A Video Game Review: Final Fantasy VIII

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Final Fantasy VIII was a hit when it came out on the old Sony Playstation 1 console in early 1999. It was very much anticipated as it was the next installment of the ever famous Final Fantasy series (after the hit Final Fantasy VII). It was a certified hit as well and it was the first time that the characters in the Final Fantasy series looked like actual people. Usually, Final Fantasy characters are small and cute. As with any other Final Fantasy RPG game, Final Fantasy VIII has a nice storyline and great gameplay. Then by the end of 1999, the PC version of Final Fantasy VIII was released. Let’s go deep into the game and find more info about this game.

The storyline is one of the best attributes of a Final Fantasy game. In Final Fantasy VIII, you play as Squall, Rinoa, and their group of friends as they journey to save the world from a menacing sorceress. Join them, as they uncover the truth and how they are interconnected with each other with shocking twists and turns. You can somehow feel the emotions of the characters as you play along. The story is linear though and you’d have to follow a certain series of events to complete the game. But even so, the writer/s of the story was creative and you’ll experience it like you are in the game itself. You’ll be treated to a number of full-motion videos as well. There are also plots and other revelations that can be acquired when you engage in some quests.

Final Fantasy VIII’s gameplay is like the previous games in the series. The battles are randomly activated (battles will begin any time when you wander around an area with designated monster/s on it), except for boss and other story battles, and it is turned-based. You can’t control the characters in battle real-time but you can give out commands what they can do like attack, magic, draw, and more. There is also what we call the Junction System. You can stock magic and junction them to your character to improve their stats such as strength, magic, vitality, speed, etc. This also includes the GF (Guardian Forces) as well. GFs are the summoned monsters/spirits that will aid you in your battle. You can call upon them and some of them will help your team by casting supportive spells and some will inflict heavy damage on your enemies. GFs also allow you to junction magic to your characters and you’ll gain different abilities such as an increase in your stats and special commands. It’s a bit confusing at first and the learning curve for the junction system may take at least 2 hours.

The Element System is also active in Final Fantasy VIII. There are 8 of them namely Fire, Ice, Thunder, Earth, Poison, Wind, and Holy. Most of the enemies are weak to certain types of elementals (this will make your attacks deal more damage) or strong against it (will deal less damage). It’s a bit easy to take advantage of the elemental system.

Roaming around is pretty simple. There are lots of towns, cities, and caves/dungeons that you can explore. You can talk to different characters and/or battle monsters to gain experience. Those were just the basics of the game. It will keep you glued to your PC. But wait, there’s more. There are lots of side quests to do and lots of different items and equipment to collect. You’ll gain the Ultimate Weapons of the characters that will deal the most damage and will make your attacks hit more. It is a challenge to acquire them, are you up to it?

Let’s go to the technical aspects of the game. The PC version comes in 5 Compact Discs. One Installer and 4 Game Discs. The minimum requirements for the PC Version is a Windows 95/98 compatible system (can run on ME, 2000, and XP), a 200 MHz processor, 32MB of RAM, 8 MB 3D Graphics Card, and an 8x CD-ROM. At the time of writing, this PC specification is already obsolete. I can safely say that almost all of the PCs running windows today can run the game. It is a bit disappointing when you talk about the graphics though. It was a very rough translation from the Playstation version. The graphics are good but notice the lack of detail of the background even in 3D (noticeable during battles and on the world map). The characters look nicer on the PC though and the effects are fantastic. Another point when speaking of graphics would be the resolution. It is only limited to 640×480. It’s understandable though since it was developed before we had powerful graphics cards. Nevertheless, it still looks good on the PC. The sounds are basically the same although this time, it uses MIDI as its output.

Final Fantasy VIII is a great game and does live up to being one of the top RPG games belonging to the Final Fantasy series. With an excellent story, a change in setting (from Sony Playstation to the PC), and good gameplay, it will keep you playing for hours. It is still available on the market (and some used games are also sold on major online gaming stores) so grab a copy now and don’t miss your chance to play Final Fantasy VIII.

James Deakin lives in California USA. He is an author of two famous novels, Rage of Angels and When Tomorrow comes. He is also the founder of