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192 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sickeningly underrated
As a girl obsessed with the likes of Zelda: The Ocarina Of Time, I was completely unfamiliar with turn based RPGs. When I recieved Final Fantasy 7 and 8 for Christmas, I naturally tried 7 first. I was horrified when I saw that you were unable to run around in a free roaming enviornment hacking and slashing at your leisure. Waiting my turn to deliver one blow was not my...
Published on April 11, 2004 by Jessie

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good, some bad, some...
The problem with this game is that it tries to please too many people at once. Final Fantasy fans will be delighted to see the same old battle system, wonderful storyline, high-end graphics, and memorable music. General-RPG fans will enjoy the inventive magic system (junctioning is one of the best ideas i've seen in a long time), the beautiful CGI FMV, and the...
Published on August 14, 2000 by holyone


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192 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sickeningly underrated, April 11, 2004
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
As a girl obsessed with the likes of Zelda: The Ocarina Of Time, I was completely unfamiliar with turn based RPGs. When I recieved Final Fantasy 7 and 8 for Christmas, I naturally tried 7 first. I was horrified when I saw that you were unable to run around in a free roaming enviornment hacking and slashing at your leisure. Waiting my turn to deliver one blow was not my idea of a good time. Disgusted, I removed the game and inserted FF8. I was floored by the opening cinema. When the game started, I was confused by all the new terms. SeeD? Balamb Gatrden? Junction system? What the hell? But something compelled me to push onward. I was instantly hooked on the characters, which to me are much more appealing than the lego characters of the previous Final Fantasy games.
You play as the quiet lone wolf, 17 year old Squall Leonheart, a member of a group of mercenaries for hire known as SeeD. SeeDs reside in academys known as Gardens. When an evil sorceress gains the trust of President Deling and the people of Galbadia, Squall along with fellow SeeDs the perky Selphie Tilmitt, the loudmouthed Zell Dincht, the ladies' man Irvine, and the recently fired 18 year old instructer Quistis Trepe set out to assasinate her. Along the way, the lively and beautiful Rinoa Heartilly, a member of a resistance faction known as The Forest Owls teams up with them. Along the way, she struggles to bring down Squall's icy exterior and help him voice his feelings. The plot soon throws many curveballs, eventually bringing forth issues such as romance, possesion, time compression, prison abuse and escape, and traveling into the future.
I will admit that this game is extremely ambitious and has its flaws. The very different reviews serve to prove one thing: it depends wholly on the person whether or not you'll enjoy this game. Some people enjoy the game enough to get by its flaws and appreciate its differences, while others simply don't have the time or patience for it. It depends on your personality. Before buying, you must understand that:
-This is a love story
-The junction system (attatching magic to stats such as strength and HP to raise or lower the stat depending on magic type and quantity) takes a long time to understand and get fully confortable with. No other FF has had a system like this, and you may not like it
-You need to play through FOUR discs and have the time to put in upwards of 70 hours in order to get through everything the game has to offer. Patience is important.
While I am an impatient person who gets put to sleep by other RPGs, I enjoyed Final Fantasy 8 a lot. The characters meant something to me because they were realistic looking and typical teens rather than lego people with absent mouths. This is the black sheep of the series, and not everyone will appreciate it. In my case, it will always remain a favorite. For its time, no game was more gorgeous looking and emotional, and no final battle was as long and intense. The stunning ending clocks in at around a half hour. But some people aren't bothered by the long frequent GF summons, and some are extremely bothered by them. I can understand it. As I said, it all depends what kind of person you are.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Squaresoft's Revolution.....what's wrong with you people?, September 27, 2001
By 
NOWAY (Kansas City, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
This is where it begins. Watch closely, people. If you are wise, you are (or will be) playing a game that trancends almost every idea to grace the human mind on creating a videogame masterpiece. Final Fantasy VIII is as such a classic, that if possible, should be displayed in the most important museums in the world. I'm pretty sure most reviewers 'greatly' disagree with me, but then isn't everyone entitled to share their opinion? I respect theirs as I expect mine will be.
