Final Fantasy VIII

My favorite game of all time!

Final Fantasy VIII was released in 1999 and still my favorite game of all time. Despite the flaws of the game’s story I fell in love with it. I quickly grew attached to the characters, music, and just the overall world of Final Fantasy VIII. Spoiler Warning!

A good friend of mine let me borrow the game after he was done with it and the monster was created. I had no idea what I was in for!

As a young kid, I had a hard time understanding role-playing games. Final Fantasy VIII was the game that stuck with me and started my love for the series and the role-playing genre. Honestly, I didn’t even fully understand FFVIII’s unique junction system until probably my second or third playthrough.

The junction system allows you to equip magic to your stats in order to boost them. You didn’t equip equipment or accessories to boost stats–it was magic that you could draw from enemies or the various draw points across the world. A big flaw was the fact that magic was a consumable–100 max you could hold. If you decide to use magic that you have junctioned to a stat like strength–your strength stat would go down. So if you enjoyed using magic, you would have to constantly draw or refine magic.

While the system was unique, it was also pretty exploitable. To make a long story short, you can make a very strong party very early on and run through the games enemies with ease.

The consensus seems to be a mixed bag about this system. I never minded it.

My favorite Final Fantasy character!

Squall Leonhart, my favorite Final Fantasy character and the main protagonist! He is often quiet, cold, and stuck in his own head–an introvert. I was really quiet and shy as a kid, so the character was very relatable to me. Squall wasn’t shy though, so what was going on in his head?

Squall was an orphan, whose mother died soon after he was born. Squall never knew his father, but that is a big part of the story.

To summarize, Squall’s coldness was a result of being separated from his beloved “Sis” at a really young age. A sister figure he grew quite fond of at his orphanage. This loss hit him hard and had quite an impact on his life. That emptiness, loss, and dependence was something he never wanted to experience again. He never wanted to get close to anyone as he was afraid of losing them. These are all things anyone going through life can relate to at some point or another. He did not want to have to deal with those emotions–this event struck deep.

All throughout his journey he is faced with many challenges and has to make some tough choices. It is these challenges, choices, events and the support of his comrades that really make the character. Should he follow his orders or do the right thing? Should he keep his heart closed or risk getting hurt again?

Am I that untrusting…? Maybe I’m this way because I’m scared. Nothing lasts in this world. It feels great to have friends who believe in you, and adults you can rely on. That’s why it’s so dangerous, especially if you become used to it. Someday you’re bound to lose everything. Everyone around you will be gone. Then what are you left with? Nothing. Nobody… It’s so miserable. And it’s inevitable. It’s so hard to recover from something like that. I never ever want to deal with that again. I can’t. Even if it means being alone…

Squall’s thoughts

The Love Story

Squall meeting Rinoa for the first time
Classic scene from Final Fantasy VIII

Who isn’t down for a good love story? Final Fantasy VIII eventually introduces you Rinoa Heartilly. One of the reasons I love the game is the chemistry between Squall and Rinoa. I always enjoyed the scenes of these two together, and how funny it was watching the rest of the casts obvious attempts to hook them up.

She plays a big part in Squall’s character development. Rinoa is openly loving and not afraid to speak her mind. This dynamic plays as a counter to Squall’s cold and quiet behavior. Do opposites really attract?

“I don’t want the future. I want the present to stand still. I just want to stay here with you…”

Rinoa

Awesome Moments

Final Fantasy VIII has so many awesome moments. If you have never played FFVIII, do yourself a favor! The game is really alive with its roster of characters to love–all with their own story or background. The open world feels complete and whole with NPCs, things to do, and side quests. If you add all of these elements with the story, you get a world you can easily get lost in. The awesome soundtrack is there to compliment whatever is happening on screen.

Is he dead?
This moment gives me the chills….

Characters

The party is here!

What an awesome cast of characters! I love all of these characters and how much they compliment each other.

I would get so hyped every time Laguna’s theme would play once we had an enemy encounter. Laguna, one of our main characters–along with Kiros and Ward is an awesome trio. From Laguna having to toss his friends off of a cliff, and their constant banter with each other–this squad was so entertaining! Laguna could battle thousands of monsters, but humorously have so much trouble mustering up the courage to talk to Julia.

Irvine Kinneas was a “ladies man” and his flirty attempts to win over the outgoing and ball of energy Selphie Tilmitt.

Zell Dincht was loud, flashy, and impulsive. How did him and Squall ever stay in the same room together!?

I like to think the confident Quistis Trepe is the one who keeps our main cast in order. I feel like she was the mother of the group.

Remake

Now here comes my jealousy of Final Fantasy VII–the face of the series. If I’m being honest, I was tired of all of the Final Fantasy VII spin offs we got! I mean that game even got a movie!

I was not a fan of Square remaking games in the past, but that could have been my FFVIII bias talking. With the releases of Advent Children, Dirge of Cerberus, and Crisis Core I was asking, “Where is the love for Final Fantasy VIII? Why do they keep making more FFVII games?”

Now that the Final Fantasy VII remake is really in development and footage is being released–I have to admit, the remake looks amazing! I can now imagine a FFVIII remake in my head and it looks glorious!

There have been a lot of cries for a FFVIII remake, but they seem to have fallen on deaf ears. I’m giving Square Enix the benefit of the doubt here, as they can’t seem to find the source code. I’m sure they have their hands full with the FFVII remake, but not even a mention of FFVIII’s 20th anniversary! Remaking FFVIII would be a huge undertaking at this point. Maybe Square Enix doesn’t want to get our hopes up yet, as they don’t even know themselves if they want to tackle Final Fantasy VIII.

Here’s to hope!

Conclusion

I wanted to revisit Final Fantasy VIII and just quickly share some things I love about the game. Yes, the game has it’s flaws. I’m not mad at the criticism of it’s junction system. What is more strange to me about the game is that most of the whole main cast does not remember they’re all from the same orphanage. This is written in the game as memory loss due to the use of the Guardian Forces. Irvine being the only one to remember, but does not bring it up until near the end of the game. I find this all a bit silly! Even still, I am able to look past all of this though.

From the cast of characters, awesome moments, and fast battle system. I can still get lost in the world of FFVIII today! I still get goosebumps when I hear it’s awesome soundtrack.

Is it all just nostalgia? I can’t put it into words at the moment.

I wish…everything could be settled without resorting to violence… and there would be no need for battles. Like you’ve been preaching, it would be wonderful if things could be settled by discussion. The only problem with that is that it takes too much time. Especially if the others are not willing to listen. So I believe that fighting is inevitable at times. It’s really sad. That’s all I have to say. I hope you understand someday. I think the world needs both people like you and people like us.



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