Final Fantasy VIII

aka: FF8, FFVIII, Finalnaja Fantazija 8, Zui Zhong Huanxiang 8
Moby ID: 1149
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Description official descriptions

Squall Leonhart is a young man in training to become of member of SeeD - a mercenary organization and the goal of all young students in Balamb Garden. Squall is not a particularly friendly guy and has troubles with his fellow students and teachers. On the eve of his graduation hostilities break out between the city-states of Galbadia and Dollet. As their final test, Squall and three other students are sent on a mission to assist in the fight against Galbadia. In the process they discover that there are other characters pulling strings from behind the stage, and eventually uncover a mystery that involves two decades of secrets hidden both from the world and from themselves.

Final Fantasy VIII is set in a "retro" environment reminiscent in some ways of the 1960's, with a few sci-fi and plenty of supernatural elements mixed in. The basic system resembles those of its predecessors: the player navigates a party of characters over a world map, accessing various locations and fighting randomly appearing enemies in turn-based combat of the series' trademark ATB (active time battle) variety. However, character development system has been re-designed.

Player-controlled characters in the game have no defined character classes. They can be customized by equipping magic spells, which can be "drawn" from enemies in battles. When used in combat, spells act like expendable items; there are no MP (magic points) in the game. When equipped, they act like armor, raising or lowering character parameters, including resistances to various kinds of magic (elemental, status-changing, etc.).

Monster summons (called Guardian Forces in the game) play a very important role in the customization process. They can be "junctioned" to to the characters, acquire ability points (AP) earned from battles along with experience, learn and "teach" characters new abilities, and can also be summoned in battles. Each character can also execute unique powerful attacks or support actions when his or her hit points are low. Many of these attacks require the player to press specific buttons at the right moment to increase their power.

New weapons are constructed by collecting materials and bringing them to a blacksmith. The player does not acquire money from random enemies, but instead receives paychecks over time based on the player character's SeeD rank. This rank increases when the characters defeat enemies in battles without summoning Guardian Forces; when the player takes SeeD tests within the game; or, occasionally, when the player chooses a correspondent action or decision for the protagonist during some of the missions. Payments are regular and are calculated by the amount of steps the characters make.

Visually, the game resembles its predecessor, featuring 3D graphics for battles and world map exploration, and pre-rendered backgrounds for individual locations. The game's 3D character models are realistically proportioned (as opposed to the "super-deformed" character graphics of the previous game), and the influence of anime art is less noticeable.

Like the previous installment, Final Fantasy VIII features several mini-games, the most prominent of which is the card game Triple Triad. Cards can be won in matches or acquired through side quests or by transforming enemy monsters. Many characters in the game can be challenged to a game of Triple Triad, so it is always possible to take a break from saving the world to play cards with the locals.

Spellings

  • Финальная Фантазия 8 - Russian spelling
  • ファイナルファンタジーVIII - Japanese spelling
  • 太空戰士 8 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 最终幻想8 - Simplified Chinese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (PlayStation version)

113 People (107 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

Executive Producer
Director
Music
Main Programmer
Battle System Designer
Character Design / Battle Visual Director
Art Director
Scenario Writer
Image Ilustration
Movie Director
Movie Character Director
Character Modeling Director
Real-Time Polygon Director
Battle Effect Director
Motion Director
Card Game Director / Battle Camera Director
Lead Field Designer
Event Script Programmer
Battle Programmer
Event Director
Map Director
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 68 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 343 ratings with 26 reviews)

Some One Get Square A Dictionary Because They Clearly Do Not Know What "Final" Means

The Good
In 1999, SquareSoft, released Final Fantasy VIII, perhaps the most controversial incarnation of the series, as for many Final Fantasy fans it was an insult of a game. I know many FF Fans that now hate the series because of FFVIII. I did not pay the game much mind as in 1999, I did not own a PlayStation, I was far to busy playing my new Dreamcast, and my PC. It would not be until several years later until I would play the game. It is a little better than FF7, but not by much.

