Recently on Facebook, I mentioned downloading the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII, and a college friend of mine on Facebook retorted with a “too bad FF8 sucked” comment. Here was my reply, which I think pretty much sums of the core ideas of VII and VIII fairly well. Please note: I absolutely adore Final Fantasies VII, VIII and X. VII and VIII are tied in terms of my affection for them, though given the descriptions below, from a purely story-focused viewpoint, VIII wins hands down. I think I’d love VI, too, if I could ever play it all the way through. IX and XIII are good too, but not in the same league as the others.
Spoilers ahead. Duh.
Come on now, what’s not to like in a story involving a sorceress who can jump through time, a thrilling fight in outer space with your girlfriend who’s become possessed by said empress, a school that turns out to be a giant roving military behemoth (within which you’ll find a civil war), an amnesia-inducing magical necessity, and gorgeous cutscenes? And oh yeah: GUNBLADES!
Meanwhile, FFVII features a hero who lies to everyone (including himself) about his past, his real back story apparently being so loserly as to force him to claim his comrade Jack’s accomplishments as his own, who’s so stupid that even after he finds out that his teammate is a traitor who put the entire world at risk, he continues to allow him to be part of the team anyway, and who himself can be transformed into a helpless robot to do the whim of his enemies at any moment they choose.
I mean, I love both VII and VIII equally, but come on, how can you not love FFVIII? Sure, the amnesia-GF oh-hey-guys-I-just-remembered-we-were-all-kids-together-throughout-our-entire-childhood thing is kinda lame, but are you gonna tell me that Cloud making up his entire life because his real story is that he’s just a lonely, sad experiment gone wrong isn’t lamer?