Review by nalo010

"Final Fantasy VIII: a in depth review.."

Produced by squaresoft in 1999. Another addition to the final fantasy line up. A beautiful game, with new and old additions. A story a novelist will love. If your a RPG fan, and just love the final fantasy series, this ones for you. Hopefully this review will come in handy for you, especially if your looking for depth.

Here you take role of a young man named Squall lionheart. A seemingly cold and harsh type. He is a trainee of the military organization called SeeD and belongs to Balamb Garden. He soon meets many others, that join him on his quest to become a certified SeeD soldier. These are the ones that accompany on his quest: Zell, Quistis, Rinoa, Selphie, and Irvine. Balamb is where squall has been taken in. Squall has a rival in the garden, his name is Seifer Almasy. He is the very first other character that is shown. Thats not all, there's a lot more to it. Just when Squall thinks hes settled down, he finds he has a destiny to save mankind. It all seems to happen to fast for him. But he eventually gets used to it. Often he sleeps, and dreams of many things, these dreams become very real as the story unfolds. Who are these people, why does he dream of them? Find out!

Great gameplay here. I enjoyed many things, overall it works together and creates a big picture called Final Fantasy VIII. I will go into depth of all the things that make this game so good...

-Battle system:
Random battles are a part of this game. And if your the type who hate that, later on in the game, there's an ability to get rid of that. A basic three character per party line up. As in previous Final fantasies, Gf's are also ready for use (Guardian Force). Magic plays a big part in this game also. Items and other commands available. Pending on your parties speed, it depends who's going to be first. A smooth system here.

-More interaction:
Squall has a gunblade, that you may enhance its attack by pressing the r1 button, it then shoots the enemy as well as slices. And there you go you have a “Gunblade” as it name states, its a gun and a blade. Its either Hit or miss. If you time it right you can pull this off, if not you have a regular hit. I thought this was a good addition to squalls attack, so you can interact with it. Even the limit breaks have a lot of interaction. I will cover that part next.

-Limit breaks:
Like in the past, limit breaks have been used. In final fantasy VIII, it is also included. There isnt just one limit break, there are many others. Limit breaks happen when your characters Life points or HP are low. It will be made clear to you when this is happening, the numbers become yellow, and your character stands weak. Limit breaks are strong attacks unleashed by a character low in life points. You can also reach limit break by use of magic (Aura). Now, as I was saying, during some limit breaks you can interact. Squall and his gunblade by pressing R1 to release the gunblade trigger. During his limit break, there are a series of hits that you can also use the trigger. Irvine has a gun that you shoot with R1. During his limit break, there is a time gauge, and you press R1 repeatedly to shoot the enemy with your chosen ammo type. Lastly, Zell has a combat system, that requires you to put in a combination to complete the limit attacks. You are given a time limit to execute as much attacks as possible. I find these interactions to add to the fun and challenge.

-Junction system:
As I said magic was a big part in this game. Welcome the new addition to the battle system. This junction system is basically how you level your stats up and enhance defense. You simply junction various magic to your status, attack, defense, and even Hp (Life points). And soon on in the game leveling up your characters wont be needed, because the magic will be the replacement of leveling up. Which in my opinion adds much ease to this game. Also some say they dont like this new system because, it does not include the traditional buying equipment and weapons option. But, its much better because, you can junction so many defenses and even life points, its unlikely the use of equipment would be as simple to accomplish that.

-Guardian forces:
The forces that are aiding you in battle, they are called Gfs or guardian forces. They can learn abilities, level up, and also be killed in battle. They do have life points. You will have to take care of them with pet items and potions. The basic elements are covered for a GF (Ice, fire, thunder, holy, dark, earth,non elemental and protective types).

-Weapon remodeling:
You dont have the option of buying equipment and new weapons. But you can remodel your weapons. Remodeling strengthens your attack. You cant just remodel by paying for it, you have to have all needed materials to do so. This adds to gameplay in a big way. Mainly because, not all of these materials will be easy to get and find, some require boss fights, and extensive searching.

