Final Fantasy VIII (PS1)

Tell us about games you are currently playing. "Quick hit" reviews.
Posts: 124
Joined: December 22nd, 2019, 9:33 am

Final Fantasy VIII (PS1)

Postby TheEagleXIII » April 9th, 2020, 6:20 am

Ugh. This is a struggle.

I recently completed FF7 (first experience with it, loved it) which admittedly doesn't help, but I actually played 8 when it was first released. It was my first and, practically only, experience with a proper RPG. I related to it back then on several levels - being an introverted teen in school and all - and poured several hours into it. But something about it can't have truly connected with me cos I never checked out another RPG again until more recently.

I know 8 has a split reputation, you literally either love it or hate it, and I now very much fall in the latter. Even on it's own merits, nothing about this game is appealing to me, no matter how hard I try. Battles have zero tactical merit; summon GF, watch cutscene, mash square, repeat until you win. It's not just the easiest way to win 99% of battles, it's the most sensible. I tried in several battles to mix things up and use magic and attacks and get tactical, but it either takes twice as long to win or gives the enemy enough time to beat you. It's boring and repetitive.

The junction system makes me reluctant using magic in battle, magic has to be obtained by drawing for hours on end or 'refining' it from items which is basically admin work, just so you can do more admin work junctioning that magic to your stats. I recently came up against a battle my characters seem too weak for, and to power them up I spent a solid hour messing about with refining and junctioning magic. It actually takes away some of the satisfaction you do get gaining XP and levelling the characters up the traditional way.

Then there's the story which I find rushed, convoluted, disjointed and often lazy, with annoying characters who make consistently stupid decisions. I can deal with Squall being an introverted loner, but his backstory doesn't start coming to light until near the end of Disc 2 and isn't properly fleshed out til Disc 3 - which does eventually help. But for the first half of the game he just comes across as a sulky, moody, whiny and flat out cold. It's like he literally has no empathy or compassion rather than is just introverted and scared. I'm all for characters being flawed, but I have to relate to them on some human level and Squall is no fun to play as for a long time. But hey, what better way to practice social distancing, right? ;) Talking about social distancing, I'm 3/4s through the story and I still haven't physically encountered the main villain in her true form.

As much as I wanna try and complete this game, I'm just not having any fun. I'm tempted to cut my losses and move onto FF9 - which I've actually really been looking forward to checking out since completing FF7.

User avatar
Posts: 947
Joined: April 8th, 2015, 12:38 pm

Re: Final Fantasy VIII (PS1)

Postby ActRaiser » April 9th, 2020, 9:34 am

Ugh, 8.

I remember putting about 66 hours into it and just calling it quits. Of course, I think my problem was I kept trying to level up but that only made it harder. There was something about this one that didn't sit well with me. And of course the main character was not fun to play which didn't help.

This one felt like it was trying too hard to be a soap opera that it wasn't fun. I'm glad I stopped punishing myself and moved on with something else fun to play on the PS.

Don't feel bad about quitting. You're certainly not the only one. :)

Posts: 124
Joined: December 22nd, 2019, 9:33 am

Re: Final Fantasy VIII (PS1)

Postby TheEagleXIII » April 26th, 2020, 6:22 am

ActRaiser wrote:Don't feel bad about quitting. You're certainly not the only one. :)

Add me to that list. ;)

As much as I wanted to stick it out, I'm actually relieved the game itself ultimately kinda ended up making a decision for me.

Admittedly I breezed through the game a little, did no side quests, and I got so bored of the battles and drawing magic that I bypassed a lot of it, so I’m probably underpowered at this late stage of the game, but it hadn't ever really been a problem. Plus, I found out that the strength of all enemies in the game is scaled to your level, so levelling up seems redundant. I got through some tough battles without too many issues, but the difficulty for the 2nd fight with Fujin/Raijin late in disc 3 spiked suddenly.

After several completely abysmal attempts, and my game crashing occasionally, I figured maybe I should do some of that unbearable admin work. I spent 90mins buying items, refining magic, and experimenting with junctioning before feeling confident I’d substantially powered up my party to give the battle another go.

When I went to go save, my game crashed and corrupted my save file. I had multiple saves but all where prior to my 90min admin session. :roll:

So yeah, it's just not worth torturing myself anymore. I know some people like this game, but personally I struggled to find any enjoyment. The story and characters feel rushed and/or lazy, the gameplay is repetitive and unrewarding, in battle the junctioning system makes all the characters feel exactly the same, and there's too much time spent in menus. If one of these things was at least bearable, it would've been a little easier to persevere. You know the expression 'greater than the sum of its parts'? This is whatever the opposite of that is, all 4 aspects combined just make each other worse.

The true testament of how bad I've found this game's experience, is that it unfairly shaped my judgement of RPGs for the past 20 years - as my first and only experience with an RPG it offered nothing to convince me the genre had any real merits. But since playing FF7, dabbling in a couple other RPGs and finally beginning to 'get' the genre recently, I thought it might help me appreciate some aspects of Final Fantasy VIII... but its made it worse.

I'll end on a positive (apart from the I'm finally free from this game thing ;) ). The cutscenes are gorgeous and well ahead of their time. Aside from the fact they're presented in PS1 FMV compression quality, they've aged incredibly. Of particular note is the scene where Rinoa drifts helplessly through space with low oxygen, where she slowly loses consciousness and her breath fogs up her space helmet - I had to constantly remind myself this game is from 1999! Despite not enjoying everything else around it, that scene still manages to be very powerful and was one of the few brighter periods of the game.

Return to “Now Playing”