In brief defence of Final Fantasy 8

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captainsavvy:

Was it FF8 where the English translation basically just added "..." to the speech bubbles when the japanese version had actual text? Or am I confusing it with one of the recent Fire Emblem games?

I don't know, there was quite a bit of ... in the game but I have no idea how much was intentional. I do know the translation changed Squall's habitual '...sorry' to '...whatever', which changes his apparent attitude quite a lot.

Charli:
Oh I don't think it's a bad game. Not even a bad final fantasy, it just had the misfortune of being sandwiched between 7 and 9 which stand tall as the pinnacle examples of the series to me.

The story was...fine, the characters were kind of weak to be honest, and it had alot of problems technically which many above me have covered.

It's a fine game, it's just ...not the best one. And it's hard to see how it would be anyones 'best one'. But fair dos if it is yours.

Lol - it's not. I said that in the second paragraph. 6, 4, and 15 are my favourites, respectively - I just talk about this because it gets unjustly (in my opinion) bashed a lot. But I don't agree that characters were weak for what they were trying to do with them (they just rubbed some people the wrong way for some reason) and I think story was full of metaphors and themes were much more ambitious than most Final Fantasies. I've explained it soooo much in this thread that I'd just be going over old ground to this point though. You can get my thoughts by reading a few posts above these.

I definitely didn't like 7 much as 8 story wise or aesthetically (which are important to me) - I think 7 had certain advantages that puts in ahead it the minds of gamers, not including the mechanics. We won't get into that though, it's a a completely different conversation.

However, I did really like the Materia system in 7 - it was much better than 8. They should have carried that over and people may have remembered 8 more fondly. 9 was basically a call back to the old Final Fantasies, which was great but I didn't feel like it had as much of a unique identity as 8. Great game though. Probably pips 8 slightly for me.

captainsavvy:
Snip

EscapistAccount:

captainsavvy:

Was it FF8 where the English translation basically just added "..." to the speech bubbles when the japanese version had actual text? Or am I confusing it with one of the recent Fire Emblem games?

I don't know, there was quite a bit of ... in the game but I have no idea how much was intentional. I do know the translation changed Squall's habitual '...sorry' to '...whatever', which changes his apparent attitude quite a lot.

As much as I'm defending this game, I'm not excusing the translations. The English translation is passable at best, terribly awkward at worst. Given the sheer volume of text in a 50-hour storyline, it's probably too much to hope for something that feels more literary (like Alexander O. Smith's superb translation for Vagrant Story in 2000), but some conversations border on nonsensical.

When a character suddenly starts laughing even when nothing funny is happening, it's clear that some of the details are getting lost in translation. The dialogue still makes it possible to follow the plot, but it's difficult not to wonder if the original Japanese script had a little life or poetry to it. That's why I thought it was telling that the single best part of the storyline is purely visual and doesn't involve any dialogue or text whatsoever (the ending, which I described in an earlier post).

Maybe this is one reason some people couldn't warm to some of the protagonists, but I also think this was true of a lot of RPGs of the time. I also think it was so ambitious in everything it tried to do (as I've argued extensively) that it's a partially excusable fault and it needs cutting some slack for it.

dscross:

Is it mainly gameplay you have a problem with or the story as well?

Here, you need my link to the thread in question with my rant. I made it and favorite'd it because I got tired of re-writing the thing. Apologies for the Top Gear intro not working. That's youtube's bullshit. Just pretend I'm impersonating Jeremy Clarkson as you're reading. It should answer all questions, from the mechanical to the 'Why the hell would this even make sense?'.

The worst part of the game was the fact that they gave you all these cool magic spells but you never used the best ones because those were reserved for buffing up your stats.

"Oh shit! this enemy is kicking my ass! I better heal myself!"
(uses Curaga)
"Great, now my max health is down. Thanks, game."

Who's idea was it? Why didn't anyone say "no" to that person?

FalloutJack:

dscross:

Is it mainly gameplay you have a problem with or the story as well?

Here, you need my link to the thread in question with my rant. I made it and favorite'd it because I got tired of re-writing the thing. Apologies for the Top Gear intro not working. That's youtube's bullshit. Just pretend I'm impersonating Jeremy Clarkson as you're reading. It should answer all questions, from the mechanical to the 'Why the hell would this even make sense?'.

