Riddles’ Relapse Part 2 – Final Fantasy VIII

ffviii_logoMan, I love Final Fantasy VIII.

And no, I’m not afraid to say that on the internet.

Again, this was the first time I’d touched the game since I first beat it years ago. (Fuck off, okay? I don’t replay games).

As soon as the gorgeous opening video started playing, with its epic musical score, the memories all came rushing back. Final Fantasy VIII’s storyline is a bit of a mess at times, but regardless it’s always been one of my favorite stories in the series – it’s impressively character-driven, and features some absolutely unforgettable moments. (The Sorceress’ Assassination scene at the end of disc 1 comes to mind.)

But then, once the game actually started, I remembered how very, ah, slow paced the first disc of Final Fantasy VIII is. After playing for over an hour, I’ve yet to even start the Dollet mission.

And how about those ridiculously obtuse and annoyingly frequent tutorials? Every time I turned around, I was getting another useless tutorial shoved in my face. Seeing that I already know everything, an option to skip these would have been much appreciated.

But that’s enough complaining! I still had fun with the game. How? Well. Believe it or not, I absolutely love Final Fantasy VIII’s junction system. While I concede that the Magic Draw system is pretty stupid, (though I’ve never minded it) the actual junctioning process is absolutely fantastic in its depth and versatility. I love that I can micro-manage everything, from specific stats to elemental affinities. I love the system so much that I found myself spending needless amounts of time drawing magic and improving my stats.

That might be why I didn’t even make it to Dollet.

Could the junction system be better? Yeah, of course. It should be far easier to obtain magics for junctioning; spending battle after battle drawing magic really is a cumbersome system. But regardless, I love the amount of control the system affords; for me, the junction system is one of Final Fantasy VIII’s greatest triumphs.

I really want to play more, but I’m afraid I must move on to a different console generation, and a different series. Look for the third part of my relapse sometime tomorrow, folks.

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4 Responses to “Riddles’ Relapse Part 2 – Final Fantasy VIII”

  1. DarthGibblet says:

    I think I agree with you about the junctioning system. If something other than spells were junctioned, it would have been a pretty cool system :D.

  2. Berserk says:

    I think its awesome you guys are doing jrpgs as your theme this week, I love RPGs =p

    FFVIII is one that is one that I will always like, as it was the first FF game I played and despite its flaws I enjoy it.

    The Draw and Junction systems are definitely the things that annoy me most about it. I like to play the Triple Triad game to get cards and then refine them into magic, much quicker way to do things. Refining one of the Brothers cards (I cant remember which) into 100 Dino Bones is definitely a lot easier than drawing 100 quakes for each character through battle.

    Oh, and you can skip those tutorials. I didn’t know that until I played it a few months ago. They always annoyed me…they were as clear as mud back when I first played it. And so slow…

  3. Riddles says:

    Wow. Two people who LIKE Final Fantasy VIII commenting on this article. I’m literally shocked. And pleasantly surprised.

    @Darth: if all the haters were to step back and think, they’d realize that the hassle of drawing spells is literally the only thing wrong with Final Fantasy VIII’s junction system.

    Well, actually… they probably wouldn’t, since FFVIII haters are asshats, by and large.

    @Berserk: We love RPGs too, man. If anything, this week has reminded me of that. And it’s a nice thing to be reminded of.

    And yeah, that’s something I should have brought up… you can cut down the amount of time spent drawing spells dramatically if you dabble in refining.

    And damn. I didn’t know you could skip the stupid things…

  4. Ethos says:

    I actually kinda like the junctioning system, actually. And I got into the drawing system on my second and more – but not fully -successful attempt to finish the game. And although I think the overall soundtrack is weak, I think there are a few standout tracks that are undoubtedly among Uematsu’s very best. However, the fact that the enemies level up with you and that almost every character sucks (I’m sorry Riddles, Squall is a miserable character) and that there are no meaningful relationships just makes the game an overall very bland experience for me.

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