Review by Yugo1337

"Final Fantasy VIII - Mediocre RPG"

Final Fantasy VIII Review by Yugo1337

Fore Word
I'll start with this fore word, this was the first Final Fantasy I ever played and it did hook me enough to try VII, XI, and so on. Now that I compare it to the other Final Fantasies, it just doesn't compare that well. I'll divide this review into six parts - presentation, graphics, sound, story, characters, and game play. I will go into detail on how I scored each category.

Presentation - 8/10
The presentation of this game was quite unique. I simply fell in love with the cut scenes and the artwork was amazing. The cut scenes were unique to this period of time. Square made huge improvements in the art and style of CGI in games. It looks similar to our graphics engine now if not right on. The artwork of Final Fantasy VIII was quite unique. I liked the love theme in the title of Final Fantasy VIII. It was a fairly new step to go in Final Fantasies. There has been love before but this game focuses on more of the subject than other Final Fantasies. Now comes the bad parts. For presentation, it seemed pretty straight forward. They even came out with a Soundtrack (which I will deal with later in the sound category). But what this game lacked was publicity. They had action figures, ads, and more but it didn't seem enough. But there was one advantage Square had with Final Fantasy VIII. It was following up the great game Final Fantasy VII. Square had a lot of hype for this upcoming and that helped there publicity a lot. It almost seemed like that game would sell out even it there wasn't publicity because of all the hype it created. I sum up that the presentation of the overall game was helped by the hype created by Final Fantasy VII and went along fairly well.

Graphics - 9/10
Needless to say, the graphics are gorgeous. I had not seen graphics like this on a Playstation for a while. Square improved heaps from Final Fantasy VII's graphics. Square kept on using pre-rendered backgrounds and it kept on working for them. The characters were created superb. The detail was put in thoughtfully and you could see the character clearly. The cut scenes, as I said in the previous category, were superb as well. It looks nearly similar to the graphics we have now which is pretty good. But sometimes the graphics seemed kind of choppy. Sometimes I was pulled away from the atmosphere because I noticed that the graphics were getting a bit slower. This occurrence was rare but when it showed up, you could tell. But nevertheless, Final Fantasy stepped up on the plate and hit a home run for this category.

Sound - 8/10
Final Fantasy has been known for its awesome sound track and Final Fantasy VIII proves it. The sound system of Final Fantasy VIII has much improved from Final Fantasy VII. In the game, it now features new instruments such as the piano, guitar, flutes, and even a bit of vocal work as seen in the beginning sequence. Final Fantasy VIII is the first Final Fantasy to include any prerecorded, non-game-synth music in the soundtrack. In the game, you would hear a lot more orchestral themed music playing throughout. Final Fantasy VIII also took the old familiar sounds from Final Fantasy V and VI and upgraded them to fit their new sound system. The battle theme is similar to Final Fantasy VII; it is an energetic theme that is fit for fighting foes alike. Overall, I liked the soundtrack of Final Fantasy VIII. Although I missed the chocobo theme from Final Fantasy VII!

Story - 4/10
Here is where it starts to get disappointing. I'll go into more detail for this section so you can see truly why I despise the story so much. Okay, so you're a young Balamb Garden student by the name of which you choose (default is Squall) and you are trying out to be a SeeD. Okay, so Squall goes on the Dollet mission and passes with flying colors. So far so good. Now you first meet Rinoa at a party and then she mysteriously disappears to reappear later in the game. Now you off to timber where you help Rinoa and other rebels try to take back Timber to be an independent town. This is understandable and easy to do for a storyline. I enjoyed the train plan and it kept me active. After that, now you're off to Deling City, capital of Galbadia. Here is where it gets kind of stupid. You recruit Irvine, a sharpshooter from Galbadia Garden, to help you eliminate the evil sorceress that is 'controlling' Galbadia in a sense. Well, you get your plan underway then Irvine shoots the sorceress, who goes by the name Edea, and is of no prevail. So now, Squall and the others have to do it the hard way. They go down and engage with Edea. Little do they know, Seifer (A student from Balamb Garden) joined forces with Edea. Peachy! Now you have to fight him and you pretty much get owned by Edea anyway. So now you're in prison, and you have to escape. Ok, that theme has been used WAY to much. In almost 80% of the RPGs I've played had a point where you were captured by the enemy. Come on people; try to come up with new ideas! Anyway, after that you have to save Balamb from missiles and you do that then Balamb Garden can fly! Hurray! Now you go to this Fisherman's town to have a concert. . . .yes I said concert. Out of all the things you think you should do, you have a god damn concert?! Give me a break. It's not even a good one either. Oh and by the way, that Irvine guy is still tagging along for all this. Shouldn't he just go home for he truly has nothing to do with the storyline beyond the sniper thing? Now skipping ahead to disc number three. This is where it really loses its charm. Now somehow, you knew everyone in your party in the passed and you just magically happened to reunite again. Bull! I'll let that one go since this is a Final Fantasy game but seriously, the chances of that are low... real low. Now let's skip ahead to the last dungeon, Ultimecia's Castle. Cool name, but who the hell are you? Ultimecia appears about 3/4 of the way through the game and suddenly becomes the final boss? At least Sephiroth was your enemy throughout the game in Final Fantasy VII. I dislike that Ultimecia comes out of no where to destroy the world. Yes I do know that she was controlling Edea but we never know that until the third friggin disk. I conclude that Final Fantasy VIII's storyline is below average. The story started off fine but slowly sunk down throughout the four disks. Disappointing Square... disappointing...