In FF8, you are Squall Lionheart, a rude little shit. That people are drawn to for some reason. If being antisocial is so cool, how come I am not more popular? Anyhow, you are a student at the SeeD Academy. Where the teach kids to become warriors. Not unlike Harry Potter. The games plot starts off well enough, despite a prick for a protagonist. About 5 hours or so into the game it takes a most displeasing turn. More on that later.

Also good, are the Graphics. The characters of FF8 are large and well detailed. And for the first time in the series do not change appearance in battle. The backgrounds look better than in it’s predecessor. They are more detailed, and more colorful. And often are animated. But the better graphics feel wasted on the often poor character design. Why did Square fire Yoshitaka Amano? His art used to be one of the best things about the franchise.

The Bad
On to the negative portion of my review. The opening video is just plain stupid. When Deckard wannabe, Seifer slashes down at Squall head, he would have taken his head off, not just left a little scar. Furthermore the plot quickly gets sour. Around the time you meet up with Rinoa, the love interest, that Squall seems to have contempt for. At this point you are on a train and assault it. This results in an idiotic mini-game in which you attempt to uncouple the train cars. It is very annoying. And almost resulted in me quitting the game right then and there.

I would like to say that the plot picks up, but it really never does. Often, you run around doing things, for reasons that are unclear. Many weak plot points abound. Such as why would SeeD, send children on a dangerous mission? The fate of the city rests of inexperienced youths? The plot of the two evil sorceress’ is just dumb. There is also what has to be one of the dumbest moments in video game history, when during a battle between two SeeD schools, Squall and Rinoa stop to have a chat when three feet away people are dying. Blood would splatter on Squall’s face and they would continue to chat. Furthermore the dialog is unimportant, and trite. This also almost made me quit playing the game.

The new magic system of FF8, is GF’S. This is one of worst magic systems ever conceived for a game. You equip these GF’S, and can learn skills from them as well as magic. There are no MP points in FF8, instead you must “draw” magic. No not with a pen and pad, but by sucking magic from foes and “draw points”. For instance you draw Fira, 5 times and you can use it 5 times. This makes battles incredibly tedious. And can make even the simplest battles last ten minutes. And considering you are attacked by invisible monsters every 10 seconds you spend about 75% of the game do this crap.

The GF’S also allow you to “junction”. This allows you to increase attack power, HP, etc. This system is flawed at best. For example say that you junction you attack power + 50%. Then you standard attacks even from weaker characters do about 8000-9000 HP damage, when summoning the GF only does about 4000-5000. WTF?

Limit Breaks are back and just as moronic as in FF7. This time to learn them, you must find magazines for a particular PC and have them use it. An interesting idea but a little silly. You have a limit break bar that must fill to be used, this often results in wasted Limit Breaks, and harder boss fights. Some limit breaks are interactive a nice touch, but take a little getting used to.

Also in FF8, you DO NOT WEAR ANY ARMOUR, this is very dumb. And instead of buying new weapons, you upgrade them, this in if it self would not be so bad if you did not have to find the materials, first. What kind of merchant makes you bring them the materials? That as if when you buy a house the carpenters make you bring them the lumber. Also making weapons is sorta like MacGyver, a turtle shell + a rock + a feather = a new sword…huh? Also the weapons are all lame. From “gun blades” to giant nunchaku?

The Graphics, while good, are often ruined by atrocious character. Take a look at Selphie, and Irving, and you will see what I mean. The monster designs are also bad.

The music is horrible. It just plain sucks. None of the music is memorable or often not even fitting the moment. It is God awful. And there is still not voice acting….WTF?



The Bottom Line
Overall, even many Final Fantasy gamers hate this one. But who knows others may like. As many non-FF fans do like the game. But there are so many better PS RPGS, I cannot recommend this one.

PlayStation · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006

Junctioning GFs with teenage angst

The Good
After the previous game conquered the masses with its visual splendor and drama, Square decided to go all the way with pomp and fanfares, and released one of the series' most hyped and controversial installments.

