So, I'm playing Final Fantasy VIII...

MechScapeZH

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Hello everyone. :)

So I just received a copy of the 1999 PC version of Final Fantasy VIII from my aunt (just finished FF VII's PC version, which I also got from her) and I've been playing it a bit- I've got up to the first Laguna flashback sequence (where Squall's party blacks out in the train & Laguna's party is in the forest and Laguna first meets his love interest, whose name escapes me at the moment). It's pretty fun- far more than I thought it would be since my aunt didn't have a super-high opinion of it. (I like the Draw system a lot. Props to the developers for doing something different.) I just wanted to see what people who played FF8 when it came out think of it (no spoilers, please!!), since I'm too young to have played it back in '99.

Can't wait to hear from you. :)
 

Wavelength

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Personally found it to be interesting and ambitious, but not all that fun. It was as if they had a bunch of good designers with a lot of good ideas, but then they tried to throw all those ideas into a game wholesale without really taking the time to think through the implications of each one or lovingly refine it into a shape where it could truly enhance the play experience without being an annoyance.

It's also worth noting that the graphics and sound were absolutlely amazing by 1999 PS1 standards. It's still a memorable gaming moment for me putting in the CD for the first time and watching that intro sequence play - cherry blossoms and all.
 

SolonWise

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I played it a lot of times, and the story, altough too focused on Squall, is pretty good. Actually the story is amazing, now that I think about it. But I just can't believe in the junction system. For me, it's the worst system of all Final Fantasies, but still, I really like the game. Oh, another think I don't like is the "random" rule in Triple Triad. :D
 

MechScapeZH

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I played it a lot of times, and the story, altough too focused on Squall, is pretty good. Actually the story is amazing, now that I think about it. But I just can't believe in the junction system. For me, it's the worst system of all Final Fantasies, but still, I really like the game. Oh, another think I don't like is the "random" rule in Triple Triad. :D
Really? Is there some major failing with the junction system later in the game?

Yeah, "random" is stupid. Takes all the skill out of the game. I still love playing Triple Triad, though- it's a great, great game. The best minigame I've come across in an RPG for sure.

I haven't played enough to say how focused the story is on Squall, but I'll take your word for it. :) My aunt said something to that effect as well- the only background information she gave me before handing me the discs was that "the main character of this one isn't as good as the last one- don't expect Cloud, he isn't anywhere as interesting." But he seems OK to me so far... more relatable than other FF protagonists, even. He's not aloof in a stereotypical "cool" way, he's just quiet.

Personally found it to be interesting and ambitious, but not all that fun. It was as if they had a bunch of good designers with a lot of good ideas, but then they tried to throw all those ideas into a game wholesale without really taking the time to think through the implications of each one or lovingly refine it into a shape where it could truly enhance the play experience without being an annoyance.

It's also worth noting that the graphics and sound were absolutlely amazing by 1999 PS1 standards. It's still a memorable gaming moment for me putting in the CD for the first time and watching that intro sequence play - cherry blossoms and all.
Again, I guess I haven't played enough- was the game balancing off...? I haven't had any trouble so far.

Yeah, the graphics & music are amazing. The atmosphere they created is just second to none... FF is really good at that. No matter how awful the gameplay, the atmosphere is always top-notch.
 

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I had rented and eventually owned FF2 and FF3 (now 4 and 6) on the SNES, as well as Mystic Quest, and thoroughly loved the series up to that point. FF6 was and is one of my favorite games, so I was really into the idea of playing any more games in the series.

I had a friend who owned FF7, but we didn't get a PSX for quite some time. We eventually had FF7 on the PC, but I forget if I played it before my brother eventually got a PSX and FF8. That same friend had a demo of FF8 at some point, though, where you play the landing mission and have to escape the mechanical spider (though the final release doubled the amount of time you got).

The music was spot on, as it always is, and the opening mission is a lot of fun. The intro cinematic set up what I thought were some pretty cool characters with the swordfight and, at the time, I thought gunblades were awesome. I liked Zell's energy and, at first glance, really liked the game.

The more I played, the less I liked it, though. The story becomes very repetitive (though I won't say why) and I found the draw system to become very tedious before long and I could not for the life of me ever craft anything. I made it to the end dungeon with mostly starter gear (I remember screws being something I always needed and never seemed to have), despite not running from battles.

