Author Topic: Final Fantasy VIII  (Read 1108 times)

bgmnts

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Final Fantasy VIII
« on: August 24, 2021, 09:01:24 PM »
Okay so I've been replaying this on the xbone for well over six months on and off and I've had a good chance to really revisit what I think about this game.

As a child, this was the first FF I played and it's obviously stuck out in my mind, as has FFIX. Knowing much later that this was a maligned FF game in the community, at least behind VI, VIII, IX and X, I would always defend it vigorously based on pure nostalgia.

However, being about as able to critically reevaluate it as I will ever be, here are my conclusions,

Pros:

Soundtrack (tied best in the whole series).
The Junction system,
Triple Triad,
Weapon crafting,
The setting,
The characters (sort of)
GFs

Cons:

Party and character switching,
The junction system,
Level scaling,
Squall,
The plot (sub-anime convoluted shite)
The characters (sort of)
The graphics (even playing on a remaster, the world is so empty and just polygon blobs, forming in front of your eyes)

I think overall, it's less good than my defence of it deserves but it still stands up as a great FF game. I just think level scaling is dogshit anyway and almost discourages progress because the enemies get harder as they level so you are better staying at a low level, which is stupid. As well as the party levelling so unevenly, currently my Squall is level 32 and my Selphie and Rinoa are 18 and 19 respectively, which is nuts. FFX did it right by allowing you to change characters during the encounters so you can level them all up simultaneously.

However, I do absolutely love the draw and junction mechanics, it gives you such freedom to play each character as you please.

I think IX will always be the best but I am sort of ambivalent on this game at the moment.

Anyway I rambled on but I'd be interested to know how you all feel about this game and whether your opinion has ever changed on it.

Pink Gregory

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2021, 09:22:31 PM »
This was my first FF; soundtrack is lodged in the nostalgia cortex of my brain, played up to Ultimecia's castle twice but no further.

Probably understood junctioning in the third playthrough, never bothered to cheese it. 

The setting does a lot of the work, I love the slightly dieselpunk, slightly european pre rendered scenes of Timber in particular, just such an intense sense of *place* with that lovely bass riff and electric piano score.  Never been particularly drawn to the standard fantasy of earlier FFs, I like VI and it's at least consistent and a bit more unique but VIII has a real magic to it.

Definitely let down by long, drawn out animations, big camera sweeps just for basic attacks, not to mention having to watch the same GF animations like 50+ times over the course of the game.

Love the completely nonsense conceits contained within.  General purpose monsters come from the fucking MOON.  We keep a dinosaur in the training room in our military academy.  The same military academy is financed by a big wobbly star wars looking thing that lives in the basement.  Rinoa shoots her dog at things, 

And can I shock you?  I like Squall.

bgmnts

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2021, 09:38:53 PM »
Definitely let down by long, drawn out animations, big camera sweeps just for basic attacks, not to mention having to watch the same GF animations like 50+ times over the course of the game.

The remaster thankfully addresses this by letting you speed up the game at the click of the analogue stick. If I had to watch all the animations again at normal speed I'd probably have gotten bored again and given up. Thank fuck they gave me the option though.

I do agree with you on most points, but good god I can't even enjoy Squall and the character interactions with him even on an ironic level. It's just too much.

Pink Gregory

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2021, 09:49:05 PM »
Granted, there are better ways to characterise a guy who specialises in using a sword which is also a gun.

Mister Six

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2021, 10:42:21 PM »
VII was my first FF game, and was an utterly mind-blowing experience for me. The growing sense of scale, the mix of broad comedy and serious melodrama, that wonderful moment when you complete a whole game's worth of story in Midgar and only then realise you're on the world map and there's an entire planet to explore - it was absolutely transformative for my perception of games and what they could be.

So VIII, with its generally more "serious" tone and the way it spits you out onto the world map in a shitty little car almost immediately - ooh, it was an instant disappointment.

Still, I did complete the thing over the course of 120 hours or something - by far the most time I'd ever spent on a game - so obviously I did enjoy it. And there is a fair bit to enjoy there. But it always seemed a bit cold and aloof compared to the wild and cartoony world of VII, and the orphanage backstory was so contrived, even to teenage Master Six that I assumed it was going to be revealed to be an implanted memory or something.

So aye, a bit of a misfire for me, but still a good game. I'll almost certainly never replay it, though.

Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2021, 12:15:20 AM »
The level scaling killed it for me, and I gave up after disc 2 back in 1999 and played a second hand copy of Suikoden instead (before second hand copies of Suikoden had shot up in price).

bgmnts

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2021, 12:08:52 PM »
Just completed it, admittedly by cheating big time for final boss. I don't think I'd ever have the patience to complete that legitimately. Still utter nonsense but I do love the game mechanics.

Now onto...

Consignia

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2021, 12:51:26 PM »
I think I've gone through FF8 3 times. First time, back on it's initial release, I got ridiculously stuck on the final dungeon. Second time playing it on the PS2 roughly 15 years ago, I went for a proper rerun of it to see the ending finally, cheated a little by defeating the weapons using Selfie's The End and open disc tray trick, but otherwise followed the best way of playing and got all the optional content. Very satisfying. Finally I played it about a month ago on game pass and just rinsed the boosters. I don't think I'd have the patience to do my middle run again, it was very much a student time rich thing I had back then.

