Review by PlasmawarriorX

"Is this game better than VII? *gasp*"

I love Final Fantasy. Mostly any game is a sure-fire hit. And although I loved FFVII, I never thought of it as the best game of all time. There were major issues. Graphically flawed, and with a very bad RPG system, it still had one of the best story-lines and pretty deep gameplay. It was great, but far from the best game of all time. Now, a few years later, Square makes another Final Fantasy game. One that you love, or hate. So, does VIII surpass it's big brother?

Concept:

You play your team of heroes in the world around you in order to save it blah blah blah. The system is based on drawing magic from monsters, then using them to your stats to upgrade them. Ok, it's not the best RPG system, but at least it out-classes VII's system and even IX's system. It can be hard to handle at first, but mid-game it gets much easier and pays off in late-game playing. If you don't want to draw, you can get magic by refining items. So you don't HAVE to do anything one way. At least that's a good thing about the game. 8/10

Controls:

Ok, the RPG world normally has tons of different controls. But really there's only three that you should have. Some attacks do make you use different button combinations, but please, don't over-complicate things. You should just have conform, cancel, and menu, but NO! At least in this instance it doesn't make things automatic like in other FF games, but I WANT it that easy. Not ‘I have to read the set-up to know what to do' all the time. Not always an issue, but it's everywhere in the game sadly. 7/10

Graphics:

When you look at the ‘small-sprites' of VII and compare them to what you get out of VIII, there's no comparison. VIII's graphics out-classed VII, which didn't have good PS1 graphics as a whole. However the cut-scenes are arguably the best of all-time. From intro to ending, the graphics look much shaper, clearer, and more gripping. By far, if you're going to debate the two games, THIS is the one thing you can't debate. VIII learned from VII's mistakes. 10/10

Story:

People like to say ‘there is no story!' Well, no real central story. There is one, but it's not as big as Squall's story. The game is pretty much first-person perspective instead of ‘Omni' knowing where you see everything at once. Personally, I like this idea, where you see your main character be the key more than anyone else. That's what the game should be. Let your story be YOUR story. Not exactly the best game for that, but hey, it's not bad ether. It all gets together in the end. 10/10

Sound:

As good as the music was, pretty much the music in VIII is better in most of the cases other than during random battles. Some of the best music in Final Fantasy's history came from this game. I can't pick one favorite however, but on the whole, pick one and be blown away by it. I personally think the sounds of monsters also make the game much more real, and so do the sounds of the attacks, whips, swords, guns, everything sounds different. That's what I like! 10/10

Replay Value:

Any RPG has a pretty good amount of Replay Value. Most of this game is fairly straight forward, but you still can miss things here and there. If you miss any of the summons, you might as well start over because you won't get HALF of the abilities that you really need to get. I honestly believe this game is pretty much a one-and-done if you're trying. If you're not trying, it could take a few runs. You don't HAVE TO get the side-quests, they don't normally help save a few, but still not a problem in playing. 7/10

Fun Factor:

There are very few time-wasters in the game. Mostly it's drawing magic and beating down bosses, which grow with you, so that does mean you're skills are more important than beating down people. HOWEVER it boasts one of the best time-wasters in video game history. I'm of course talking about the Card Game, Triple Triad. It's fun and really about thinking rather than simply using the most powerful cards. I don't want to give much away, but when you play that game, you'll be wanting to get the cards to rule them all. Grinding, but there are relaxing game breaks. 9/10

Fandom:

Pretty much any Final Fantasy game will be brought up with some great fans. FFVIII gets the shaft because of VII, but it's still a game people remember. You normally hear a lot of Squall and Rinoa fans, but in the long run, there's still not a huge following compared to VII. Still the fans do know what they're doing in the game, so even if it's not as huge of a following, it's still got a solid base. 8/10

Over-all Rating:

I like VII, don't get me wrong. But it was just a starting point. It hasn't aged well, and really, wasn't that grand when it came out. However I look back at VIII 10 years later, and I'm still blown away by the graphics and the gameplay. I don't think anyone can look at the two now and put VII ahead of VIII because, really, VII's aged poorly. VIII hasn't aged bad at all. At the time, VIII is better than VII, and even more so now. Do I say it's perfect? Nope. Close enough to however, get a rather high rating.

And it deserves it's rating, a better-than-you-think 91 out of 100.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/16/10

Game Release: Final Fantasy VIII (US, 09/07/99)


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