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The 'Impassioned' FFVIII Defense(Spoiliers within)

Posted: 25th March 2006 06:25

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Having recently played and beaten FF VIII, seemingly the most reviled or disliked of the FF, I have taken upon myself, no one in particular, to defend it's merits. I'm used to be one of those FF8 hating Nazis, but might as well argue it from the other side or something like that...

Gameplay: This is probably one of the weakest points of the game.
- The Junction system is too 'twinkable'. It's far to easy to get obsecenly powerful spells to junction. 4000+ HP at Timber is just plain cruel to the enemy. However, late game it gets balanced out. You need that 8000+ HP and crazy stats to survive some of the tougher enemies out there. Ruby Dragon's Breath does easily in the 7000-8000 range, sometimes more. This is near insta-kill. However, the customizability and uniqueness of the system make it the source of much debate and thought. (Only the Materia system gets comparable thought, but everyone loves that.) In other games you would have to put up with a crappy weapon to get blind or silence or insta-kills. GFs also were too powerful, and the addition of 'Super GFs' (Cactuar, Doomtrain and Eden) made the game wayyyy to easy. They did try and change stuff up and keep you awake, button pressing (non-fighting), various button mashing and the like in battle (Limit breaks). Triple Triad.

Story: The best part of the game.
- It's basically two things. The Love story and it's parallels and the Sorceress thing.
- The Love story starts off fitting. Chance encounter, ballroom dancing. Okay, I believe it. Then bickering over professionalism and treating others. Good couples always seem to butt heads, still with it. Enter Disc 3, Squall's all upset. Lost me. He doesn't actually start to think about her until the end of Disc 2. Then when you're getting explanations from Edea, Rinoa is all Squall can think about. When did he start to care? Was it the concert? If so, it still needed more time to develop. Once you get past that major loophole, it was alright. Him carrying her on that long-a** bridge to Esthar was a pretty good scene. The ending was good with symbolism and imagery.
- The Sorceress thing still seemed...half-done. I scanned Ultimecia as suggested in some other topic somewhere in this forum. Still gave me no idea on what the hell she was trying to do. Merge all sorceresses to become all powerful? Why? At least Kefka was a test subject and an evil clown. This was just some crazy German broad. (No offense to Germans or women.) I get Edea's tragic tale. Carrying such a burden so the kids wouldn't suffer it. Noble lady.
- The Parallels. Ahh Laguna, who doesn't love that guy? His exploits are revealed as foreshadowing. Laguna can almost be thought of as Squall if Squall didn't care about what others thought, a better Squall. Laguna meets Julia just before Squall meets Rinoa (and gets her name, just as Laguna was a fan of Julia, but didn't have the guts to talk to her.) Laguna and Co. get in big trouble before Squall and Co. get the 'Sorceress Assassination Order', which resulted in big trouble. Later, early Disc 3, Laguna and Co. go through a Ruby Dragon (Hard as hell) to find Ellone. Squall walks halfway across an ocean to save Rinoa. Also, the fact that Squall and Co. (minus Rinoa plus Seifer and Edea) came from the same orphanage links them together in the future for better or worse. The fact that the orphanage is right next to Ultimecia's Castle might support some of those Rinoa=Ultimecia arguments you hear sometimes.

Characters in general: Some claim that the fact they're all like 18 is lame and that the orphanage thing was also lame. True...but still...
- Most of the characters aren't too bad. Squall is annoying, with is constantly cliched use of 'Whatever' and 'None of your buisness', but is somewhat realistic. I acted like Squall when I was a 'rebellious' (more reluctant) teenager. His acceptance of leadership roles was a bit realistic. (Though it seemed to lack coherence sometimes.) He was a pretty crummy leader when he became 'Leader of the Garden.' However at the end of Disc 2, when in combat with the other flying garden, he makes a not quite Patton, but still decent speech. Selphie's got spirit, hotheaded and knows nothing of wearyness, endlessly optimistic. Knew a few people like that. Zell was a wimp trying to turn tough. I can relate, except still pretty wimpy. Quistis is 'bossy', a teacher, hot and knows how to use a whip and wears glasses. Wish I knew someone like her, but seriosly, there's always psuedo-leaders like that, bossy, but not to good at leading. Irvine's a poser, womanizer actually insecure. Rinoa's a meddler. Seifer's the misunderstood bad boy. I can probably point out a few of my friends that are like that, or point to myself in some. Besides, people like Edgar and Sabin from FFVI, well Irvine and Zell are pretty mucht the same, but one has a cowboy motif and the other's got a tattoo. Lastly, Laguna is easily one of the more likable characters in recent memory. Bit of a fool, good-natured and goofy. What's not to like?

'Course I have complaints. There were some plot holes I mention and forgot to mention that seemed like the game and story was rushed. Ultimecia's still somewhat pointless consider the lack of her motives and 'fleshing-out.' The Junction system still is a bit too powerful. GFs still too powerful. Cid was a complete wimp and a disgrace to Cids everywhere. Some plot twists were unpredictable, but still stupid (orphanage). Quistis rarely wore her glasses and was pretty much phased out as the story continued. What's so wrong with Teacher-Student relationships doggone it?!? (Lashing out 'cause I never had the hot SeaGal (Seahawks football cheerleader) teacher at my school.)

Conclusion: It's not FFVI or FFVII or even FFIV. It's like the opposite of FFV. FFV had a lackluster story, but awesome gameplay with perfect balance. FFVII had a (mostly) quality story with unbalanced and poor gameplay. Something like that...

This post has been edited by Kylerocks on 2nd July 2007 06:12

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Really Random Quote of the Day: "Short of changing human nature, therefore, the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war." - Richard M. Nixon

So if you're done reading this, you know I have nothing to say and you've wasted your time. Thank you come again.
Post #111920
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Posted: 25th March 2006 07:18

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Cetra
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You overlooked a lot of thing...

Gameplay
- GFs were powerful, but not as powerful as the GF system itself. Because you can summon them as often as you like (unless they lose their ridiculously high amount of HP) you can rely on GFs, and ONLY GFs, all the way until the end of disc 3. At which point...
- ...you can abuse the limit system so easily it's not even funny. Being able to trigger a limit every turn by cancelling your turn until your limit command comes up means being able to use a multi-hit attack as often as you want. I can't quite think of any battles which gave me a hard time because of this.
- Then there's the fact levels are irrelevant. Not quite true though, enemy spells become worse as their levels increase. So basically you're better off not levelling up. Buh...? Square, something's not quite right here.
- Where's the equipment? Sure you've got the junction system but this doesn't match up to equipment at all! There's a reason why crappy equipment is the kind to protect against bad status ailments or cause them: because abusing these would make the game unbalanced. 'Course, seeing as you can just spam limits over and over, it's not like there's a point to even bothering with this...
- For that matter, where are the items? I think you can find like... 5 items in dungeons. Total. Can't be much more than that. Seriously, that bothered the heck out of me. :/ Didn't make exploring dungeons too interesting...


Story
- The love story was terribly forced and unrealistic. Relationships are forged through communication, something the main character doesn't understand even the basics of until the end of the game. Yet Rinoa mysteriously falls in love with him despite 0 communication from Squall. You want to know what keeping to yourself in real life does? It pushes people away. It doesn't make them fall in love with you as a means of forcing a love story into the plot that is your life. But this is FF8, a world where you can go from never having danced to professional ballroom dancer in a single FMV. Anything is possible. :)
- The sorceress... ah yes, the villain is actually the chick that took care of them when they were young. That's pretty cool. Oh but wait, turns out the guy who runs Squall's Garden is... her husband! AND, they all knew each other when they were kids! :D OMG AND THE GFs MADE THEM FORGET! WOW! CAN YOU THINK OF A BETTER DEUS EX MACHINA? I SURE CAN'T, SQUARE! :D Seriously, this is so stupid, so uttertly friggin' STUPID, that I feel insulted just thinking about this aspect of the storyline. And that's saying a lot: I don't get worked up over lil' kiddie games. Except for this piece of trash excuse for a plot hook. :o
- BUT WAIT SQUALL'S FATHER IS LAGUNA! :D
- AND HIS MOTHER WAS RINOA IN ANOTHER DIMENSION DURING WHICH TIME ZELL WAS ACTUALLY HER DOG BUT ONLY HE WASN'T A DOG, HE RAN HIS OWN GARDEN AND BECAME A GF! Wait, that didn't happen. But it probably took Square's management a lot of time and alcohol to work up the guts not to do something like this.
- OH BUT WAIT WE CAN HAVE A LOVE STORY BECAUSE RINOA IS THE ONLY ONE WHO WASN'T THERE SO IT'S NOT LIKE IT'S AN UNREALISTIC CLOSE-FRIENDS-BECOME-LOVERS THING YEA GUYZ? :D
- Rinoa is also Ultimecia.
- You know what? Zell probably was Rinoa's dog in an alternate universe after Elleon fused with SSJ5 Irvine to fight Cait Sith in space.
- Hey Square, why don't you take a dump in a box and market it? People bought FF8 after all. JESUS! Seriously, I can't get over this terrible excuse for a plot hook. I never will, no matter how many lobotomies they give me.
- But anyways. Monsters are from space. They come from the moon. You know what? I give up. I just give the bleep up. >"<;;

