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stephenw32768


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Don't Be Afraid
penrose orange
stephenw32768
Final Fantasy VIII first impressions, in no particular order:

The game's general aesthetic is great, with the blend of ultra high-tech stuff, backwater country towns, city lights, old cars, and magic. It's impossible to place the game in any real time period. Final Fantasy VII has a similar anachronistic setting, but I think VIII's is a little more satisfying.

Making the summoned monsters the core of the customization system was a good move, because it provides a motive for them being there. By contrast, they're completely out of place in VII; they're just there, with no explanation. (VII's take on magic makes perfect sense in the context of the game; it's just the summons that don't).

The Junction system is... ehhhhhh. I understand it, and I think it's neat, but I reckon it's one of those things that seems better on paper than in execution. The problem with it is that it makes me afraid to use any magic, lest I reduce my characters' stats. I guess I need to pick a dedicated magic user and refrain from junctioning any spells to his/her elemental attack, status attack and strength stats, thus freeing up some spells for casting. And I need to get used to using potions for healing, 'coz I want the Curaga spells left firmly junctioned to everyone's HP.

(No FF I've played has dealt with magic completely comfortably, I think. In VIII, if you cast too many spells, your stats take a hit; in the others, if you cast too many spells, you run out of MP. I want an FF that uses Chrono Cross's magic system, which is the best I've seen in an RPG so far).

Magic seems unreliable. I can have a given character cast a given spell onto a given monster and have it do 250 damage; then in the next battle, the same spell cast by the same character onto the same type of monster might do only 80 damage. What gives? Curative spells suffer from the same lack of reliability.

Why can't I cast elemental and curative spells onto multiple targets at once?

Why is Demi called Demi when it only reduces the target's HP by a quarter? (See FFVII for the ultimate stupid gravity spell names).

The character designs are just right. Whilst I generally love Amano's work, I'm glad he didn't do the character artwork for this game, as his romantic, fantasy style wouldn't have been right at all.

The graphics, visual effects etc. are top-notch. They look to be of the same quality as FFIX's, which leads me to believe that both games use basically the same rendering engine.

The summon animations are fantastic, every bit as good as I expected. The don't seem excessively long so far either, which is a common complaint levelled against them. (I only generally use summons in boss battles anyway, and I expect boss battles to be long!) It's just a shame that I don't get a really good view of them, as I'm having to watch the boost indicator to make sure that I stop pumping the square button at the appropriate moment.

Laguna is hilarious. His battle music is loads better than Squall's, too.

Squall is a horrible, selfish pain in the rear. If I were Quistis, I'd confiscate his gunblade, then shove it down his miserable throat.

Selphie is fun, and a nice antidote to Squall's attitude.

Zell's surname should have been Lockheart-Strife.

I wish I got money from killing monsters. How am I supposed to afford to buy support items, and pay for rail tickets, and refuel my rental car? (3000 gil for a rail ticket is outrageous; 3000 gil for a tank of petrol even more so; Galbadia is even more expensive than England!)

The trains look extremely cool. The undersea railway from Balamb to Dollet isn't as innovative as Zell thinks, though; has he never heard of the Channel Tunnel?

As with FFIX, Square Europe provided us with a British English script. So we get "centre", and "apologise", and "Headmaster Cid". The cars drive on the left-hand side of the road, too. (Though in the FMVs, they drive on the right. Huh?)

Rinoa should get a cat.