Review by the_quickness
"The opposite of a Final Fantasy game"
I'll have to say, when I first played this game, I thought it was going to be just like the other Final Fantasy games. I wanted it for this reason. It turns out I would be very, very wrong.
I don't feel slighted by this. The game became incredibly hard because I leveled up really high and didn't understand the Junction system. It wasn't until Disc 4 that I realized how bad my "strategy" failed.
Sure, there were tutorials, and an instruction booklet, but I wasn't the kind to READ them or anything. All I saw was a bunch of 'blah blah yeah yeah, I know what I'm doing, I'm a big boy I can take care of myself. Thanks.' Over time I noticed that things were different. "Hey. There's no Magic Points. That's amusing." Even then, it didn't dawn on me just how different everything really was.
Everything people have come to expect in a Final Fantasy game up until this point was turned on its head. I bet a lot of people are still holding a grudge. I'm not. It's not Squaresoft's fault that I didn't read the manual.
So I started over, with the new knowledge of how the game actually works. I started doing really well, but ordinary random battles became really bothersome. I have to Draw 100 spells every time there's a new one, for 3 people. When you can only get 1-9 in battle and the average is around 4 sometimes, it means waiting at least 20 turns to stock one spell. When you're just out on the field and there's 3 or 4 new spells from one monster, the battle can take forever. You want to pause, go use the restroom, make a sandwich, get something to drink, and get back to it., but once you're done, you never need to do it again - until you find a new spell that you don't know yet.
There are shortcuts that you can get - magic refinement, card refinement, the ability to turn enemies into cards that you can later refine - these help. Sure. They don't save you from having to draw at times, though. "Hey, this guy has 2 new uber spells. I hope I can draw enough before time runs out and I get game over." (true scenario)
The graphics are "off the chain" as they say, for the time when the game came out. Mad props for that. The storyline is kind of a love it or leave it thing, I have to say I liked some of the twists but there was nothing to make me really care if any of the characters lived or died. I found myself taking morbid pleasure in being defeated. The goal of the villain is never clearly explained - even after beating this game I have no clue what "time kompression" is or how it serves any purpose.
So, it boils down to what kind of person you are in whether or not you are going to like this game. If you are logical, rational, and want things to make sense, you're probably going to rate this game on the lower end. If you're a very emotional person and sympathetic kind of person, then you will probably feel a lot of sympathy for this game, which it sorely needs.
If you have no life, like me for instance, then you will probably play all the way through and spend most of the time on the minigame of all minigames, Triple Triad.
For people who need numbers, I broke it down like this:
Graphics - 10/10, as good as can be expected for a ps1 game
Gameplay Mechanics - 4/10 - they had some new ideas, they really tried, and they almost work. If you want a harder game you can always level up. Monsters and Bosses level up, too. The Chocobo minigame thing that the game says you can play with your memory card seemed like it would have been a really neat idea, if they ever had the Pocket Station in the U.S. ... the fact that it wasn't is a slap in the face. "Here! You can do this now! All you need is something you won't find in stores in your country!"
Sound - 7/10 - but my preferences may be different than yours
Story - 5/10 - maybe it makes sense in Japanese, or something got lost in translation. I'm willing to forgive a little.
Replay Value - 1/10 - you'd have to be a masochist or feeling nostalgic.
Challenge - the only real challenge is overcoming your pride and reading the manual. Once you do that, everything is easy.
and finally... Triple Triad - let's face it - don't you ever find yourself secretly wishing other RPGs (other than FF9) had something like this?
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 12/02/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy VIII (US, 09/07/99)
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