I started putting it down for weeks at a time, then just thinking, "Well... Maybe it gets better. I mean, it's Final Fantasy after all, it must get better," so I'd play through the next section, then put it down in boredom and start the whole cycle over. By the time I got to the last dungeon, I realized that would be it, and I just gave up and put it away. It's one of only two games I've ever gotten that far in and not bothered to complete.

I tried going back to it maybe 7 or 8 years ago, thinking perhaps that it would be a better game in hindsight and maybe I'd appreciate the "high school love story" that it was meant to be a little more as an adult than I did as a teenager, but it was just terrible. A lot of the things I thought were cool seemed silly in hindsight and the draw system was instantly tedious instead of growing moreso over time.

I later played and ended up really liking 7, 9, and 10, and not much caring for 2, 5, or Tactics, but 8 really stood out to me as the worst entry in the series for a number of reasons.
 

SolonWise

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@MechScapeZH Well, I think Squall is a great protagonist. For me, he is the oposite of Zidane, from FFIX, and the story being too focused on him and Rinoa maybe isn't a bad thing at all for some players, but I really like when all the party characters are important, as they are in FFVI. I also think Cloud and Squall have some similarites, but, as you said, sometimes he is just to quiet. The cool part is that we can see what he is thinking all the time, so we know he is not a bad guy.

Oh, by the way, you, sir, have a pretty cool aunt.
 

Heirukichi

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Is there some major failing with the junction system later in the game?
Other than having to farm Ultima for ALL your characters to max out stats? Well, not particularly, but that is still was still very annoying back in the PS version. Even more because the higher the amount of uses your spell has, the higher its strength when used on your junctions, thus making your mages unable to cast the strongest spell in the game unless you want to suffer stats loss.

I would not say that the story is focused on Squall, in the end it is quite balanced and takes all the characters into account, entwining their story with Squall's in a smart way. The point is that Squall is not perceived as an all round character because his interactions with other characters are poor. Even so, since he is a quiet character, those interactions (or the fact that they are missing) fit his personality, at least if we want to talk about consistency.

The random rule is annoying, but you can still reset the rules so I consider it a minor concern. And in the PC version the amount of farming required for junctions has been greatly reduced (you can add max stacks of each spell with a simple click), making mages actually useful and removing one of the most annoying mechanics in the game. On top of it, in the PC version even bosses who did not scale are now properly scaled, allowing you to fight them at any level.
 

DamianCastaway

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The story was great, I personally was not a fan of Monsters levelling up with you or being able to get the Leonhart in Disc , however I will forever love Triple Triad
 

MechScapeZH

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I had rented and eventually owned FF2 and FF3 (now 4 and 6) on the SNES, as well as Mystic Quest, and thoroughly loved the series up to that point. FF6 was and is one of my favorite games, so I was really into the idea of playing any more games in the series.

I had a friend who owned FF7, but we didn't get a PSX for quite some time. We eventually had FF7 on the PC, but I forget if I played it before my brother eventually got a PSX and FF8. That same friend had a demo of FF8 at some point, though, where you play the landing mission and have to escape the mechanical spider (though the final release doubled the amount of time you got).

The music was spot on, as it always is, and the opening mission is a lot of fun. The intro cinematic set up what I thought were some pretty cool characters with the swordfight and, at the time, I thought gunblades were awesome. I liked Zell's energy and, at first glance, really liked the game.

The more I played, the less I liked it, though. The story becomes very repetitive (though I won't say why) and I found the draw system to become very tedious before long and I could not for the life of me ever craft anything. I made it to the end dungeon with mostly starter gear (I remember screws being something I always needed and never seemed to have), despite not running from battles.

I started putting it down for weeks at a time, then just thinking, "Well... Maybe it gets better. I mean, it's Final Fantasy after all, it must get better," so I'd play through the next section, then put it down in boredom and start the whole cycle over. By the time I got to the last dungeon, I realized that would be it, and I just gave up and put it away. It's one of only two games I've ever gotten that far in and not bothered to complete.

I tried going back to it maybe 7 or 8 years ago, thinking perhaps that it would be a better game in hindsight and maybe I'd appreciate the "high school love story" that it was meant to be a little more as an adult than I did as a teenager, but it was just terrible. A lot of the things I thought were cool seemed silly in hindsight and the draw system was instantly tedious instead of growing moreso over time.

