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 The Final Word game review

Final Fantasy VIII -- SquareSoft

FF8 is a very mixed game for me. Graphically it is extremely well done, however I don't think I like the realistic look to the characters. The entire series has been based on exagerrated characters. It's just odd playing a "Final Fantasy" without that characteristic. The cinemas and in-game graphics are well designed and are certainly a testament to their artist's skills. The music does an excellent job of setting the mood and feel to every scene. The central story without a doubt is a love story, which is a nice change. Unfortunately, I think it overshadowed the catastrophic events and stole a lot of their impact.

Ultimecia had to be one of the poorest villains to ever be conceived by Square. She had no presence and it wasn't until near the end that the characters really find out about her. The character development was surprisingly poor as well. There was too much focus on Squall and Rinoa, that all of the other characters were more or less extras, not important in any way to the development of the story. There was simply too much of a focus on stats and not character development.

I really had some serious problems with the fact that there is no armor, items, or even a wide selection of weapons. Everything was based on the "Junctioning" system. First, everyone can draw, store and use magic. The problem is that now, none of the characters are unique, except for their special attacks. It really doesn't matter who is in your party because they are all the same. Secondly, levels mean next to nothing unless your using the +1 attributes of your GF (Guradian Force) to blatantly max out your characters or you are trying to steal different items from the various monsters. Third, the junctioning of magic in order to boost your stats contributes to the "no character is unique" phenomena. Fourth, is after I fight a long, tough battle against a boss, I would like some experience for it!

I did like the concept of the GF's gaining levels and new abilities with experience. The game can be finished in around 40 hours unless you become addicted to the card game, and simply must acquire every single card. The game itself has a moderate challenge level until you try to beat the "Special Bosses", then it picks up a bit. Overall, FF8 felt like an experiment. Experimentation with a realistic look, a somewhat linear but emotional storyline, and a totally new "system". A good game to play, it just has some problems.

>>>>> 19.5/25 <<<<< ????
Graphics 5.0
Sound 4.5
Gameplay/Control 2.5
Longevity/Playability 4.0
Overall 3.5
Total 19.5