Final Fantasy VIII Review

Release Date: 9/ 9/1999
Publisher: Square EA
Developer: Squaresoft
Genre: RPG
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T
Console: PlayStation
Author: Chronoserge9
Date Posted: August 3rd, 2001
Article Type: Review

Final Fantasy VIII is the second Final Fantasy to be released on the Playstation and sets another high watermark for RPGs and the Final Fantasy series. However, the weak storyline does hold the game back from being truly spectacular.
The basic premise of FFVIII is that you are part of an elite group of mercenaries known as SeeD. So being part of SeeD, you get sent on a bunch of missions because that's what mercenaries do. Of course, this escalates to a greater conflict. Even when more of the underlying plot is revealed, the story is still very weak compared to many other RPGs.

The main character in the game is Squall, who is basically a stuck up jerk. FFVIII was supposed to have a romantic story, but I don't see how anyone could like Squall since he is very anti-social. The problem with Squaresoft's attempt at the romantic story is that they didn't make a compelling and likeable main character therefore making the romance very weak.

That being said, almost everything else about FFVIII is perfect. The graphics are the best ever seen on the Playstation and the FMVs are once again stunning with jaw dropping cinematics. Squaresoft was going for a more realistic type feel with FFVIII and has done a good job of conveying this realism in both their movies and in-game graphics. The people look very human like and realistic. The spells are spectacular and so are the summons, which are known as GFs in this game. Now comes the bad part. The GFs in the game are the backbone of FFVIII's battle system. They are all very stunning, but they get extremely repetitive since you have to watch them again and again and there is no way to skip them.
The battle system in FFVIII is very good, with the exception of the GFs. It is based on junction system, where you basically junction certain items to certain stats in your character. Depending on how much and what kind of item to junction to which stat, that stat increases or decrease accordingly. Instead of using the traditional magic system of MPs, Squaresoft has opted for drawing magic out of enemies or draw points. Magic is treated like an item in FFVIII and it can be useful, yet detrimental at times. So you have a set amount of a spell and once you run out of it, you have to draw it from an certain opponent.

The sound in FFVIII is very good and one of Uematsu's best. Eyes on Me is a very good song and a lot of the pieces in the game are extremely well done and fit in with the mood and ambience of the game. Of course, the replay value is good in this game as the usual amount of side quests is included.
The bottom line is that FFVIII is a well-done RPG and if it were not for the high expectations we have come to expect out of Squaresoft games, it would be spectacular. However that being said, the weak storyline and repetitive summons do get annoying and that keeps me from giving it an extremely high score. FFVIII is still a very, very good RPG and I would definitely recommend buying it.

Sound- 92%
Controls- 95%
Overall- 92%

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