Review by ARemington
"This is THE defining game on the Playstation"
I really don't know where to start on a review of a game like this, but I'll try my best.I'll rate the game in the departments of graphics,sound,gameplay,story,and presentation.
People say that graphics are not important to an rpg, but this is one exception. The graphics in FF8 are the pinnacle of anything the Playstation has achieved~massive futuristic buildings, serene tombs, and breathtaking landscapes are rendered for your viewing pleasure. I really can't stress how good the graphics and backgrounds are. Oh yea BTW the characters have decided to grow up! Then there are the FMVs. It doesn't get any better than this. The intro is worth the price of the game alone, but then you also get the other brilliant movies. Missles launching, a huge witch parade, the ending....everything is created beautifully. If you complained about the ending off FF7, rest assured you won't here. This is probably the best ending of any of the FFs. I give the graphics a 10.
Next is the sound. Now I know the critics have totally blasted this one, but I'm here to defend it. Yes it's true that the music isn't up to par until about disc 2, but then it really picks up. Laguna's battle theme, the dungeon theme(which is excellent),Liberi Fatali,Eyes on Me, all of Edea's themes, the overworld.....there's too many to list. I would say that overall it's better than FF7's but not as good as the "trilogy"(FF4,FF5,FF6,), although it gets very,very,very close.
The gameplay is completely different than all of its predecessors, but it still has the undeniable "FF" charm to it. The programmers opted to strip it down and rebuild it from scratch. There is no armor, and you can only upgrade your weapon. At first you may think that it takes away some of the 'skill' in budgeting your money, but it really doesn't. You now have the Junction system, like the Materia, Esper, and Classes before it. The Junction system allows you to 'junction' to a GF(summons such as Ifrit,Shiva,Cerberus, and others) and learn abilities by gaining AP. It really allows you to customize your characters, and that may be a good thing depending on whether or not you want specific character abilities. This is where the Desperations come in. Like the Limits in FF7, the desperations allow you to execute a 'super' move when your HP gets low. The Desperations are absolutely beautiful to watch- from Zell's combos to Squall's Lionheart, everything is wonderful. The Desperations are also alot more interactive than FF7s. The controls are fairly easy to learn, and battles are fun to participate in because you are constantly earning new abilities. You acquire magic by 'drawing' it from foes or draw points. You can have up to 100 of each spell, and you can earn abilities that let you junction magic to your stats. The game also presents Triple Triad, a VERY addicting card game. In it you can gain cards that you can later turn into important items. You don't even need to touch the card game to beat the game, but you would be missing out on TONS of items that give you access to powerful weapons. Good job Square! This touches on the major aspects of the gameplay, but there is one more thing~the story.
The story off FF8 begins innocently enough- a young man by the name of Squall hopes to beomce a member of the elite task force SeeD. He acquires this dream after the Siege on Dollet, where afterwards the warring nation of Galbadia declares war on the world with the help of a sorceress named Edea. He meets up with Rinoa and is sent to assasinate the witch with the help of Zell,Quistis,Selphie,Irvine, and Rinoa. From then on, the story develops into a powerful narrative of a man lost within himself who must struggle to restore peace to the world. FF7 centered on an epic quest to save the world-FF8 centers on a personal quest to save the woman Squall loves. Don't get me wrong-there are plenty of pulse-pouding moments, such as the end of all the discs and other scenes such as the train ride of Timber and the Missle Base. However, the game develops very fleshed-out personalities for the main characters, and everyone seems like they could be real. This is an achievement for Square that other RPGs have yet to accomplish~a powerful epic grounded with believable characters that don't seem steriotypical. It probably has the best storyline of any of the FFs.
Finally is the presentation. It has slick packaging, cool looking discs, a great intro and ending, and a wonderfully designed menu, and everything else is very tidy. This is the defining moment of videogaming and is an experience that nobody should be without. My highest reccomendation.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 04/07/02
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