Review by BrakZero

"What's this?!"

First thing’s first… you can’t get me wrong. I love the Final Fantasy series. It’s my favorite RPG series and is almost every one of their games are great. But what happened to Squaresoft…? After playing Final Fantasy VI and VII, I expected a lot from FFVIII. But what I found was a game totally unworthy of the Final Fantasy series. I really don’t understand why people enjoy this game, as this PSX game is way overhyped.

Graphics: 10/10
The graphics are great, I must admit that. Square tried to make the characters more realistic, and they succeeded. The CG sequences were awesome. The only problem was that this game suffered some pixelation problems, but they aren’t too noticeable. It’s a good thing that they fixed this problem when Final Fantasy IX came out. Overall, very good graphics.

Music and Sound: 9/10
The music in this game was also very good. Although maybe not as good as some other games of the Final Fantasy series, the music was still good and blended in pretty well with the environment or situation. However, I didn’t like the boss theme very much, but the normal battle theme was pretty good and most other songs were good, especially “Maybe I’m a Lion” and “Only a Plank Between One and Perdition”. Great music, overall.

The sound was great. They all sounded really realistic and made you feel like you’re really hearing it. Not much else to say here, though.

Gameplay: 3/10
Hooo, boy… this is where it’s dropped like a sac o’ potatoes. This game has, by far, the most ANNOYING battle system I’ve ever seen in a game. It was a unique junctioning system in which you attack a Guardian Force (GF) and learn abilities. Sound like FF6? It’s sort of the same, but it just didn’t feel the same, because the GF’s abilities aren’t really associated with the type of GF it is, which was pretty disappointing. To get magic in Final Fantasy VIII, you must “Draw” it, either from an enemy or from draw points, which is annoying because you can eventually run out of magic and spend your time battling just to draw stupid magic. It’s quite irritating indeed. Also, you can junction your magic to raise certain stats if you have learned a Stat-Junction ability. You have no idea how much time this takes up. And this happens to be very boring, taking away any fun factor this game has. The Limits in FF8 were quite different from FF7’s. For one thing, instead of making a limit gauge fill up, instead you can only perform them when in a near-death state. Also, instead of just learning new ones and performing them, FF8’s had much more to go with them. First off, the character had one Limit throughout the entire game, but something can be added or the Limit can be affected. For instance, Squall’s Limit, Renzokuken, (Sequential Blade) has a meter in which you must press R1 at the right time to double the damage each hit. Also, by acquiring different weapons, Squall was able to gain different finishers to the Renzokuken. Get it?

Well, enough with the limits. And onto another gripe: where are all the mini-games??? FF7 was chock full of mini-games, but all FF8 had was a card game! Sure, it was fun and even helpful to completing the game, but seriously… couldn’t there be more? It’s such a shame.

*Sigh* Why is there no more equipping weapons and armor? The only way to get a new weapon is to upgrade your old one with materials, and it is equipped automatically. I personally think this worked out much better in Chrono Cross, and they should NOT have done this with Final Fantasy. And as far as the armor goes… well, there is no armor. None. Zip. Zero. Sad, isn’t it? Takes away so much of that Final Fantasy feel.

And in the case of how challenging this game is, I’d have to say that it’s slightly higher than most role playing games that I’ve played. However, if you stick with the same party throughout the entire game like I do, it can easily be gotten through. The only problem would be the final battle, because you’ve got some really weak people. Anyway, this game has some pretty good challenge… but that’s not always so good.

Story: 4/10
Wow, Final Fantasy VIII’s story bored me more than I’d thought. As you probably already know by now, its story is based on the theme of love. However, this didn’t turn out quite right in my opinion, and it really messed up the storyline and didn’t make it very exciting. Sure, it was good in the beginning… you’re a guy called Squall (heh, a squall is a bird) who is a member of a military force called SeeD, who has a rival named Seifer. He goes on some stupid adventures and drags along characters known as Zell, Quistis, Rinoa, Selphie, and Irvine. And how boring it turns out to be. The only cool parts were the dream parts with Laguna with Kiros and Ward. By the time the third disc came along, I was extremely bored with it, and had to force myself through the last two discs. Get the picture? It’s not a very good story, but a good attempt at one, no doubt. But in the end, Squaresoft’s efforts were all in vain. This disappointed me the most, since Square always impressed me their amazing stories, and yet I just can’t enjoy it like some people do.

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Good Points
Great graphics
Good music
The card game was pretty cool

Bad Points
Irritating gameplay
Boring story
Very non-traditional

Hey, Isn’t the gameplay enough???
====================

The Final Word
This game is a huge disappointment to any long-time Final Fantasy fan. I would bet anything that most people who like Final Fantasy VIII have not played all the old, classic FFs, and therefore do not feel the same way towards the series. But any longtime fan of the series will hate all this new stuff. I recommend that you rent this game since lots of people like it, but I really was let down by this one.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 02/20/01, Updated 02/22/01


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