Review by MIKE YO

"An Unbiased, and fair review."

I'll tell it how it is. FF8 is a good game. But perhaps, Square went a little to far trying to be ''new''. Certain points in this game make me give this game a 6. Graphically, its better than 7 and 9. Gameplay wise... It makes you just want to scream (not really, though).

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Story - 10

I have to admit, I love this story. It's fabulous. It starts out as Squall (the main character) practicing with his rival, Seifer, and this is how they both get a scar in the exact same spot on both of their faces (right in between the eyes). Well anyways, the beginning is how Squall turns into a SeeD of Balamb Garden.

I just can't get over the fact that people CANNOT see why they are called SeeD. SeeD stands for Elite Military something-something. It's not important. But it's quite obvious that they are SeeDs (fighters) of the Garden (group). Seed? Garden? It kinda links together, don’t ya think?

On to the next point. This game has a hint of love to it. Some people find it a bit corny, but I don't. All though it didn't make me emotional, mad props for the attempt. There seems to be a lot of plot twists in this game, and quite a bit of flashbacks. It sounds weird on paper, but you should just play it for yourself and find out.

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Audio/Video – 9

Graphically, this game is top-notch. Well, actually, the in-game graphics kind of suck. Their faces look weird. And their clothes are like glued to them. However, the FMVs actually look like The Spirits Within (The Movie). Summons look good, even though Eden takes like 2 minutes or so each time you summon it.

The environments are wonderful. The monsters each have their own dieing animation, and all of the limit breaks look good.

This game also boasts a terrific soundtrack. Eyes on Me is actually a good song (IMO). However, a bad point of the soundtrack is the Victory remix. It’s terrible. It just sounds like crap. The battle song can also get a bit repetitive once in a while. But whatever.

SFX are pretty good. There are a variety of sounds, like the slash of Swords and the explosions of summons and limit breaks. There are a lot, but a lot of them are annoying and repetitive.

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Gameplay – 5

This is where the game falls down.
First of all, Junction is stupid. What is Junction? Well, you can Junction magic into a stat, and that stat would boost. However, it seems that using this way of ‘powering-up’, it makes getting level-up almost useless, every one person is the same (except for their limits), and you can make your people GODS so easily. I really didn’t like Junction.

Next, the weapon system. Why is it only the weapon system? Because there is no armor in this game. Yes, you heard it right, no armor. Instead, if you want protection, you junction magic into your defense stat, and your Element-Defense stat, and lastly your Status-Defense stat. But the weapons are ridiculous. Once you get a magazine, you can start to look for parts to buy a weapon. For example, until you get Mug, you can’t upgrade your first weapon for Squall, and you don’t get Mug until about 5 hours into the game. But that’s not important. Upgrading your weapon for attack power is useless. Lionheart (Squall’s best weapon) is only about 10-15 points better than Revolver (Squall’s worst weapon). You upgrade weapons for access to new Limit Breaks. Well, for Squall at least.

The Magic system. Some people think it’s a pain in the ass. It really isn’t, but it can be.
You ‘draw’ magic from monsters. Every monster has a unique set of magic. In battle, you use up one of your turns with the Draw command (which can sometimes fail) and get about 1-15 of that spell. It’s not bad, but it can get tedious. And when you’re not in battle, there are draw points where you can draw magic from it.
However, this magic system isn’t that good, because if you junction 100 Ultimas to strength, and than you cast Ultima in battle, than your strength rating will go down.
Magic is USELESS. The only thing you’ll be needed magic for is Junction. But if you want damage, you Darkside. If you want healing, use the ability Recover, an X-Potion or Hi-Potion. If you need to revive, use ability Revive or a Phoenix down.

Summons. Each summon is good, and they are strong. Here is how you summon in this game-
Let’s say Rinoa casts Shiva. A blue bar will appear where her ATB used to be. The blue bar will go down at a speed that varies depending on her Compatibility with Shiva. If Rinoa was hit during her ‘casting’ of Shiva, than Shiva’s HP would go down. If Shiva’s HP hit 0, you can’t summon her again until you revive her. If successful, than Shiva would go out and do Diamond Dust. If not, than Shiva dies, and Rinoa would go on like nothing happened. So you CAN use GFs (Guardian Forces, aka Summons) as ‘punching bags’ if you wanted to.
In battle, you gain AP for your GFs so they can level-up and get stronger. Each summon has a set of abilities, like Str-J, which enables you to junction magic to strength. I didn’t like this, as it was a pain getting different abilities that let you junction stuff and a lot of the commands that the GFs have are useless anyways.
Summons become near useless (except for maybe Eden) near the end, because they take VERY long to perform, and they all don’t really do that much damage anyways. Eden takes 2 minutes to perform, and it’s the only thing in the game that can actually break the 9999 damage limit.

And now for actually playing the game. It’s just like any other RPG. Battles go by quickly, and the story is good. But I didn’t enjoy this game as much as I enjoyed FF VI, FFVII, Chrono Trigger, or FFX.
One The load time in this game SUCKS.

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Challenge – 2

This game is ridiculously easy. As I said before, you can easily make your people gods. Enemies go by in 1 or 2 hits, and abilities like Darkside (Which TRIPLES your attack power) and Recover (which gives you 9999 HP in one turn) make me give this Challenge rating a 2.

But why not a 1? Some battles are impossible. For example, Ultima Weapon can cast Gravija (takes off like ¾ of your HP), follow by Earthquake, than attack, for an impossible-to-dodge-instant-kill combo. It’s very annoying how hard some monsters can get, but at the same time, its incredibly easy.

And one more thing…LIMIT BREAKS. You can attack your own people until they get into near-fatal. And you can just keep pressing Triangle on their turn and get Limit Breaks. And the thing is, you can shoot them out at rapid fire just as long as your HP is in near-fatal. Rinoa, Selphie, and Quistis are near useless because they have crappy limit breaks, as Squall’s, Irvine’s, and Zell’s can each hit about 10+ times.

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Extras, etc

There is a card game in this. Using Card-Mod, you can transform your cards into various items. You can obtain cards by beating people, or by using the ability Card on monsters.
There are various side-quests, like the SeeD tests (which give you money), the Card quest, the PuPu card, and stuff like that. There is a lot to do with cards though.

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Length – Long / Replayability - 2
This game is pretty long. There is a lot of back-tracking, and you can get lost VERY easily. Getting all the Ultimate Weapons, Limit Breaks, Items, and Abilities can take about 70+ hours.

Since this game is fully-linear, if you play it again, it seems very boring since there is nothing extra or anything.
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The Bottom Line

This game is good, but not that good. It could’ve been better, but Square tried to be a little new with this game. The graphics are really good, but the Junction, Magic System, and the Weapon System are bad. I wouldn’t buy or rent this game, I’d borrow it from a friend because it’s too long to beat it in 1 rental, but not good enough to keep.

Pros-
Graphically, the best Final Fantasy on Playstation
Very nice Soundtrack
You can customize your people the way you want them to be

Cons-
A little on the easy side
Squall is not a good person (he is like a loner)
The story become a little to predictable at about disc 3
GFs take too long to summon
No Armor, bad Magic system.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 07/15/03, Updated 07/15/03


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