Characters
- The characters aren't too bad. Probably one of FF8's saving graces: they're not TOO cliché. These characters act like teens/young adults. Some, like Squall, may not be the most interesting characters featured in an RPG, but they're decent.
- I particularly loved the relationship between Selphie and Irvine. Maybe Squall/Rinoa was a forced attempt at giving the game some romance, but the Selphie/Irvine relationship was FAR more believable and fulfilling because it's open-ended and not rushed.
- WHO THE HECK DECIDED THEY WOULD ALL CONVINIENTLY BE ORPHANS THAT KNEW EACH OTHER? THE ENTIRE PARTY?! WHO? *gets dragged off by men in white suits*


The gameplay is as unbalanced as it gets. My mother played this game and found it too easy (this is the person who played through FF9 and gave up halfway through because she felt it was too hard...) Many ideas are great in theory but the systems are easily abusable, which ruins the whole thing. Sure Square tried something new, but they failed. 10 out of 10 for guts, but minus several million for releasing a flawed idea. :/

Another example of a flawed idea would be the vehicule system. Great idea in theory; heck, you can even buy gas! But... do you ever actually need a car? At best, if you're lazy, you'd use it once or twice. It wasn't made into much of a gameplay element and could very easily be overlooked. Which is a shame, really, because it was cool and innovative.

And the dungeons: many dungeons were very, very linear. No going through mazes, solving difficult puzzles, or hunting for treasure chests anymore. Some of the later dungeons were slightly more complex but let's face it: we're definately nowhere near SNES RPG dungeons where secret passages led to powerful hidden equipment and dead ends had you backtracking and looking for hidden passages...

Man. Orphans. All of them. And the baddie was their foster mother. What the heck? :/

It was great seeing Squall, a random kid just recently promoted to SeeD and totally inapt when it comes to interpersonal relationships, suddently and quite randomly being placed in command of the Garden. When a bunch of lives are at stake. Why? Because hey, he's the main character. You know, that's true, really: if you're hunting for a job, act reserved. Tell them you hate people. Tell them you have very little job experience. And by all means, answer with brief uncaring replies. Watch 'em promote you to management overnight!

And hey, the Garden is randomly run by Norg. I love how Square pulls out these random events with little to no prior buildup when they seem to be running out of ideas to keep the storyline moving.

Orphans. Man.

Oh, and how could I forget? TIME COMPRESSION! The dread destructive force which... well, compresses time. Yeah. ... Yeah. It like... compresse time. ... ... ...Yeah. But it's a bad thing! We're not sure why, but... you know... it's like... time compression! Initiated by a random sorceress from the future. Who is probably Rinoa according to popular opinion.

"Sir, the Melonians! They're firing Peta Rays at the moon!"
"DEAR GOD! WE MUST STOP THEM!"
"...Sir, what are uh... Peta Rays?"
"I dunno. ...You know, I was just trying to pick up the remains of a shattered, dying plot. Let's go get wasted."
"Sir, yes sir!"

Nevermind the fact that if time compression had been acheived in the future, all eras would be affected and the game simply couldn't exist.

But it's ok. They're ALL FRIGGIN' ORPHANS THAT MAGICALLY LOST TRACK OF EACH OTHER AND MET AGAIN THROUGH COMPLETELY RANDOM EVENTS. AND THEIR FOSTER PARENTS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FIGURES IN THE GAME. AND MONSTERS COME FROM THE MOON EVERY 500 YEARS AND THE GFS MADE EVERYONE FORGET!!! O_O

My god. :/

One last thing (god knows I've left out so many!) This has to be the only game I know of that forces you to buy an add-on that only exists on a small island halfway across the world in order to obtain every item. One that is most likely incompatible with all but PSXs with their regional settings set for that particular small oriental island.

Man. Orphans. Square, this game is when I lost faith in you. And since FF8, I've never been able to find that faith again. That's how bad it was. :/

This post has been edited by Silverlance on 25th March 2006 07:31

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Post #111926
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Posted: 25th March 2006 08:04

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Holy Swordsman
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Quote (Silverlance)
One last thing (god knows I've left out so many!) This has to be the only game I know of that forces you to buy an add-on that only exists on a small island halfway across the world in order to obtain every item. One that is most likely incompatible with all but PSXs with their regional settings set for that particular small oriental island.


The Pocketstation isn't neccessary. Granted, it was kinda foolish to just leave it out, but it isn't that important anyway. You only need to use a Chocobo once in the entire game anyway. sleep.gif

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Post #111933
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Posted: 25th March 2006 08:48

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Insert head nodding and general agreement with Silverlance here.

Realism: Militaristic outlook
-Squall is not a soldier
-Selphie is not a soldier
-Zell is not a soldier
-Quistis is not a soldier
-Irvine is not a sniper. He carries a shotgun and isn't a completely emotionless bastard.
-Rinoa and co. are crap terrorists. Galbadia should have killed them already.
-Galbaldia are stupidly armed and equipped. Swords. And bulky cumbersome machine guns. They don't even hand line soldiers SMG's.
-Galbaldia are crap. Thier elite forces can't even take apart a bunch of rookies, trainees and emo kids. You know how quickly the british army could knock over garden?
-For that matter, your characters. All under 18. You know, the British Army recruits at 16, they won't let you into Special Forces until you're about 21/have served four years. And just to get halfway through selection you need to simultaneously bond with your fellow selectees and not give a damn about them.
-Squall's excuse for not bonding with people is also rubbish. Afraid of losing people? You don't sit around and mope in the middle of a firefight, you kill the other lot then get on with it.
-Selphie is waaay too happy to have gone through military training.
-Zell is waaay too angry
-Quistis, if she had a sensible weapon, could almost make it. Shame women aren't allowed on the front line except with the Israelis!
-Irvine is not a sniper. Squall's character is far closer to the sniper persona he tries to give out, but the truth? Snipers who work alone are complete sociopaths. Most marksmen work in teams and whilst they sometimes may be kind of lonely out in the field, they always have support. It also doesn't matter. Military marksmen are generally seen as a bit nuts anyway
-Did I mention they need to be experts in camouflage and are quite happy to shoot anything at all if they have to if they're trained right?
-Not one of them has a truly concealed weapon. Squall? Oversized revolver with sword attached. Qusitis? Big whip. Selphie? Big silly nunchucks. Zell? His fists. At least he always has them, shame he'd be killed in seconds. Irvine? Huge shotgun. Yes. A "sniper" with a shotgun.

You know what, I'll just post this. Wrote it a while ago out of boredom.
Quote
Why SeeD are a bit poo.
SeeD is the mercenary organisation which the playable characters of Final Fantasy Eight were members of (Except Rinoa). In previews for the game, a magazine in the UK said they were “A bit like the SAS”. That referred to the Special Air Service, this world’s foremost counter-terrorist and special operations forces. Australian, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland maintain regiments of SAS troopers, and most US Special Forces groups have doctrine derived from British special forces tactics from World War 2. When those five words (Or is it seven?) were written in previews of FF8, I was rather intrigued.

In hindsight, that description was an utter lie and actually an insult to the fine men and women who have served in groups “A bit like the SAS.”

SeeD are not a very logical organisation. They do not follow doctrines that in my view would be vital for their role. And they do not seem to have that good a track record of producing good soldiers.

Now, first off, SeeD train their operatives from a young age, like a high school where they teach you how to stab people instead of some less important subject like, presumably, religious , social, and moral education. This is a little similar to Judge Cadets in the famous Judge Dredd comics, except it misses two vital parts out. Building self confidence and morals.