What I cannot fathom are the intensely negative reviews coming from the people! How can a game of such caliber, genius, beauty and artisty be seen as "the worst FF ever...and so on"? I simply don't comprehend. Ive heard others like "I like all FF games, 'cept 8", or "It just doesn't belong in the Squaresoft catalogue....". Why? Upon critical analysis, I think it's because people fear change. It's part of human nature. If you adapt to something, why would you want it to change?
I have almost always noticed that some of the 'hardcore fans' proclaim that Square's old style is what should have been on this game - that they miss the old style. NONSENSE! Squaresoft wanted to do something different, temporarily. They wanted to exercise their minds a bit - to stray away from the typical RPG standards. Even possibilities of 'harsh criticism' wasn't going to stop them.....they were going to experiment. You see, even though we have an inner instinct to fear change, the human will to experiment and 'move on' conquers all (look at where experimentation has gotten us: our technology is advancing). There is no such thing as 'the way things (RPGs) ought to be'. There's nothing wrong with prefering things to remain the same, but at least, people should keep their right to experiment.
You can actually see where Squaresoft wants to take their work. FF8 houses the most significant changes ever to grace the Final Fantasy series so far. Everything from the different "Junction" system, to the "realism" of the characters (not just the models, but also the humanism), to the "science fiction-themed" dramatic love story, is proof of things yet to come. Where FFIX represents all Final Fantasy as a whole by blending the old and new Squaresoft ideas, FFVIII begins a revolution. The future of Final Fantasy (as has been presented in FFX) is hinted in FFVIII.
To sum up, FFVIII is a marvel to behold. Don't dismiss this game because of negative reviews, as I did. If you do want to go by the reviews, take into consideration that some of them are written by hardcore fans who don't appreciate change....who want the same redundant ideas in their videogames. Don't let them fool you. Take it from someone who appreciates good art, and knows a good videogame when he sees one. I am usually a harsh critic when it comes to most things....and I truly do mean it when I say this game gets 5 stars. A classic!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, August 18, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
Final Fantasy VIII, the second installment of the Final Fantasy series on the Playstation is a game with outstanding graphics,an original storyline,great character design,and more. You are Squall Leonhart, a SeeD of the Balamb Garden Military Academy.SeeD is a codename for Balambs elite mercenary soliders. Balamb was created in order to train soliders to battle against an evil sorceress trapped in the future. Squall and his comrades go on a mission once they become SeeDs and then the little problem they were sent to solve turns big.They get caught up in a mess and the time has come to fight the evil sorceress from the future. There are many twists in the game and many side quests which makes the game more interesting.Personally, I love the Real-Time graphics done by Akira Fujii, who also worked on Final Fantasy IX. The music is great and it will capture the player in battle sequences. Theres much to say about this game, but I cant give everything away. This game is definetly worth a buy.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guys just don't seem to get it, November 16, 1999
By A Customer
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
I've found that, with few exceptions, the line between those who love FFVIII and those who loathe it coincides with the gender of the person being asked.
Being a chick, I adored it. Guys just don't seem to "get" the thing with Squall. I took the original, cynical view that the fellows I asked were just stupid, but I'm mellowing and now believe they've just been jaded by games that leap out and beat you about the head and shoulders with The Emotional Point. The interplay between Squall and those around him is much more subtle than you usually get with video game fare. And, oddly enough, Seifer was given as much attention, while none of the rest of Squall's party were detailed in any fashion.
I have two main gripes about the game. No, not the junctioning system, which rocks plankton. People who wasted hours on end drawing magic from their enemies just weren't very observant, it's much faster to convert items with GF abilities. No, my one gripe comes from the very fact that nobody was given much characterization aside from Squall and Seifer. That was a tad annoying.
My other gripe is that the plot just kind of falls to pieces in the middle of the third disk. I thought things were progressing quite nicely until the game goes into space for no readily discernable reason.
Significant gripes, but not sufficient to keep me from replaying the game.
