Final Fantasy VIII
is one of the most, if not the
most, polarizing game in the Final Fantasy
series. You either love it dearly or utterly despise it. I've seen endless debate on the matter, so here's my two cents:
This game has a very interesting world, what with it's Gardens, modern technology clashing with ancient magic, general atmosphere, etc. The graphics, even today, are very good, particularly in the FMV sequences. And the music....come on, it's Nobuo Uematsu
, people, you can't go wrong with him.
The best part of the game to me though is it's cast of heroes. Detractors of the game call them "unlikable" or "annoying", but to me, their personality flaws help make them more human and interesting. Squall is often brushed off as an emo jerk, but he has more to him than that and he does develop and change. Rinoa starts off flighty and immature, but she also changes through experience and becomes a stronger, smarter person. Some say their romance doesn't make sense
, but it works perfectly well, in my opinion. And while the other four main heroes save Irvine don't change that much, they're still well characterized and enjoyable.
However, the game also suffers some flawed gameplay. The junction system isn't bad, but it's frusturating. The card game was more fun than the main gameplay system. And enemies can level up along with you? Come now, that's not fair. Speaking of enemies, the villains of this game are very weak, with little established about them and generally lacking presence. None save Edea really stand out in memory, and Edea isn't even the real main villain!
Lastly, the story of the game in of itself is quite good, but for some reason it was written very poorly. It gets bogged down in Mind Screw
and symbolism, trying to out-complex Final Fantasy VII
but just ending up with too many loose ends or poorly foreshadowed revelations, the Orphanage Scene being the most infamous. The finale is great though, with a superb final dungeon, Ultimecia (who may not be a good villain but is one hell of a final boss), and a heartwarming happy ending.
In the end, Final Fantasy VIII
isn't the best RPG, but it's still one of the better ones out there, and I personally recommend it.