Disclaimer - This is meant as a debate rather than argument because it's just a game and this doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Just thought it would be fun to talk about it. :)

Your problems with the story and characters sound a bit over the top to me. Without wanting to prejudice anything (it's only from what I read of it) I feel like your hatred for the cast and parts of the story came afterwards because you hated the gameplay so much first and that drove you find loads of other problems with an unconscious bias against it. I didn't feel like your character review is particularly fair with what they were trying to do with them, as ambitious as it was.

As I've said further up it was supposed to be a character study about adolescent pain, as was a trend of the time and I think they did it pretty well. I've given lots of reasoning why I think the story and the bits you ranted about were there for a thematic reasons further up the thread.

From a gameplay perspective, I know where you are coming from (I hear this argument constantly) but honestly, I don't get why I didn't have any problems with it and loads of people seem to.

It's not that confusing for one, it may take some time to learn but in the meantime there's a handy "Auto Junction" tool that means you don't even have to worry about junctioning your spells manually. Later on you may want to adjust some junctions for more difficult enemies but those guys don't show up until like 50 or more hours of casual play so you have plenty of time to learn over time.

Drawing is not that time consuming. You can draw a few powerful spells when you see them but you don't need 100 of each. That's just people's obsessions kicking in. I used to draw based on time. Draw for a couple minutes if there's a spell I want some of and then kill the enemies, you can always draw more later or you can top off your spells using the many refinement abilities you learn which turn items into cards or level up spells. Not a big deal.

Also, the game never becomes unbeatable. There is one boss that can be very difficult to beat if you don't have decent strategies and junctions but it's not like you have to start over, you just have to adapt. That's just people giving up. I did EVERYTHING FF8 newbies do wrong on my first playthrough since I didn't spoil myself with info or guides and I struggled a little bit here and there but it was perfectly beatable, drawing was not boringly time consuming and the junction system was not mind bogglingly cryptic.

Odbarc:
Lastly, since cards eventually can be broken into items you need or want (or rare spells), somehow bad card Rules always invade your region and make it hard to win suddenly and losing to some dope with crappy cards because they did a [Side] and it for some reasons combo into a perfect (?!) and you lost all 5 cards because of some rule that doesn't make sense and never works in your favor to steal all their crappy cards.

It is a bit silly that rules are lost or gained randomly when you entered a new area.. Pretty much your only option is to keep resetting until the rules sway the way you need them to - because several of the rules are just completely misery-inducing.

Of course, collecting all the cards without a guide is practically impossible anyway, at least before the last disc.

dscross:
Snip

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. That includes yours You don't need to preface it.

Anyway, I criticised in an over-the-top and entertaining manner because it was actually the theme of the thread which I'd made. Even still, I just don't like all the various things that I described, and it stems from the simple matter of whether I found it an enjoyable experience or not. Some people do. I did not.

I should also point out that I didn't say the game was unbeatable. I pointed out where I felt it was bullshit and why, which means that it's irritating and problematic. I did, in fact, complete the game twice, so there was no actual giving up, though I did point out that I cheated the second time because 'Why the hell not?'.

Anyway, that's my story and I feel that we're just agreeing to disagree at this point. In no way should you stop liking the game, if you do. I'm just not a part of that crowd.

FalloutJack:

dscross:
Snip

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. That includes yours You don't need to preface it.

Anyway, I criticised in an over-the-top and entertaining manner because it was actually the theme of the thread which I'd made. Even still, I just don't like all the various things that I described, and it stems from the simple matter of whether I found it an enjoyable experience or not. Some people do. I did not.

I should also point out that I didn't say the game was unbeatable. I pointed out where I felt it was bullshit and why, which means that it's irritating and problematic. I did, in fact, complete the game twice, so there was no actual giving up, though I did point out that I cheated the second time because 'Why the hell not?'.

Anyway, that's my story and I feel that we're just agreeing to disagree at this point. In no way should you stop liking the game, if you do. I'm just not a part of that crowd.

I was mainly talking about the drawing bit tbh in response but I was using the opportunity to point out the two other common complaints with the gameplay which were quite ok if you play it a certain way, in my opinion.

I know I don't have to preface but you know how this forum can be sometimes. I have found that, occasionally, it pays to point out that you don't want it things to turn silly over a game opinion, that's all.