However, if you look beyond the often needlessly flashy exterior, you'll find quite an interesting game within. There are some rather extravagant features in the gameplay system. The series' trademark summons (now called GFs) have turned into a universal equipment of sorts, which determines the character's attributes, resistances, and teaches them new abilities. Armor is gone completely, and instead you junction magic spells to your attributes to raise them. This sounds like a crazy, convoluted idea, but once you get the hang of it you might even enjoy the flexibility. Add to that the complexity and the variety of GF-junctioning, the large amount of special abilities those GFs can learn, the usage of GFs themselves as summon spells, the fact that many of them are optional, and you'll get quite a bit of stuff to tinker with.

Though the game is noticeably less open-ended that the previous installments, there are still secrets to discover, including character-related sub-quests, optional boss battles, and large amounts of powerful items to hunt for. A fairly sophisticated card game can be played against various NPCs, yielding even more cool stuff to the player in case of victory.

The melodramatic story of Final Fantasy VIII is not without merit. I liked its soap opera-like tone, its unusual focus on modern-day teenagers instead of knights in shiny armor. Take a look at the famed love story, for example. Old RPGs showed a main hero with big muscles killing the bad guy and getting the girl as a result. Here, the love relationship develops slowly, in an "episodic" fashion, with attention paid to mundane details and crudely presented, but somehow endearing psychological traits. The setting has a certain "1960's vibe" mixed with old-school optimistic sci-fi, reducing medieval fantasy elements to a minimum.

There are plenty of emotional scenes in Final Fantasy VIII, with the famous dance scene stealing the show. That scene is probably the closest thing to TV drama-like entertainment you'll encounter in the world of video games. Generally, the CG movies in this game truly enhance the atmosphere. Instead of being just pointless eye-candy, those (mostly short and silent) sequences serve as little dramatic intermezzi that refresh the narrative and help to emphasize important events by taking them "out" of the gameplay.

Final Fantasy VIII has exquisite visuals. The "realistic" characters were a correct design choice for a game that attempted to move away from epic fantasy towards modern-day melodrama. Graphical details constitute a great deal of the game's special atmosphere: pay attention to some of the characters' clothes and outfits, decorations on the streets in towns, train design, etc. Gorgeous, stylish pre-rendered backgrounds and real-time 3D battle graphics surpass everything the PlayStation has seen before.

The Bad
The gameplay system of Final Fantasy VIII ended up being too ambitious, over-complicating things that should have stayed the way they'd been before. Some of the decisions made by the designers of this game were puzzling, to say the least.

One big problem with the system is the stubbornness with which the designers force the players to use GF attacks and limit breaks over and over again. I understand that boss battles should require more than simply tapping the attack button; but regular battles that drag themselves is a major mood-killer for a Japanese RPG.

The unskippable GF attack animations, admittedly gorgeous, are simply too long, and watching them again and again is a painful process. What's worse is that the player feels too tempted to use them all the time, because they are completely free. Putting a penalty on GF usage (health or MP-draining or whatever) would have at least balanced that part a bit.

An alternative to GF attacks are powerful limit breaks; but you can execute them only if the character in question is on the verge of dying. It sounds interesting in theory, and really proves helpful against bosses; but using this technique against regular enemies again means prolonging the battle. Same applies to the dubious magic-drawing: why can't I just buy spells instead of wasting turns upon turns on getting them from enemies? Regular enemies tend to have ridiculous amount of HP and also inflict ridiculously low damage on your characters. Put all of the above together and you'll have an idea about how tedious and unrewarding the battles of Final Fantasy VIII can become.

Some of the gameplay features in this game simply make no sense. Why do I get paychecks that diminish if I just wander about and don't follow the storyline? Discouraging exploration in an RPG is a cardinal sin. Even worse are enemies who level up together with the player-controlled characters, disrupting the balance and further increasing the player's desire to skip battles. In a Japanese RPG, where combat normally occupies a much more significant portion of the gameplay than in the West, this design flaw can prove lethal.

The ambitions of the story are severely hampered by strange, poorly explained, and needless plot twists. Maybe much of the quality has been lost in translation, but the writing doesn't improve at all over the previous Final Fantasy offerings, which were, frankly, never too good to begin with. The awkward and messy writing hurts Final Fantasy VIII more than it did the early installments, precisely because this game tried to disengage itself from "childish" fantasy elements and declared itself realistic and mature.

