Enough Already!

by Al Solomon

This is getting stupid. Every time I hear a complain about FF8 now I feel like I'm going to throw up. Why, you ask? Is it because I think all gamers should think like me and agree that FF8 is good? No.

It's because every single time I see a complaint about FF8, there is nothing to support the claim. Here are a few examples:

"The characters are boring/flat/all the same."

How so? Really, how is this even possible to think unless things that a, for lack of a better term, normal person would find exciting or at the very least intriguing? Squall starts as a loner who doesn't want to rely on anyone and slowly learns to open himself up and, to top it off, falls in love. Rinoa is a rebel in occupation and personality to some extent who becomes a sorceress. Irvine seems to be a stereotypical sniper at first, until that one simple line; I can't do it.

I could go into detail about every character, even Selphie, in this manner. But I don't think I need to. What's so boring about any of this?

And then of course, there's the "the characters are no different in battle" thing. Just for the record, I found it quite annoying that only Locke could steal in FF6. There, I feel much better giving my actual view on it. Getting to the main point, your characters in FF8 are as different as you make them. If your characters all fight the same way, you have no one to blame but yourself. Take the time to experiment with the junction system. You'll find you can make it so no two characters are alike in battle. And if you complain that you shouldn't have to do this, that it should be done for you, then you just make yourself look lazy. I thought games were supposed to do new things as time passes? Why is it such a surprise that FF7/8 have characters that can do what you want them to?

"The story is boring."

I can't even believe this one. Since when do you see a love story in a video game that is so realistic and believable? That, plus sorceress', a dictatorship nation, a school where one learns magic (that flies, nonetheless,) a city filled with technological wonders, Laguna's role, and several of the main characters belong to a mercenary group. Again, how is this boring? I sure can't see why. Maybe YOU think it's boring. But the problem is whenever someone says it's boring they don't say anything else. And then of course, there's Squall and Rinoa. I notice that this one is stayed away from when the game is being criticized. Why is that? Because there are no better examples to compare it too. What are you going to do, compare them to Cloud and Tifa? Locke and Celes?

"The GFs are too long and overused."

Learn the junction system with both eyes open. I found halfway through disc 1 that I needed to summon GFs a mere fraction of the amount I did in the beginning in the game.

"There's too much FMV/the FMV degrades the story/Square cares more about graphics then story."

And I suppose the dance scene would have been as beautiful if it had little SD sprites? The Garden taking off would've been more suprising if it was a flat picture on a flat world map with three animations? The Lunar Cry could have inspired more dread if it was a red line heading towards the planet like the shot of the earth in FF6 after Kefka moves the statues?

And for those of you who don't like the game. You would of course, not see the dance scene beautiful, etc. in the first place. But if it WAS made with SD sprites, or if the Garden moving was a flat picture and so on, would you have liked it more? You wouldn't have, would you? What's my point? Saying that FMV and good graphics ruin the story is not a valid argument.

Finally, there's the argument of FMV replacing gameplay. This is sometimes a contradiction because some people who say this also say that FMV takes away from the story. You just said there's not enough story! For those that only say FMV takes away gameplay, I fail to see how. Let's take the dance scene again. Let's say it wasn't an FMV sequence. You still wouldn't be "playing," at the most you'd have control over when dialog boxes close. If there's FMV during something that COULD be played, what would you get instead? Another five minutes of running and random battles. We're sure missing out on a lot, aren't we?

"The soundtrack is horrible."

Every time I hear this, I hear the same example sighted; the overworld music. YES! We know already! I hate it too! But what about Liberi Fatali? Eyes on Me? Man with the Machine Gun? Force your way? The Landing (demo or final?) A Premonition? This is always used to further justify one's negative opinion of the game. It's always just a passing comment, it's never made into a big deal. Just one more little bad thing to point out and blow out of proportion. The overworld music is always the example because it's a surefire bet that anyone who listens to you hates it too.

"Ultimecia has no/very little character."

This is the worst of them all, so much so it's pathetic. Thankfully it also seems to be the least common. Why is this so bad? Because it's the only one on this list that can be backed up. Ultimecia's only character comes from her actions in Galbadia while she possesses Edea. But every time it's used to reinforce a negative view of the game, it's just "blah blah blah Ultimecia has no character yada yada yada." And that's why it's the most pathetic, because even the one argument that can be backed up never is.

What's my point in all of this? Simple.

As the saying goes, put up or shut up. I can assure anyone who says that FF8 sucks that you are not taken seriously because you don't back up your points. Of course that may change by the time this does/if it does get posted. There might actully be someone with legitimate arguments by that time. But one thing's for sure, there isn't any now. Two clarifications. One, I love FF6 and 7. I'm saying this now because some might interpret my comparing of FF8 to them as saying I don't like them. Two, this is not based solely on FF8 criticisms seen at the RPGamer perspectives section.

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