I just really liked how VIII cut down seriously on the gargantuan amount of tedious grind that VII had. In VII leveling up materia took forever. Dozens upon dozens of random encounters... for each one. And you needed them to do anything... I was in college when VII came out, I didn't have the kind of time kids did to grind endlessly.

VIII and junctioning on the other hand, basically eliminated the worst parts of the materia system. "Oh, new mob... lets see if he has a spell I don't have. He does (draws to 100 for each party member in about 2 minutes) cool, now I NEVER HAVE TO FIGHT THIS MOB AGAIN."

One fight vs dozens upon dozens... Junctioning made VIII so much better than VII, even though I preferred VII's story. And the level scaling made it possible to just blast through the game overleveled with all stats junctioned to full racks of magic. And now that I have it on PC and have the pocket station game which was included in the pc release... It can grind for ultra rare items while I'm asleep and at work. I can get through VIII in a weekend these days. Impossible to do with VII.

Wait wat? People dislike FF8?

At the time and for years after people loved it. Most people considered FF9 to be the worst of the FFs of the PS1 era.

Wow...lots of people writing essays in this topic. I'd be inspired to write my own, but this is a discussion that's way too late and I've been over it way too many times. So I'll just sum up my points...I'd imagine a number of them have already been brought up in this topic.

-Magic Acquisition:
Final Fantasies are known for being grindy, it's something we've all come to accept from the franchise and from JRPG's in general. Adding on the necessity to Draw magic from enemies and save stacks of spells just adds yet another level of grinding to the grind. Not to mention you have to seek out the specific enemies that have the spell(s) that you're wanting to stack up on.

-Junction System:
There's two major issues with the Junction system.
A: This game makes it way too easy to have literal god-mode. Characters that take no damage, are immune to status ailments, get to use their limit breaks every turn...the system makes it incredibly easy to break the character.
B: Because the primary way of boosting stats/improving characters is via the junction system, all the characters are effectively the same. Reached one of the bits where your party is forced to split up and you bounce back and forth between two groups? No worries, at the push of a button you can switch all the junctioned magic from one character to another. There, now Quistis is as combat-effective as Squall. Now Irvine is just as strong as Zell. Etc. There's only one part of the game that requires you to actually have balanced stats across your entire party and that's the final boss. Other than that you're essentially only playing with three characters wearing different skins.

-The Story
Nothing you do in the game actually matters, all you're doing is playing out one iteration of an infinite time-loop setup by Sorceress Ultimecia. Ultimecia had her grand plan to collapse and delete all time or whatever (the fact that the way the heroes manage to avoid the apocalypse is by thinking happy thoughts is pretty face-palm inducing, itself...but that's a tangent). Built into her plan is a fail-safe: if some rag-tag group of heroes manages to stop her with the power of friendship, she instantly warps back in time. It just so happens that she pops out in front of Matron and grants her the Sorceress Powers, and thus is born Sorceress Edea. From there the plot of the game commences until the party once again faces Ultimecia. They defeat her, she pops back in time, grants her powers to Matron, etc, etc, etc...the loop cannot be broken due to Ultimecia's failsafe. Ergo: the story is completely pointless. It's a self-perpetuating purgatory.

-The Characters
Now, to be fair, this is my one complaint that is admittedly completely subjective, as whether or not you like a character is based on your personal tastes. Personally I never liked the fact that damn near every main character in the game could be described as being "emo" with Squall being the biggest emo of the bunch. The best - and most hilarious - example of this is when you reach Galbadia Garden and everyone is in a waiting room. Squall has an internal monologue, thinking about people who are dead and how it's weird that someone you were just talking to a couple days ago is now suddenly being referred to in the past tense. He works himself into a frenzy as he thinks about this until he just shatters the silence of the room by yelling out "NO ONE'S EVER GOING TO REFER TO ME IN THE PAST TENSE!!!" then he runs out of the room, leaving everyone else standing there in "wtf was that?!" shock.

I guess the TL/DR of this would be that I agree with what someone else posted earlier: there were interesting concepts in the game that were very poorly executed, and that is why the game gets shat on a lot. :^)

Kotaro:

Jorpho:
"Ultimecia brings out her big guns" ? I remember the final battle and how silly it was that some of my un-equipped characters were coming up, but I don't remember having any problems by the time the right ones came into rotation. (It seems in theory the "right" way to do things is to actually Draw one of Ultimecia's unique spells, but I did not find myself needing to do that.)