Squall is the team leader of the group in FF8, but he’d never even be looked at for SAS selection. Hell, even Delta Force wouldn’t take him and they’re desperate! He’s a moody, depressed, non-versatile man with no real combat experience at the start of the game, and by the time he’s a team leader, very little actual field experience. He’s as green as grass. Worse, the rest of his team is greener than a man who had three hotdogs and then went on a roller coaster, and they too have severe morale problems as soldiers. They speak of their role in public, are about as covert as warning the enemy you’re ambushing them, and are also very stupidly armed, as well as being inflexible.

Squall is equipped with a Gunblade. A nice idea, but the model he carries is utterly useless for the role he’s in: namely, a covert operation which would require a concealed weapon. Now, it may be a videogame, it may have access to “hammerspace” or maybe the Galbaldians are complete morons and let people walk around Timber carrying a larger arsenal that the entire Belgian army has, but the fact remains he should be carrying either a nice little pistol, a pistol/dagger-sized gunblade rather than a  full blown sword/comedy oversized revolver gun blade. His leadership flaws are already obvious: he’s not a charismatic man, he’s not very concerned about his squads morale, he’s not had any experience as a second-in-command or field trooper, and he’s also stuck firmly into a single role, which is that of a gunblade user . All in all, for a mercenary, not a very useful set of traits. But for selection to the SAS, why would he not be considered? Well, first and foremost, his age and rank. Squall’s only 17, and if he joined the British Army, would probably be a private. His lack of diversity in skills would mean he’d need retrained.

Selphie has one very fundamental reason as to why she’d never join the SAS. She’s a she. She’s also suffering the same problems as Squall, in that she’s not diverse, and her morale and attitude is utterly wrong. No veteran fighter ever has that kind of attitude. And she’s still green. Her weapon of choice is worse that Squalls, very short ranged (Gunblades at least possibly able to fight a target at range) and also, virtually impossible to conceal.

Zell at least has a concealable weapon, unfortunately, it’s, in practise, useless. His fists may be able to beat a man to death, but if to beat that man to death he needs to cover ground under fire, he’s dead. His attitude approaches a mildly acceptable one: confident in himself and his mission,  but he’s poorly disciplined and does not respect rank.  He’s a typical green soldier, really, and he at least learns his lessons a little by the end of the game. Unfortunately, he’s still very much stuck rigidly to fist fighting, and at no point does he even seem to consider diversifying to pick up a rifle or a bladed weapon.

Quistis has some similar problems, but at least has some experience. Her weapon of choice is a little more concealable, but not very useful overall. Her whip has a range of maybe 5 meters. Any idiot can blow your head off from 10 meters away, or shrug off the hit which would be striking body armour or equipment, and then slice her in two.
Irvine. Now, he has a gun. He knows how to use it. His gun is a useful weapon, but not concealable, and worse, a  shotgun, which is not too handy at extreme range. He’s the sniper of the team, and that’s where alarm bells ought to ring. Sniping is indeed lonely if it’s on a battlefield context, but the trouble is, most snipers are either accompanied by a spotter, or given backup. Either that or they’re dedicated, some would say psychopathic, soldiers, willing to kill any target irrespective of any qualm about whether or not it’s right.  That’s why when he complains about sniping being lonely, he’s being a bad sniper. That’s why when he does not open fire straight away, he proves he’s not been trained properly as a sniper. He’s also a very strange person. Later in the game, we discover he has know every other party member except Rinoa since his childhood, yet he does not even begin to make an effort to say hello to his old friends, treating them instead as strangers.

Squad organisation is also a bit suspicious. Most military groups fight in fours, fives, or multiples thereof.  That allows for a leader, 2 people with heavier weapons, and 2 riflemen. In SeeD’s case, they have deployed a group of… three. And then becomes a squad of five, that splits up into a group of three SeeDs, and another  of 2 SeeD’s and a woman who is actually a terrorist. And not a very skilled one. No uniformity, no diversity, no long ranged fighting ability, no radio link to HQ, and no clear way of carrying all their weapons and equipment.

SeeD also use GF’s, which are actually dangerous to the user, and the users have not been told. Now, whilst that practice is not uncommon with actual soldiers (Countless soldiers having been exposed to carcinogenic smoke grenades and a-bomb testing), it seems very usual that SeeD’s commanders have not even confirmed nor denied the allegations that the GF’s cause memory loss.

Another problem is the exam process. Trainees are sent into combat, where they’re very likely to be killed. Not the smartest selection process (a little too Darwinian), and those being examined are not even sent there as full soldiers.

SeeD shouldn’t actually exist at all, really. They’re mercenaries, and as such, available for hire to anyone. No government could seriously tolerate an armed and highly trained (allegedly) body of soldiers available to anyone for a fee, as that would mean that insurgents, rebels, terrorists, and generally not very nice people in the government’s eyes could hire them to strike out at the government. Galbaldia should have, by all means, wiped the floor with them long before the game begun. It would be an easy task for a nation like Galbaldia, as SeeD’s bases do not appear to have any significant defences except mobility: which shouldn’t count against a fighter squadron at all.

SeeD don’t even appear to have any significant support equipment. No helicopters, no artillery, no armoured fighting vehicles, no fighter planes, no bombers, no paratroopers. Basically, if a determined assault was staged on Balamb garden , it would be captured very easily. After all, few of the SeeD’s are armed with long range weapons, and it does not appear that there are any heavy weapons in SeeD’s arsenal. That means tanks are virtually invincible, and, considering the average tank can kill you from a few miles away, if Galbaldia staged a ground assault, they’d have dominance in that just five tanks could pound the compound with long ranged fire. The enemy vehicle resistance would consist of a few cars, easily eliminated. Infantry deployed either by parachute or helicopter fast roping could clear out the entire building in about half an hour if they were equipped with the correct weapons and wargear, such as smoke, flash, and frag grenades. In short, Galbaldia should really have massacred SeeD. If the garden evaded the missile strike: hunt it down with Fighters.

So, a poorly equipped, poorly trained, and mostly inefficient force, which, incidentally, has terrorist ties and roots, and utilising child soldiers. Not so hot, not at all like the SAS. They’re an extremely unrealistic group, and whilst it may be “fantasy”, the misconceptions needed to be taken on, because they’re making people wrong in what they say, and leading to some of the worst fan fictions, general ideas and posts of message boards I have seen. Final Fantasy should ideally try again with something like Eight, but get the facts straight first. Professionals who act professional, rather than amateurs pretending they’re the mutt’s nuts special forces, when they’re actually special farces.


Edit
And for the record this is the most popular and most likely greatest RPG in the world happy.gif


This post has been edited by Del S on 25th March 2006 14:24

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Post #111937
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Posted: 25th March 2006 09:34

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Dragoon
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Quote
- WHO THE HECK DECIDED THEY WOULD ALL CONVINIENTLY BE ORPHANS THAT KNEW EACH OTHER? THE ENTIRE PARTY?! WHO? *gets dragged off by men in white suits*


That was one of the devices I just couldn't buy, no matter how many redirects and reasonings pointed back to it. The GFs made...everyone forget their childhood? Every single one? So that they didn't remember each other? Even the ones who went to the same place? As far as I can remember (I didn't comb the NPC dialogue on my last playthrough), the Trabia scene introduces elements that aren't even feasible until then. It just seemed like a poor way to tie everything together without putting in actual effort beforehand. The last layer on the cake was Selphie suddenly remembering that she fought a monster in her childhood and equipped a GF it left behind, and then had so much fun that she, like, totally forgot everything! I like the characters to an extent, but that entire scene just rubs some of their shine off. I wonder if the script writers actually had a deadline when they pushed the immediate reunion scene together...

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And the dungeons: many dungeons were very, very linear. No going through mazes, solving difficult puzzles, or hunting for treasure chests anymore. Some of the later dungeons were slightly more complex but let's face it: we're definately nowhere near SNES RPG dungeons where secret passages led to powerful hidden equipment and dead ends had you backtracking and looking for hidden passages...


