Review by wilowns1
"Could have been potentially good.... but... It just didn't."
INTRODUCTION- Ok so I finally get Final Fantasy 8, the last of the final fantasies I have to complete. So I put it in thinking, "This is it, I'm done with everyone after this, this is gonna be great!". Well let's just say that wasn't exactly the case, in fact far from it. This game is by far my least favorite final fantasy out of every single one I played. If this was my first final fantasy I probably would've quit the series that I love so much. Now I know your thinking "Hey this guy is a jerk, all he's doing is ranting!" That's not exactly the case, I'm just giving you my personal opinion of the game, I'm not going to hide anything. Well, here goes.
GRAPHICS 7/10- The graphics were actually pretty good, I liked the different places and the towns, but they were nothing out of the ordinary. They were essentially at the same level Final Fantasy 7 was, except the characters were not as block-like as the ones in Final Fantasy 7. Although, in 7 I found the characters much more detailed in battle than in 8. The FMV's were great too, there were more in this one than the last and that is definitely a good thing, they were beautiful to look at and were very impressive. In summary, the graphics won't disappoint, but they certainly will not stick out to you in an amazing way.
SOUND/MUSIC 4/10- The sounds were pretty good, Quistis' whip sounded real, and the gunblades sounded nice as well. The summoning sounds were pretty loud, but nothing that could be handled without turning down the volume a little. The music is what brought the score down, it was not that great and definitely not memorable. The music in Galbadia Garden is just depressing, it gives you a feel of being in a prison, not so much a strict academy. The world map music was just stupid, the music should either be soft to give the feeling of tranquility, or upbeat like Final Fantasy 7, to give you the feel of being happy to be back out of the dungeon and in the fresh air again. The music in this world map is just boring and not very exciting. The battle theme is basically repeating the same notes over and over with just a little twist to them, in a normal battle you will probably cycle through it 2-3 times, it's very short and repetitive. Lastly, the good ol' victory theme that every one loves, Da Da Da DADA Da DADADA. The theme in this one was ok, but the music in the exp/items accumulated menu afterwards was, for the lack of a better word, stupid. It was probably the worst piece of music in the whole game, there was just nothing good about it. In summary, the sounds were good and had good effects, but the music was just sub-par and not that great.
MINI-GAMES 9/10- The best part of Final Fantasy 8, hands down. Triple Triad was incredibly fun, it's a little bit difficult to learn, but isn't that true for almost every card game. After about a good 10 games you'll get the feel for it and start devising strategies to defeat your opponent and to take their cards, HAHAHAHA. This is by far one the best mini-games to ever appear in an RPG, it's fun, challenging, and potentially rewarding, truly a great aspect. Another game I enjoyed were the SeeD tests. They would test your knowledge of the game and if you passed you would earn a higher salary and the next test. There is a total of 29 tests in all, this may sound like a lot, but they won't be too hard for you, if you just pay attention to the game a little bit, you'll get them eventually. In summary, the mini-games are a great way to have fun and pass the time, if you're like me, then you'll end up playing them as much as, if not, more than the actual game itself.
GAME PLAY 2/10- This is where the score really drops, the game play for this game is pretty dull and boring in my opinion. Ok, first off, the Junction System. This was a total fail for me, you will spend many hours fooling around with the magics that you "DRAW" from monsters, I will go into that in a minute, trying to figure out which magic best suits you and if you'll benefit from putting this stat up or raising your resistance to a certain magic. It will take you a while to find a good medium for all of your characters that you will be satisfied with, trust me. You also have to set battle commands like Magic, Draw, Gf, or a specific ability, as well as stat increasing abilities. These commands and abilities are set and learned through a Guardian Force,which is a essentially a summoned aeon/eidolon would have you, that you can equip to your character with to use in battle and equip the abilities that the GF learns through AP, which is gained through battling. The guardian forces, when used in battle, put their HP in front of yours while your casting them, basically making you impervious to any damage whatsoever. When, they are casted they do a normal summon attack that you would expect. But, wait, no Mp like all the other Final Fantasies means.... WOW! I can constantly summon them, without worrying about losing MP, YES!! Well that is correct in a sense, they can still die from loss of HP, but that only happens after about the 5th time at least of summoning them and you can still heal/revive them with certain items. Basically, you could spend half the battle being impervious to damage, while dealing massive amounts of damage for no consequences. This is fun for beginners, but it really doesn't provide much of a challenge and can be easily abused. Lastly, the Drawing System, Final Fantasy eight's unique magic system. In a sense, you have no Mp, but rather a certain number of magics being stockpiled, Ex: 55 cures or 27 fires, by drawing them from the monster to be used at a later date, each monster has it's own specific magic that you can draw. Also, by using draw, you can cast the magic on the monster meaning you don't have to use your stockpiled magic, but rather magic contained in the monster that is able to be used limitlessly, basically if a monster has cure, you can keep drawing/casting cure on your people without using any of your stockpiled cures. Oh and one last thing, magic damage is completely random! Yes, random! So don't rely to heavily on it because you could hit a 2000 or just a measly 100 with the same spell at the same level. In summary, the battle system/junction system is greatly abusable, but also a huge time consumer. This game also did away with MP which prevented you from casting endless magic. It just doesn't provide the challenge or fun that is needed to keep you going.
STORY 5/10- Ok so the story is sort of different, your in a military academy in present day/ near future and your not in the past like most Final Fantasies are, that's a kind of a cool twist huh? Well, it is, but that does not make up for the rather boring story that goes on in the game. Without going into much detail to avoid spoilers, the main character Squall Leonheart is in a military academy called Garden, training to become in an elite fighter called a SeeD, along with the other characters, all from Garden, they meet up on a mission with a girl named Rinoa Heartily and her little gang of freedom fighters going up against Galbadia, sound fimiliar, it should, the typical rebellious story type that is in most Final Fantasies, which isn't really a bad thing, but with plot holes and bad character development you don't really get a good feel for the story. For example, Selphie Tellmit is the energy of the group, but that's just it, she doesn't get much dialog and we don't learn much about her. Another bad one is Quistis, who we learn some about in the very beginning, but begins to just fade away as just another fighter as the game goes on. The game also tends to give sort a dark feel towards. There aren't many happy moments and with the most emotionless person as the protagonist, it certainly doesn't help with that aspect at all. In summary, the characters are fun to see and use, but you really don't learn all that much about them and you'll be left with questions at the end because of the numerous plot holes the game has. The story isn't a failure, but it's not a success either.
REPLAY CHANCE 4/10- You probably will not want to replay it because of the story, considering it wasn't that great. However, the reason you may want to replay it is if you actually liked the junction system and wanted to play around with it some more like giving your characters different Guardian Forces, or learning different abilities, or just using characters that you didn't the first time. However, there aren't many side-quests to do and you won't be replaying it just to do the ones you missed or to replay them again. The game isn't very fun and you'll probably end up just playing it once and then putting the game away, to never emerge again.
FINAL THOUGHTS/SUMMARY- Well there you have it, that is my opinion on every aspect of the game. From my personal experience, I thought it was a trial to play and I didn't have fun just sitting there drawing and drawing magic from monsters. The only time I really got into it was when I was playing Triple Triad. So I would not recommend buying it, you should probably just rent it at first, if you don't like the junction system after about an hour, return the game immediately because your going to be dealing with it the whole game. Well, that's it, I appreciate any people who have read my review, I enjoyed writing it as it was my very first review I have ever wrote. Thanks!
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 02/03/09
Game Release: Final Fantasy VIII (US, 09/07/99)
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