Plot holes and unsatisfying explanations become more abundant the more the game abandons its melodramatic tone and plunges into the depths of supernatural cosmic battles. Square didn't dare to pursue their new stylistic approach to the end and inserted a trivial, obligatory "save the world" grand finale, which seemed to have been torn out of context and pasted into the game without any good reason. And again, this damages the game more than it would a more traditional Japanese RPG.

The Bottom Line
Square surely took chances with Final Fantasy VIII. It alienated many fans and is still seen by some as the black sheep of the franchise. While I do not consider it a bad game and appreciate its artistry and its aesthetic value, I have to agree that too much patience is required to wade through lengthy summon animations, weird design elements, and inane plot twists.

PlayStation · by Unicorn Lynx (181794) · 2016

Final Fantasy 8, Swell Game.

The Good
Final Fantasy 8, While odd compared to it's brothers (Sisters, if you must.) is still the one I enjoy the most. Not only can the story grab your attention, but it makes a hard try for you emotions as well. You just feel all warm and fuzzy inside when something works out.

Like many others, the summons play an important role in the story. (and are cool/cute/and all around awesome to look at, If I could only get plushies of them...) The summons give your characters the ability to "Junction" magic to certain stats, Such as Strength and Spirit. (Defense against magic attack for those of you who, like me, had no idea.) Summons in this game can also give you command abilities, like "Draw" which leads me to the way magic works in this game. Magic is stolen from the enemies. Simple way of putting it. You use "Draw" on normal enemies and bosses and stock up on magic which you can A:Later unleash upon other baddies in a furious storm of the elements or B: Junction to you stats to put you characters closer to godhood.

The characters.... Where to begin? They all have their storylines that somehow combine to resolve the major conflict in the game, with less flying boats.

The graphics? Well, Field and battle models are fine, much improved since 7, and not as.... well, child like as 9. But it's the "ingame movies" that really make me smile :) They are wonderful.

  Music? it has plenty!  As always, better than the last. Eyes On Me is to die for, as well as another variation of the Chocobo theme ;) <br><br>**The Bad**<br>There isn't much I disliked, Besides the fact that the enemies you fight level up with you.  Yes, I know you probably read that again but it's true.  The stronger your characters get the stronger your opponents become.  This is not all bad, since the stronger they are the higher level of magic they have to steal.  But many enemies in they game, *coughstupidfrekingrubydragoncough* pose a major threat at high levels and for me, a ruby dragon was harder than any other creature in the game.

Also, Though I am all for the "Get paid as you go" idea, I had a problem with the rank system.  I maxed out my characters early so I had no reason to fight all the time, but if you don't fight your rank goes down and you get less money...  :O<br><br>**The Bottom Line**<br>    In a nutshell, since my way of saying things is a bit round-about, play this game.<br>

If you have never played a Final Fantasy, play this.
If you always play Final Fantasy, Play this.
If you have already played this, play it again and goof off.
You'll laugh at the antics of a certain martial artist, you'll cry at the tender love story between certain characters, and you'll feel like bouncing off the walls whenever you Selphie. Don't worry, you'll know what I mean once you start playing.

Windows · by New Age Gilgamesh (3) · 2005

[ View all 26 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Game with downloadable sounds soundbank MerlynKing Oct 24, 2016
A question-spoilers! GAMEBOY COLOR! (1990) Apr 24, 2011
OMG!!! TEH DEVIL!!! The Fabulous King (1332) Jul 24, 2007

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The PS1 version of Final Famtasy VIII appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Development

  • During production of the game, there were plans to originally call the Rinoa character "Lenore".
  • Parasite Eve was the 'testing ground' for the cinematic graphics used in FFVIII.

Innovations

As of 2013, Final Fantasy VIII is the first and the only Final Fantasy game where the playable characters don't equip any armor.

Music

The music in this game was originally composed and recorded as Dolby Digital 5.1, then "dumbed down" to normal stereo for the actual release. The original DD 5.1 score was rumored to be the one to be used in a PlayStation 2 re-release.

Ratings

When it was first released as a demo, it was rated M for strong language but was later toned down to a T rating.

