Review by Calamity
"This is the result of when Square becomes rich over a previously terrible game."
Yeah... Final Fantasy VIII. Those of you who know me will remember that I did not like Final Fantasy VII. So, what happens when a terrible extremely overrated game like Final Fantasy VII sells amazingly? The company realizes it's audience is easily fooled so it takes advantage of them. Squaresoft realizes that they don't need a outstanding game to shine. So, they lose all motivation to actually make a decent game. This is the result. Another terrible game in the series. Squaresoft obviously knew that really bad games appealed to their fans so they made this game almost as terrible as possible. All I have to say is, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!? Well... I'm going to review this horrible pile of garbage.
Graphics:9/10:The Graphics are extremely nice. For sure a major step up from Final Fantasy VII. Characters actually look like people now. No more deformed pixelized characters. Backgrounds found in areas are great. Areas had a lot of detail put into them and look well designed. Enemy and boss designs are fantastic. Attack animations in battle look a lot better then they did from Final Fantasy VII too. The FMV's are absolutely graphically amazing. Overall great, but not perfect Graphics.
Gameplay:3.4/10:Final Fantasy VIII at first seems like a decently fun RPG. You go from town to dungeon as usual. Exploration and battles are done with a three man party. Like the rest of the series, battles are randomly initiated. In battles you'll also have the infamous ATB(Active Time Battle System) battle system. While all this seems good... Are you willing to bet it gets really bad though? Oh, yeah it gets really bad as soon as your introduced to Junctioning in the beginning...
Junctioning is where you draw magic from enemies. To do so, you simply select Draw in battle and choose a enemy to Junction from. Then you select the spell you want to junction and there you go. What you can do with the Magic then is either set it to your stats to boost them or use the spell for casting purposes. So, when your fighting the first few battles your probably confused why you have no MP. Well, guess what? The only way to cast Magic is to junction a specific spell from enemies. This leads to several tedious hours of using Drawing spells over and over in battles. It makes no sense at all and leads to even bigger problems. Since spells can be used to boost stats your most likely just going to boost the stats first. So that means you have to Junction the spell 100 times which is the maximum. Doing, so leads to more problems believe it or not. So, not only do you have to draw 100 magic spells for stats, but then for casting purposes as well. Now, here's the even bigger problem with Junctioning.
Okay, so you can increase stats by drawing spells and assigning them to stats. It seems fine at first, but eventually you realize it can be abused. If you gain at least 60 of a decent spell for your level your stats will skyrocket. Your characters will be absolutely unstoppable with a decent amount of time invested into Junctioning. Due to this, there's no motivation to actually fight random battles to become more powerful. It just keeps getting worse though...
Enemies level up with your characters. Which even further eliminates the point of fighting random battles and leveling. Due to being able to Junction spells to make your stats skyrocket you'll obviously want to remain at a low level. That way enemies stay a low level, but you have such high stats due to Junctioning you'll be able to destroy them. So, basically leveling hurts you. Yes, it actually makes the game harder due to Junctioning. Since, if you stay at a low level enemies remain very low leveled and weak while you raise your stats like crazy and keep enemies weak by not leveling. This leads to another problem of Final Fantasy VIII.
Horrible difficulty balance strikes again! The game is simply too easy because of the Junctioning system. Not to mention, G.F's. Since they don't cost MP, but rather have HP they can be used over and over. Sure, if they get hit a lot and run out of HP they'll die, but that's honestly never going to happen. You can summon them so quick the enemies won't get a turn. They also do a insane amount of damage and hit all enemies. So basically every battle until the very end turns into spam G.F's over and over.