I later played and ended up really liking 7, 9, and 10, and not much caring for 2, 5, or Tactics, but 8 really stood out to me as the worst entry in the series for a number of reasons.
Yeah, the opening mission floored me. I just adore the monster designs, especially the spider- I honestly got a bit panicked with the timer (and the thing was chasing me!!!). Gunblades are awesome, and Zell is hilarious- he seems almost... misplaced in SeeD. He should be, like, a salesman or a sports player or something- fighting monsters is for people like Squall who don't have the infectious personality to do anything else. :guffaw:

Wow, I expected better from FF... But I'm OK with tedium generally... I only tap out if, like, the same dialogue is repeated or something. It's good to hear that I don't have to craft anything- I don't understand how. I like the idea of stealing magic from enemies, so I've been enjoying the draw system so far, but that may change. The "love story" bit is... predictable. It's like... Disney-styled- you know that if two people meet at a ball, they WILL fall in love. That's just how fantasy works. :guffaw: (...And then Kingdom Hearts came out 2 years later.... Do you think they did this... on purpose? Like, imitated Disney because they knew that they would attract new fans by partnering with Disney and then the new people would want to see other Square stuff?) I'm not super into it- I'm usually bored by love stories in general, especially in otherwise action-focused works.

Thanks for responding. :)

@MechScapeZH Well, I think Squall is a great protagonist. For me, he is the oposite of Zidane, from FFIX, and the story being too focused on him and Rinoa maybe isn't a bad thing at all for some players, but I really like when all the party characters are important, as they are in FFVI. I also think Cloud and Squall have some similarites, but, as you said, sometimes he is just to quiet. The cool part is that we can see what he is thinking all the time, so we know he is not a bad guy.

Oh, by the way, you, sir, have a pretty cool aunt.
Ah, I don't know Zidane, since I haven't played the game he's from & he didn't make a cameo in Kingdom Hearts... (I'll probably play FF9 after FF8, though) I don't necessarily mind there being a lower number of main characters- in theory, that means they're more developed, right? (Although from what I've been hearing, that may not be true.) I love Squall's thought balloons- I wasn't saying that his being quiet was a bad thing, just that he is quieter compared to Cloud. The way I always interpreted it, Cloud is like the typical mid-90s anti-hero- he's Wolverine, essentially. Distinctive weapon, "dark and gritty" storyline, isn't afraid to kill... (all those Shinra soldiers! They were evil, but still!) He's "EXTREME!" But I don't get that vibe from Squall.

Yeah, she's awesome. :) My love for RPGs basically comes from her- I used to watch her play FF6 & FF7 when I was like, five. And now I'm doing this RPG Making stuff... There might be a small correlation there. :) She influenced me so, so much.
 

Wavelength

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Again, I guess I haven't played enough- was the game balancing off...? I haven't had any trouble so far.
Well, it sort of depends on how you play it :p The major balance issue is that enemies level up and gain stats based on your level, which can destroy the balance if you're gaining levels without also gaining power in other ways (junctions, equipment, etc.). Most of my other design complaints are more about playability than balance - for example, having your income depend on your SeeD rank (rather than grinding mobs) seems like a cool idea, but the initial exam (where the criteria aren't even explained) plays such a big role in your rank for the first half of the game that players who got a low rank are screwed, and can't enjoy the buyables. The Draw system is a novel and intriguing idea, but it ends up discouraging players from using fun and powerful spells, since they're a limited resource that can be a hassle to refill (it also leads to cases where players spend an hour or two grinding Draws from a single encounter). The Junction system was cool if you could understand it, but it was so obscure that half of players didn't understand it. Segments where the player could, for example, fall to their death and get a Game Over are interesting, maybe immersive, but end up causing a lot of frustration to anyone who falls prey to them because they're so inconsistent with the rest of gameplay.

P.S. - Since you mentioned Zidane: He's one of my favorite leads of all time. FF9 has likable characters all across the board. It wasn't as ambitious or as historically important as FF8, but I felt like it was a more enjoyable ride.
 

