I finally beat Final Fantasy 8. The last boss took over an hour to
beat. Total time playing the game was a little over 40 hours. Thing is,
the only reason I was playing it was that I had nothing else to play in
the mornings while I'm on the exercise bike. I really disliked this game.
Here's why (expect spoilers... as if anybody cares):
Idiotic story - People seem to be focused a lot on the story in
games today. FF8 had one, it was long and it was twisted, but damn, was
it idiotic. I mean, the storyline of this game was
bang-your-head-against-the-wall stupid. A bunch of kids training to be
soldiers stumble around and some of them get their minds sent back in time
by the main character's sister and eventually realize that they all grew
up together in an orphanage that was run by their leader and his wife
before the couple founded the training center to battle "the sorceress"
and then it turns out that their leader's wife is the sorceress they're
all trying to fight anyway and then the kids discover that the sorceress
is actually possessed by another sorceress from the future who travelled
back in time in order to find the main character's sister so she can (I
guess) travel back further in time in order to cast some spell
called "time compression" which will actually destroy time itself so (I
suppose) everything will happen at once and she'll rule the world
(universe?). This doesn't even include all the nonsense about the third
sorceress (Adel) or the fourth sorceress (Rinoa) who also turn out the be
targets of the evil sorceress from the future. I'm also sparing you from
all the other stupidity that goes on and you have no control over any
of it! I think that's the worst part. When the good guys uncover the
evil sorceress's plot to capture the main character's sister, what do they
do? They stick her on a boat of complete strangers who show up out of
nowhere demanding that she be turned over. Real fucking smart, guys.
The best part is that later on they spend hours trying to figure out where
she could be. And of course the most torturous, unendurable part of the
whole game is the unbearably imbecilic love interest between the main
character (Squall) and the sorceress Rinoa. The worst of it is what
brings me to my next point.
Atrocious dialog - I swear I wanted to open up my wrists at
times when listening to this ridiculous drivel. Maybe it lost something
in the translation (from Japanese)? No excuse: I still had to suffer
through it. Maybe the writers thought they were developing a
story. All I know is that they were delivering unmitigated pain and
suffering for hours on end. I firmly believe that the average age of the
writers was somewhere around 8 years old.
Unexplaind side quests - There are numerous villages, caves,
and buildings strewn across the world map which had nothing to do with the
main storyline and were never referred to anywhere in any dialog with any
character. This is strange, because of course you had absolutely no
control whatsoever over the progression of the storyline so it's not like
you could have missed something. It turns out that there are a number of
side quests that can be completed to gain powerful items and magic... but
of course, you know nothing about them. Apparently the developers don't
understand that a quest, even a side quest, needs a goal.
If you don't know what the hell the point of going is, it's not much of a
quest. Needless to say, I wanted to finish this game as quick as possible
so I didn't waste a lot of time hunting rocks for the Shumis or trying to
capture those motherfucking chocobos that have infested every goddamn
Final Fantasy game since like #2.
Enemies won't stay dead - How many times do I have to fight
Seifer. For the love of God, someone drive a sword through his heart.
And his retard twins; I crushed them, what, three times? And each time my
stupid characters apparently let them live. And what happened each
time? They came back later to fight some more! And don't get me
started on Wedge and Biggs. The only reason I stopped having to
fight them was because they finally decided they'd had enough and quit
the Galbadian army.
Overly complicated systems - Anyone who's ever played FF8 or
seen someone play FF8 knows how overly and unnecessarily complicated the
whole game system is. See, your characters are actually a bunch of
pathetic wimps. It isn't until you "junction" them with a Guardian Force,
some kind powerful being, that they are actually worth anything. And so
you have to attach these GF's to your characters, and then pick which
abilities to use, and then pick which bonuses to take advantage of, and
then pick which spells to match with your skills, attacks, and defenses.
