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Game Reviews & Afterthoughts

Final Fantasy 8 Review
A love story worth going back for?

 

Game Information
Name Final Fantasy 8
Console PlayStation
Developer Squaresoft
Publisher Square Eletronic Arts
Genre RPG
Release Date Sept. 9, 1999
# of Players 1
Peripherals Mem Card

Final Fantasy 8 was the first Final Fantasy game of this new generation that took on the challenge of a world with real humans. No messing around with the cartoonish/fantasy style that was found in Final Fantasy 7. Instead, we are treated to a full lineup of unique characters, full of a wide variety of personalities and human characteristics. Final Fantasy 8 is also a nice love story at heart, with actually more than one couple getting/struggling to get together. This again goes back to the wide variety of characters. Throughout the game there are 7 total playable characters that may be in your party. As the game progresses, each one will have you emotionally attached to them in a certain way and this really keeps the player from wanting to turn off the game at any time.

Final Fantasy 8 is yet another great example of both Squaresoft's artistic talent and the PlayStation's capability to present gamers with beautiful visuals. Both the FMV movies and in game graphics are top of the line for this console. The battle graphics still hold strong, particularily the summoning spells and particle effects will really impress.

Then there is all the screenshots to the left from the FMV movies of the game. These are often one of the perks players get to playing a Squaresoft RPG vs another developers game. As you can see, the FMV's are quite amazing in terms of quality and art. Add to this incredible music and sound at the same time and you have cut scene FMV's that make you wish you could watch them over and over. Unfortunately this is not the case, which in my opinion is one of the games biggest flaws. Whynot incorporate a simple feature that allows players to unlock the FMV movies somewhere for a price? Exactly like Final Fantasy X's system. Obviously FFX was released after FFVIII and perhaps this new feature was added due to fan criticism on the subject, but even still, the feature should have been there in the first place. Why would Square take all the time to make such beautiful creations and allow us to see them only once? Seems like I'm pulling hair's here, because I really am. All in all, the game looks extremely beautiful for a PSX RPG. You can play this game and compare to it PS2 RPGs and still feel satisfied with Final Fantasy 8's graphics. The art and quality of the whole package is just that good.

Audio Sample
Track 1:
Track 2:

The famous Nobuo Uematsu is back again, with the music behind yet another Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy 8 features some brilliant orchestral tracks. The beginning theme is now a classic in the series. The other important tracks within the game also hold up to be worthy an a A+ game. The battle music is another take on the Final Fantasy style battle music and the games main love song also fits like a glove. Beyond that, you will find classic town and character theme music that fits the games futuristic feel yet fantasy world feel. The soundtrack is very satisfying and easily one of the best among RPG's.

Learning Curve
Game Difficulty:
Medium
Game Length:
40 Hours

Nothing really new or special here, at least in terms of standard Final Fantasy gameplay. You follow the story, rip your hair out from the endless random battles and praise the game when you finally get the airship. You have a wide variety of play styles to chose from in terms of what you'd like to attack with. Many people like to use the summon spells excessively. Throughout the entire game, until the end boss, this proves to be very effective. Players can also focus on simple physical attacks by junctioning magic to increase their strength and attack. Did I say junctioning? What's that? It's what almost all the strategy behind the games items is based on. As you journey through the game every know and then you come across these "Draw Points" in the world where your party can draw a certain type of magic from. You then use this magic to attach it to a characters specific attribute to greater boost that attribute. Ofter the links are logical, such as junctioning the "Haste" magic to a characters speed attribute will give you the best results. Junctioning will either make or break your party, so it's best to master this aspect of the game as soon as possible.

After simple summoning and physical attacks there are also a huge array of magic attacks that are quite powerful. Magic however is often limited in number. It usually must be drawn from other monsters during battle. A good draw will yield you up to 9 instances of that particular magic each time you try to draw. Finally there is the limit breaks, mainly Squall's. It is the best way to be a damage monster in the game. If you need help with any bosses, or the final boss, do some research on Squall and his limit breaks and you won't be disappointed.

Quite a hefty game, weighing in at around 40 hours of gameplay across 4 full CD's. The game is jam packed with tons of quality FMV footage and almost 100 full music tracks. Final Fantasy 8 is also polished at an unreal level. During the 40 hour game, zero bugs were discovered in the entire game. It seems like Squaresoft went all out in every single aspect for this game and the final product really reflects this.

 

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John Palamarchuk ©2006
http://www.palamarchuk.com