Often considered a divisive entry in the series, Final Fantasy VIII is the second main series entry released on the original Playstation. It follows the tale of Squall and his fellow child-soldier students of war as they do battle with opposing countries and an all-powerful sorceress.
Final Fantasy VIII is the first and only game in the franchise to feature the Draw and Junction system for magic. Designed to add an additional element of strategy and character customisation, this is the most common point of contention between fans of the game and those who do not like it.
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When Final Fantasy VIII first came out, I was one of the seemingly small number of people who enjoyed the change from Final Fantasy VII. Perhaps that was because FF7 wasn't my first experience of the franchise so I have already seen changes between the games. Either way, I actually enjoyed FF8 a lot (more than I did FF7, controversially).
However, that was two decades ago and I've played through a great many other RPGs since then...
Yet, you know what? Nothing changed for me when I came bacl to Final Fantasy VIII for the streams. Playing through it again, I instantly felt at home with the Junction system, able to customise my party the way I wanted them. On top of that, by using the Card Game and refining systems, I was able to get high level magic for Junctioning whilst also get a hold of Squall's ultimate weapon on Disc 1!
Yes, you can break the gameplay in Final Fantasy VIII by correctly utilising the Junction system. Yes, the game discourages you from using Magic all the time. And yes, the summons aren't that important if you build your characters well. But, you know what? I like that about the game.
Final Fantasy VIII doesn't feel like a typical JRPG due to all this. Plus, it actually feels like you are being actively rewarded for understanding how the game works!
So, having played through it again on stream, I can still say with complete certainty that I prefer Final Fantasy VIII to Final Fantasy VII, at least until the FF7 Remake comes out.