Yes, it has a bit of a learning curve. It also has a number of flaws
inherent to it. For instance, a Guardian Force may have a number of
useful abilities that it's gained. However, a character can only use 3 at
a time and can't switch once they enter battle. So the most important and
most useful 3 are used almost exclusively. What the hell is the point of
all the others? It's an incredible chore trying to decide how best to
divide up your GF's because each one offers bonuses to different skills.
Obviously you want to prevent overlap of these bonuses, because they're
not cumulative. But there's nothing in the game that really helps you
Excrutiatingly long animations - Speaking of Guardian Forces,
their main advantage (besides being the sole reason your characters can
use magic at all) is using them to attack enemies directly. The problem
is that the animation sequences that follow are so long and redundent that
you'd soon rather pray for death than use them in combat. I mean, these
sequences are so flashy and over the top that they make Jim Carrey seem as
dull and lifeless as Al Gore. Quezacotl can't just shoot a lightning
bolt, he has the spray electricity everywherere, then form this giant
energy dome, then have this huge blast of lightning shoot down from the
top, then have the ground erupt in blinding light. Shiva can't just
freeze the guy, she has to break out of an icy cocoon, create this huge,
elaborate frozen valley, and then cause it to shatter, spraying shards of
ice in all directions. The more powerful spells aren't much better. The
40 hours I spent beating this game probably would have been more like 10
or 15 if I could have eliminated all these life draining animations.
The whole magic system - Didn't like it. First of all, like I
said, your characters are pathetic worms that can't even cast a single
spell without the help of a Guardian Force. Even Rinoa, the (a)
"sorceress", is useless without one. Second, the only real source of
magic in the world is to suck it out of monsters that you encounter along
the way. Yes, in the heat of battle you have to stock up on various
spells by "drawing" them out of the enemy you face. The more powerful
foes usually hold the most powerful spells, and if you pass up the
opportunity to fill yourself up, chances are that you'll regret it later.
Whose idea was this? Apparently humans are pathetic losers who have less
innate magic ability than a giant fly! (A great source for cure
spells, by the way.) What's worse, you have a limit on the number of
different spells you can carry. Once you have 32 different kinds of
spells, you can't draw any new ones. Which really sucks, because the only
way to get rid of them is to use them during combat. Look, if you're
going to limit me in such a ridiculous way, at least give me the ability
to simply dump the spells I don't want. You generally end up having to
pass them off on the characters you aren't playing at that time (you can
get up to 6 but can only have 3 active at any given moment).
Weapons - Chances are that you'll stop using weapons completely
not too far into the game, because it's nearly impossible to improve them.
See, you don't buy new weapons, because that would make too much sense.
Instead, you look for things like pipes, rocks, and goat testicles so you
can take your weapons to a Junk Store and get them upgraded. Of course,
goat testicles are pretty hard to find so you're generally stuck with the
crappy weapons you start out with.
Map design - While it's hard to argue with the visual detail
given to the game's backgrounds, the problem is that the viewpoints seemed
to have been a matter of aesthetics rather than focusing on gameplay. All
too often an exit from an area is invisible from the "camera's" perspective
or, even worse, what looks like a valid egress turns out to be a blind
dead-end after your characters pass out of view. You're left pushing the
direction button and wondering what's going on, since you can't see your
characters running mindlessly into a solid wall.
And last but not least... that stupid card game. The most
mind-numbingly asinine aspect of the entire game. Demonstrating that
Pokemon and all those other dumb-ass Magic: The Gathering card games have
permeated all layers of our lives, the makers of Final Fantasy VIII
decided to include some lame card game that you can play against the
various inhabitants of the world. All the cards have monsters or
important people on them, and you get them by killing enemies, "draw"ing
them, or winning them in card games. The only point of winning
cards is so that Guardian Forces can use their powers to turn them into
useless junk, like magic stones, which they can then turn into pointless
spells, like "Blow Nose". Okay, I exaggerate, but this is just another
aspect of the baroque and outlandish game system that quite simply goes
too far and yet falls so short.
No, I do not recommend this game to anyone. It's long, it's boring,
and it's extremely painful to sit through. Now I gotta go see how much I
can sell it for on E-Bay.