The adventure starts in Balamb Garden . The home of many upcoming cadets. All of them train and work their hardest to become Seeds. Seed being basically, a hired military. Squall Leonhart (our hero of this game) is one such teenager training to become a Seed. And he couldn’t have chosen a more action packed time to become one. The Galbadia army are terrorising nearly the whole planet and a Sorceress who is determined to rule the world. Squall gets himself thrown into this mess by Seed. His mission is to kill the Sorceress. That is just a rough sketch of the first disk. The game is packed into a whopping 4 disks. So make sure to free your next few weekends, because this will take an age.
Squall isn’t alone on his journey. Just as in any other FF you have your team to back you up along the way. Fans of the mythical and odd characters, (Cait Sith anyone?) may be disappointed that there are none of them here. Eight is aimed as being as real as FF can be. There are still monsters to battle, but the whole game seems human oriented. Others though may love the characters individual personalities and traits. Such as Zells’ hyperactive nature and Irvines’ lady killer charm. If you found it difficult searching for characters in seven, don’t worry. Most of the characters are handed to you during the first few hours of game play.
The graphics have been massively updated since 7.Hosting some of the best cut scenes to ever grace the playstation 1. The first time I saw the amazing opening cinematic, I was stunned by the realism of it all. Even the detail on Rinoas’ cardigan I found breathtaking! The backgrounds have become far less cartoon like, once again emphasising the realism. The magic spells are still quite eye-catching, but nothing compared to the new look GF’s. (Summons, Espers, Aeons) Each one has had their cinematic entrance completely overhauled. Quezacotl is one of your first GF’s. It is basically Ramuh in a birdlike form. He builds up energy and blasts your enemy with a gigantic electric explosion. The sound and visual effects of this enormous attack makes you literally feel the blast. Never has Shiva looked so detailed, or Ifrit so strong, Moving onto the magic and GF’s, FF8 takes a new approach on equipping your characters. You now junction your characters with magic and GF’s. Once you have a GF, you equip them to your character, you can learn abilities. When you equip magic to the GF, you gain extra stat points. The stronger the magic the higher the stat point. It appears really confusing at first. But you will get used to it. Many fans of the series can’t stand this system though! You no longer find weapons either. The only way to get new weapons in this game is to upgrade them at a shop. Before you can upgrade them though, you’ll need the specific items and gil. Weapons include nun chucks, shotguns and Gunblades. Squall himself uses a Gunblade. It is essentially a gun equipped with a sword. His limit breaks are impressive to watch. The first limit break you get requires you to press the trigger while Squall is slashing his enemy. Unfortunately, you can only get into limit break state when your health is critically low. Meaning you could unleash a limit break, or get killed by the enemy. This isn’t particularly helpful when facing a boss.
Remember the flashbacks in FF7? They’re back. This time taking the lead of a man named Laguna and his crew. (Don’t worry I’m not going to do any spoilers!) You are in full control of their storyline as well.
FF8 is a brilliant game. Filled with action packed moments, mind blowing visuals, hours and hours of game play and a fantastic story. It is not without its flaws to say the least. And some people don’t think it lived up to the expectation of FF7. But in its own right, it is an amazing triumph.