Review by Cid.
It's hard to review Final Fantasy VIII. If Final Fantasy VII got a 10 out of 10, how can I give Final Fantasy VIII, a better looking game, a 9 out of 10? Well, there are a few reasons...
Final Fantasy VII was a groundbreaking and stunning game for it's time. It did the impossible.
Final Fantasy VIII, on the other hand, was just more of the same. In comparison to Final Fantasy VII, the story lacked, the music wasn't as catchy and the characters weren't as lovable.
If Final Fantasy VIII wasn't made by Square, I'd proclaim it as a great RPG and a wonderful game, but I believe that because it was made by Square, it should have been better than Final Fantasy VII. That is not an easy task.
When I first got Final Fantasy VIII, all of the mediocre reviews made me angry. I wouldn't accept them. I was "in denial". Unfortunately, they were mostly right (except for blatantly insulting reviews...(*ahem*GameFan*ahem*).
I don't want to be just another one of those negative reviewers.
There's no doubt that Final Fantasy VIII is the most beautiful game available on the Playsation. The backgrounds are bright and interactive, the FMVs are nothing short of gorgeous, and the character detail rivals that of Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid.
I was a little upset by the soundtrack. Despite a few timeless songs like "Eyes on Me", "Liberi Fatali", and "Find Your Way", it left me a little disappointed. The music seemed a little impersonal.
The story, although simpler than Final Fantasy VII, was a little tedious. There was no strong villain, just several semi-evil villains. I had no hate for the villain like I did for Sephiroth. By the end of the game, I found myself wondering why I was even fighting.
I think that the main reason that I don't like FF8 as much as FF7 is because FF7 is just so much more fun than FF8. In Final Fantasy VIII, there were few actually fun sidequests. The cardgame was a little boring as well. I found myself actually thinking, "I wish I could be playing FF7 right now" while playing FF8.
Final Fantasy VIII, while being a wonderful title worthy of Square's logo, is a little lacking in areas where past Final Fantasies have succeeded.
|Appearance||The most breathtaking game available on Playstation. The characters and backgrounds are astounding. The world map is a bit too grainy compared to FF7.||10.0|
|Story||A good cast of characters, but I felt no attachment to them. Squall was a convincing "Lone Wolf", but at some times, he was unbearably quiet and even came off as a jerk at some times. Love between Rinoa and Squall was not especially convincing.||7.5|
|Music||Some unforgettable songs, but mostly very bland and repetitive tunes.||8.0|
|Battle||The battles in FF8 are so often and so long that it became discouraging. I rarely got a few feet without encountering a battle. The battles were slow and not very exciting.||7.5|
|Bottom Line||A great game, but it doesn't live up to the high standards you expect from Square.||9.0|
Review by Seifer.
That was the only thing on my mind as 9/9/99 came closer and closer on my calendar. I read every scrap of non-spoiler information I could get my hands on, studying it like a reverend studies a bible. I read several reviews, mentally praising the people who gave it high marks and scorning those who deemed it a failure. Surely, those people were crazy, and it was the incredible masterpiece that the hype made it up to be.
Then it came. I popped the first of the four shiny discs in my Playstation with sweaty hands, ready to be amazed. Unfortunately, as 'The End' appeared on my television screen, I was still waiting to be blown away.
Don't get me wrong, most things about Final Fantasy 8 are exceptional, and everything is above average. It's just that some aspects of it, namely the storyline and battles, don't quite live up to the high standard set by the masterpiece Final Fantasies before it.
The first thing that anyone will notice about Final Fantasy 8 is the graphics. Simply put, they pretty much max out the system's practical capabilities. The pre-rendered backgrounds now have many animated elements to them, and are so insanely detailed that some could honestly be mistaken for photographs. The FMVs (full motion video) are breathtaking, but even that word is an understatement. Everything from the incredible graphics to the motion captured characters to the action packed sequences are revolutionary and unbelievable. Also, since many FMVs are just backgrounds, you can move around your characters, which adds to the interactivity of the game. The world map and battle graphics are also great, but not as impressive as the FMVs or pre-rendered backgrounds.
I was very disappointed in the story, as it never gave me that enormous plot twist(s) that the previous Final Fantasies offered. Squall and the the other main characters had no large secrets about themselves like characters in the previous final fantasies. Bad guys in Final Fantasy 8 were unmotivated and undeveloped. The final boss especially was disappointing, as (s)he had no apparent motive or reason to be evil. While FF8's story is above average, it is very anticlimactic.
I was very impressed with FF8's music. Although the vast majority of the compositions were composed with high quality keyboards, the few songs that are fully orchestrated (Eyes on Me, Liberi Fatali, ending songs) are fantastic. The MIDI songs are of higher quality than FF7's, and none of them are annoying except for the world map song, which is just plain depressing. All in all, an excellent soundtrack that is, in my opinion, the best in the Final Fantasy series so far.
