Compared to Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII might be a lesser known title of the Final Fantasy (FF) series, yet the game still has its own fan base and holds a special place in many gamers’ hearts because of the great gaming experience.
It can be said that Final Fantasy VIII was one of the games that introduced a lot of first generation international gamers to the Japanese role-playing FF series. It is nostalgic now to think back about playing the game on Play Station back in early 2000, going on adventures with Squall Leonheart and his friends, and listening to memorable soundtracks such as Eyes On Me.
Here is a fun fact: Final Fantasy VIII is the only title of the series to have the main couple in its logo. Final Fantasy VIII is also one of the most controversial titles as its plot has caused many arguments among fans since 1998. Perhaps Square intentionally left Final Fantasy VIII’s ending ambiguous and opened to interpretation in order to cover the biggest hole of the game which was the complicated plot.
Rinoa and Squall
The game is about several events happen in the past and the present that intertwined and shown to gamers back and forth. It might sound complicated at first, but if you get to play the game, the plot is not hard to understand. True to the previous FF titles in the series, FFVIII can be boiled down to a simple adventure of a group of friends (who are also SeeDs aka trained soldiers) to destroy the evil force.
The main antagonist of the game is the powerful sorceress Adel who controlled Esthar, a city with the most advanced technologies on Earth. Adel ruled Esthar with cruelty and, with her magic, yearned to rule the whole universe. She failed in the war against Deling City, which fought under the command of the General Fury Caraway. During that time, Adel kidnapped Ellone, a girl who was blessed with potential great magic power, to do a research on her…
Squall and friends battling against Adel to rescue Rinoa
Laguna, a soldier from the Galbadia Academy went to Esthar to rescue Ellone, freed the city from the monopoly of Adel, and used the Ragnarok airship to trap Adel in the moon. He then decided not to go back to his hometown but remained in Esthar as the president and helped the local residents to rebuild a new life…
Laguna and Squall Leonhart, father and son
The game is successful in developing the romantic story between Squall, a talented but cold SeeD, and Rinoa, a kind and energetic girl who was able his heart. Regarding its game play, Final Fantasy VIII heavily depends on Limit Break, and the condition to use this skill is having character with less than 1/4 HP or using the magic Aura. This lead to the spamming Limit Break skills through the entire game, from regular quests to special missions against bosses.
Lion Heart Limit Break
There is no MP bar in the game, and in order to acquire magics, the only ways are to draw during fights against monsters or to draw at specific points. Each character can only carry 100 counts of a magic type, and every time the magic is used, this number will be decreased by 1. The drawing system is a unique aspect of Final Fantasy VIII that does not exist in prior titles.
Drawing magic in battle
Even though Final Fantasy VIII has its fair share of cons such as unbalanced battle system (which heavily favors Limit Breaks) and many questions that are left unanswered, it is still loved by many gamers around the world because of the relatable characters and memorable moments that are paired with mesmerizing visual aesthetics such as the waltz scene of Squall and Rinoa.