At the end the game boss fights simply become a tedious boring unstrategic task of making a character have the Aura status effect and spamming Limit Breaks. Aura makes a character instantly able to do Limit Breaks. Normally, it's balanced and in order to use Limit Breaks a character has to be low on HP. With Aura you can use Limit Breaks over and over until it wears off regardless of HP. Some of the final Limit Breaks are incredibly powerful too. So, Aura is overpowered because it allows you to spam final Limit Breaks over and over on bosses. Bosses then easily cripple apart due to your final Limit Breaks. The balance just gets even more out of control. I know, unbelievable right? Wrong!
Gil in Final Fantasy VIII is not received from battles. Rather, you have to take a exam and answer questions correctly. The problem is, someone could easily look up the answers and pass all the exams. Then get a insane amount of money and buy Items that would normally be expensive at certain points of the game. Well, if you thought everything else so far was bad, then you've seen nothing yet. The next problem is certainly one of the game's biggest problems. It is the killing deathblow to this atrocity.
The infamous end of Disc 3 no point of return dungeon. Known as Lunatic Pandora. Quite frankly the name fits it. Due to the fact, you'll end up going crazy like a lunatic if you get stuck at at the final boss of the dungeon. Now, this problem arises here. If you save in the dungeon your stuck inside there. Absolutely nothing you can do. To make problems worse, the boss whom you fight at the end is one of the most difficult in the game. If you do not know to prepare for the boss correctly, you'll lose the boss fight terribly easily. Thus, resulting in getting you stuck. Why is this boss so difficult? It's one of the only bosses in the game that cannot be defeated by simply spamming G.F."s repeatedly. Due to the fact, there's a target in that battle who cannot take too much damage. Otherwise, the target dies and the boss fight is lost. This basically means you must take down the boss only using physical attacks. Since just about every other battle in the game is won using G.F.'s you probably never bothered to Junction spells to your Strength stat. Which means your basically screwed and have to start a New Game ALL OVER AGAIN. Overall Final Fantasy VIII is incredibly boring and tedious so the Gameplay gets a 3/10.
Storyline:3/10:Yeah, the Storyline like the Gameplay is terrible. First off, the plot is actually good, but not amazing. Rather, what ruins the Storyline is the characters. Final Fantasy VIII is about a young SEED cadet named Squall. He begins practicing a simple training session with another cadet. It then turns into a violent aggressive battle between the two and Squall ends up seriously injured. He then wakes up in the infirmary and quickly recovers. After that, Squall eventually passes a few SEED tests and is then sent off to war...
So, how's that to trick you into your getting into a good Storyline? Well, your not because the characters ruin it. Squall himself the protagonist is pretty bad. He's a emo who pretty much is always depressed and never wants to speak with anyone. Next is Zell. While his age, is around 18 or so his maturity sure isn't. Zell acts like a twelve year old everywhere he goes. He's always overconfident and acts immaturely. Another poor thing about him is how he is astonished by such simple things. When you enter the room in a train he's absolutely shocked. Like he has never been inside of a room before. Then he sits down on the couch and starts bouncing on it? Okay, not to rant, but seriously what 18 year old does this? Okay, so next up is Selphie. She isn't a particularly annoying character, but a hardly developed character. She hardly gets any development aside from when you meet her. So, basically a character who Square seemed to shove in for no reason. Now, then for our next contestant we have Quistis. Who is Squall's instructor. She isn't a annoying character once again, but doesn't get much development throughout the game. Fortunately she does get a small amount of development, but most of it fades away late in the game. On the positive side Quistis is hot though. Anyways, next we have Irvine who once again gets hardly any development. Actually, no I think he doesn't get ANY development throughout the game. I would go on about the rest of the main cast, but seeing as how we got a great main cast already you can see where this is going...
Well, let's talk about the antagonists. First off is Seifer who is another cadet like Squall. He simply is a bully who specifically likes to bug Squall. Seifer is decently interesting, but to be honest gets very little development once again. Anyone noticing a pattern yet? In the beginning you run into him a few times and he even commands your squad during the war. So, he gets some development during the beginning, but later on most of it disappears. Seifer then simply turns into some crazed madman who wants Squall dead. He also oddly encounters Squall at the most random locations. So, far antagonists not looking so good. We have one so far who is terrible. Next is Edea.