The battles in Final Fantasy 8, although still fun and above average, were one of the things about the game that kept it from being a true masterpiece. On the positive side, the junction system is genius, where GFs (Guardian Forces) can be junctioned to characters. The GFs can then learn new abilities, which either improve the party's statistics, give them new commands, or let them modify their items to new things. Magic can also be junctioned to a character's statistics to improve them, but this is one of the problems with battles. Because the more magic you have junctioned to a stat, the better a stat is, you will find yourself avoiding using a lot of magic so that it can remained junctioned to your character in large amounts. Magic is obtained primarily by drawing it from enemies, which is where another problem comes in. In order to succeed, one must draw often and draw a lot, which gets very boring. About 5 hours of the game is just repeatedly pressing the draw button. Another gripe is the GF summon spells. Although graphically impressive, they are lengthy and cannot be skipped. After seeing the 2 minute long Eden spell for the twentieth time, you'll be ready to pull your hair out. Battles are also too easy, if junctioned properly one can defeat almost any boss or enemy in under 3 attacks.
If you could only have one video game for the rest of your life, Final Fantasy 8 wouldn't be a bad choice. This game is very long if do all of the sidequests, and has excellent replay value. If you go for everything, and I mean everything, it would take at least 75 hours. The sidequests, although sometimes almost impossible to find without a walkthrough, are numerous and quite good. There are also some things that happen differently in the game that do not happen the first time through. For example, when Laguna is talking too much to Julia, sometimes he catches himself, but sometimes he falls asleep talking. Final Fantasy 8 is a very long and deep game, and will keep you playing for months.
|Bottom Line |
As much as I'd like to give this game a 10, there are some flaws with FF8 that prevent it from earning that score. While the visuals, music, and value of the game are all very good and above average, the story line and battles were somewhat of a disappointment. All in all, it is a game worthy of the Final Fantasy name, although it is not the be-all end-all game that I had hoped it would be.
Review by Big Oger Umaro.
This may sound odd, but I tried very hard to NOT like Final Fantasy VIII. I tried to ignore the ingenious Junction System. I tried to not notice how I was having fun with the translation (it seemed to have improved since the demo that came packaged with my beloved Brave Fencer Musashi game). I tried to focus on the things that had annoyed me about FF7 that hadn't changed.
The party still contained only 3 characters at a time, the lack of Yoshitaka Amano still annoyed, and the main character was still a moody irritable jerk. On top of that, the concept of MP had been ABOLISHED. This was heresy! I didn't have the feeling that I was playing anything different from FF7, which I didn't care for to begin with. As I played through it, I just kept on finding faults. I never thought once of stopping or playing another game. It took me a long time to admit that I loved this game more than I secretly liked FF7.
It was hard to admit that I was becoming emotionally attached to the characters (except Irvine, but I liked him because he was the Edgar-ish "ladies man" of the game). The story was, by the time I had reached the end of the second disk, I was hooked! I loved the Junction system more than my beloved Espers. I adored the fantastic soundtrack that seemed to be, at most times, a work of genius on composer Nobuo Uematsu's part. I had finally found a theme that I cherished more than the Figaro Castle music that introduced me to the wonders of Uematsu and FF music. I reveled in every second of gameplay.
But all this was before what I call "The Horror That Ruined a Perfectly Good Game". In the interest of not giving anything away, I will refrain from telling here what this horror is. I will simply leave it at the fact that Final Fantasy 8 has some MAJOR 3rd act problems. Don't get me wrong, though! The end of the game in general (and the final dungeon in particular) is VERY well done. MOST of the horrible plot twists can be forgiven. What cannot be forgiven in the final boss, who was not only too easy, but also never really did anything to make me want to defeat him/her.
With these things in mind, it is also important to realize that I believe Final Fantasy 8 to be the one of the top five best games on the Playstation. Odd, isn't it? That after everything that I LOATHE about this game, I still love it more than words can say. This review is a jumbled mess of praise and hatred, but if nothing that I just typed got across to you, just know this: There is a sidequest called "Mr. Monkey". The point of the sidequest is to find Mr. Monkey! It's a monkey, and you have to find it! Maybe I'm the only one who really loves that! ^_^
- Big Ogre Umaro
|Graphics||No question, the best graphics on a Playstation game, real time AND FMV.||10.0|
|Story||Hard to say! This is because so much of the story was incredible, but a lot of it was too horrible for words. ("Let's go up to space for no reason!") They tried, but....||8.5|
|Music||I bow down to the genius of Nobuo Uematsu. The man has come through again with more inspired tracks than ever before!||9.5|
|Battle||Always tedious! That's how they've always been! Too many battles that came too close together. But I still love 'em!||9.0|
|Bottom Line||Not a perfect 10, but it's a good improvement over FF7||9.25|