And yes, the game was really quite easy, especially once I'd picked up the Lion Heart gunblade, enabling Squall to do about a quarter of a million points of damage in one attack. But I don't play RPGs for the thrill of having to hit reset over and over, I play them for the plot, and the plot is worth it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Squaresoft's Masterpiece, June 6, 2005
By 
drqshadow (Bradenton, FL USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
There are few series I consider to even be on the same level as the twelve official games in the Final Fantasy legacy, and of those I consider chapter eight to be the undeniable pinnacle. Which, considering its predecessor, the nearly omnipotent fanboy wet dream that was FFVII, says one hell of a lot. This title had every reason to underwhelm, from the groundbreaking success that preceded it (and the enormous shadow of expectations it had cast) to the wildly different path it chose to tread in terms of storyline themes and visual direction... yet it succeeds all the same.

As is the case with any RPG, the best place to start with FFVIII is its storyline. While chapter seven was focused on a maniacal egomaniac and his plans to destroy the world through the use of magic and spirituality alone, chapter eight concerns itself more with the political and technological necessities of performing such a feat. Not quite as exciting material at a glance, but twice as realistic. Sorceress Edea, the main protagonist of the story, sets about on her aspirations by overthrowing the government of the largest military power in the world, brainwashing its citizens through the use of the media, invading and obliterating everyone in her path, and manipulating her underlings to the point where she has their complete support without even expanding upon her motivations. Where the glam and glitter of Cloud and Sephiroth's tale has become legendary, the struggles of Squall and Rinoa against their oppressors feel much more weighty and, god help me, believable.

Likewise, the central characters in and around your party are much more relatable and varied than those in VII. Where Cloud, Tifa and Aerith, the previous leads, were generally one-dimensional and cartoony, spitting incredible dialog despite their shortcomings, VIII's characters each have elaborate personalities, perks, downfalls and tendencies. Though he's initially far less charismatic and appealing than Cloud, his immediate predecessor, Squall is a tremendously complex, well-rounded lead character with an established psychological excuse for his aggrivatingly anti-social nature. The villains are similarly developed, with an equal amount of redeemable qualities tossed in to keep their more prominent negative characteristics in check. You're never faced with a simple, black and white boss fight, as you were in previous chapters... there's always something about the person you're battling that you can relate to. You form such an incredible bond to the characters in your party that the final cinema is a truly emotional experience, one of the most rewarding and worthwhile conclusions I've ever experienced in gaming.

Where every previous chapter in the Final Fantasy story had basically opened with the lead characters already trained and experienced in their professions, FF8 is the first to tell the story of how these characters were first educated as super-soldiers, which natural reservations they had with their chosen role, and just how awkward their first steps as pros really were. In a way, this story is half Platoon and half Breakfast Club. The characters form a bond under extreme circumstances, both with each other and with the player, and develop into skilled fighters before they're even comfortable talking openly about their feelings.

Visually, FF8 was and still is an unbelievable sight. The photorealistic characters, settings and effects all but set the stage for the picturesque beauty of Final Fantasy X, the cutscenes remain an almost speechless affair, and the character designs and overall visual theme of the game itself are just breathtaking. This is a game I'd die to see simply reproduced in high definition at some point in the near future, as it pushed the old PSone above and beyond the limits of its hardware. The cinemas are occasionally marred by some artifacts caused by the necessary compression to fit this onto four discs, and the in-game visuals just scream for the power to deliver what they're so obviously capable of. The visual accomplishments of this game are just staggering, and the final cinematic caught me off-guard yet again by just blowing away the modern competition. This game was produced in 1999, and for its opening and closing cutscenes to tear apart their modern contemporaries more than a half decade later should say more than a few things about how awe-inspiring these graphics truly are.

And, equally complimenting the humongous strides in the visual department is what I'd loudly proclaim to be the best soundtrack of the series. As was becoming the norm by this point, each character, vehicle, town and dungeon has its own accompanying theme song, but never before had the tunes been so closely intertwined and related as they are here. The softly plucked strings of the Balamb Garden, your base of operations for the majority of the game, are touched upon and mentioned throughout nearly the entire soundtrack, bringing the entire experience full-circle and tethering it to what's quickly identified by both story and player alike as your home. Even the overly sappy J-Pop love ballad, "Eyes on You," which is possibly one of the more annoying things I've ever heard on its own, fits in amazingly when surrounded by the rest of this impressive score. Nobuo Uematsu has never produced finer, nor more immediately recognizable and emotional work.

