I Remember after finishing Final Fantasy 7 back when I was 12 or so, I was very eager to try the next installment in the series. After purchasing and playing Final Fantasy 8, I was a bit disappointed. I played it for a few hours and never figured out that after completing the SeeD ‘Test’ by defeating Ifrit with Quistis, I had to go back to my room as Squall to change into formal attire to progress the story. I ended up walking around the starting area for HOURS on end killing random encounters. I was like 11 or so at the time, so I didn’t think about searching Google for a guide. I don’t even know if GameFaqs existed back then. I ended up getting so powerful by grinding random encounters that I ended up pwning that one tough T-rex enemy that was supposed to be really difficult. After killing random encounters for like 7 hours in the course of a week I told myself, “This game sucks” and threw Final Fantasy 8 on the shelf.
It was only a year or so later that I decided to give the game another chance. This time I figured out how to advance the story. As the story progressed I became more and more interested in the game. Unfortunately, after being 10 or so hours into the game, Final Fantasy 8 just felt too difficult. I was getting destroyed in random encounters regularly. Boss Fighters felt impossible and I eventually quit the game again. My problem was that I didn’t know how the game’s draw system worked. I had no idea you could ‘equip’ the items obtained through drawing enemies. So I was 10 or so hours into the game and I didn’t equip one item. I obviously didn’t read the tutorials at the beginning. After all, who reads those? I was using my starting sword and not one other item. Come to think of it, it was quite an achievement to get as far as I did in Final Fantasy 8 without ever equipping an item or spell obtained through drawing. So again, Final Fantasy 8 was shelved.
Fast forward 6 years or so and I’m 17 years old. I’ve played Final Fantasy X and loved it. Itching for some more Final Fantasy, I wanted to give Final Fantasy 8 another chance. This time, I was a lot older and more competent. I owned Final Fantasy 8 for the Playstation 1, but wanted to play the game on my PC – so I downloaded an emulator and made a backup of my game and played it there. I did increase the game speed on occasion to make drawing faster, but I didn’t abuse quicksaving or anything like that. It’s remarkable how much easier Final Fantasy 8 is when you actually know how to play the game. Needless to say, I really enjoyed the game. The story was very interesting and everything was put together really well. I enjoyed FFX more, but Final Fantasy 8 is easily one of the most under rated Final Fantasy games ever. I actually liked it more than Final Fantasy 7, but I’m not going to compare the two. Both were great games, but I liked the story in Final Fantasy 8 more.
I couldn’t have been the only one to fail at figuring Final Fantasy 8 out. Was anyone else on the same boat as me? Post your comments below!