Tomb of the Unknown King and the Centra Ruins spring to mind, but this is something I can tolerate. As much as I admit that I'm not fond of "adult, contemporary settings," putting in mystical ruins with fabulous treasure chests just seems a little anachronistic for a time when there's missile scares and mercenary training schools. Since most items can be bought and equipment can't be found, I guess it's not really necessary, either. I wouldn't want them to be complete facsimiles of SNES dungeons (Lufia II had some good ones), but some show no effort. Fire Cavern? The shelter 'neath Balamb Garden? Some of the so-called dungeons are as easy as walking through the city, and it's up for grabs as to whether more people get lost in Esthar or the Deling sewers. tongue.gif

Quote
'Course I have complaints. There were some plot holes I mention and forgot to mention that seemed like the game and story was rushed. Ultimecia's still somewhat pointless consider the lack of her motives and 'fleshing-out.' The Junction system still is a bit too powerful. GFs still too powerful. Cid was a complete wimp and a disgrace to Cids everywhere. Some plot twists were unpredictable, but still stupid (orphanage). Quistis rarely wore her glasses and was pretty much phased out as the story continued. What's so wrong with Teacher-Student relationships doggone it?!? (Lashing out 'cause I never had the hot SeaGal (Seahawks football cheerleader) teacher at my school.)


That's just it: the plot disintegrates towards the end. Edea says her piece on why she took on the sorceress' spirit (or whatever it's actually called); then the story just kinda gets out of hand. I've played through the game at least ten times and I still don't get how the sorceress appears in the future, exists in the past, has two descendants everywhere, etc. -- it seems rushed, and thus seems kind of convoluted because it the last disc centralizes around it. FF8'rs like it, and I can respect that, but it seems like the entire story unravels when the sorceress concept is introduced, to me. At this point, people's theories on what happens is actually more viable than what the game tells one, and that's a bad sign. =/

Quote
It was great seeing Squall, a random kid just recently promoted to SeeD and totally inapt when it comes to interpersonal relationships, suddently and quite randomly being placed in command of the Garden.


That's one more thing that makes no sense. The logical replacement would be someone whose an instructor and whose been on the staff for awhile (Xu), not some rookie gunblader. The game says that "everyone looks up to [him]" and that they're all behind him and whatnot, but he's barely tested the social waters, let alone in deliberate contact with everyone. It seems like another plot device that broke when added to the others.

Anyway, I'll do my critique thinger (although it's mostly been covered, and probably in fewer words, too):

Gameplay

*Junctioning is too far-reaching in itself, but it makes gameplay nice. The different commands can be learned early on for versatility's sake (but aren't very useful).
*Limit breaks are spam fodder, and are a strategy in themselves, like in any decent FF game (see: FFX all summon/character overdrive 'strategy'). Elsewhere, they're one-shot deals; in FF8, it lets anyone be a gung-ho. It really detracts from the impact junctioning could have.
*GFs are meat shields and deal more damage than anyone for about two discs, if you're pacing yourself. And you get more as you go by. If they just served as damage dealers and then couldn't be used again for the battle (or did less damage), they might be brought up less as a severe downpoint to fighting.

Characters

*I used to have them, honestly, as they seemed kind of vapid and too unimportant storywise (Irvine? Are you still here?), but on my recent playthrough, they kind of shone a little more than I remember. Zell's kind of stupid and seems to be a knucklehead, but if you visit his room during the D2 Balamb take-over, you can learn that he's idolizes his grandpa, has a gun collection, etc. It's a shame that the characters are only given much detail in non-obligatory scenes (like Zell's library girl 'quest', to bring him up again). It doesn't apply to everyone, but not everyone is a mere husk.
*Squall's schtick about loners, fending for himself, taking care of himself, and all that other stuff that goes in the angst pile bogs down the first disc. I can understand him being kind of awkward around people, but he's kind of an anti-hero from the start. Of course, that's a grade A+ plot cue for him to be the perfect hero at the end, but I like to see the journey be more than simply liking everyone, making amends, falling in love...all that. I hate Cloud, but at least he had a psychological journey he had to do on his own; Squall probably couldn't muster half of that same walk.
*Laguna. Kiros. Ward. All three are very interesting right from the start, and it was my honor to play as them (seriously) because they actually had a camaradarie and...humor! Yes, something that is sorrily missing from most of the storyline (unless you count flinging chicken-wuss insults around). Laguna's a strong man with goals, but is a dunderhead and forgets the maps all the time...and wine makes him sleepy; Kiros has some of the best quips in the game, and is a rock for the three-man party; Ward seems to hang around his buddies because he just enjoys their company...it's so simplistic! There's no love plots or rivalries...it's just to be around 'em. Less is more in that case. Man, I wish there was more than a handful of sequences with 'em that Ellone shows.

Story

*I'm really not sure what to make of the story, honestly...but not in terms of understanding. I first played the game after FFT (about) and wasn't too impressed. Then, I replayed it a few times and gradually warmed up for the time being. It was a see-saw game between liking it more and less for quite awhile, and I think just recently I may have sparked a little interest in it. But, the sorceress talk clutters up what could be a salvagable plot, and in order to make the last boss a majestic, world- and universe-saving experience, I had to sacrifice what interest I had after trudging through the "whatever" that happened for a disc and a half. Perhaps after Adel fell from the station, I just became a space cadet (PUN'd), but it was just hard going. From those I've talked to here and at other messageboards, it's almost like we're all in the dark. Whoever makes a plot analysis that isn't all conjecture and theory-stringing is a great player indeed.
*Besides that, the first couple discs is fine with me. It's a natural progression: SeeD-lings (PUN'd) graduate into SeeDs, they're dispatched, become involved in wartime conflicts, exterminate the conflicts eventually, and... the bottom falls out sometime after Esthar. While FF7 and, to an extent, FFT are difficult to follow, FF8 throws a planet-sized curveball at that point -- I still can't understand it, no matter how hard I scrutinize. It's rather sad that the major pitfalls come towards the end; if they were at the middle, there might be time to get over them/rationalize on their behalf.

I can like this game, truly I can, but it's almost a study in doublethinking to make it believable in the extent that some of the other games are (sans Necron, maybe). Funny that Silverlance mentions that there's "one more thing," because there are so many nagging details amidst the quality features that it's bound to tip the scales in favor of "poor". Pity. =/


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It's gonna be a glorious day
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Posted: 25th March 2006 13:45

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Lunarian
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This whole site probably knows by know that this is my favorite game FF (series) game. Any chance to talk about this game, I jump on it for better or for worse.

Gameplay: The GF/junctioning system was easily abusable and challenging depending on your mode of play. Every character can do everything with the same general skill like in FFII with Limit Breaks and diverse characters as the only differing quality. I love giving certain skills, different attribute levels, magic, and battle startegy (for lack of a more realistic term) to different characters, giving them their own different classes/jobs/ etc. and the GFs themselves were very powerful and can be summoned so long as they're not K.O'ed and the animations can be monotonous.

Story: I LOVED this story. The love story between Squall and Rinoa was too sudden and needed to fill the gap between Discs 2 and 3 where Squall goes from "Whatever..." to "RINOA!!!!!!!!!". There was a lot of development from the first dance to before her life is in jeopardy at the Garden battle, but the real mood swing is when he places her fate in someone else's hands at first and then he abides by the party to save her himself. He showed no serious emotion for her as anything but a comrade; his love and affection came from nowhere and that's the void that should've been filled but the connection was understood. Laguna's love connections were MUCH, much shorter and less in-your-face, but very realistic.
As far as the Sorceresses, I'm led to believe that the characters learned everything that was known and needed to be known by attending classes and studying about it. This case is made apparent by talking to some of the Garden students in all three Gardens, moreso in Balamb and Galbadia, but a pay deduction veered from doing so. Ultimecia being the main villain was a good thing 'cuz I'd prefer Ultimecia over Edea or Adel as the main villain. The coincidences were just making fate a part of the main plot and Chocobos were just literally thrown in there for symbolic Final Fantasy purposes, hence why the Pocketstation isn't/wasn't available in the U.S.

Characters: I LOVED the characters!! Especially Zell and Quistis rolleyes.gif , they deserved a ton more development. Squall I thought was a great and realistic character for the serious (insane) goth guys of the world wacko.gif . I act a little like him, I don't wear all black with a cross hanging out/though, but I'm not very out-going and I'm slightly socially challenged to a degree so I could relate to him a little in that respect and that respect only. His love with Rinoa was a good part of the story and developed well from the beginning with conflict, identity crisis, and mood swings. Rinoa was the typical lovely-faced brunette torn between two lovers and goes for the worse one of the two; Seifer was the coolest, most badass character for being inferior to Squall battle-wise and egotistical and arrogant. Irvine's intro would've been real if:
"Hey, I know you, Squall, Quistis/Quisty, Zell,.. and... Sephie (wow, she's hot!)." The aforementioned: "Huh? What on earth are you talking about? You sick in the head?"
Irvine: "We grew up together in Matron's orphanage 'til we were 5 or so and then kind of drifted apart. How in the world can you not remember?"
Sqall: "Whatever... enough of this nonsense. We gotta' get down to business."
Instead he didn't say a word when Squall, Cloud (in this situation), or anybody else would've come out with it had they remembered, but they're just about to fight a major battle when he lays the facts on 'em mid-way through the story when any other story would've come out with it MUCH earlier.

