Final Fantasy VIII

Price: $67.99
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Manufacturer Description

Game Synopsis

In a time of both sophisticated technology and powerful magic, an evil sorceress corrupts the world's largest military power through manipulation and deception, enslaving mankind to do her bidding. Her goal is not something as simple as world domination; but to completely conquer all of space and time.

To counter the turn of events, various leaders head combat training schools, known as Gardens that turn out elite fighting forces. Known as SeeDs, they defend, serve, and protect humankind from the sorceress. The sole purpose of these academies is to vanquish the sorceress and save humanity, as we know it, although they take many other assignments for the right price.

A small, loose-knit group of SeeD graduates find themselves wrapped in a much bigger endeavor than simple military combat. Now, a gunblade specialist, together with a diverse group of young heroes, must set aside his fears, face the emotions he's run from, and become the leader that he never wanted to be.



SquareSoft has always had a sure-fire hit when releasing any of their Final Fantasy titles, and Final Fantasy VIII should be no exception. The basis of a good RPG (role-playing game) has always been the story; spectacular graphics are secondary. Final Fantasy VIII's involved and interesting story line is filled with great twists, well-developed characters, suspense, and romance. As an added bonus, the graphics are beautiful. Everything--from the low-lit jazz club to the steam-filled railroad tunnels--is gorgeous and perfectly sets the mood and tone of a scene.

The game mechanics are standard fare for an RPG: acquisition of items and spells, turn-based combat, experience points earned in combat allowing advances in levels. From exploration to battles to dialogue, Final Fantasy VIII has it all. However, Final Fantasy VIII falls to that great weakness of RPGs: random battles. While necessary for advancing in levels, the battles occur with such frequency that they can grow annoying, making for a tedious game experience.

The epic storyline spans four discs--over 40 hours of gameplay--and is based around a mercenary cadet who finds himself caught up with an underground rebel faction. He winds up in a plot to assassinate the sorceress who has just seized power from the president.

You could complain of limited replay value, but this gripe is of no consequence: the game is such a satisfying experience, it doesn't require replay. Final Fantasy VIII is easily worth both the hype and the wait. You can't buy a much better game. --John Cocking

Pros:

  • A story to beat all stories
  • Characters worth caring about
  • Hey--it's from SquareSoft
  • Stunning animations
Cons:
  • Too many random battles
  • Combat is, as always, turn-based and offers minimal excitement
  • Weak souls might give up after two or three discs of play



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