Characters - 5/10
I'll divide the character section for each of the main characters:

*Squall
Squall... such an abnormal name. This is the main character of Final Fantasy VIII. It's safe to say that he has no friggin personality. He's supposedly some guy who just falls into place and saves the world. Apparently he cares about 1 or 2 people and has no parents. Wow, cool back story. Not exactly my type of character. Least Cloud had a mother in Final Fantasy VII.

*Rinoa
Ugh, don't get me started. I always hated Rinoa and I always will. She is just a stupid young school girl. Need I say more? I will anyway. Her limit break is calling her god damn forsaken DOG!! Give me a break! Who relies on their friggin dog to save them from a bunch of monsters? Not me! I'll end the rant there... ugh.

*Quistis
Quistis is one of the decent characters of the game. Sporting a whip, she's the type of teacher I wish I had. Although seeing the age difference between Squall, the 17 year old student, and Quistis, the 18 year old teacher is kind of disturbing. She must have been one helluva preppie when she was in school.

*Zell
Here is one of the redeeming qualities of Final Fantasy VIII. Zell is a very humorous character. He is one of my favorites in this game. I like his attitude and his liveliness. He Limit Break is average. It's kind of cool to have different combos but it does get kind of old after a while

*Selphie
. . .
Umm what is to say? She is kind of weird. She is not really that hot. I like her wittiness. She is kind of funny. I love her limit break; it's very helpful and unique. I guess that's all I have to say about her.

*Irvine
Ugh, worst character ever! He plays the punk-ass in this game and is the most annoying character of the bunch. His main role is to shoot Edea when the time comes... that's it! I don't even remember a back story for him. It's just so lame that they put this useless character into the game for one purpose. Ugh!

*Laguna, Kiros, & Ward
Another redeeming quality of the game. These three are cool individuals and it's awesome that they only appear in dreams. I'd much rather play as this trio than play as Squall and his motley crew.

That sums up the character section of this review.

Game play - 3/10

Okay, lemme start of by saying that Junctions has to be the stupidest idea I have ever seen. Also the fact that monsters level up with you brings no point into leveling your characters. One redeeming quality of the game play is the kickass card game. It's so simple yet very unique to this type of game. I often find myself trying to collect all the cards in every play through. I bet you most of my time in the game is the time I played the card game. I also didn't like the no experience points from bosses thing. Come on!? What's the deal with that? I like receiving more experience points than usual for a tough fight. Instead we get nothing. How much bull is that? Plus now you don't get money from battles, you get money from your job. That pretty much completely turns the player away from leveling up... ever! Gimme a break Square, this game turns away from all the old traditions of Final Fantasies. Big disappointment in this one.

Summary
Well, Final Fantasy VIII is not the best RPG out there but is a decent addition to the Final Fantasy collection. I would recommend picking it up if you can cope with its inconveniences. I would give it thumbs down for there are better games than it. If you want a true Final Fantasy game I would suggest Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy V. Those two games are truly good. Final Fantasy VIII is nothing but... mediocre.

Final Verdict: Mediocre game; Could use some improvements


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 02/24/05


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