I would also like to add that I love the music in this game and the intro. with Liberi Fatali and Squall vs. Seifer has to be thee BEST intro. in gaming history.

Despite the pros vs. cons, Final Fantasy VIII is my favorite pure RPG with an awesome card game to boot. The greatest RPG ever cool.gif !! (Okay,over-the-top, but point made and point clear)

Edit
I needed to change some of my wording.


This post has been edited by FabulousFreebird on 26th March 2006 13:00

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"Thought I was dead, eh? Not until I fulfill my dream!"
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"The most important part of the story is the ending."
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"Peace is but a shadow of death."
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Post #111955
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Posted: 25th March 2006 14:17

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Black Mage
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What's everyone's problem with the plot? Everyone always says how it's a love story but that only seriously begins at the end of Disc 2. What about the first disc and the majority of the second disc? The storyline was really more about war and rivalry to me than about love. I have more to say, but I need to do something else at the moment.

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And don't drive your car off a cliff like I did. Girl, no man is worth 10 points on your license.
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Posted: 25th March 2006 14:19

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Dragoon
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VIII has a couple problems, but in all regards i like it since it can be fun to play thru, and the music is the best too.
Post #111960
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Posted: 25th March 2006 21:53

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Black Mage
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I always thought FF8 was the most hated for the simple fact that it wasn't FF7-2.
I like it okay. Personally, I think it has all the makings of one of the best RPGs ever, but there are some things I'd fix.

- The card game. I don't mind that there are variations on it in every region TOO much, but if you're trying to get all the cards, it's a bit ridiculous. Really, you're not even playing anymore with all the rules in place. And Random makes it damn-near impossible to get all of them, and I've never been able to stop it from getting around. The stupid Queen of Cards won't even take the cards she says she wants even when I let her beat me.

- The PocketStation. Okay, fess up. Whose idea was this? Oh, yours? May I shoot you? Please?

- The Junction system. Of course, we all agree that it makes us loathe to cast magic. It wasn't all bad though. At least not all the GFs knew every Junction ability. That would be blatant abuse. You'd only need 3 GFs for the whole game. Actually, the Junction system wasn't terribly easy to abuse until/unless you have all the GFs. But honestly, by then I don't mind. I don't want any holes in my stats when I fight Ultima/Omega.

- The Refine system. Actually, I only have two complaints. Siren has to be at level 100 to refine a Dark Matter, and some of the items are just way too rare. Come on, 100 Curse Spikes = 1 Dark Matter = 1 Shaman Stone, TEN Shaman Stones = 1 Hero Trial, 10 Hero Trials = 1 Hero, 10 Heros = 1 Holy War-Trial, 10 Holy War-Trials= 1 Holy War. So my question is, how many Shaman Stones or Dark Matters do you find lying around, and why can't I just refine 1 million Curse Spikes into one Holy War? (I think that's how many you'd need.)

- Levelling. I don't like that 1000 EXP advances you every time. I loved that enemies levelled up with you though.

- Storyline. I think all the bases on this have been pretty well-covered; no sense in beating a dead horse. Overall I liked it, sans the orphanage and forced love.

- No armor...really no weapons. Like FF7 (hate), your characters' uniqueness is contingent almost exclusively on their Limit Breaks.

These are my biggest complaints. It's still nowhere near as bad as FF2 or FF7.

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You don't scare me, you talking blobs of oozing slop! I am impervious to pain!
Post #112016
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Posted: 25th March 2006 23:42

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Holy Swordsman
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I just have to echo the totally schotty plot devices.........

Personally, the only thing that I found entertaining about this game, was the final dungeon. I found it a nice change of pace to be screwed out of all my abilities and have to go around and get them back
Post #112033
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Posted: 26th March 2006 00:07

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Holy Swordsman
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I don't know why people want to dissect the plot and such, but then again, I don't bitch about things like that in the first place. I didn't really love the game, in fact, I thought it was kinda slow in the beginning, but most things are. I just don't understand why people can't just enjoy something without having to nitpick at it, but meh. Everyone has their own opinion in the first place.

I for one never thought it was primarily a love story. Sure, Squall and Rinoa have a relationship, but there's a romance in most FFs anyway. I thought the story was mostly about destiny/fate/etc., then that. And confusing time travel. sad.gif

But the only real complaint I have is having to save Rinoa about 78 times over the course of the game tongue.gif Other than that, I don't really have a problem.

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Post #112040
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Posted: 26th March 2006 00:40

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Cetra
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I'd love it if someone could explain to me what the heck time compression was (more importantly, how it was a problem.) Using facts and direct quotes from the game, not suppositions, theories, and interpretations. Also, how the heck would something that affects all time periods NOT show up at any point through the game? It's totally irrelevant WHICH time period Squall and Co attempt to stop Ultimecia in. Unless there's a DIRECT QUOTE from the game which can prove me wrong on this, FF8's plot cannot logically exist.

Seriously, I though Exdeath's "Power of... NOTHINGNESS! Yes you fool, I control... NOTHING! MUHAHAH!" was hillarious, but at least in his case it actually was something dangerous.

Elleone: If Ultimecia compresses time, EVERY CITY IN THE WORLD WILL BE SHIELDED BY A BLUE FORCEFIELD!
Rinoa: That makes no sense. How does "compressing" time do that? And what does "compressing time" mean anyhow?
Elleone: Well... time gets... compressed. Every unit of time occures at once.
Rinoa: ...Including now?
Elleone: No, just the future. Time is uh... compressed, but we're not affected.
Rinoa: And this is bad?
Elleone: Must be. She's the last boss and it's her idea, after all.
Rinoa: So in other words... We'd make our way to Ultimecia, kill her, watch the credits, and be done with the game the instant we get there?
Elleone: Well... no. You see, time is compressed, but it isn't. There's still a "now," "before," and "later."
Rinoa: Huh? So time is compressed, but it isn't. And what's with the forcefields?
Elleone: Well.. uh.. Ah, help me out here Laguna...
Laguna: Square pays you to play out this shitty nonsensical plot. Shut your mouth and do as you're told.
Rinoa: ...Yes master. :_:
Squall: ...
Rinoa: SQUEEE! SO EMOTIONAL AND COMMUNICATIVE! *tackle-screws*

Seriously, I just don't get it. This is supposedly the whole point of the game, the reason why everything leads up (awkwardly) to Ultimecia, and the reason why Squall and co have to go kill her. But it seems like Square forget to think of a decent plot hook until the very end, huddled together at the local Dunkin Donuts, and brainstormed on a couple of napkins for a few hours.

Edit: ORPHANS! GRAAH!! blink.gif *Gets shot in the neck with a tranquillizer dart and is dragged off by four men with official Squaresoft™ suits and shades, who declare the incident classified.*

This post has been edited by Silverlance on 26th March 2006 00:46

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"Judge not a man by his thoughts and words, but by
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and the likelyhood of him sharing."
Post #112046
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Posted: 26th March 2006 01:18

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Black Mage
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The only direct quote I can think of offhand is something to the tune of "She would be the only one that could exist if that happened."

Of course, I don't remember it explaining WHY she would be the only one that could exist. I mean...didn't Time Compression actually occur? Isn't that what was going on right after you kill Adel and Ultimecia possesses Rinoa? Sheesh, now I'm going to have to play all over again. Either way, I'm starting to agree that that's a pretty big plot hole.

Edit - Upon further review, does "Time Compression" sound like the Big Bang to anybody else? The Big Bang was all the matter in the universe compressed into something the size of a marble, and there was zero time. Maybe Time Compression was supposed to be like that. No time. It's a long shot, I know. But then again, it did START to happen, right? That's why all those time bubbles started popping up and Squall and co. could just float into one of them?

This post has been edited by Asylum Outpatient on 26th March 2006 01:32

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You don't scare me, you talking blobs of oozing slop! I am impervious to pain!
Post #112047
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Posted: 26th March 2006 01:37

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Holy Swordsman
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Maybe it doesn't have to make absolute perfect sense because the people at Square weren't experts at physics? It's a fictional story in a fictional world anyway.

