Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Final Fantasy: A Retrospective Part 4

So after a brief hiatus from this series, I return!

And luckily, it's a topic I can't shoehorn Alpha Protocol into!

Haha, suckers.

Anyways, onto the next game.

Final Fantasy VIII (1999)

So, This is a pretty polarizing Final Fantasy game.  I'm going to list a few of the features in this game that may have deviated from the norm.

  • A "Draw" system, where magic was 'stocked' from enemies, items, or points of magic in the world.
  • The "Junction" system, where the characters equipped summons in order to get stronger.  The 'junctioned' summon (called GF's for Guardian Forces) enabled the character to boost their stats by equipping the magic they had stocked.  For example, you could junction Fire to your Attack, but Fira would give bigger effects.
  • Interactable summoning sequences for the GFs via the ability called "Boost" to increase damage.
  • An in-game Collectable Card Game called Triple Triad, where the cards could be found through special events, or using the ability "Card" on some enemies.
  • Dynamic Skill selection.  Similar to equipping "Command" materia from Final Fantasy VII, you could equip abilities from GFs to your character, either passive ones (like HP + 20%, or Str +40%), or active ones like Card, Item, or Devour.
  • Monsters that level-scaled with the player.
So, those are a few of the new things that changed in Final Fantasy VIII.  Many people felt like this game was too easy due to these changes, since if you could junction the status effect "Sleep' or "Death" to your attacks, you'll put the enemy at a huge disadvantage, or that simply grinding GF abilities would give you a huge boost if you turned monster Cards into items.  

Hi, my name's Quetzalcoatl, and I'm your guide to breaking the game.

Another reason people dislike the game is due to the lead character, a brooding, introverted, anti-social, loner named Squall.  Through most of the game, he seems his teammates more as annoyances than as comrades.  He's the type of character who feels like people are better off on their own so they don't get hurt by others.  He has his reasons for thinking like this due to being abandoned by the one person he looked up to when he was a child.

The rest of the cast includes a hot tempered brawler, a peppy girl, your former instructor (who's younger than you are), a wanna-be ladies man, and a young lady trying to lead a revolution against the government.  

All of the main cast, save for Rinoa, the revolutionist, are members of an academy called SeeD, which basically trains the students to be mercenaries for hire.  Remembering that this is a JRPG, the main cast is between 16-20, meaning that they've had combat training from a young age.

Also in this game, instead of buying new weapons, or finding them in chests, you upgrade your old weapons.  By finding magazines throughout the world, you'll find exactly what items you'll need to make your weapon more badass.  If you just happen to have the ingredients though, you won't need to find the corresponding magazine (I usually end up skipping the second gunblade because I found the items for the third).  

Personally, I rate this game above Final Fantasy VII on any list I make for the series.  I find the character development of Squall to be interesting.  It doesn't hurt that Triple Triad is probably my favorite JRPG minigame ever.  

Also, dat intro movie


Final Fantasy IX (2000)

Final Fantasy IX returned to the series roots.  It returned to the higher-fantasy roots of the series before VI. It also returned to allowing you 4 members of your party to use in combat, instead of 3.  

Honestly, I played this game years ago, beat it, and forgot about it.  The game didn't leave a huge impression on me.  I need to replay it to refresh my memory better.

The beginning is pretty funny though.  Doing mock-battles with fake magic was fun.  Using "FX-Comet" for 0 damage was funny, due to it's impressive looking nature.

Something happy from the game

And we'll wrap it up here for now.

I'll post Final Fantasy X and XI in the next, and final edition of Jama7301's Final Fantasy Retrospective Special Extravaganzapolloza!

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