As its name suggests, Final Fantasy VIII is the eighth game belonging to the ever growing series of Final Fantasy games. In 1999 Final Fantasy VIII was launched on both Playstation and Windows PC. Ten years after its original release, the game was distributed over the Playstation Network as a part of the PSOne Classics collection.
Back in 1999, Final Fantasy VIII sold fast: after the game was put on the Japanese market, more than 3.3 copies were sold. A similar scenario happened in the USA; only thirteen weeks after its release, the game had grossed more than $50 million and its success continued, making it one of the best-selling games in the entire Final Fantasy saga. As of March 31, 2003 8.15 million copies had been sold world-wide; with 3.7 million only in Japan and 4.45 million overseas.
Numbers aside, Final Fantasy VIII also received many positive reviews after its release to the public. Many praised its graphics, the storyline and the characters although there were also complaints regarding certain elements of the game. The Junction System, one of the innovations introduced in the gameplay, was considered by some too complicated. Others instead, thought that certain aspects of the story weren’t explained very well leaving the players a bit confused. Despite these faults, Final Fantasy VIII remains a great game. As the reviewers at Gamasutra wrote, the positive points outnumber the negative ones and many novelties are definitely an interesting modification of traditional RPG elements:
There are so many JRPG conventions that Square deliciously twists that it’s almost like relearning how to approach the genre. […] (The Junction system) completely shatters the concept of RPG equipment, which has only occasionally veered beyond the “go to new town, buy new stuff, sell old stuff” pattern. […] Magic use has also been completely reimagined. Since the original Final Fantasy, we’ve been taught to conserve magic […] yet magic is everywhere in Final Fantasy VIII — all you need to do it is draw from any enemy creature. […] Similarly, RPGs have always been trying to seek a balance between magic and power. Fighters have always been more powerful than magicians. Using magic in Final Fantasy VIII will weaken whatever statistics that spell is Junctioned too, again forcing you to be aware of how to formulate your strategy. It’s the same concept as before, just done in a completely different manner. This is one area that Final Fantasy has always specialized in — keeping mechanics familiar yet overturning them in new and crazy ways 1.
IGN also praised VIII, placing it at place number 7 in their list of Playstation 1’s best titles…even before the more popular Final Fantasy VII 2. The game review, aside from pinpointing some minor problems, was in general very positive concluding that:
[…] there’s no denying that in many ways Final Fantasy VIII is another high water mark for console RPGs. Certainly, no other game (on PlayStation at least) has ever looked this beautiful, or contained such a sheer volume of places to explore and secrets to ferret out. It also boasts about the trippiest ending sequence ever in the history of videogames, and that alone pretty much makes it worthwhile 3.