References

  • Some names of the Guardian Forces (monsters you can summon in Final Fantasy VIII) are taken from mythologies of different nations. Quetzalcoatl is one of the main gods in the mythology of Central America's Indians; Shiva is God in Hinduism (he appears as a feminine incarnation in the game, although he is normally regarded as male); Diabolos is Greek for "devil"; Cerberus is a three-headed dog which guards the gates of Hades in Greek mythology; Siren is a beautiful and dangerous demi-goddess, also from the Greek mythology; Leviathan is Hebrew for "whale", this word is used to describe the sea monster that swallowed the prophet Jonas in Old Testament.
  • The game's most poweful GF is called Eden. This is actually the name of the paradise, "Garden of Eden" (Hebrew "Gan Eden"), from where Adam and Eve were expelled, according to the first book of Moses from the Old Testament. Why is the most powerful GF a garden? Because the universities where the heroes of the game study and train are called gardens. It is logical the most powerful garden is also the most powerful weapon.
  • In Esthar there is a shop called Cloud's Shop, a reference to Final Fantasy VII.
  • You can spot UFOs during battles in four areas of the world. The sightings are used in the 'Pupu card' sidequest, and can only be seen from the second disk onwards.

References to the game

  • In the 2004 Olympics, one of the American synchronized swimming teams chose to use a piece of music from Final Fantasy VIII as their background music . They used the song Liberi Fatali, the game's main theme
  • The game is featured in the movie Charlie's Angels. It's the game the two kids are playing in the scene where Drew Barrymore drops naked from Knox's house. Interestingly enough both kids seem to be playing it at the same time, apparently nobody figured to tell the production team that the game was single-player only.

Summonings

When the game came out, the #1 complaint everyone had was that there was no way of skipping the summoning animations - which were essential for making it through the early stages of the game. The creators claimed this was entirely intentional, and that it was somehow vital to the plot that the players be forced to sit through the same minute-long animations hundreds of times. They never changed it in FFVIII (even the later PC adaptation) but oddly, all subsequent Final Fantasy games with summonings include the option to shorten the animation...

Tech demo

The ballroom dance scene was used as the basis for a PlayStation 2 tech demo, showing that the PS2 was powerful enough to render the scene in real-time.

Version differences

  • The PC version includes a mini-game called Chocobo World. Previously, this was only available with the Japanese PSX version through the Dex Drive.
  • Seifer and Zell, two important characters of Final Fantasy VIII, were renamed to Cifer and Xell, respectively, in the German version, probably because the original names are common German family names and might have possibly offended their innocent bearers.
  • Disc 3 of the Windows version (US release) has a hidden audio track. It contains the song Eyes On Me, sung by Faye Wong. This song was released in Japan as a CD single and was part of the original soundtrack.

  • The original Playstation release included a Chocobo World minigame which required access to a PocketStation, a console that was only released in Japan. Gamers in other territories could only access that by importing a PocketStation from Japan. This was the only way to access some rare items in the game.

Information also contributed by Alan Chan, Foxhack, j. jones, NightKid32, Rey Mysterio, Tiago Jacques, YID YANG, WizardX and Zovni

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Related Sites +

  • FF-Fan
    A fansite that offers all kinds of information on the entire Final Fantasy franchise, including walkthroughs, game media, discussion boards and fan art.
  • FF8 Hints
    Final Fantasy VIII hints and solutions
  • Final Fantasy Extreme
    Site that contains movies, wallpaper, codes, guides, walkthroughs, and general information on the Final Fantasy series.
  • GameFaqs Files
    Comprehensive links to numerous Final Fantasy VIII files on GameFaqs
  • OC ReMix Game Profile
    Fan remixes of music from Final Fantasy VIII.
  • Wikipedia: Final Fantasy VIII
    Information about Final Fantasy VIII at Wikipedia

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 1149
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Matthew Bailey.

PlayStation 3, PSP added by Charly2.0. PS Vita added by GTramp. PlayStation added by Grant McLellan.

Additional contributors: MAT, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Silverblade, DarkDante, DreinIX, —-, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, Thomas Thompson, Lain Crowley, Rik Hideto, FatherJack, 64er.

Game added March 26, 2000. Last modified January 21, 2024.