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  • Awright. I could be diplomatic, but I’ll just come right out and say it: I was disappointed

  • with Final Fantasy VIII. 7-fanboy TJ was disappointed with it back in ‘99, college-age TJ was

  • disappointed with it in ‘02 when he wanted to make sure he didn’t like it, and 2012’s

  • TJ is, likewise, failing to see what so many have praised about the game. I mean, sure,

  • it’s a Final Fantasy. And it’s more of a Final Fantasy than XIII - the first XIII,

  • rather - so it should have an in, right? Yet I’ve never been able to get comfortable

  • with it. Lemme see if I can express in words exactly what my issues are.

  • First off, the plot. Now, I try to avoid too many spoilers, so I’ll just sum it up thusly:

  • Disregard everything until Disc 4, because none of it matters anyway. While disregarding,

  • continue to ignore the cast of characters, a group of individuals so broken that Dr.

  • Drew took one look at them and started formulating retirement plans. The only likable one of

  • the entire lot is Zell, the obnoxious ditz - slash - Mike Tyson wannabe. They bumble

  • through a thick mound of political intrigue, dealing with equally defective rogue man-child

  • Seifer, an evil Sorceress who... no, to get into anything even remotely interesting would

  • require spoilers and spoilers and spoilers. I hold this game responsible for M. Night

  • Shyamalan. Full stop.

  • But enough about the plot, let’s talk mechanics. Rather than obtaining money from enemies,

  • almost all the cash you obtain in-game comes in the form of regular payments from your

  • employer, the mercenary outfit SeeD. Your salary depends on your rank, which can be

  • boosted at points in the game... or, since the internet exists, you can just download

  • the answers to each of the 30 or so true-or-false exams and be rolling in cash. But that’s

  • but one way to break the game! How about stopping down every time you find a monster with some

  • new spell to make each of your party members draw 100 copies of same? Besides, spells are

  • stats, according to the junction system, so it only makes sense to do so. Fantastic for

  • speeding up the game and optimizing your play... if only the process of drawing these spells

  • were a bit faster. As it stands, your best bet is to affix a rubber band around the controller

  • to hold down the X button, and then go to the gym, establish world piece, or make yourself

  • a sandwich. Or if this doesn’t suit you, simply use that fortune youve amassed through

  • trivia - or the fat stacks of cards youve won from losers around the world - to refine

  • yourself all the spells youll need.

  • But it’s not all bad. While youre breaking the game, youve got a wonderful, well-refined

  • card game to play. Final Fantasy VII had several smaller mini-games, of varying quality, but

  • none compared to the scope of VIII’s Triple Triad system. Likewise, IX had Triple Triad,

  • and X had Blitzball, but both pale in comparison to the perfection VIII managed to attain.

  • There were relevant benefits, from being able to refine cards into items. Most everyone

  • in the world was up for a game. If you were running low on cards, you could simply turn

  • the mobs around you into more fodder. Heck, this was often a more efficient way of making

  • sure that you’d get the items you wanted.

  • And, in fact, the judicious use of Card is a fantastic way to exploit another of the

  • game’s quirks! Turn a foe into a card, and it grants AP, developing your Guardian Forces

  • (and thus, giving you the powers and junctions and bonuses you need), but yielding no EXP

  • whatsoever. You can go through the game without gaining a single level if youre diligent

  • enough. And since enemiesstats are tied to your level, youll be wading through

  • a forest of cheesecake as you slaughter foes en masse. (Or, rather, pretend to slaughter

  • them.)

  • There are some fun mental exercises to be had here, sure. And the music’s pretty good,

  • even if the main battle theme is in five and makes me want to put on some Dave Brubeck.

  • But the gestalt of the thing seems too far a departure from what I liked about VII, VI,

  • Mario RPG, hell, every Square game I’d played up to that point: Goofiness was abolished,

  • balance was thrown out the window, and ellipses ran rampant like some sort of viral infection.

  • It tried to tell an intriguing story, but it did so at the cost of fun. Fortunately,

  • Final Fantasy IX was able to put right pretty much everything about the series, but that’s

  • a topic for another day.

Awright. I could be diplomatic, but I’ll just come right out and say it: I was disappointed

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B2 final fantasy fantasy final disappointed card ix

CGRundertow FINAL FANTASY VIII for PlayStation Video Game Review

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    阿多賓 posted on 2013/04/10
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