted, is by far too much. Perhaps renting this game before buying can be a real recommendation.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/07


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