March 28, 2008, Square Haven has ceased updates indefinitely. Don't despair, however; the work started here more than ten years ago continues at

Final Fantasy VIII

Traditional RPG
Final Fantasy
  • September 9, 1999
  • February 11, 1999
  • October 27, 1999
A- 241 total ratings
Write a Review
buy from

Superb game, despite a few flaws.

A Final Fantasy VIII review Author: Nephtis Published: January 28, 2005
Sharing is Caring
link to this page e-mail this page Facebook delicious
Final Fantasy VIII, the first in the long-string of games I bought without ever having played it. Having gotten to the point where I was only several hours away from the end of FFVII, and since it wasn?t my game at the time, it was taken away. I had to find something to occupy my gaming hours, and then I found FFVIII.
The game I soon found out is a rather debated title, you love it or you hate it. (There are probably options for in-between people too) Many say that it is not worthy of the title Final Fantasy, and that its story lacks, and that the junction system is crap. Well frankly, those people are crazy. People have also said that they like the new Simpson episodes, but I also think those people are freaks. Anyway, Final Fantasy VIII to me represents another evolution in the series, the first to use the analogue and vibration functions of the controller (not much of a feature, but ah well), the first to produce those really fancy FMVs, the first to contain a theme song, the first game that had it?s soundtrack titles in English. The game was almost completely perfect, save for a few flaws, but hey, game creators are only human too.
First off, the graphics. Wow, when you first see the opening scene, you just sit in awe, that first time was utterly sensational. Liberi Fatali heats up in the background while the sheer brilliance of the scene envelops you and I hear some people?s jaws didn?t come back up for a considerable amount of time afterwards. In-game, people complain about the polygons, how characters limbs go through walls and other things. If you remember FFVII, the block handed game, you should not have the right to whinge about this. It?s a huge leap from the previous title?s graphics, the characters actually have hands, and they actually have details in their clothes. During battle I had the chance to witness another evolution; the battle graphics were far sexier than FFVII?s. The spells look cooler, the summons are fancier, and the characters themselves look better, as well as the backgrounds.
FFVIII?s story, the critical point which dictates whether you love or loathe the game, and whether you make websites devoted to how crap it is or not. Well, for me I liked the story. As many have said, a change in the character design was great, although somewhat risky. You didn?t like the main character, which in turn meant you liked the idea. The party contained people with actual personalities, whether it be happy-go-lucky, complete tool or up himself guy who thinks he?s going to score with the ladies. They all grow throughout the story, without needing to be hopelessly lost, have people dying, or any of that. They just grow like people, which is a nice change. However, the plot too has flaws. While I disagree with the notion that the Rinoa/Squall relationship was utter crap, it did leave something to be desired. Like a bit more substance. My only complaint here is it was like Squall woke up one day and went ?hey, I like Rinoa now? and that was it. Well, that?s how I saw it anyway. Also, the whole sorceress thing really got to me. Without wanting to spoil anything for the odd few who don?t already know, I can?t say much. I would have simply preferred a more concrete bad guy, rather than someone who simply shows up.
When battling, you find yourself taking magic from the enemy, by ?drawing? it out of them. There is no MP anymore, no, this time you have a limit on each spell, and you gain more by stealing more. You can?t just use it freely though, because the true brilliance of FFVIII comes out here, through the Junction system. You junction magic onto your stats, like onto your attack, and your defence. However, your summon bad-asses play a lot more of a role here, because you also junction them onto your characters. They too have abilities, and you need them to unlock certain areas of your character to junction magic to it, like attack % and such. Sounds complicated? It sure is, but once you master it you can really make it work to your advantage. People often complain about the system, hell, it?s no job system, but it?s really damned fine. One large flaw is the whole lengthy summoning time, pity they didn?t realise then that a good idea would be to have it shortened. Plus, the fact that you can summon heaps during one battle is a large advantage that possibly should have been addressed better. Your bad-asses have HP too, and when a character summons them a gauge goes down. During this time your summon?s HP takes over the character?s, and they can effectively ?die?. I think that some form of alternative way of thinking would have gone better, it was often too easy to win with your summon creatures.
Musically, Uematsu has done it again, keeping in line with the ?original? flavour of FFVIII, he has composed some boppy techno-like tunes that I have seen people going absolutely nuts to. (although they were indeed quite affected by alcohol!) Anything from his opening theme Liberi Fatali, to his lovely track, The Oath and then comes the highly regarded ?Eyes on Me?, which sold a very large figure of copies in Japan. The first theme song to a Final Fantasy, (theme song being with vocals and having a single) the song could be heard all over Japan, and generated even more sales for the game. I own the soundtrack, and I find it hard to think of a better album I have bought, (aside from the orchestrated CD) and I own quite a number of CDs.
Side quests? Final Fantasy VIII has plenty for you. With a large amount of time able to be spent fiddling around with the greatest mini-game of our time, Triple Triad. You play this card game for the first time, thinking, ?yeah, it?s ok, but oh well.? Then you keep finding people to play with, and you suddenly find yourself wanting to ?catch ?em all?. The card game becomes a terrible addiction, forcing many extra hours onto your game time while playing it. You can also run off and find extra bad-ass things to summon, fancy ultimate weapons to kick ass with, and Zell will mostly likely be an ass all the way. Anyway, there?s certainly a lot you can do.
Final Fantasy VIII is not your average FF game, it was made with certain flair and appeal that some like, and some don?t. If you can look past the odd bad guy story thing, the equally odd Rinoa/Squall thing, and the entire Zell thing, you?ve got yourself a mighty fine game.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "Final Fantasy VIII is an often mis-understood game, while containing a few flaws, it's still a great game."
A- dotted line Average Reader Score (Based on 241 ratings) | Rate it Now
Agree? Disagree? Submit your Final Fantasy VIII Reader Review
Vapid Buttmunch
Square Haven Editor
Member since November 15, 2003
User Profile

Post a New CommentPlease register or login to comment

Login here
or cancel
Forgot your password?