Edea is a sorceress. She basically wants to completely destroy SEED. So, later in the game it becomes Squall's goal to stop her. Aside, from that to be honest she is a okay antagonist. Edea isn't too interesting herself, but later in the game you find out a interesting plot twist about her. Now, I would cover the final antagonist, but that would be spoilers and I don't want to ruin the game for anyone. I will say the final antagonist while getting very little development is actually a okay villian. She does about one or two interesting things throughout the game. So, she gets points for that. While, all of the characters so far are not too good, how is the writing?
Final Fantasy VIII features some of the worst writing I have ever seen. At one point of the game it's utterly ridiculous how poorly written the dialogue was. In one event, you are a man named Laguna. A member of a army along with his two comrades Ward and Kiros. Once, you reach the end of his short brief scenario your comrades are mortally injured. Now, what would you normally do if someone was injured? A)Try to heal the wound to the best of your ability and remind the wounded victim to remain calm. B)Do A and call for help. C)Tickle the person and hope it somehow helps. Well, if you picked C...Then your correct! Yes, that's what Laguna does. In order to help Ward who's mortally wounded, Laguna tickles him. If you think that's terrible already, it gets worse. The group is sitting isolated on a cliff thousands of feet above water. Below in the water they notice boats. Laguna decides the next best course of action is to take his two wounded comrades and toss them down into the water below. Then jump down himself. All in order to get on the boats and escape from the area. How does that make any logical sense!? If you toss someone thousands of feet into water below, they would die no matter what. Then consider that two of the people are not even jumping in prepared, and are mortally wounded. You can basically guarantee that those two are dead. Yet, somehow in the most ridiculous way possible Kiros and Ward survive the astonishing drop into the water. Laguna does too, and even a perfectly normal person would die from such a high drop into the water. This is not the only example of how terrible the writing and scene directing in Final Fantasy VIII is...
At another point of the game a evil sorceress is about to be elected president of a city. During the sorceress's speech she literally talks about conquering the world. Killing everyone who gets in her way and even possibly her own citizens next. Yet, despite the citizens being normal, they don't react in any way at all and instead remain oddly excited. Then to make matters even more ridiculous the sorceress proceeds to kill the president of another nation right in front of the entire audience! Still, despite all of that the audience remains perfectly calm, happy and excited. That's just quite possibly the most ridiculous, poorly written garbage scene along with the Laguna event. Both of the previously two mentioned events are probably the worst I have ever had to witness in a RPG. So, all-together how is the Storyline of Final Fantasy VIII? Well, hopefully you already got a good idea...
So, overall the Storyline is terrible. The main plot itself, is okay, but later on it seems like the main party is simply going after nothing. Main cast is terrible and easily one of the worst ever in a RPG. Antagonists are mediocre, but at least far better then the main cast. The real killing deathblow is how poorly written some of the scenes are. So, overall Final Fantasy VIII has a horrible Storyline. It scores a 3/10 for the Storyline. If I had to write the Storyline for this game, I could have done FAR BETTER. Believe me.
Music:10/10:I have to admit the game has a excellent soundtrack. I still sometimes listen to the Music from this game today. Overall probably one of Nobuo Uematsu's best soundtracks.
Overall:4/10:Final Fantasy VIII is one of the worst RPG's I have ever played. It has pretty good Graphics and amazing FMV Graphics. The Music is excellent, but everything else is terrible. The Gameplay is terribly unbalanced, tedious and boring. Storyline is ruined due to it's absolutely horrible characters. Yet, it has a decent main plot. So, really there's no reason to play this game in my opinion. I highly suggest avoiding this game at ALL costs.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 09/04/08, Updated 03/06/09
Game Release: Final Fantasy VIII (US, 09/07/99)
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