COUNTDOWN: FINAL FANTASY XIII, DAY EIGHT
Released in September of 1999 was the first new Final Fantasy to many fans. Final Fantasy wasn't an amazingly popular series until the release of Final Fantasy VII. (Seven) After Final Fantasy VII was released there came millions of newcomers to the series. They all expected Final Fantasy VIII (Eight) to have the same characters as Final Fantasy VII. (Seven) Little did the fat morons know, no Final Fantasy is a direct sequel to the previous game. (Save for Final Fantasy X-2 and the Compiliation of VII.)
So when the idiots bought Final Fantasy VIII, they were expecting to have all of the same characters from the previous game, Final Fantasy VII. Instead they felt ripped off as they got a bunch of new characters, and a entirely new plot. New comers to the series cried while the veterans of the series celebrated for another chance to play through a new plot. This "issue" made several new fans rather frustrated. A lot of people felt ripped off. Many revolted and rioted, and there was a mini civil war in Japan. (Just kidding.) With a new plot and cast of characters, gamers set out to explore what I call the hardest and longest game of the series.
The plot to Final Fantasy VIII was a successful attempt at telling a full-length love story. Never before had a Final Fantasy game tried to do this. In previous entries to the series, there were love stories, but no game had been completely devoted to telling a full-length love story. It was a story that would take four discs to complete, a task that seemed far too great for many gamers around the globe.
The hero of the story is Squall Leonhart, a somewhat troubled teen who is a student at the military academy known as Balamb Garden. As the story begins, the antisocial and introverted Squall is preparing to take the final steps to becoming a member of Garden's elite mercenary force entitled SeeD. During the required field exam, Squall's group (including his hated rival, the brash and arrogant Seifer Almasy) uncover the beginnings of a plot by the nation of Galbadia, a global superpower with a tyrannical ruler.
This is a picture of Squall. Although the model isn't from Final Fantasy VIII; it's from Dissidia. That's why he looks a little "cartoony."
Squall and his comrades, Selphie Tilmitt and Zell Dincht, are members of SeeD for less than a day before being assigned to a huge mission in the Galbadian-occupied country of Timber. It is there that Squall meets Rinoa Heartilly, the young and passionate leader of a rebel faction. It is soon discovered that the Galbadian President-for-Life, Vinzer Deling has allied himself with a mysterious Sorceress known as Edea. The task falls upon Squall and SeeD to stop them. Squall must overcome the pain of his past if he is to win the day--and Rinoa's heart. (Synapsis taken from Imdb.com)
To sum things up, the game was a story of boy meets girl... only in the middle of a rebellion at a military academy. The games plot was disappointing for some for a variety of reasons. Many fans wanted a story similar to Final Fantasy VII. There were also numerous complaints about the confusing storyline and the many plot twists, and the overall length of the game. However, most fans, myself included, approved of the story to Final Fantasy VIII. The game's story is very different from any other Final Fantasy out there. It makes it clear very early in the game that this game is a love story. For me, the love story works. I found it cute; even if it was a little over the top at some points.
Final Fantasy VIII is a wonderful entry to the series. It just has one very big issue. It's too hard; and when I say a Final Fantasy is too hard, it is too hard. Final Fantasy VIII has a huge amount of problems that make the game ridiculous for anyone that has no experience in playing a game like Final Fantasy before. In previous Final Fantasy games you earned money by fighting monsters. But in Final Fantasy VIII, you have a paycheck that automatically pays you every few hours. This can make earning money extremely frustrating when trying to make some quick dough. Your paycheck also reflects the GPA you have in school. So while trying to save the world you have to constantly be taking tests, attending classes, etc. It is fun, but can be frustrating.
Another issue with the gameplay is learning magic. To learn magic in Final Fantasy VIII you are required to draw it out of enemies. Each time you draw a spell from an enemy you earn a specific amount of magic points for that specific spell. When those magic points run out, you have to draw again... and again... and again. It's repetitive, and not fun.
But the biggest issue by far is how you level up in the game. Just like in most Final Fantasy games, you level up by fighting enemies. However, in Final Fantasy VIII, there is a twist. The monsters level up with you. So, no matter what, the game is always going to kick you into the dirt and laugh at you. The only way to get stronger than the enemy is to get new weapons, (Which is easier said than done.) or use your Guardian Force. (GF) Just like in Final Fantasy IX and X, you can summon spirits to aid you in battle. But this time they're called Guardian Forces. This wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that they can take almost a full minute to summon. It may not sound like a long time, but when you have to beat a level quickly, the time really adds up.
If you look carefully at Squall in the other pictures you'll see a scar on his face. This is how he got the scar... it's a little bloody.
To make the game even harder, Square came up with a stupid system called "Junctioning," which is a fancy word for customizing. You were required to Junction each of your characters every time you leveled up, and for each character it would take about a half hour to do so. Not only is that not fun, but it's more frustrating than trying to tie your shoes with your tongue. For this reason, a lot of fans gave up on beating the eighth Final Fantasy.
Despite all of these ridiculous criticisms, the game still sold like hot cakes. It was the number one selling game for over fifteen weeks, and even with the flaws, the game is still one of the finest games ever created. Fans around the world have grown to love the story, and have become fascinated with the mysteries that the game contains. Final Fantasy VIII is visually beautiful, and is even more beautiful in terms of story telling. Fans have praised it as one of the greatest games of all time, it is usually ranked by many critics to have the best love story ever in a game.
We're about to cross the half way point in our countdown to Final Fantasy XIII. Tomorrow we'll talk about the most popular game in the entire franchise. A technological marvel, it was a world wide role playing obsession that changed video games forever. Still considered by many to be the greatest game ever created, we'll dive head first into an in-depth talk about Final Fantasy VII.
Eight days until Final Fantasy XIII is released. (Counting today.) I just want to quickly say that I typed this up while listening to "Echoes" by Pink Floyd. That song is really really weird. But I love it.
The opening Cutscene to Final Fantasy VIII is a bizarre montage of subliminal messaging. To top it off it has some weird Hungarian choir singing to the theme song of the game known as, Liberi Fatali. It's surprisingly entertaining to watch, and the graphics are amazing. Especially since this is from 1999.