Probably the best FInal Fantasy to date.
Allehelgens wrote this review on .
Final Fantasy VIII was released just two years after VII, you would've thought it was about five years from the improvements and thought put into the games story and min-igames. With the music being comprised with a full orchesta with little to no synth, the soundtrack is incredible, capturing every emotional shift from point to point. And, along with the graphical improvements. Switching from the geometric shapes from VII to human like features in VIII was a breakthrough, being the only time you saw the characters a human like in VII was in the CGI cutscenes. With VIII everytime you saw the characters they were fully reckognizable as being human. Although Final Fantasy VIII has a wonderful story with great characters, it has one flaw in the story department. It starts off way too slow for the first 10 hours of game play. Meaning you will have to push forward in order not to get bored with the game, which is easy to do on in the beginning parts of the game.
Story aside the game play is magnificint, being the first Final Fantasy game with use of the Analog controller. Which is a major improvement from VII's directional pad chaos at points. Not to mention you don't have to hold down any buttons to run, instead you just have to slightly touch the stick one direction and the walk will commenese, to run just push the stick all or most of the way over to the end. With the analog controller in use now it seemed like VII's control system was a little odd, replacing the command button to X from O was a large improvement since most games have the command button as X, and VII had X as cancel, it would get confusing if someone was to switch games out periodically, and the menu to triangle, a somewhat staple in RPGs.
With the controls almost perfect the battle system was due for an upgrade, well a change rather than an upgrade. Since no game is alike in the series *given a pass on the sequal* changes in the battle system are expected. With no materia or summons VIII seemed bland, however VIII did away with the MP factor with the matera giving you magic as items to use rather than equip. And Guardian Forces to assign to one person than equiping the same summon to numerous characters once mastered. The Guardian Forces can be leveled up as well increasing their HP stregnth etc. as well as learning abilities like 'No Encounters,' a very wise move since the character doesn't have to be strong in order to have the GF's full power.
And with the summons and materia changed to magic items and guardian forces how would you attain them? Draw points, that you can equip once you have assigned a GF with that ability learned to a certain character. The draw points are not that hard to find in the main game, you can see them standing out amongst everything else in the area being a purple to blue color, and drawing magic or GF's from monsters is another way. But to get the best magic you will have to explore the world, since there are hidden draw points scattered everywhere.
However if the game gets boring for you at some point, play a mini-game. Probably the best of all mini games is the Triple Triad, the first card game in the series. While the basics of the game are simple matching numbers to each other the card game WILL become very difficult. Especially with the changing rules throughout each region of the world, and you carry the rules, so theres almost no way of avoiding the game without encountering a rule you hate. Not to mention to get every single card in the game you will have to embark on a colossal quest around the world that can take at least fifteen hours to complete fully.
If your wondering how long the game will take you to complete by itself. Try thirty to fifty hours, at least, that is without doing anything else but doing the main quest.And yet there are a ton of extras I haven't mentioned that could maximize the time to at least 110 hours.
While the game more than shows its age now it is still a great game and a must play for any RPG lover. Don't let the graphical features turn you off from playing this game, it is the story that drives this game.