16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Little to complain about if you can't play it elsewhere, but problems remain unaddressed,
This review is from: Final Fantasy VIII [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
As with the recent re-release of Final Fantasy VII for the PC, little has changed from the original, which is now, what, almost 15 years old?
There's plenty good to be stated about that fact, for, if you're like me in that you've found that there are few titles that have been released in the intervening years that exhibit the qualities you liked about it, you wouldn't hesitate to pick up an even moderately improved version (particularly if you've been made unable to play the original) at a fair price with widescreen support, cheats, achievements, and cloud saves.
The same complaints apply to this re-release. The 3-D models are improved, but the backgrounds are low resolution and make for a strange mix of sharp and muddy. It looks better than 7, but there has been no effort to really augment the product and it's difficult to condone. The soundtrack is in the same punchless midi that everyone's complained about in 7, worse than the original PlayStation tracks. Control is bad unless you use a controller (use a controller). There's no additional content to the main game (there's Chocobo World, originally a Pocketstation game which ties to the game in an optional way, here and launchable in-game).
The story here is rich and intricate, with much room for speculation, even if the tropes to begin it are, indeed, tropes. Characters are rich, if underexplored, as is the world as a whole. The battle system is different and, in my opinion, flawed. In it you draw magic from the environment and your enemies and assign the spells to attributes like speed and strength through junctioning. While an interesting mechanic that limits the number of spells at your disposal and might give you pause when you consider using one that bolsters an important stat, spells are too easy to come by and the junction system is too easily exploited and leads to all characters being essentially the same. There is challenge to be found though, should you know where to look (or handicap yourself, but I don't believe you should have to do that), but I felt it on too few occasions and they were some serious peaks compared to the rest of the encounters.
In short: Minimal updates to presentation (with music quality lowered).
Highly interesting story and characters, particularly if you love to consider what is left unsaid about events, motivations, etc... Great speculation material.
Hard to play without a controller.
Battle system is easily exploited and tedious for such a long game (~30-40 hours).
I really enjoyed it for the thinking it made me do, but the amount of fun is diminished by the lacking presentation and the gameplay ease.