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Copper Ice, Blogger, Nerd
Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII

For about 6 weeks or so I have been slowly playing through Final Fantasy VIII. Developed and published by Square Final Fantasy VIII was released in 1999 for the PlayStation. Back then I was already fan of the Final Fantasy franchise and was really excited to get the game, but first I needed to borrow it from someone I knew at my school because at age 14 or 15 I couldn’t easily afford a copy of my own. I was later given a copy by mother which I still have to this day as one of my prize possessions.

The opening cinematic is breathtaking. It is in my opinion one of the best cinematics of its era beaten only by World of Warcraft in 2004. The graphics are a marked improvement over its predecessor and the music is of a high standard but perhaps not Nobuo Uematsu’s finest. Despite this I must admit I was at first disappointed. I think as a teenager I was expecting a continuation of the story or the setting of Final Fantasy VII, but found that it is completely different as a stand alone game with an entirely different world. Most (but not all) of the mechanics are different, there is no materia which provide characters with powers when equipped but instead Guardian Forces (GF) which allow you to junction magic to improve your characters stats among other things. After a few days however I realized this is a good thing which only served to improve my gaming experience.

I actually prefer the GF system. By collecting, leveling and teaching skills and abilities to the 16 GF available makes them seem more personable. Each GF has its own unique set of abilities and feel more like part of the team. For this playthrough I only collected the 12 GF below but I might one day use my save to complete the set and enjoy the ‘end game’ content a little more.

Final Fantasy VIII GF

One cool feature is that Final Fantasy VIII has a collectable card mini game. It’s completely optional but you can challenge most NPCs (non-player characters) and some characters to a game of Triple Triad and can collect up to 111 unique cards. I am missing 12 cards in this playthrough but I am convinced I managed to complete the collection as a teenager. It’s not for everyone but as someone who generally speaking enjoys collectable card games, most notably Magic: The Gathering, this mini game really hits the spot.

Final Fantasy VIII Cards

It must be said that the best feature of Final Fantasy VIII and all other Final Fantasy games that I have played is the story. I don’t think the story is as good as its predecessor, it has a few too many sort of juvenile undertones and at times it made me feel too old to play. But it really is still an excellent story which made me laugh out loud and even brought a tear to my eye on a couple of occasions. For some reason I think this game is hugely underrated, perhaps because it is comparatively an easy game or because people didn’t find it to be as good as Final Fantasy VII.

I am really proud to add Final Fantasy VIII to my list of completed games. Sadly the remastered version allows people to effectively cheat and cut corners, but I played through the game as it was meant to be played which I think is better, more legitimate and gives a sense of pride that I don’t think I could get if I had cheated.

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