Rukiri

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The story part is good it's just a bad game sadly...
Overshadowed by both VII and IX which are far superior Final Fantasy titles, even X was a hit when it was released because heavy metal glues you to the screen!
 

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FF8 is probably the only game where leveling up hurts you in the long run. You won't see it on disc 1 as they capped the enemies and their stats there, but around disc 3 or so you may start to notice you are doing less damage than you used to before you leveled up. This is because enemies will gain like +120 HP, +2 ATK, +2 DEF, etc while you will gain +43 HP +1 ATK and +1 VIT or something like that.

As for the story, I liked discs 1 and 2, but 3 felt like they put all ideas in a blender and hit blend. You'll see what I mean once you get there. I honestly think if they had the guts to end the game at end of disc 2 it would have been a decent but short game, but then everyone would have complained it was the shortest Final Fantasy game ever.
 

Philosophus Vagus

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Completely agree with bgillisp. The story up to the end of disk 2 is on par with 6-7 really, it just becomes incredibly stupid from there. The leveling up thing though, while true isnt as big a deal for me than just how utterly broken the junction system is. Its complicated enough you likely wont realize it til disk 2 or so but once you get it the game is irreprehinsibly broken and nothing in the entire game, aside from the optional superbosses at the underwater research station, will ever challenge you again unless you deliberately choose to gimp yourself.

Up until the end of disk 2 it is my second favorite ff far behind tactics, disk 3 and 4 is such a trainwreak though, just wait for it, you'll be amazed just how fast such a cohesive narrative can unravel and fall apart.
 

bgillisp

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@Philosophus Vagus : Well, unless you do like I did my first time in that game and didn't know the enemies were leveling up faster than me. I got to disc 4 only by spamming GF all day, as nothing else did any damage to speak of. I think my main party was doing 400, 200, 100 with physical attacks, to monsters with waaaaay more HP than 700 HP.

BTW, many people leveled the same complaint with FF9 shortly after it came out. I remember after I played it I went to the gamefaqs forum and everyone said for FF9 play it for discs 1 and 2, pretend disc 3 didn't happen. It's almost like Square didn't know how to continue the story once it got past a certain point. Or were trying too hard.
 

MechScapeZH

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Well, it sort of depends on how you play it :p The major balance issue is that enemies level up and gain stats based on your level, which can destroy the balance if you're gaining levels without also gaining power in other ways (junctions, equipment, etc.). Most of my other design complaints are more about playability than balance - for example, having your income depend on your SeeD rank (rather than grinding mobs) seems like a cool idea, but the initial exam (where the criteria aren't even explained) plays such a big role in your rank for the first half of the game that players who got a low rank are screwed, and can't enjoy the buyables. The Draw system is a novel and intriguing idea, but it ends up discouraging players from using fun and powerful spells, since they're a limited resource that can be a hassle to refill (it also leads to cases where players spend an hour or two grinding Draws from a single encounter). The Junction system was cool if you could understand it, but it was so obscure that half of players didn't understand it. Segments where the player could, for example, fall to their death and get a Game Over are interesting, maybe immersive, but end up causing a lot of frustration to anyone who falls prey to them because they're so inconsistent with the rest of gameplay.

P.S. - Since you mentioned Zidane: He's one of my favorite leads of all time. FF9 has likable characters all across the board. It wasn't as ambitious or as historically important as FF8, but I felt like it was a more enjoyable ride.
Honestly, I used a walkthrough for the exam, so I got maximum rank, so that didn't really affect me- I agree, it should've been explained in the game itself though. As for Drawing, it's just something that appeals to me- I mean, look at my own game (which I feel the need to say that I designed far before I ever played FF8- I'm not plagiarizing it, I promise. ...I was plagiarizing Mega Man instead :guffaw:)- stealing abilities is the primary mechanic. I haven't gotten to those segments, so I guess I'll see when I get there.

The story part is good it's just a bad game sadly...
Overshadowed by both VII and IX which are far superior Final Fantasy titles, even X was a hit when it was released because heavy metal glues you to the screen!
Yeah, so far I like the story. I'd play X, but I have no PS2 or Switch- it doesn't appear to have a PC version (does it?). I'll keep X in mind though. :)

FF8 is probably the only game where leveling up hurts you in the long run. You won't see it on disc 1 as they capped the enemies and their stats there, but around disc 3 or so you may start to notice you are doing less damage than you used to before you leveled up. This is because enemies will gain like +120 HP, +2 ATK, +2 DEF, etc while you will gain +43 HP +1 ATK and +1 VIT or something like that.