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Post #112048
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Posted: 26th March 2006 02:13

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Cetra
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It's not a matter of physics at all, it's a matter of logic. And plot. For that matter, if fanboys can point out glaring holes in their storyline, you'd expect people being paid to release something to millions of gamers to put a little effort towards plugging up the more important holes, at least. wink.gif

In any event, if this can occure in the future, this would mean that the moment it's completed every era would be boofed into one. Including the beginning of the game, and even the time at the ORPHANAGE GRAAHAHHAHAGHAGH!!! blink.gif before that. Meaning the game could simply never happen once time compression begins, and that assumes FF8's time flows linearly (ie, something hasn't happened until it does happen.) In an even worse scenario, the fact time compression will occure in the future and will affect the past after it occures would simply cause the past to fold up on itself and never be.

Now if you introduce the concept of a flux capacitator and a Doloriane with a nuclear engine, you're set, mate! biggrin.gif

Of course, this is just a detail compared to the actual 4th CD. Nobody can exist except Ultimecia, hence why the cities are sealed off. Oh wait, that makes no sense now does it? Isn't it people that can't exist, not locations? How is a city different from a dungeon, once you remove the people in it? What about the card masters (or whatever their names were), the party, monsters, and those dead SeeD members from the future?

I could mention the horribly cliché "lar the last boss is dead so everything is suddently right again" resolution, cuz when I'll die the programs I've written will all stop working after all, but we're dealing with magic and the "laws" of magic are always either carefully tailored to allow this sort of thing to make sense or simply not explained and fallen back on as a Deus Ex Machina.

Unless we're talking about orphans. Then we can fall back on GFs, which are SORTA like magic. Only they don't make this most heinous excuse for a plot hook any more acceptable.

Couldn't Square just have Ultimecia live on the moon (with all them spiffy monsters from that Lunar Tear thingie) and want to destroy the world because she's "The Last Boss ™"? It's totally lame, but at least I can buy that a lot more than her being from the future and trying to pull off this unecessarily convoluted plan that involves completely impossible events. Hell, it worked for FF4 with Zemus, it worked with the Dark Cloud from FF3, it worked with Kuja from 9...

This post has been edited by Silverlance on 26th March 2006 02:14

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"Judge not a man by his thoughts and words, but by
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Post #112049
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Posted: 26th March 2006 02:27

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Holy Swordsman
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Well, I was talking about physics regarding Time Compression, but it doesn't really make that much sense anyway.

Quote (Silverlance)
Couldn't Square just have Ultimecia live on the moon (with all them spiffy monsters from that Lunar Tear thingie) and want to destroy the world because she's "The Last Boss ™"? It's totally lame, but at least I can buy that a lot more than her being from the future and trying to pull off this unecessarily convoluted plan that involves completely impossible events. Hell, it worked for FF4 with Zemus, it worked with the Dark Cloud from FF3, it worked with Kuja from 9...


That would've made alot more sense. (And fit better, IMO.) And I would let out a nostalgic Zemus fanboy cry. (Don't ask...)

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Post #112050
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Posted: 26th March 2006 19:25

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Dragoon
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I agree with Silverlance, Time Compression doesn't actually ever occur in the game.
so all of the characters are trying to stop something that will not happen

so basically FF8 is a story of a band of mercenaries who decide to kill witches...
...right...


and then the end all be all truth that ff8 makes no sense
-The main character is 17 all 17 year old boys are hornier than Edge from FFIV
-The main character is being hit on by his supposively Hot 18 year old teacher, who carries around a whip
-The teacher takes the main character to the "make-out spot" in garden
-The teacher gives hint after hint
-The main character has no real response, and proves that he fails at life, by turning down the dream of 17 year old boys everywhere.

It was after this point that I continued to play the game because I had enjoyed FFVI and FFVII, and was hoping that FF8 was going to get better. I was wrong.

Edit
Del S that is the greates RPG in the world laugh.gif


This post has been edited by Cloud_Strife510 on 26th March 2006 19:32

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"Have you ever seen a baby do that before?"
Post #112090
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Posted: 26th March 2006 20:24

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Cetra
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Quote (Cloud_Strife510 @ 26th March 2006 14:25)
and then the end all be all truth that ff8 makes no sense
-The main character is 17 all 17 year old boys are hornier than Edge from FFIV
-The main character is being hit on by his supposively Hot 18 year old teacher, who carries around a whip
-The teacher takes the main character to the "make-out spot" in garden
-The teacher gives hint after hint
-The main character has no real response, and proves that he fails at life, by turning down the dream of 17 year old boys everywhere.

You, sir, deserve a medal. biggrin.gif

I always thought Quistis was a broken character because of her age and position. Seemed more like an excuse to have her character work out with the party than anything else ("Hi! I'm your teacher! I'm also your age so you don't have to make an outside out of me. AND I'M A FRIGGIN' ORPHAN TOO! LAR~! happy.gif Also, we're obligated to tolerate each other at this point in the game because I'm your teacher, so despite your hangups with accepting others, I'm a clever plot-device to force you into this sort of acceptance.")

Then her character kinda flattens out and developement focuses on the rest of the group...

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"Judge not a man by his thoughts and words, but by
the quality and quantity of liquor in his possession
and the likelyhood of him sharing."
Post #112104
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Posted: 26th March 2006 20:38

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I've avoided posting in this thread, because I have a feeling this will turn into something of a flame war, but it hasn't, so I'll post. Beware, ye short of attention span.

FF VIII is not a bad game, but it is a far cry from a great game. I have problems with some of the game's "highlights", personally. I'll mention the good things first:

The musical score is quite solid overall, but not Uematsu's best work. The visuals are certainly well-done, even if the style isn't to everyone's liking. The game’s pace in the first disk was quite solid, and the game’s map/town/dungeon design ranged from decent to above average. I thought Laguna was a pretty cool character.

Yeah, I guess that’s about it. Now for the bad:

First of all, sure, you can say that Squall is an accurate portrayal of an angsty teen because that's exactly what his is: an angsty, anti-social, seventeen-year-old douche. However, for reasons that defy all that is reasonable, virtually every other supporting cast member in the game trusts him and willingly allows him to command multiple Gardens full of soldiers and students. Not only that, but at least two girls fall madly in love with him, despite what an asshole Squall is in general.

Speaking of romance, most FF VIII fanchildren will point to the game's underlying theme of the destined lovers - Because Laguna and the piano lady couldn't hook up back in the day, their children do. Aww, how sweet. That sort of motif can plausibly work in love stories, but it's executed rather badly in FF VIII. There's no buildup, no conflict, no real character development, just two constants that have a bunch of crazy **** happen to them. Rinoa seems to be desperate to get in Mr. Leonhart's pants from day 1, while Squall inexplicably transforms from someone that is annoyed by everything around him to being Rinoa's dedicated retainer, without any indication of doing so before the bizarre sequence in outer space. Sorry, Squall-wannabes, but women with Rinoa's poor judgment and infinite patience don't exist, and acting like an antisocial goth won't have whip-brandishing blondes or crazy Japanese women flocking for you as FF VIII would indicate.

So yeah, the romance wasn't handled well. I won't even get into the strange mythology of sorceresses and Gardens or the "omg we were kids together lol" plot device, because I really don't think all of that business needs any more criticism. The characters, though, need all of the criticism they can get. Quistis starts out as an interesting character, but becomes a boring non-factor in the lategame. Zell and Selphie are just damn annoying. Irvine is a poorly-developed cowboy version of one of those suave rogues that hits on anything that moves. Don’t get me started on Squall and Rinoa again, I’ve already talked about the failed badass and his clingy girlfriend more than enough.

But yeah, now let me get to my real least favorite part of FF VIII - the Junction system. Early on, it actually seems to work. When you don't have many GFs or powerful spells, you have a limited selection of stats and magic to junction, and the bonuses are significant but not unbalancing - it actually works fairly gracefullly for the first disc and a half or so. Once you start getting really strong magic and enough GFs to cover nearly every important stat on every character, however, it bastardizes the FF battle system. You’re discouraged from doing anything other than attacking, using items, Limit Break-ing, summoning GFs, or using special GF-granted special abilities like Recover or Revive. Casting spells will LOWER your stats. If that wasn’t enough, by the endgame it is quite probably that EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER in your party will have the exact same configuration, barring a few stray Evade or Luck junctions, completely killing the individuality of the characters save their Limit Breaks. The removal of equipment customization in favor of the junction system was a very poor idea – among other things, it removes the fun of finding chests full of shiny new weapons and armor  .

