Review by CWildfyre

Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 04/07/02

ALMOST perfect...

Final Fantasy 8 has made it to America, and everybody and their grandmother has an opinion of it. Well, so do I.

FF8 is without a doubt one of the best games ever to come along, with an engaging story, great graphics and sound, and some nice features.

Story-wise, I don't know why everybody's so down on the story in FF8. I love it, this guy who won't open up to anyone, and this girl who no guy could resist, and the guy learning what it means to care about something and doing anything to save her. That's something else. But even from the beginning of the game, the story is strong. I love the characters, they're so real, and I really like them all a lot (even Seifer). There has yet to be a more rounded group of characters in a game, or a more realistic reason for them all being together. And the development of the characters, well worked in the scene with Irvine and his attempt at sniping, is great. As far as story goes, you don't get much better.

Graphically, there is no compare. The backgrounds in this game will blow you away. The characters look good, if a little pixellated. Then we come to the FMVs. It's worth buying this game just for the FMVs. They're beyond anything in any other game, ever. I mean, I thought the FMVs in Parasite Eve were good, they're nothing compared to what you get here. The FF8 FMVs define realism.

I disagree with everyone else about the sound. I like the music in this game. People have high expectations, I mean, how can you possibly top One-Winged Angel? But the music here, though not the best in a Final Fantasy game, is definitely notches above the other games out there.

The features are well done. I like the junction system, as well as the ability to power up your guardian forces, and I like drawing magic. Upgrading your weapon is cool. The only thing I don't really care for is the salary. I think you really, if you make any sort of effort to get a decent SeeD ranking, end up having enough money to buy pretty well anything you want throughout the game, which is kind of disappointing. I like the strategy of using your money wisely to be able to buy what you need. Here, though, you can just run around town and accumulate money.

The battle system is a flaw in my opinion. At the beginning of the game, battles are far too easy, and while they do get tougher as the game progresses, I don't like the fact that guardian forces are so much more powerful than weapons that it's pretty pointless to even use physical attacks. I hate relying on guardian forces, but in all honesty, the weak damage done by physical attacks makes using them a necessity. The fact that the GF has HP is irrelevant, as I've never had one drop below, say, half its max. There needs to be a greater strength of physical attacks (and I don't mean setting it up so you always do desperations) and some means of limiting use of GF, because it makes the game less fun.

The game is fun to play, and that's what a game is really all about. I like the card game, it seem confusing when you read the rules, but when you play it's simple, though some strategy is definitely needed. I'm disappointed there aren't more mini-games, but that's a small matter. It's easy to become involved in the game, and that makes it more fun. There are a few boring moments, but not many.

Overall, you can't go wrong with this game. There are a few minor flaws that should be addressed in FF9, but there's more than enough here to make you love the game.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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