Review by BBallman7
"My favorite Final Fantasy"
When people here the term RPG, they usually think Final Fantasy. A lot of people hate final fantasies, but the fans of the series are usually die hards, and now I understand why. For whatever reason I never gave RPG's a chance. I love games with a good story, but RPG's always seemed too slow for me. I was always more of a First-person shooter fan, although they were usually light on stories, they gave me an adrenaline rush, which I thought was the whole point of games. But then a friend gave me FFX, and since it was free I figured I'd check it out, and ever since then I was hooked, and have since bought FFX-2, Origins, Anthology, 7, 8, and tactics.
Although there is a lot of love for FF7 out there, FF8 is my personal favorite. This game has a great amount of character development, and not just the main character(s), but your entire team of characters.
First off, I guess I'll talk about the gameplay, because it's the most drastic change you'll notice between this game and all the other final fantasies. In FF8, there is no MP(magic points), and you don't learn magic. Instead you draw it, steal it, from the enemies. This gives the game a different strategy, because now you don't really have a black or white mage, and you can't just refill your MP whenever you save. But instead you just have whatever you drew from enemies.
Another big change is the junction system. Although it's annoying at first, it quickly becomes one of the greatest ideas since the series originated. Basically you attach magic spells to abilities, such as strength, magic, etc., and depending on the spell, it'll make you stronger, quicker, and all those good things.
The other gameplay difference is that the enemies level up with you, which in my opinion was a horrible idea. It was supposed to make the game harder, so you couldn't just level up so much that the game would be a breeze, but what it does is make the game even easier. Because of the junction system, you can get strong without leveling up, so you can overpower yourself, and then enemies will stay pretty weak for the entire game. But I wouldn't recommend doing this, for obvious reasons.
Next up is the graphics, the in game graphics were above average, but the backgrounds were amazing. The FMV's were unbelieveable for a PS1 game as well. But all these things were to be expected.
Now for my biggest complaint in the game, which holds this game down immensely. There are still no voice overs. Some people try to defend the game and say it doesn't matter, you still understand what they're saying and what it would sound like, and those people are right. But because of the decision not to put in VO's, they had to hold back on FMV's, since you can't have a little bubble with what the person should be saying, they have to keep the FMV's free of speech. But imagince how great this game would of been with two, or even three times the amount of FMV's, which they definitely would have had if not for the fact that they shortchanged themselves. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great game, but it easily could have been better.
The story is obviously the most appealing part of most RPG's, and FF8 is no exception. You play as Squall, a kid raised in a military type base, and when a Sorceress threatens to take over the world, Squall and a group of friends are sent in to take her out. Obviously the game has plenty of twists and turns, and it's actually surprisingly deep, I say surprisingly because for the first have of the game the story doesn't seem too thought out, and very linear. At first the game just seemed to be out developing characters, and then when you are familiar with them, the story takes off. But that's all I'll give away for now.
Overall this is easily one of my favorite games of all time, and it's my favorite final fantasy. Square took quite a few risks, and although some didn't work out too well, it's good to see people trying to do something new. But the base formula which has worked for so many final fantasies is still here in FF8, and if you somehow haven't played it, I recommend you do.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 12/17/07
Game Release: Final Fantasy VIII (US, 09/07/99)
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