-Draw system:
This is when and where you can use the “Draw” command. During battles, you can draw magic from the enemy. At first if the magic is new to you, it will be labeled as “????” As you draw it you will see the name. From then on, you will have the right name on the window. How much magic you get from the draw depends on the rarity of the magic. Then there are draw points, while in the game, all over the world, you may run into these energies emanating from the ground. If you dont have the ability junctioned to draw, its simple, you cant draw.

-Key Places:
Even though you have the garden of balamb. There are important places to visit. Inns are used to replenish your parties health. Item shops are open to you to buy and sell things. Pet shops, are to buy and sell Gfs related items. Weapon remodeling stores, a place to upgrade weapons and such. Car rental stores, as means of transportation, there are vehicles that are for rent.

The controls are very simple. Basic command,cancel, menu, talk etc. No clutter, or any places that are hard to move in. Lovely job square did!

Another addition, great. You can refine many items, or cards into magic. Or cards into items that are useful. Refining will be needed to help aid your characters in the junction department. very useful. Another good idea from square. And its not complicated!

Side Quests:
This game has a lot of different sidequest to choose from, heres the input.

-Triple triad:
A new addition, a side game, that can add to the enjoyment of your experience. Its actually very fun. You can find cards anywhere. After a battle, or simply in a corner. You can also win them from other card players. Most people have cards you may approach them for a game by pressing the square bottom. In the beginning of the game, a man will give you a small deck to start off with. Its not much but a good for a start. As you move on through the game, the card rules can change. Sometimes it gets a bit hard, and sometimes a little confusing. But you can always change the rules for a bit of money. Cards can be used to reformed into items. That can be very useful. Triple triad adds hours of gameplay.

Throughout this game you may find many magazines. One you find commonly is the “Timber maniacs” which has stories in it. Also Weapon magazines, that show you what you can remodel. And shows the required materials. There's also a magazine for you GF's, when you read it, it teaches them abilities, or to forget certain abilities. Lastly a magazine made for “Fighters” mainly Zell. Reading it, teaches him new limit breaks.

-Guardian forces Quest:
Some are hidden throughout the world, and you have to find them. This itself is another sidequest. Hidden in caves, towers, abandoned islands, or in a bunch of sand. Searching for them, adds many hours of gameplay. Always a plus.

They are back, those cute yellow birds that put a smile on your face. You use them as transportation. To go through places faster then on foot, that you can reach with any other form of transportation. You have to catch them using a radar, and a whistle. They also give you gifts. Choco boy will be the provider of all the tools you need. Chocobos and whistles... How cute can that get?

Nubuo has again composed in this game. Beautiful music. It attaches feeling and mood to the environments. Great here. Every theme has its song, and it matches. Easy on the ears. Simply put, these are the sweetest sounds you will ever hear.

One word. BEAUTIFUL. Fully in depth, smooth, crisp, and capturing environments Very well done. The character models could be a bit less choppy, but hey there are limitations to graphics on the playstation. But very good all around, much improvement from Final Fantasy VII. More of a modern, and realistic look. All audiences can learn to enjoy and appreciate it as a piece of art. Now, the FMV or the movies. Simply amazing. Very realistic. Makes a hungry viewer very full. The graphics are clear, smooth and very well done. What a plus.

Replay Value:
Well at a personal level I have played this game many times. Its just a captivating story. I have played all the other final fantasies. Some more then once, but if your the type that really likes to re-explore and be in detail, this game is a plus in the replay department.

Overall Score, and Recommendation:
This game deserves a lot of credit but all I can give you is a 10!
I recommend this to the old and new alike. If you love RPGs and especially are a fan of the Final Fantasy series, this one is definitely for you. But still if you want to be safe, rent it. Enjoy yourself. I hope this review has helped you get a feel of what your about to play!

copywrite: 2004 nalo010

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/25/04

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