The summoning of Griever and subsequent junctioning of it and transformation (i.e., the various "phases" of the battle) are actually based on time passing during the battle, rather than Ultimecia's remaining HP. The easiest way to win the fight is to take her out before she can summon Griever in the first place. That's the only way I've ever managed to do it.

You either had a severe bug or you're remembering it wrong, there's no way to skip phases. I've minced Ultamecia many times. I've one shot the first phase, and I have never skipped /any/ phases no matter how fast I've been able to do it. It's the same as any other multi boss fight. The closest thing to "skipping" anything is pushing Griever down quickly, as his Shockwave Pulsar ability /is/ based on time, however he'll always cast it when you kill him anyway, so you don't really skip anything.

elvor0:

Kotaro:

Jorpho:
"Ultimecia brings out her big guns" ? I remember the final battle and how silly it was that some of my un-equipped characters were coming up, but I don't remember having any problems by the time the right ones came into rotation. (It seems in theory the "right" way to do things is to actually Draw one of Ultimecia's unique spells, but I did not find myself needing to do that.)

The summoning of Griever and subsequent junctioning of it and transformation (i.e., the various "phases" of the battle) are actually based on time passing during the battle, rather than Ultimecia's remaining HP. The easiest way to win the fight is to take her out before she can summon Griever in the first place. That's the only way I've ever managed to do it.

You either had a severe bug or you're remembering it wrong, there's no way to skip phases. I've minced Ultamecia many times. I've one shot the first phase, and I have never skipped /any/ phases no matter how fast I've been able to do it. It's the same as any other multi boss fight. The closest thing to "skipping" anything is pushing Griever down quickly, as his Shockwave Pulsar ability /is/ based on time, however he'll always cast it when you kill him anyway, so you don't really skip anything.

Shockwave Pulsar is what I was thinking of. It's been years since I played the game. Far as I could tell at the time, there's no way whatsoever to survive it if he uses it more than once.

RJ 17:
Snip

*Sigh* It's reasoning like this that makes me feel the need to defend it. I'm obviously not going to try to persuade you, but I do feel that your points about the story are very harsh and unfair, particularly in light of the extensive posts I've written in this thread. I feel I have talked about it enough to show the following: It's meant to be a story about adolescent pain. Everything is centred around that, like Buffy was, like Harry Potter was, like a lot of things were at the time. They get praised, but for some reason FF8 is seen differently (I imagine because of the way the Japanese was translated into English came across as 'emo' - although I don't think the phrase 'emo' was in vogue at the time). It was never really about Ultimecia.

I've been over all my points for the story multiple times (very extensively and in great detail) so if you would like to debate parts of it you can snip something from previous discussions in the thread because I'll just be repeating myself.

Gameplay wise, I had no issues with it personally. The god mode thing you mentioned can only be enacted if you've studied it extensively beforehand and I'd hazard a guess that most people don't. I didn't. Other points on the gameplay I've made a couple of posts up from yours. :)

(Also, in my opinion, like films, talking about particular games doesn't come 'too late', once they are out there as pieces of media. People still talk about lots of old games like FF7 and Resident Evil 4, for example).

RJ 17:

-The Story
Nothing you do in the game actually matters, all you're doing is playing out one iteration of an infinite time-loop setup by Sorceress Ultimecia. Ultimecia had her grand plan to collapse and delete all time or whatever (the fact that the way the heroes manage to avoid the apocalypse is by thinking happy thoughts is pretty face-palm inducing, itself...but that's a tangent). Built into her plan is a fail-safe: if some rag-tag group of heroes manages to stop her with the power of friendship, she instantly warps back in time. It just so happens that she pops out in front of Matron and grants her the Sorceress Powers, and thus is born Sorceress Edea. From there the plot of the game commences until the party once again faces Ultimecia. They defeat her, she pops back in time, grants her powers to Matron, etc, etc, etc...the loop cannot be broken due to Ultimecia's failsafe. Ergo: the story is completely pointless. It's a self-perpetuating purgatory.

That's only one possible interpretation, though, and it's one plenty of people don't subscribe to. There are lots of (relatively simpler) interpretations which don't involve any never-ending loop.

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