Final Fantasy VIII – Eyes on Me

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Decided to go ahead and beat the game.

I went into the final encounter completely half-cocked and uneducated and got punished pretty severely for it. Luckily, horrible handicaps aside, I was able to pull out a win despite being short one party member, not having access to limit breaks, missing half of my magics, only having the Magic command on one character, and effectively having Squall’s weapon broken. Yay?

Full thoughts in the review!

Final Fantasy VIII – Final Preparations

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Wrapped up getting ultimate weapons, GF’s, magics and did some level grinding.

Not a lot to report on. I spent a few hours collecting everyone’s ultimate weapons, finishing my GF collections which involved fighting FF8’s take on Ruby Weapon, and getting everyone’s best junction setup.

The final grind was actually pretty fun, though I can’t help but still feel punished for not spending more time with Triple Triad.

Final Fantasy VIII – Lovers in a Dangerous Space-Time

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Discovered the secret city of Esthar, went to space, got an airship.

The more I play this game the more I like it, and the story just keeps me coming back. The space sequence reminded me a lot of the bit in Final Fantasy VII, only it was much better, very cool.

It’s at this point where I started realizing that Final Fantasy 8 is very much a proto Final Fantasy X. Maybe my feelings will change when I actually play that game again, but right now I’m drawing a lot of parallels. FF8 is Final Fantasy’s first out and out love story with FFX being the next game to follow that, and the general themes and and feelings of both games are very similar.

Final Fantasy VIII – Dueling & Dragons

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Got a lot more backstory on some of the major characters, and played through another Laguna sequence. Spent a long while drawing Meteor magic off a Ruby Dragon.

Not much time to play tonight, but still feel somewhat accomplished. At this point I’m getting ready to dive into a pretty meaty chunk of the game, and don’t imagine I’ll be playing it that much long now! The issues I’ve states I have with Final Fantasy 8 still remain, but I still keep finding reasons to move forward and have a good time with it!

Final Fantasy VIII – Hanging Gardens

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Completed the battle of the Gardens scenario and picked up a couple new GF’s along the way.

There’s a lot of back and forth between fun and tedious right now. I’m ready for this game to end, to be honest, but having come this far I definitely want to see it to completion. There’s been a ton of fun set pieces over the last few days, especially tonight, but all in all I can feel the game wearing on me. In any case, I’m excited to get through Disc 3!

Final Fantasy VIII – When Hogs Fly

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Grinding some more on Cactuars (ouch…) until all my GFs were maxed out, didn’t take long at all. Reunited Selphie with her Garden and learned a lot about the characters’ pasts. Prepared to intercept flying motorcycles.

Back to having a good time with Final Fantasy 8! Lots of character insight this playthrough and a reasonable enough explanation as to how things ended up the way they did. I’m genuinely excited to see how things play out from here, but for now I’m smack in the middle of the aerial Garden battle, which is freaking rad!

Not to say everything’s gunpowder and roses now, though, as I’m finding myself increasingly frustrated with some of the game’s systems. This would normally be fine, except I can’t help but feel like I’m being punished for not actively engaging in Triple Triad and Card Modding anymore, and the Draw system is really wearing me out…

Final Fantasy VIII – Hey, Again!

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Went on a date with best girl Rinoa, killed my Tomberries than I care to admit, and kicked the crap out of Raijin and Fujin while still finding myself unable to roll either of them on either of my Puzzle & Dragons accounts… Also went Cactuar hunting!

I could spend hours ranting about Squall’s character development, but I’m going to save it for the actual review. Long story short, it’s extremely tiresome. Luckily, the same can’t be said for anyone else in the game, and I’m having a great time watching these characters all grow throughout the story!

I somehow managed to screw up the Occupied Balamb quest and had to restart from an earlier save after wandering around wasting a good hour or so of playtime, but was eventually able to get through it. Now I’m back to AP grinding but with the huge returns from Cactuars I don’t see myself doing it for much longer. Disc 3, here I come!

Final Fantasy VIII – Castles in the Sky

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After rescuing our fearless leader, escaping an underground prison, blowing up a missile base, and defeating evil secret Ballchinian benefactor of Garden… we made a military academy fly.

I have to say, Garden is probably the worst vehicle to control in all of Final Fantasy, but it does what it needs to do. Having my pseudo-airship has opened up a lot of sidequests to me, but unless they reward a GF or Ultima magic, I’m ignoring them. The pace definitely seems to have picked up, and I really did have a pretty good time tonight!

Final Fantasy VIII – Sorceress Supreme

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Got my sharpshooter and embarked on a mission to either assassinate the evil sorceress, Edea, or die trying! Died. Inserted Disc 2!

Finally got to sit in for a proper play session! I’ve officially decided to stop actively playing cards and farming items, unless they can be gotten relatively easy, and instead am focusing on developing my GF and junctions, and moving the story forward. So far so good, but honestly I’m getting to “that” point with this game. I don’t want to give it up, so I’m going to keep pushing, hoping that things pick up from Disc 2.

One excellent change from FF7 is how seamlessly and frequently the game switches to and from pre-rendered CG scenes, making major events feel much more organic and enjoyable. As for the events so far, it’s a lot trippier than I remember, with Edea being a legitimately chilling figure. I don’t remember FF8’s story at all from this point, so I’m interested to see where it goes from here!