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Games To Try Before You Die: Final Fantasy VIII (PSX)

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Final Fantasy…what else is there to say? This series has been around what seems like forever. It has it’s highs, and it’s lows…most of those in my opinion is anything beyond Final Fantasy 10. Anyway, the Final Fantasy’s on the PSX were amazing games! FF VII broke the mold, and FF IX was an amazing throwback to the old stylings. FF VIII though, is considered the ‘black sheep’ of that era. I think otherwise though…

What: You play as Squall Leonheart, a student in Garden. Squall’s dream is to become a SeeD (hired Mercenaries). During his travels, he is questioned on who he is, what SeeD is, and then comes the love story of Squall and Rinoa. In the end, the game becomes a battle of epic proportions! Honestly, the story is insanely detailed and could go on forever!

Why: Now why is this game considered the ‘black sheep?’ It went out of the norm that is Final Fantasy. Making it look more like a ‘teen drama’ then anything. Squall seemed like a hero that always doubted himself and had constant inner monologue, and then there was the love story. You could consider this, the ‘Twilight’ of Final Fantasy. Also, the confusing Junction system, really threw everyone off.

Let’s put this all aside now…Most that considered this the ‘black sheep,’ did not play the game all the way through. They judged it by the cover! Don’t do that! That will ruin pretty much anything! The thing is that this game really focused on the story, the character development, you really felt for the characters. I played this game when I was in my teenage years, thus the game became very relate-able for me. Nobuo Uematsu composed an amazing score for the game, especially ‘Liberi Fatali.’ It was also the first FF game to have a chart topping single named ‘Eyes on Me’ by Faye Wong!

I liked how the game flowed. Sure it got kinda confusing with the whole time shifting thing, but it was interesting to see how everything unraveled. The RPG elements were good, and it was easy to ‘level up’ your characters. The ‘in-game cinema’ (which were a BIG deal back then) were extremely polished, and you couldn’t wait to see the next one. I won’t give away the ending, but the ending to this game was amazing. One long ‘in-game cinema’ that closed up pot-holes and gave you a heart wrenching moment with Laguna (yea…just play the game to find out who that is).

Hate it, love it, whatever…I liked Final Fantasy VIII. Sure, VII was a good game, but at the time, Final Fantasy VIII looked incredibly realistic and sucked me into it’s story and gameplay (Analog controls FTW.) Plus, it is 4 disc long! So if you are looking for a lengthy game, Final Fantasy VIII will take up much time.

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