Third time’s a charm, right?

I’ve started and given up on Final Fantasy VIII twice now. Why? And why am I going to try to play it again?

I loved Final Fantasy 7 (dispensing with the roman numerals here before it gets confusing) right off the bat. It had interesting characters and a cool setting and a story that interested me. And it looked great at the time. When I heard that FF8 was coming I was excited. The day I bought it, I raced home and shoved it in my PlayStation and an hour later I was bewildered.

While Cloud was annoying at times, Squall was downright rude and unlikable. The characters were teenage students, not resistance fighters. And the Guardian Force and Junction system were completely impenetrable to me. In retrospect, I was unprepared for how different it was compared to FF7. And I resisted FF8 and really didn’t give it a chance. I tried it again a year or so later and had a similar problem and shelved the game.

Yet I kept reading about FF8 and what a great game it was. Articles like this (link) made me think that maybe I was missing something after all:

It can be a bit overwhelming, which is why a lot of gamers initially ignored the system in favor of spamming the summon beasts, each of which were accompanied by overly long, drawn out cinemas. As such, there’s a strange divide – if you fully understand the ins and outs of the system, you can totally break the game; but if you don’t, it becomes obnoxiously difficult.

Still, those who like to micromanage stats and completely beef up the characters — potentially the same kind that would find Final Fantasy V to be paradise — can feel right at home with Junctioning. So ignore the sloppy romance and the trashy love ballad that goes along with it — this is what Final Fantasy VIII should be known for.

So I’m going to give it another go. It’s been long enough since I first played through FF7 and I think I can keep my expectations more neutral now. Plus I’m a lot more seasoned in the RPG genre now so I don’t think I’ll have to be afraid to Junction anymore.