My review of FFVIII

The Turk

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Only a few weeks after completing FFVII (and posting a review of it) I completed FFVIII a couple of days ago for only the second ever time and 18 years after the first time. Playing it through again made me realise how much of it I'd forgotten. For example I remember battling Ultimecia at the end obviously but barely remember battling any of her servants to get all my powers back yet I must've done at the time as there's obviously not a snowball in hell chance I'd have defeated her without them.

At the time I thought it was ok but preferred FFVII. I just didn't find VIII's plotline as compelling as VII's and I found myself missing the VII characters. However having played it through again I've started to appreciate it more.

Overall FFVII is still my fave but the aspects where imo I found FFVIII to be better were the following:

Graphics: More often than not I was impressed by the vistas of places like Balamb and Esthar and the architecture of Balamb Garden. I was quite impressed by the architecture in Timber as well. FFVII had less of these impressive locations imo.

Music: FFVII has some of the most brilliant music ever heard in video gaming history never mind FF history but for me FFVIII had the greater quantity of music that was above average. The music in Balamb garden, Balamb itself, Timber, the Timber Owls theme, the battle theme, the boss battle theme, Esthar, the list goes on. The music in the third and fourth phases off the battle with Ultimecia was incredible and even as someone who's not usually into love songs I found 'Eyes on me' wonderful to listen to especially at the end of the game.

Weapon upgrades: I found it quite satisfying finding the right items needed to upgrade the weapons rather than just finding or buying new weapons.

Limit breaks: I liked how each character had a unique way of learning new limit breaks like Squall adding new finishers to his renzokuken with weapon upgrades, zell adding new duel combos if you read Combat King Magazine issues or Rinoa teaching her dog new tricks to perform in battle if you read Pet Pals magazines.

Its been said a million times before by so many people but the junction system is a tad complicated but it's always good to see something a bit different with each FF game and while I still prefer the materia system in FFVII I did find the junction system quite rewarding once I got the hang of it.

Story wise well, I still don't rate the main plot about a time compressing sorceress as highly as FFVII's plot but it was ok. What really impressed me though on my second walkthrough and which I appreciate more now than I did the first time I played it was the love story between Squall and Rinoa. I thought the way that story developed was really nicely done and well developed and after everything they went through I was so happy they survived all that and got the happy ending they deserved. That music they played at the end "Eyes on me" oh my that really got to me. What a beautiful song!

Anyway overall I appreciate this game more than I used to and I get the feeling I'm far from the only one who has.
 

Vivi-Gamer

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Neat to hear appreciation for Final Fantasy VIII, it's certainly one of my favourites!

I'm very open to admit the game has flaws, the secondary characters get little to no character development - Quistis is pretty much uninvolved with everything else that goes on beyond the Dollet Mission. Still, while this is true, the focus and attention to detail on Squall more than makes up for it, his back story of abandonment and difficulty in opening up to people is very well realized - Especially with the inner monologues which I really liked seeing. With this, makes it all the more satisfying to see the transition in Squall, he's easily one of my favourite FF characters.

One feature I also think that makes Final Fantasy VIII stand out is it's Art Direction, I love the designs of everything in this game from and how well each region is defined by its design - it's great seeing the difference between the Gardens. But even the Monster Designs are very detailed and creative - Odin being my favourite design of a Monster/ Summon in the series!

A lot of people bash on the Junction system, I personally don't feel it is a refined as VII's Materia system, but it annoys me when people not it for being a chore and comment on Drawing 100 of each magic in battle. Once you get the ability of GF Shops and are able to turn items int magic you can completely by pass the tedium, so it's never been an issue to me.

Great shout out on the music too! I think overall it is my favourite FF soundtrack, it's certainly the easiest one to listen to without skipping annoying tracks. i feel the jump from VII to VIII in the sound department is tremendous, it sounds a lot less chiptune and more calming. I genuinely listen to it at work every week and it never gets old. I also recommend the Piano Collections, many of the FF Piano collections try to hard and break the mellody but FFVIII's Piano Collection is really enjoyable!
 

Six

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Moved to the appropriate section.
 

Dionysos

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That's a nice and balanced review!

We hosted a member choice poll a little while ago and people here voted FFVIII's soundtrack to be the best Final Fantasy soundtrack for our magazine (Timber Maniacs issue 2, pages 49-50). It really is a beautiful soundtrack.

And I agree the locations are stunning. The backdrops are a lot cleaner and realistic for the time than FFVII's were, yet they are still very fantastical and aesthetically eccentric. They make full use of colours and make even a school setting look amazing.

Then there is the plot. When it gets into being weird, it really goes for it - like a David Lynch film.

While FFVIII isn't my favourite, it certainly means a lot to me and I thoroughly enjoy it.
 

The Turk

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Neat to hear appreciation for Final Fantasy VIII, it's certainly one of my favourites!

I'm very open to admit the game has flaws, the secondary characters get little to no character development - Quistis is pretty much uninvolved with everything else that goes on beyond the Dollet Mission. Still, while this is true, the focus and attention to detail on Squall more than makes up for it, his back story of abandonment and difficulty in opening up to people is very well realized - Especially with the inner monologues which I really liked seeing. With this, makes it all the more satisfying to see the transition in Squall, he's easily one of my favourite FF characters.

Totally agree about Squall. I haven't played every FF game but it wouldn't surprise me if Squall's development as a character is seen as the best we've seen in the franchise so far as it's pretty hard to top imo. It did come at the expense of the other character's development as you pointed out. If they did a remake the way the relationship between Squall and Rinoa develops can stay pretty much the same as that was near perfect. Maybe they could develop the Selphie and Irvine relationship a bit more, same with Zell and the girl with the pig-tails. Quistis was a little under developed, true so a remake could definitely give her more attention. Should she be pared up with someone too? If so, who I wonder? How about one of the male members of the Treppe groupies!
 
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