Oh, and speaking of Limits, you can use them an infinite number of times! Whenever you want! Sure, you have to put yourself at critical health, but I completely disapprove of a system that let’s you use a character’s best attack whenever you want with only a non-penalty – no meter to be built up, no delay on the attack, no limitations at all, whenever you want, thereby defenestrating strategy.

Oh, and if you push any “but you don’t have to abuse the system if you don’t want to” bull**** at me. The fact remains that the system is extremely easy to abuse and if you understand the underlying concepts behind it (and you will if you play the game to the end of the first disk), then the game keeps shoving opportunities to do so in your face. Plus, that ludicrous argument is true for ANY game – You don’t have to use special weapons or items to beat a Mega Man game, and you don’t have to use equip advanced weapons or armor to beat almost any RPG, but when you have to deliberately ignore important features of a game’s basic static gameplay elements to make it “fair” it isn’t a well-designed system. Period.

Regarding GFs, well, I don’t hate them. I actually approve of basing a game’s customization system around the game’s summons, but FF VIII takes the concept too far. First of all, the long boost-able animations are painful to go through over and over and over, and second of all my aforementioned problems with the Junction system really kills and unbalances the idea – When you find all of the GFs, the game isn’t fun anymore – you can just do whatever you want whenever you want to, and the game is devoid of important customization decisions and instead provides long animated sequences that would make Legend of Dragoon jealous.

So yeah, that’s about it. Bad plot devices, annoying characters, ill-devised romances, poorly-designed customization schemes, and too much focus on summoning GFs, using Limits, and abusing the Junction system. It’s still not as bad a game as FF IIj, but I don’t think FF VIII holds a candle to the vast majority of the series. Wow, that was a mouthful.

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Post #112105
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Posted: 28th March 2006 07:07

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First and foremost, I would like to award Cloud_Strife510 with the medal of the High Order of the Rather Clever. Enjoy and wear it with...pride, I guess.

Figuring there's been such titanic posts complaing about it...it must have done something right. Sure, it maybe that they created a game so poor that a lot of people didn't like it enough to make sure they were heard...

A lot of the complaints seem to be that there were balance issues and flaws in the story and characters. Some of it started good, lazlow mentions Quistis being cool and interesting, but bascially dies in the story department. The implausability of the love story is pretty true, I was originally trying to be optimistic. But you have to remember a certain truth when you think about Squall and the ladies . Girls love a**holes. (I pray this is only a minority of girls though.)

To be fair, all these complaints could probably have been fixed if the developers and the like had more time to balance and think 'does this make sense?'. But this would involve adding more to the game however or delaying it(which is not cool with the head honchos). This game is four freaking discs long, and that's probably with a lot of junk cut and the like. Do we need a five or six disc long game? Do we need like 80+ hours or something? 50-60 hours is pretty good, long enough to feel sastisfied, but short enough to maintain my attention span. (Although you do have to suffer through rather half-done story and features.)

One complaint about some of the complaints is that the characters (in battle) lacked differences. True. But you get near unlimited customizability. Really, they're trying to find a balance between an indivudial's characteristics and the level of customizability. The opposite of this unlimited customization is FFIV, where each character was unique and there was almost nothing in the way of customizing.

I don't know...I haven't made a video game, so I have no idea how hard it could be. Besides, they were following up on FF7, it may not be my favorite, but it's far and away (for most part) the favorite among the gaming community. You try following something that awesome. I think they did pretty well considering how much expectation was probably put on them. Something like that...

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So if you're done reading this, you know I have nothing to say and you've wasted your time. Thank you come again.
Post #112290
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Posted: 28th March 2006 23:51

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Quote
Figuring there's been such titanic posts complaing about it...it must have done something right.

Dunno man, 9/11 spawned so much attention and it wasn't a very positive event. People complaining about something is generally a sign that the "something" didn't go too well, unless you live in Backwardslandia. wink.gif

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But you have to remember a certain truth when you think about Squall and the ladies .  Girls love a**holes.  (I pray this is only a minority of girls though.)

This is entirely true: the vast, vast majority of girls love jerks even though they'll almost always deny it. But there's a HUGE difference between a jerk and a loner; Squall was the latter. Loners are uninteresting because they don't say anything, they aren't spontanious, and they don't do anything to draw attention to themselves. Jerks are dynamic and very extroverted. They know what they want. They take decisions. They hang out with buddies and might even blow off a date in favor of drinking with their friends and playing pool (*innocent whistle.*) They're the dominant, alpha males. They'll even impose themselves in a relationship to some extent. On the other hand, Squall is an introverted loner, not an asshole...

Quote
To be fair, all these complaints could probably have been fixed if the developers and the like had more time to balance and think 'does this make sense?'.

FFIX was a 4 CD game and it was immensely more balanced than VIII. Even though the storyline and the game system were 100% different, so they wouldn't have any past experience to draw on (for that matter, both games were made by different groups.)

The size of a game wouldn't make up for its content. A pebble-sized diamond is worth far more than a boulder-sized chunk of concrete. FFVI was about as long as VIII (probably shorter, in fact) and made with terribly stiff restrctions because of the platform it was on (SNES) yet it still managed to become one of the most successful FFs (possibly second after FFVII.)

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I don't know...I haven't made a video game, so I have no idea how hard it could be.

You don't have to be a programmer to come up with a concept. wink.gif The majority of the work is going to take place in your head and in your notes. You don't have to write a single line of code, draw a single pixel, or play a single note before you can sit down, think for an hour or so about what you've done, and realize that it's either a decent idea or just full of holes and easily abusable ideas. And if you're going to release something publicly and stake a large part of your company's financial future on it, you'd better invest some cash towards hiring someone to revise it and point out flaws!

If you have to start rethinking the basis of your game AFTER you have something playable, you didn't take an hour or two to give your idea some honest, decent thinking and are likely to end up with totally ridiculous plot hooks like everyone being an ORPHAN?!!? blink.gif ARRRGH! blink.gif

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You try following something that awesome.

Well... I played 8 before 7, personally...

There's nothing wrong with liking FF8. Heck, it's probably a few gamers' favorite game. But the general consensus is, FF8 wasn't up to par. And I think no matter what arguments we throw out either for or against, what matters most is the general appreciation people gave it. We can try to change each others' opinion as much as we want but we certainly can't change the opinion of every game who didn't like FF8.

I respect your opinion that FF8 wasn't as bad as people like me try to make it seem, even though I don't share it. But the bottom line is that it just didn't please people as much as most of the other FFs did (excluding IIj, and maybe a few others, I kinda lost track of this stuff a while back. ^^; ) That shouldn't prevent you from enjoying the game if you do, nor should it influence you to not give it a shot if you've never played it.

This post has been edited by Silverlance on 28th March 2006 23:52

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"Judge not a man by his thoughts and words, but by
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Post #112353
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Posted: 29th March 2006 19:25

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I don't know if anyone has brought this up yet (I'm sorry I just don't have the patience to read through long posts right now wacko.gif ), but, one thing that always bothered me about this game is that Sorceress Adel has a MALE FIGURE!!!! This leads me to believe that there were extensive last minute plot changes going on, which is likely why the plot disintigrates near the end.

I like this game though, despite the obvious lack of cohesion in the plot and easily abused junction system. I just wish I knew what was really supposed to be going on. Time compression... meh.

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Post #112450
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Posted: 30th March 2006 00:16

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Quote (ultimage @ 29th March 2006 14:25)
I don't know if anyone has brought this up yet (I'm sorry I just don't have the patience to read through long posts right now wacko.gif ), but, one thing that always bothered me about this game is that Sorceress Adel has a MALE FIGURE!!!! This leads me to believe that there were extensive last minute plot changes going on, which is likely why the plot disintigrates near the end.


Well, maybe she just looks that way? Some fans offer the explanation that if Sorceresses are evil, then their appearances change to reflect that, and what-not. Though it's only a theory. But yeah, I don't think that would mean that they had to rush, it just means she looks pretty scary lookin'. blink.gif

I honestly didn't have a hard time following the plot. It was just all the explanations for Time Compression, Ellone's powers, etc., that isn't explained fully that might be confusing. Then again, it's a Final Fantasy. Set in a fantasy world, with a fantasy story, etc. It doesn't really have to make perfect sense.

