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    Final Fantasy VIII


    Publisher: Sony
    Developer: SquareSoft
    Review By: Brett Guarnieri
    Published On: Saturday, January 1st, 2000

    Introduction

    Since this is my first time ever playing a Final Fantasy series game, or an RPG game, I guess it's hard for me to review it. I probably will get a lot of comments on this, but this is my opinion. I hope you all enjoy it, especially coming from a RPG and Final Fantasy newbie. Okay, lets get started. I decided this would be the very first RPG I would play, mainly because I heard so many good things about it from friends. Oh it so so good, and things. When I got the game, I popped the CD in my newly opened PlayStation I also received Christmas morning. The box was literally under the present saying "Play me! Play Me!" I found it first. My parents were upset I found it so quickly, they didn't understand how, in fact neither do I. 

    As I put the CD in, the play station intro sound and logo flickered on and then came the first sign of life. Square's text message came on the screen then flashed off. My CD-ROM drive started screaming, and hummed to life. I felt a rush of adrenaline, like I was on a roller coaster, anxious to get started. The cut scene started. I immediately noticed the beach, as it continued on second after second of beautiful video. I watched the fight scene, where Squall and Seifer were training. After Squall got slashed in the head, the game slowly rose to life, bringing me into a environment unfamiliar to me. I woke up in a hospital and immediately I was asked to choose a name. I then choose Liite and continued to talk to the nurse. The game is so involved with the user, much more than any game I know of. I also see why SquareSoft changed platforms from Nintendo. All those movies would take up a lot of space, as they fill 4 CD's worth. I started on, amazed by all the interactivity. People would greet me, start conversations, kind of like in Half-life but much better. I made way to the classroom, receiving instructions on where to go. I was already so engrossed, I knew I was hooked, just as my friends said would happen. They were right, this game is much more than I thought possible.

    After playing a while, sometimes for more than 3 to 4 hours at a time, I would sit back and go play my Nintendo 64. I got bored rather quickly and after 30 minutes I decided I had enough and went back to Final Fantasy 8, dying to see what would happen next. So how does this game grab your attention? The attention to detail and interaction by Square really enhanced the game, along with the storyline and depth. The story keeps changing, leading to new plots, new information, and new adventures. The action never stops. Even though its menu based when your fighting, it's amazingly fun. Right now I am close to the middle of disc 1, at the failed assassination part (I already found out what happens from my friend). 

    Here is some history for you. Final Fantasy 1 was released way back for Nintendo, along with Final Fantasy 2. The series continued on, some for game boy, others for Super Nintendo. A Final Fantasy series game never made it to the Nintendo 64 console system unfortunately, mainly because of cartridges.
    Did you know?
    - The reason why it was never made was because it would take too many cartridges (over 5 at least, I heard over 25 but I'm not sure if that is correct. The game would have cost over a few hundred dollars to buy at least) Final Fantasy 7 was released in 1997 and was an immediate hit. There are a few main things that are different in the newest addition. The junctioning system is new, along with a few other miscellaneous things. Final Fantasy 8 costs around 50 dollars for Playstation and is available now.

    Gameplay

    The Gameplay seems totally rock-solid to me, with no areas lacking at all. I couldn't find anything except high's for this game in Gameplay. The card game is excellent, something I've never seen before in a game in my entire life. This is totally unique and a great feature, even though it's hard to play unless you really read thoroughly through the rules first. Be careful and try not to lose or you will lose that card forever. Gaining cards and playing the game is very fun and a nice break from battle.

    The battle scenes sometimes have cut scenes for a prequel to the fight, or sometimes after or in the middle of the battle. This adds dynamic depth to the game. The menu systems when fighting, are also something that's great. The Gameplay is solid, especially with the really cool way the battle scenes are setup. You go in and the screen that flashes to the right when you go to the battle scene is strictly awesome. I really thought that was cool and actually tended to get me pumped up for the fight. A great way to pump people up Square. Good job! The button system is great, along with the cool effects you get when you summon a GF (Guardian Force). I really liked the cool effects and fire boulder that Ifrit uses (A guardian force in the game). The game seems very futuristic, interactive, fun, and sometimes can be confusing. You have to talk to everyone to advance in this game. If you can make this good of a game through a menu system you can do anything. The way the maps were setup (I hope you don't mind I call them maps, since I play a lot of FPS games) was great, especially at how realistic the detail and level of thought were put into these. The story never seems to mess itself up, even though it is so long and detailed. It keeps going, going, and going, involving you and not wanting to let go the whole ride. The Gameplay is a SOLID 10!

    Graphics

    The graphics are excellent, a masterpiece to behold and play. They are no doubt the best graphics to ever be created on a console system, besides that of Dreamcast. All the eyecandy, laser lights, colored lighting, futuristic looking graphics are sweet as hell. I wouldn't have minded if the graphics looked like crap and were on Nintendo because of the gameplay. The graphics really do add to the game. The flowing hair is AMAZING! Each Guardian Force has its own slick looking death animations, along with the main characters all having their own mannerisms. The graphics have incredible detail, especially with the backgrounds. Whether lust green forests, mountains, cities, or deserts, the graphics will never disappoint ones in need of some eyecandy!

    The improved graphic engine from Final Fantasy 7, including support for higher resolution images, and nifty flowing hair, really creates a stunning look for the background and characters. They now can incorporate animations into the backgrounds, making it look stunningly lifelike. Will they ever fail? Not in this century, nor in this review. I was playing this and my dad asked me what TV station I was watching and commented, "I want to see what it is, what station is it on?" I laughed and replied, its a game. He was shocked at how realistic it was. Of course, my dad isn't the best at telling what good graphics are, but when someone like him mistakes something for TV, you know it is very good.

    Sound

    So does the music really compare to Final Fantasy 7 like everyone says it doesn't. I got my hands on FF7 for the music and immediately noticed that this was very untrue and that FF8 had just improved on it a lot. The Soundtrack is great and should definitely be purchased along with the Game and Soundtrack. The opening track, Liberi Fatali is incredible, sounding unbelievable. The music is a masterpiece, something anyone can be proud of. No wonder the game drew me in and wouldn't let go. Everything mixes together flawlessly! There aren't bugs to be found within this game, only more fun.

    I decided to test the output of the Playstation so I got a converter for my computer and stereo system. I then hooked up my computer monitor as a TV, hooked my Playstation up to my TV and Stereo system, and with that nice 15inch subwoofer it sounds great. I have 7 channel surround sound in my room and with Dolby Digital support, it sounds tremendous. I turned that sucker up and didn't finish playing for 5 hours, all the way through the night. I am hooked, and now officially can call myself a FF8 junkie.

    Overall

    Overall the game doesn't seem to have any noticeable flaws, except for very small ones when having to move so far off screen you can't see yourself. This doesn't happen very often so it's not annoying or anything, I just happened to notice it once or twice. The games amazing and lives up the hype it had and all the hype I had from my friends. 

    Graphics
    The nice cutscene graphics and backgrounds lushly detailed are excellent and very well done.
    10
    Sound
    The CD music adds tons of depth to the game, putting you in certain moods throughout the game. I would pick up the soundtrack if I were you.
    10
    Gameplay
    The Gameplay is awesome, especially the battle scenes. The awesome effects when summoning the Guardian Forces is awesome.
    10
    Lasting Appeal
    Since it's 4 CD's it's going to take a long time to beat. I am only halfway through the 1st disc and I have had the game for a week.
    10
    <<Rating: 100 >>
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