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Final Fantasy VIII – PlayStation

Final Fantasy VIII – PlayStation

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Platform: PlayStation

Developer: Square Product Development Division 1

Publisher: Square EA

Release Date (NA): September, 9, 1999

Genre: Role-Playing-Game

Ranking: Paragon of Perfection

Reviewed by Juuchi Yosamu

1997 gave me Final Fantasy VII, 1998 brought me Xenogears, and 1999 brought me this masterpiece. The intro ALONE had me call off work and drop off the radar for a few days. The intro song, Liberi Fatali, may have made me shed a tear… in a manly way! Shut your mouth and stop judging me…

final fantasy viii balamb garden

Home sweet home, Balamb Garden.

Synopsis

The protagonist, Squall, is a student at Balamb Garden which is a military academy. Squall is training for his final exam so he can be a member of  SeeD, the garden’s elite military force. Galbadia invades the Dollet Dukedom, forcing Dollet to hire assistance from Balamb Garden. Balamb sends in Squall and his team with an instructor, Quistis, in order to serve as their final exam for the SeeD test. During their mission, the story begins to unfurl as you find out that a great sorceress named Edea has been behind Galbadia’s recent hostilities. Orders are handed down to assassinate the sorceress but she is more cunning than expected. With the failed assassination, Edea has found her next target is is attempting to wipe you off the face of the planet. Will you be able to thwart the great sorceress’ advance or will you be reduced to ash.

final fantasy viii quistis

Damn… those graphics (at the time) were AMAZING! They still look great.

Battle

The same Final Fantasy that we know and love (turn based) with a few alterations. The GUI doesn’t take up 40% of the screen thankfully and you can hold select to remove it in case you want to watch a Limit Break or Summon without having it in the way. The Limit Breaks are more hands on, there are some which require inputs in order to do more damage rather then just standing by. Limit Breaks change from a rage attack, where accumulative damage initiates the attack, to a desperation attack where your HP must be in critical (yellow) in order for the command to appear. As long as you’re in yellow HP, your limit break may appear, you can keep changing between characters until it pops up but watch out! You may get killed having your HP so low.

Second only to Odin in the coolest Summon in Final Fantasy history: Diablos

Second only to Odin in the coolest Summon in Final Fantasy history: Diablos

Draw

To obtain magic in the game you must use an ability known as draw. Using draw will absorb spells from monsters and add them to your stockpile. Using a spell will spend it, so it is important to stock up on the spells you are going to be using. Certain monsters have certain spells, so in order to stock up on the spell you want you’re going to have to remember which monsters have which spells. Along the way, you may run into draw points; they allow a character to draw a certain spell from them every time it is charged. The amount of spells you absorb with a draw is dependent on a few things but you may draw 1 or you can draw a bunch, do some research. Stockpiling certain spells, even if you will never use them, is still beneficial due to another new addition known as junction.

Guardian Force

Guardian Forces are your summons, but in Final Fantasy VIII they are much, much more. Using a GF (guardian force) will open up a count down before you actually summon him/her. While the count down is open your HP is swapped out for the GF’s HP which means that he/she will take any damage that was meant for you. Of course this means that your GF can die and be unusable until you revive him/her. Also your GF’s can also level up and learn moves which you can attune to your character. Again, your GF’s must be junctioned to you can add many beneficial stats.

final fantasy viii battle

That thing always reminds me of the Hedonism Bot from Futurama.

Junction

This changes the game dramatically. When leveling your GFs, certain ones have certain stat junctions that you must learn before junctioning. I.E you learn strength junction from Ifrit, now whoever has Ifrit attuned will be able to equip spells to their Strength stat and increase it. The more powerful the spell the higher the stat increase. You can attune every stat, you can even get hit and defense junction which will add the effect of your spell to your attack. Let’s say you attune the magic poison; then your attack will have a chance to poison the enemy, the chance will vary depending on the amount of poison spells you have stock piled. You can mix and match just about everything. This turns the magic you get into armor and weapon enhancements. Think ahead when drawing magic, what will you need to defend yourself and what monster is weak to what.

Hit the Books!

SeeD members get rankings and your ranking determines how much money you get when you’re paid. There are a few things that determine if your rank increases or decreases. One way of increasing your rank is by taking tests. The tests will ask you questions about the games battle mechanics among other things but passing the exam will raise your SeeD rank. You’re paid after a set amount of steps are taken. (I wish life was like that, I’d run in circles all day long and take every test they had to offer.)

final fantasy viii triple triad

I won’t get too much into it but Triple Triad is extremely addicting.

Triple Triad

This is, by far, one of the most addicting mini games in any game I have ever played. It is an optional card game that I probably spent 10 hours or more playing. Being a completionist I needed all the cards of course and there are one for every monster and every character. The cards are spread far and wide and some of them take A LOT of effort to get.

Graphics & Audio

Damn and DAYUM! The graphics blew me away, the cinematics were beautiful. The setting was amazing, there are so many things that I wish were real, like Balamb Garden. The Guardian Forces were amazing, they just keep getting better and better. Composer: Nobuo Uematsu…. I didn’t think he would be able to maintain the level of awesomeness he displayed in Final Fantasy VII but I was wrong. If the intro didn’t already put you in a trance then the music will finish you off. One of the best damn soundtracks I have ever heard. I laugh, I cried, I punched a few things, Final Fantasy VIII has it all.

Conclusion

Final Fantasy VIII is amazing; there are so many side quests and secrets. If you want the best of the best then you have to look for it, nothing is handed to you in this game. I thought the game was going to be a bit corny since it’s kind of a love story but…. again I was wrong. I like Squall a lot. He’s a total jerk face and I love it but (as in with most good story lines) you throw in a dash of character growth and… he’s still a jerk but that’s what the girls are into nowadays. Squall, being an jerk to his girl since 1999. Ahead of his time he was…  The game has a lot to offer but isn’t so overwhelming that you want to quit before you begin. You will transition easily to the changes and may fall in love with it. I will admit, I love Materia, it was probably my favorite,  but I can deal with drawing magic.

 

 

Written by Nerd Bacon

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Deadman's Cross - Android - Nerd Bacon

  2. Magic Draw & Inventory system was an interesting feature, however, it neutered the magic system near completely being that the more powerful a spell, the better the effects. This made items the way to go for most of the healing, or just draw/cast a cure spell from your enemy. This was my only complaint really about the game. Short of the magic being a near null factor (especially with a Witch as the main antagonist), the Combat was very balanced and engaging. The story is a hard one to describe without sounding like you’re out of your mind, but it does flow well. Good Review.

     
  3. Thanks for the review, I’ve been wondering about this game for a while, I am definitely going to give a try now.

     

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