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Final Fantasy VIII Review: The Most Divisive Final Fantasy

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Another day another Final Fantasy Review, this time I’m reviewing the controversial Final Fantasy 8!

The Story

“At the forefront of a rising tide of violence brought on by Galbadia’s war declaration is a SeeD cadet named Squall Leonhart. Serious to a fault, Squall has earned himself the reputation of being a lone wolf.
A chance encounter with the free-spirited Rinoa Heartilly, however, turns his universe upside down. Having thrived on discipline, Squall finds Rinoa’s carefree attitude fascinating. Yet there is no time to ponder these thoughts, for the job of dealing with the sorceress behind Galbadia’s irrational hostility has fallen to SeeD and Squall.”-Official Introduction

ffviii dance
This scene is one of the most memorable in gaming.

While the story in final fantasy 8 is seemingly rather straight forward at first, the game does not keep that going throughout its entirety. The story quickly takes on a more grandiose feel to it, with it traveling across the world in epic fashion. This is a bit jarring, but you quickly get used to the change.

While I enjoyed the entirety of the games story the part that is most memorable for me is easily its opening . The pacing throughout the opening of the game is something truly special and rare in the game industry. While the game doesn’t shy away from large action pieces and epic boss fights, it uses much of its earlier  time to develop the characters and the world. By doing this the games later sequences become far more meaningful and have more impact. The world building is extremely important to this game. The more time you invest in finding the worlds secrets the more you will get from the story. There are plenty of things that hint to the worlds rather epic history.

With all Final Fantasy games the characters are pretty much the most important thing here. Lucky for us, Final Fantasy VIII has some of the best characters of the series. Without exception the characters all have a great deal of growth throughout the game. This is wonderful as some of the other entries have characters take a sideseat entirely to the cooler characters. The characters also seem more natural than some of the other entries in the series. While not a insult to other Final Fantasy games, it is a nice change from the others.

So in short the story is wonderful, with truly great characters that have actual character growth and feel believable. Though there are some pacing issues mid-way through the game it is still an enjoyable and worth the time.

The Visuals


 “Bwahahahaha”- Random Boy

This is Diablos. He is amazing.
This is Diablos. He is amazing.

The Visuals in this game are wonderful, while the character designs are slightly extravagant they don’t feel overdone or awkward. Unlike many JRPGS the characters leave a good visual impression and are memorable.

Beyond the characters Final Fantasy VIII has some of the best Monster designs I have ever seen in a game.Final Fantasy VIIIs Bahamut alone trumps most games entire cast of Monsters.I cannot stress how awesome some of these monster are.

Outside of character designs the world and technology are beautifully designed. There are of course multiple continents in the game and with them unique visual flairs. While they look different in appearance they also feel as if they are in the same world which is wonderful.

The game leaves a very positive visual impression after all is said and done. Nothing in this game is too awkward our misfitting and it all wraps up together in a nice package.

The Combat


“The way I see it, as long as you make it out of a battle alive, you’re one step closer to fulfilling your dream”.-Seifer

The combat in FFVIII is easily one of my favorite in the series. While it is vastly different from previous titles it still manages to have a feel of familiarity about it. The largest and most important difference to the combat is the Draw and Junction Systems. Instead of leveling up or buying materia for new spells you instead have to draw them from your enemies and from locations. By doing this you gain these spells and equip them to your character making them more powerful. The Junction system is a pretty awesome once you get the hang of it, and it leads to some serious slaughter of bosses if you know what you are doing.

The game of course also includes summons, while being slightly different from previous Final Fantasy’s they still serve the same basic effect, with the exception that they can be killed if their HP bar is drained.

While many people thought FFVIII’s combat was boring or to complicated I personally thought it was a nice change from the overly simplistic mechanics that most JRPG’s seem to adopt. The combat is flexible and based purely on strategy rather than how much you grinded low level enemies. By using the mechanics effectively you can easily beat the game at level 30 without to much trouble. Sadly many people didn’t give the combat a chance or did not fully understand the mechanics so it is often disregarded when talking about mechanics or the games as a whole.

The Music


“Train Train, Take Us Away, Take Us Away, Far Away, To The Future, We Will Go, Where it Leads, No One Knows”.-Selfie( is weird)

When talking about Final Fantasys music people will almost always start talking about VII’s, VI or X; much to my dismay people rarely ever speak about Final Fantasy VIII’s music. The music in VIII is truly astonishing, from the “O Fortuna-esque opening to the Gorgeous end song Eyes on me the soundtrack never lets up in being purely amazing.

Below is an example of one of its more peaceful songs-

The Exploration and Everything in Between


 “I brought the wrong map…” –Laguna

Exploration in Final Fantasy is a pretty important thing, and luckily for us Final Fantasy 8 has got that handled! In Final Fantasy 8 there are tons of awesome and varied locations, and of course through the game you get to use multiple vehicles, such as a car ( that can run out of gas ) and later on you get the Ragnarok, which is probably the coolest flying vehicle of all time. If exploring is your fancy then Final Fantasy VIII has you covered for sure. Just beware of The Island closest to Hell, it lives up to it’s name.

Now we are going to talk about my glorious addiction, that of course being the Triple Triad Card game. I’m not sure what about it that kept me coming back, but from beginning to end I kept playing this mini-game. One of the things that make it so great is that you’ll find new challenges for it throughout the whole game Be it different regional rules, or new people to duel, there is always something new, and it is amazing.

Beyond that there is your typical sidequest, like extra summons (though it should be noted that these summon side quest have a bit more to them then your average ones), super weapons and tons of special items and small little character moments spread throughout the world. Many of which give small bits of info into the worlds past.



“Life’s pretty boring without you as entertainment, my man”.-Kiros

To put it simply the game is wonderful. The visuals are some of the best gaming has ever had. The music is wonderful and enchanting and the story is something truly speculator. There is very little to complain about when talking about this game. Event the pacing issues seem small after having beat it. Even in this modern generation the game still manages to be fun and interesting and maintain a wonderful sense of identity. Something many modern games seem to have lost.

“I feel like a helpless puppet being manipulated in some major scheme”.-Squall

final fantasy viii

You can buy Final Fantasy VIII on the links below-

PlayStation Store