Newest Review: ... element to it, such as the SEED tests as a means of gaining regular income, testing your knowledge of enemies, magic and general su... more
Between a rock and a hard place
Final Fantasy 8 (PC)
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Final Fantasy 8 (PC)
Advantages: Replay Value, Length, Story, Soundtrack, Difficulty, Dialogue
Disadvantages: Age Bracket, Addictive, Old
Thinking all the time, never saying a word. Looking miserable, wearing awful black clothes. Being rude to people, mood swings.
Remember when you where a teenager? Perhaps you are one, and that is why Final Fantasy VIII is a hidden gem, concealed by the fact, hype and fans of 7 & 9.
Final Fantasy VIII is in many ways like other FF's, its set in a huge explorable world upon which, a situation arises, threatening its existence, companions are gathered along the journey to prevent it. But what 8 has done is extraordinary although it has to be said, unappreciated. This fantasy is through the eyes of a teenager, Squall, dubbed a Leonardo Dicaprio look-alike misery guts. Which is without doubt true, and possibly a strong reason why so many detest this game, living-reliving the life of a teenager in a world that is the closest to this one than any other FF game beyond 7. Effectively taken place in a Garden (school/college) where the students are trained to be become functioning members of an elite group of soldiers known as SEED. Ok not exactly a clever or exciting plot at first glance but this is only the beginning of something overlooked. Everything about it has that youthful learning element to it, such as the SEED tests as a means of gaining regular income, testing your knowledge of enemies, magic and general surroundings, you participate in field exams where you are graded accordingly on time, battles, attitude, spirit etc. oh and you're not aloud to buy a porn mag because you're to young.
Like all successful square games, it begins slow but picks up the pace by new events, addictive mini games and tugs on your heart strings with a puppy love storyline. Clearly, gamers have taken one look at the indifferent main character they must control and shake their fist in disgust that they aren't a mysterious mercenary, fun loving optimist athlete or a womanizing thief with a tail. I'll admit there are moments in the dialogue where you get annoyed at the ignorance of said character, such phrases like "go talk to a wall" are aimed at someone spilling their emotional guts and "whatever" occurs repeatedly followed by "....." making Squall an essentially unresponsive cold jerk.. what he wants you to think.. however the time I played this, I was of a similar age, disposition and could defend 'some' of his actions. As time wears on though, more light is shed as to why your guy seems so hormone ridden, a past frequently visited in game that should be cherished to understand. Ahh but Square likes messing with you and cant resist a sub-plot, cue Laguna (main), Kiros & Ward, three laughable soldiers in the Galbadien Army (who later become a threat to SEED) running around like headless chickens on a journey of old, with Laguna the exact opposite of Squall - a moronic happy-go-lucky journalist. This change of setting and character can be greeted with relief or reluctance as it occurs when things are about to get interesting.
Battles are both improved and altered with the addition of a new "Draw" system, abstracting magic from creatures and specific points in the world, and simpler nice touches like summoning times with button bashing and chance (due to low health) involved with limit breaks. GF's or Guardian Forces (that's summons, eidolons, aons to you an me) are introduced in a brilliant new way, instead of merely stumbling across them all the time, you must battle them or draw them from powerful boss's. All of which is overawed by this games surroundings. When a place has a name like Fisherman's Horizon you know its gunna be weird.. in a good way. Towns like Deling resemble London with an array of shops and structures like Big Ben. Dollet seems like an old French town with cobble roads and 18th century architecture, even the score fits thanks to the genius that is Nobuo Uematsu. I could write a thesis on how spectacular the soundtrack is but I'll just say look at the soundtrack itself for reviews. Such is the realism of the setting but don't be fooled, around the 3rd disc you'll stumble across the city of Esthar, a gigantic technological wonder the size of a continent.. then you wake up as a writer in a rustic village called Windhill, magic.
Shame that such an innovative, well designed game is largely considered poor, when really its similar to all the others. It still has the apocalyptic doom threat, it still has a global scourge of an adventure if you're into doing things properly. There's the giant airship that takes you there. SPACE, 7 went into space for a few minutes, 8 goes there for a while and conjures up some of the most cinematic and thrilling events that square couldn't come up with on earth, so much so they put in a song with vocals and as you know that's a special almost rare treat. Plus you can play cards with cactuars on em!
Stunning FMV's accompany the key moments that all culminate into an epic journey of self discovery and destiny. It sounds cheesy but I implore you, give it a chance, this game is superb.
Summary: A superb game.