Overall, I felt it was really quite good. I thought it brought some interesting ideas to table, if it weren't so hamstrung by it's enemy leveling system. The world feels so barren compared to FF7, there's basically no settlements in the bottom half of the map. There was clearly a lot of ambition that didn't make the final game, which does lead to nonsense like the memory loss. Not unsalvageable though, I reckon it was more in need of a reimagining than FF7.

Ron Maels Moustache

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2021, 01:19:35 PM »
It's quite impressive how you can use the games own systems to completely batter it. I've not played another FF that gives you so much capacity to become completely godlike and unstoppable with relatively little effort.

Of course, I didn't work this out for years resulting in many aborted playthroughs where I'd get to the same point on Disc 2 and lose interest, then pick it up six months later and decide to start over with a new game, ad infinitum.

It's quite similar to FFII(J) in a lot of ways, in that it contains a large number of perplexing game mechanics that are poorly or not all explained and will fuck you over if you attempt to play it like a "normal" Final Fantasy, but can be exploited to flatten everything in your path if you know how.

Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2021, 01:27:10 PM »
And can I shock you?  I like Squall.
When I first played FF8, I was a 19 year old social misfit whose general demeanour made him seem stand-offish to others, so I did kind of relate to Squall a bit, which perhaps helped me get through the game. The stuff with Laguna and his mates were the best sections in terms of the story.

I picked up the remaster a while back and got to what would have been the last disc before putting it aside yet to complete. I think on my original play, I beat the last boss due to having saved up loads of Irvine's most powerful ammo.

Cloud

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2021, 04:15:22 PM »
Always quite liked it. The battle/draw system isn't my favourite, but you know, could be worse it could be FF2 (the one where stats go down if you don't use them)

Ragnorok is probably the coolest airship of the series imo.

I always liked Squall but I too was a teenage social misfit and identified with him pretty heavily.  (That and my repressed gay side thought he was kind of hot, but same went for Cloud before that).  Later in life he does come across as your typical mopey emo teenager obviously but at this point I understand and relate to him as "who I used to be"

Dare I say it, I actually liked the love story and how Rinoa eventually managed to capture his heart despite his best efforts to stop everyone "shipping" the two of them and push her away.  There's this time they're reunited early on after all the desert prison stuff but before he properly falls for her, where he's still in his shell but the facade cracks just a teeny bit for the first time.  She pops out after they defeat some boss or other and he gives a delighted internal "(Rinoa!!)" that after knowing more about the story the subtle way you see this side of him ease out for the first time actually puts a lump in my throat.  Of course she teases him with some kind of "Oh, happy to see me?~" and he does his "whatever..." bit, the silly tsundere boy.

The whole thing is pretty weird, the story basically a paradox that you probably shouldn't think about too much, you've got weird shit like a military training school where you're "seeds" in a "garden" and you launch dogs at t-rexes but I suppose that's largely the Japanese-ness shining through.

I've not played it as many times as VII, but still "more times than I have fingers" so I'm definitely not one of the haters... really loved the whole VII-X era of FF.  I never found anything since to be a patch on any of them, nor am I particularly enjoying slogging through the NES and SNES games (they're alright, but a bit repetitive.  Oh look another group of heroes destined to save the crystals, stop the earth rotting and fight darkness with light).
« Last Edit: August 25, 2021, 04:26:43 PM by Cloud »

Mister Six

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2021, 10:52:32 PM »
Casting Knights of the Round on the edit bug.

Consignia

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2021, 12:13:06 AM »
Casting Knights of the Round on the edit bug.

Summon Eden, surely.

Old Thrashbarg

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2021, 12:18:13 AM »
I never did get round to playing VIII properly.

Me and my best friend at the time both got into VII at the same time, which was our first FF game. We'd take it in turns to go to each other's house and play through sections on our own saves, progressing through at roughly the same speed. And then when VIII came out he got it first. I'd go round to his and we'd play through it there, but I didn't really feel any need to buy it myself and wasn't really bothered by missing out on huge chunks of the game. Not sure what it was, but it just didn't click in the same way as VII did for the 11/12 year old me. Or how IX did a couple of years later.

Mister Six

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2021, 09:35:41 AM »
Oddly, while IX ought to have been right up my street - cartoony style, main character who's not a cunt, better structured story - I don't think I ever finished it. Got close to the end, with the not-Materia mist and the world tree or whatever, but just wasn't arsed to continue. I should probably go back and play it again, but I definitely won't.

gmoney

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2021, 09:54:27 AM »
I liked it when I was a kid, but I only got just passed the first disc when I accidentally saved over my brothers save, who'd got much further. He went ballistic and I felt too guilty to carry on playing. He lurks here occasionally. Hello! Sorry about that, again. I'll give you a call soon.

When I played through it again when they rereleased it for the PC I couldn't get on with it at all.

Glebe

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2021, 06:15:01 PM »
Completed the original PC version last year, collected all the cards and beat Omega Weapon too (with the help of an old PS1 strategy guide and online advice!). Browsing Microsoft Store on my Xbox One, the remaster is available but it's about 20 squids and anyway best not go down that rabbit hole! Pity FFVII Remake isn't available for Xbox.

Cerys

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Re: Final Fantasy VIII
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2021, 09:59:09 AM »
One thing that really pisses me off about FFVIII is the fact that you can't use items unless you have a GF junctioned.  I mean, what the fuck?  You can't drink a potion unless you have a giant monstrous entity inhabiting your temporal lobe?  Madness.

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