No matter what I say, I can never feel as though I'm doing this game justice. It's a masterwork, the greatest end product to ever emerge from the renowned studios of Squaresoft. Its concentration on the organization, application and implementation of magic into each character's physical attributes appealed to the anal-retentive librarian in me, while the epic storyline, unimaginably cool cutscenes and untouchable characters swept me off my feet. I have my doubts about Square's ability to recapture this past glory, considering the slow downward slope they've presented with each new chapter of the Final Fantasy series since the turn of the millennium, but that can't drag down my utter devotion to the perfection of this title.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting changes for the latest of long-running series, November 17, 1999
By A Customer
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
Out with the old, in with the new. This is what Square decided to do with their equip, money and magic systems, above other things. Money is given out as a salary based upon your SeeD rank. Magic is drawn from enemies, and you can't buy weapons or armor. In fact, money plays a very small role in this game. To use your summons (Guardian Forces in FFVIII), you must junction them. The plot takes several intersting twists (which I will not mention).
The game features many interesting and incredible side quests and sub games. Triple-Triad, the card game which can be played throughout the game, is better than a lot of full featured games for the playstation. You can become a card shark and beat little kids. No need to mention the graphics, you probably have already heard about that from eight million people.
Basically, Final Fantasy VIII is well worth the price, even for those who do not regularly play role playing games.
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43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Longest Running Non-Series, October 2, 2003
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
It's eye opening to turn back the clock and play the old Final Fantasy games in the light of the remarkable production values of FF X. Each game in the series set a standard for console and computer games that has changed the way today's player sees the RPG genre.
I originally played FF8 in the PC version, so I was interested in how the PS2 version would compare. Even with a my leaky memory, my impression is that the PS2 version is a bit solider graphically. And, of course, the use of a game controller makes everything seem smoother, even if it really isn't.
FF8 follows in the classic Final Fantasy mode - a team of characters headed by a serious minded leader, with a bunch of slightly wacky, but dedicated companions, take on an evil that seems to keep getting stronger and more capable with each advance of the plot. No villain ever really seems to die, the keep coming back in new and deadlier forms. And then there are the Guardian Forces, who provide all kinds of spectacle for the battles.
This time it is Squall, his fellow SeeDs, and the beautiful Rinoa. The story starts as a revolution, and then the characters discover that events are really being manipulated by a series of sorceresses who want to destroy the world so that they can rule it unchecked (I know that doesn't make any sense). All of this on a giant world make full of monsters convenient for leveling up.
And leveling up is certainly what a Final Fantasy game is about. Various side quests and challenges are provided so that reaching the levels needed to kill the final bosses doesn't become tedious, and an incredibly complex character building system makes sure that everyone's playing experience is different.
FF8 set a standard that is still higher than some games being written for the PS2 today, and managed to accomplish that on a more primitive platform. Graphics and character design are amazing, the plot complex, and the action satisfying. Proving that the best isn't always the newest and the loudest.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Short of Magnificent, December 6, 1999
By A Customer
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
I'm not a seasoned Playstation owner, and in fact, this is my very first Final Fantasy game I've ever played. So, at first, it looked too complicated for me to play (I'm a person easily scared off if the game involves more than two buttons. :) ) First, the story is involving. It's more than just fighting. The characters develop in interesting ways, as you see their history and how they are connected. Is it complicated? Yes. The junctioning system took a while to figure out, but the in-game tutorial will you give information anytime (well, not in the middle of fights, but . . .) It even come with tests which, when passed, will raise your ranking (and give you pay raises,) as well as a small glossary. And when necessary, characters in the game provide tutorials the first time, so that you will learn as you play. The FMVs are the BEST! Those scenes (such as the famous dance scene,) are just breathtaking! The music is moving and appropriate for the scenes, and there are enough side quests to keep you busy for awhile. One that some players might enjoy is the game-within-a-game, a card game called Triple Triad, where you challenge Non-Player Characters to card games. Later, the cards can be modified to useful items. There are enough twists in the story to keep you coming back for more. I haven't finished the game (maybe in a way, I don't want it to end.) The only thing that I might say against the game is that in order to get the most out of it, you have to have a walkthrough or even better, buy the official strategy guide. But in a world where many games give you worlds that are more terrifying or disturbing, here's one world that's a pleasure to visit, with its small towns and cities, forests, beaches, deserts and snow lands, it's almost like going on vacation. And it's easy to fall in love with all the characters. The fighting requires use of strategy, such as understanding the weaknesses and strengths of the enemy. Some attacks and magic, for example, can heal, rather than hurt, an adversary. This makes it a challenging game. For those who want a game that's more than just fighting and a bit of dialogue, for all those intelligent gamers who want more depth in a game, I definitely recommend this. The only problem? I'm so spoiled now, I don't know if any other game existing today for the Playstation could satisfy me.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous graphics, fun strategy/RP combination, September 4, 2000
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
I hate to admit it, but I used to think Final Fantasy was just a hack-and-slash series. I finally did some research into the series, and was amazed by what I read about FF8. I went out and bought a copy right away to see what it had to offer.
