I first picked up Final Fantasy VIII about four years ago. It was my first Final Fantasy series game, and my first Role Playing Game for the matter. Ever since I’ve been a fan of the whole series. So I’m glad I’ve gotten the chance to write a review for it.

Final Fantasy VIII takes place in a time of advanced weapons and technology mixed with sorceresses and magic. In the wake of a huge Sorceress war that threatened mankind, Garden was formed, a training school for the elite mercenary force known as “SeeD“. Squall, a student at Garden finds himself thrown into the middle of a conflict across the ocean on his first task as a SeeD member, when the Sorceress Edea is brought in to help the nation Galbadia unite the world.

One thing I didn’t really like about this Final Fantasy game was the “Junction system”. It was just too much work. Instead of having MP like you’d have in other games, Final Fantasy8 uses a system where you’ve got to junction a Guardian Force (GF) in order to use any other ability. Also, you use magic by “drawing” it from draw points and monsters. Sounds like a party, right? My suggestion is read the tutorial thoroughly.

The story line was what makes this game shine in my opinion. There are enough plot twist to keep you wondering what will happen next, but you won’t get confused. You start out just as a student in a school, but in the end you aren’t even in the same century. The plot will undoubtedly keep you on your toes right until the very end.

I’ve got to say I enjoyed the characters, sure Squall was a bit whiney at times, but who isn’t? In the beginning of the game he gets slashed by a sword, I‘d be pretty upset too? But really, Final Fantasy has a good mixture of it’s wise, suave, and hyper characters. My overall favorite character from this game would have to be Seifer, I like how Square Soft balances him out to be a pretty cool, yet bad ass enemy. I think he’s just misguided ;)

Let’s get down and dirty with the “Battle System”. It’s pretty much what you’ll see in the rest of the Final Fantasy’s. You sit around until you can make a move, and then sit around some more, which is definitely a cool way to fight, let me assure you. As I explained in the junction section, you can always “attack” (use your weapon and do physical damage to an opponent) but if you have a Guardian Force (GF) equipped it opens a window to many possibilities. Lets just say you equip your GF, now you can also equip diFinal Fantasyerent abilities which I’ll briefly explain.

Magic – Allows character to use magic the he/she has drawn
Draw – Allows the character to draw magic from Draw Points, or Monsters
Item – Allows character to use an item in your item inventory (Sorry, it’s gotta be something you can use in a battle, no time to read a magazine if you’re fighting)
GF – Allows character to use the Guardian Force he/she has equipped
Abilities – Allows character to equip an ability that their GF has

The limit break gets triggered when your character has “critical” health, in other words the health bar will turn yellow. I actually like this instead of having a bar for limit breaks that slowly rises, because you can use it over and over until your character is dead or healed. The disadvantage is if you use your limit break it means that you’re close to death.

The graphics in Final Fantasy8 were actually quite impressing. Sure sometimes you’ll be walking and turn quick only to find yourself going through one of the other characters, or you might wonder what’s up with the texture of Squalls head. But when an FMV starts up it isn’t hard to forget about all of that and take in the moment. I’m not a graphic freak, but it really does add the “spice” to Final Fantasy8’s storyline.

The music (or jams) weren’t half bad. Eyes On Me is one of my favorite songs from a Final Fantasy series. It’s all pretty clear and despite the lack of voices in most of the songs (and game for that matter) I still catch myself humming to a tune.

Final Fantasy 8 was and still is one of my favorite Final Fantasy games. It provides hours and hours of gameplay, a great plot, and graphics that astound you.

Likes:

Great Plot
Well Developed Characters
Lots of Gameplay
Peachy Graphics
Dislikes:

Sometimes the talking seemed to go on for hours (not literally)
It wasn’t actually talking; Reading, no character voices
Weak Junction System
Overall 8.5/10

by Evan.