Although on that, wow, I didn't know everyone hated the Orphanage thing. tongue.gif I thought it was cute. biggrin.gif

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Post #112486
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Posted: 30th March 2006 05:02

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Quote (Zeromus_X @ 29th March 2006 19:16)
Although on that, wow, I didn't know everyone hated the Orphanage thing. tongue.gif I thought it was cute. biggrin.gif

It's because it was so much of a coincidence it just couldn't make any real sense.

What are the chances that, with only one exception (Rinoa, although she's still technically related to Laguna: her mother was that chick who played that Eyes on Me song, whom Laguna was in love with, which happens to be Squall's pops. Laguna, that is, not the chick who played Eyes on Me. It's not that kind of game.) every major character (INCLUDING the villains (Edea and Seifer) and the important NPCs (Cid, Elleone...)) turns out either having known each other in the very same orphanage or having family ties?

THEN, they all get seperated.

THEN, without a single exception, no missing kids here, and through completely random twists of fate, all end up reuniting.

AND, to explain it, without prior developement or hints, they decide that the GFs make you forget your memories.

You can basically sum it up as, "So we all knew each other without a single exception, all got seperated, met up again (again, without a single exception), AND didn't remember it because uh... uh... oh yeah! The GFs! Undocumented feature!"

It was cute, yes. But with developers straining for coherant, in-depth storylines to please gamers, something like this was aweful and just stunk of deus ex machina. Nothing more than one of the many plot devices thrown into the storyline without prior hints/explanations to help the storyline remain in motion when the developers ran out of steam from their previous last-second-addition-to-move-the-plot-along idea...

...

ORPHANS?! ARGH! WHO'S IDEA WAS THIS? WHO? WHOOOO??!! *Gets shot repeatedly with a barrage of tranquilizers darts, twitches, and falls over groaning a weak "Orrr... ph..." before passing out.*

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"Judge not a man by his thoughts and words, but by
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and the likelyhood of him sharing."
Post #112503
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Posted: 30th March 2006 05:56

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Quote (Silverlance)
ORPHANS?! ARGH! WHO'S IDEA WAS THIS? WHO? WHOOOO??!! *Gets shot repeatedly with a barrage of tranquilizers darts, twitches, and falls over groaning a weak "Orrr... ph..." before passing out.*


Lmao! tongue.gif

But yeah, I always thought the theme of the game was destiny, fate, etc., so I never really cared about that plot point. (Liberi Fatali means 'Fated Children', the orphans and what-not. Or something. I know it's in there somewhere...) Although I suppose some people could find it cheesy biggrin.gif

Meh. I just don't get the TC...*sigh*

There should be a warning on FFVIII: "WARNING! Do not try to figure out Time Compression! Do not attempt to make logical sense of it or your brains will explode out of your ears! I repeat, do not, under any circumstance, try to figure out Time Compression! If you are found trying to figure out Time Compression, the men in black coats will come and take you away! You have been warned!"

Meh. I'm not very funny tongue.gif

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Post #112507
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Posted: 30th March 2006 22:55

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Silverlance, it IS indicated several times in the game's tutorials and the classroom desk. It jus' says that memory loss is a side-effect of junctioning GFs. About the orphange thing, It would've made logical sense if Irvine had said something about it shortly after he had just joined the party or if he even hinted towards any emotion about that other than refusing to blow the Sorceress' head off in the assassination mission. At least Sorceress Adel wasn't related to any major characters and Sorceress Ultimecia wasn't somebody's distant relative. I don't even bother with trying to comprehend Time Compression, 'cause I view it as an inserted plot-device to weave Ellone's pursuit throughout the game and a way to have Ulty control everything that is not just the world.

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Post #112587
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Posted: 30th March 2006 23:02

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Quote (FabulousFreebird @ 30th March 2006 17:55)
Silverlance, it IS indicated several times in the game's tutorials and the classroom desk.

Really? ohmy.gif Hell, I never knew that...

It would've been great if they explained it through the course of the storyline though, IMO. Maybe as a lesson before Squall goes to take his test or whatnot, or at least enforced at other points in the storyline to downplay the whole plot device feel.

I'm starting to expect the TC explanation to turn up in the tutorials/desk... wink.gif

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the quality and quantity of liquor in his possession
and the likelyhood of him sharing."
Post #112589
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Posted: 4th April 2006 19:49

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I have a problem with how the majority of you try to analyze Squall as simultaneously "angsty/emotional" and "cold/asshole/emotionless." Del was really the only one to appropriately identify his personality; at the same time, though, he characterizes Squall is both having a very appropriate an inappropriate disposition for a soldier. Yeah, you're right about all the other characters absolutely not having dispositions for the military (with the exception of Quistis, as stated). But really, Squall's abillity to check his emotions at the door in most instances is ideal - he would be well-suited to today's total institutions without breaking down like a little punk (I do agree he is NOT well-suited as a *leader* - but total institutions are for adaptable followers, not leaders).

But I think your analysis of the game completely ignores the fact that this is Final Fantasy, and not Medal of Honor or Splinter Cell. In short, it isn't an attempt to emulate real warfare with all its intricacies - give it a rest, it's a fantasy game.

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Post #113085
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Posted: 4th April 2006 21:08

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Quote (The_Pink_Nu1 @ 4th April 2006 11:49)
But I think your analysis of the game completely ignores the fact that this is Final Fantasy, and not Medal of Honor or Splinter Cell. In short, it isn't an attempt to emulate real warfare with all its intricacies - give it a rest, it's a fantasy game.

A big pet peeve: people that try to defend a game by saying "it's not supposed to be <this>". This response does nothing but make excuses for poorly executed design. In other words, you're telling us that you admit it's terribly done, but we shouldn't complain about it because you said so.

It doesn't matter what genre it's supposed to be, the fact remains that Final Fantasy 8 attempts to emulate a Special Forces Military structure and succeeds at Power Rangers with Zords that don't merge into a Gestalt. Let's not expect miracles, but even with a moutain of sodium-chloride no one could seriously believe any part of the SeeD structure. It's like technobabble. It adds useless details and actually kills suspension of disbelief. Do it right, or not at all.

And yes, if the GF's had been perma-assigned and had "MERGE" as an option to combine into MegaGuardian Force (with the option of combining Bahamut and Eden into UltraGuardian Force later in the game), I think this game would have been much superior.

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Post #113093
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Posted: 4th April 2006 21:13

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Quote (The_Pink_Nu1 @ 4th April 2006 20:49)
I have a problem with how the majority of you try to analyze Squall as simultaneously "angsty/emotional" and "cold/asshole/emotionless."

It's entirely possible. Squall's public persona makes him a jerk, but the true Squall is an insecure fool. But that isn't "deep", it's stupid. He's meant to be a soldier. You train soldiers to be contradictory. In public, with their mates, they are confident, they are jokers. In private is where they keep their problems, but they don't or at least shouldn't bottle them up if they've been trained right. A good soldier is emotionless on the job, and even then, they need certain emotions.

Quote

Del was really the only one to appropriately identify his personality; at the same time, though, he characterizes Squall is both having a very appropriate an inappropriate disposition for a soldier.

His disposition is close, IMO, but miles off. He's meant to bond with his squadmates because they will someday be the ones watching his back, and be prepared to lose them and be able to just keep going. He is incapable of doing this so he shuns them in an attempt to defend himself from it, when he KNOWS he will be forced to gain some form of attachment to them, and that all he is doing is trying to be selfish and look after number one when he's meant to be looking out for his buddies first. And a lone wolf never makes a good soldier unless they're a complete lunatic. Snipers who work alone are usually too crazy to get lonely...

Quote
But really, Squall's abillity to check his emotions at the door in most instances is ideal - he would be well-suited to today's total institutions without breaking down like a little punk (I do agree he is NOT well-suited as a *leader* - but total institutions are for adaptable followers, not leaders).

He shuts down EVERY emotion, meaning he has it half right, but all wrong. As I said, soldiering needs a bond with your squad becuase they're watching you and expect you to watch them. If they don't think you like them, they shouldn't like you, and you'll go home in an oak suit.

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But I think your analysis of the game completely ignores the fact that this is Final Fantasy, and not Medal of Honor or Splinter Cell. In short, it isn't an attempt to emulate real warfare with all its intricacies - give it a rest, it's a fantasy game.

True, but it could at least pretend to have some realism. Fantasy doesn't mean they should be able to get away with bliterhingly stupid things without an explaination just because it's fantasy. You won't get far claiming it was just fantasy after you walk into a police station screaming 'I'm wearing a bomb! Allahu Ackbar!'


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