Another element to the story that we haven’t mentioned is
time travel, or rather the confusion of time.
At random intervals throughout the game Squall has blackouts
and we are suddenly playing as a different character named Laguna Loire.
Laguna is a soldier with the Galbadian army who wants to be
a Journalist. He is joined by his two companions Kiros Seagill and Ward Zabac.
These segments see Laguna and his team during various conflicts.
He is in love with a woman named Julia Heartilly but they are separated when he’s injured.
He then falls in love with a young nurse called Raine whom he marries.
It is implied later in the game that Squall is their son who was sent to an orphanage when Laguna became president of Esthar.
We’re sure you didn’t miss the fact that Julia shares a
surname with Squall’s love Rinoa either, did you?
As we said this story is complex.
Much like the previous games in the series the game play is based on three distinct types.
An open world map shown in a 3D style, a Field map which is a more traditional “level” based scenario where the player essentially gets from A to B and finally the Battle screen in which fights take place in.
The fighting is turn based and can see the characters using
regular weapons, magic, items and Summons.
The summons were incredible when it came out as huge beasts
named Guardians were called upon to unleash devastating attacks.
In order to obtain these Guardians you would have to prove
yourself by defeating them in battle first which was often harder than some of
the games bosses. Odin anyone?
This, much like the magic attacks, was very clever in that
the animations would get more detailed as the players power progressed.
As with all Final Fantasy games the music is iconic and ranged from beautiful piano themes to high energy dance tunes depending on the scenario.
In many ways it was one of the first games to really achieve an almost seamless feel to how the music complimented the game play.
Whilst this has been perfected in recent times with games like Fallout 3 or Skyrim it was unusual at the time.
It’s hard to hear the Balamb Garden music now without some
very serious nostalgia.
One of the main things that always set the Final Fantasy games apart are the graphics.
As well as being huge and in depth games they are always visually ahead of the game and Final Fantasy VIII was a massive leap even by their standards.
Whilst 7 was still very cartoony and blocky, Final Fantasy 8 was hyper realistic in a way that we just hadn’t seen before.
At the time it was like watching a movie which seems almost laughable these days but it really was.
The Whole Package
Another thing that set the game apart at the time was its size.
At the time your typical PS game would be on one disc and that would be enough but not this game, oh no. Final Fantasy came of four discs, that’s how vast this game was.
This gave you an enormous amount of satisfaction when you
finally reached a point where the game would suddenly announce that you had
completed that disc and would need to start the next chapter by changing the
This also gave you a mini heart attack in case the memory card (remember them?) corrupted during the disc change.
If this happened you were more than within your rights to throw the entire console through the TV as you literally lost everything and would have to start again.
Is Final Fantasy 8 worth playing today?
This is one of the all-time classic games and it still brings just as much joy now as it did at the time.
Yes, the graphics and game play may be a little dated but it doesn’t really matter.
In fact this particular writer would go so far as to say he prefers this battle system to the latest ones.
Also despite being released in 1999 the graphics actually
hold up well.
Need an even bigger reason to pick this up again or even play it for the first time?
Well, a remastered version of Final Fantasy VIII with improved graphics and character modelling is out now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Final Fantasy VIII (1999) PlayStation Classic Review
Is it worth playing again?
You will not be disappointed to pick this up again as it really is an all-time classic. It may be worth waiting until the Remaster comes out though as original copies go for up to £40.
Reader Rating9 Votes
Load screen times can grate a little
Slightly clunky controls
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