I was extremely impressed. Usually games offer something to adults, or to kids, but rarely do they get a combination that intrigues both. This has a training system that makes you figure out which kind of fighter you wish to be, what you want to earn points towards, how you want to talk to people, and which of your friends make the best allies against a certain situation.
In addition, an embedded card game series is quite complex, almost chess like. Often we were hard pressed to beat some of their masters, but winning the games brought great advantages going forward.
The combat and movement wasn't arcade like, where you had to hit the joystick just right in Spot A to hit the enemy in Spot B. It mostly was figuring out the right combination of healing, attacking, and defensive spells to cast to keep your party alive while taking out the enemy. There was little if any blood and gore. The aim of the fights was to outsmart your enemy, not to hack ribbons of flesh off of it.
And did I mention the cinematics? The dance scene in particular stands out in my mind as completely amazing. I would restart there on purpose to see the detail they put into the movements. If you love good animation, you could buy the game just to go from scene to scene.
If you enjoy role playing and graphic adventure games at all, I'd highly recommend this one. It does truly have something for everyone.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply the pinnacle of console RPG's, December 13, 1999
By A Customer
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII (Video Game)
Although it seems all the rage to bash Final Fantasy VIII on the grounds of minor nuances which seem to cut against the grain of traditional fantasy RPG's, it is these particular refinements that place FF VIII in a class by itself.
The story, while maintaining a swords and sorcerers base, has ventured into the sorely neglected realm of technology based sci-fi. This has gained the game as many enemies as friends, but is like nothing ever experienced. With characters real, conflicted, and unique in their own personalities, the game never feels trite in its storytelling nor in its interactions. And the primary interaction of which I speak is the growing love affair between the Squall and Rinoa. This sort of thing has been a long time coming and entirely welcome.
The graphics and sound in the game are phenomenal. With realistically modeled characters and convincing motion captured animation set in an impeccably detailed world enhanced by integrated and overt FMV of amazing proportions, there is no equal. The realistic sound effects and sense of space combine with Nobuo Uematsu's finest score to date in terms of quality and technical presentation to round out the package. I should probably mention that the endgame is stunning in its own right.
The battle system is a godsend: simple and effective. The elimination of armor has been a major criticism, but it has alleviated a lot of unecessary adventuring just to find money to equip characters with mundane equipment. By the by, money is interestingly alloted too; the characters earn a wage. It's not novel, but it works well. The battles are tense and driving, and the random encounters can be reduced or completely eliminated after gaining certain abilities available as early as the first disc. The Junction system is simple to use and surprisingly deep in its character customization. The game also has the most functional menu system ever devised to make all manipulations quick and painless.
It would be easy to write forever on the game. There is so much offered aesthically and philosophically in the story that can only be experienced personally. Do not put stock in the criticisms of others. Having played most other offerings, I can honestly say that one can take whatever they want from the game and consider it time well spent. I found myself pondering the characters and story long after I finished. I can't wait to try it again!
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Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII by Square Enix (PlayStation)
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