As for the story, I liked discs 1 and 2, but 3 felt like they put all ideas in a blender and hit blend. You'll see what I mean once you get there. I honestly think if they had the guts to end the game at end of disc 2 it would have been a decent but short game, but then everyone would have complained it was the shortest Final Fantasy game ever.
So they extended it artificially... That's dumb. Quality over quantity, right...? But then I guess people would have complained. Also, thanks for the warning- I won't grind. :)

Completely agree with bgillisp. The story up to the end of disk 2 is on par with 6-7 really, it just becomes incredibly stupid from there. The leveling up thing though, while true isnt as big a deal for me than just how utterly broken the junction system is. Its complicated enough you likely wont realize it til disk 2 or so but once you get it the game is irreprehinsibly broken and nothing in the entire game, aside from the optional superbosses at the underwater research station, will ever challenge you again unless you deliberately choose to gimp yourself.

Up until the end of disk 2 it is my second favorite ff far behind tactics, disk 3 and 4 is such a trainwreak though, just wait for it, you'll be amazed just how fast such a cohesive narrative can unravel and fall apart.
Well... It'll be a lesson in what not to do then. :guffaw:

@Philosophus Vagus : Well, unless you do like I did my first time in that game and didn't know the enemies were leveling up faster than me. I got to disc 4 only by spamming GF all day, as nothing else did any damage to speak of. I think my main party was doing 400, 200, 100 with physical attacks, to monsters with waaaaay more HP than 700 HP.

BTW, many people leveled the same complaint with FF9 shortly after it came out. I remember after I played it I went to the gamefaqs forum and everyone said for FF9 play it for discs 1 and 2, pretend disc 3 didn't happen. It's almost like Square didn't know how to continue the story once it got past a certain point. Or were trying too hard.
Yeah, spamming GFs is what I've been doing- it helps that the animations are so cool too. :) (Diablos!!!)

Strange, I've been hearing that FF9 was better received at the time, but I guess Square didn't totally learn their lesson.

Thanks for responding, everyone. I'll definitely at least finish the game, since it was a gift from my aunt. :)

I'll see what I think after I play more.
 

bgillisp

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Without spoiling things, you will have to be able to fight without spamming GF all day. There are battles later on where you either cannot use your GF, or if you do, you risk a Game Over.

As for FF9 being better received, I think that is more in terms of reviews. Most review sites I know of panned the PC version of FF8 when it came out as they hated Squall as an MC and didn't get off of disc 1 as a result. Not sure if the PS version has the same result, I didn't have a PS then so had to wait for the PC versions (though I eventually got one so I could play FF9 and onwards).
 

MechScapeZH

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Without spoiling things, you will have to be able to fight without spamming GF all day. There are battles later on where you either cannot use your GF, or if you do, you risk a Game Over.

As for FF9 being better received, I think that is more in terms of reviews. Most review sites I know of panned the PC version of FF8 when it came out as they hated Squall as an MC and didn't get off of disc 1 as a result. Not sure if the PS version has the same result, I didn't have a PS then so had to wait for the PC versions (though I eventually got one so I could play FF9 and onwards).
Oh, really...? That's a shame. I like using them. :guffaw:

I did read some reviews before I played the game, and they did hate Squall- but I just don't see why. What exactly is wrong with him?
 

Philosophus Vagus

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I did read some reviews before I played the game, and they did hate Squall- but I just don't see why. What exactly is wrong with him?
He has PTSD basically (not surprising with the whole orphan soldiers theme) and in a world that's already seen the likes of Firian and Cloud that was one emo protagonist too many as far as a lot of people were concerned.
 

MechScapeZH

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He has PTSD basically (not surprising with the whole orphan soldiers theme) and in a world that's already seen the likes of Firian and Cloud that was one emo protagonist too many as far as a lot of people were concerned.
...OK. I mean, I kind of understand where they're coming from, but I don't see how being similar to other characters makes him bad. Thank you for the explaination, though. :)
 

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The reviews I read said he was a jerk and totally unlikeable, which was their issue with him.
 

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