As I played throught Final Fantasy VIII a few weeks ago, I found that I didn't like it very much. The love story didn't appeal to me (no, not all girls are fond of stuff like that), Squall was an interesting character, but he changed far too rapidly to be realistic, and the plot was simply not epic enough to keep my attention. I still finished it though, and then I started thinking. Was this really a Final Fantasy game? Apart from Cid and the Chocobos (and a slight remark about Moogles), what's the Final Fantasy in it?
So, I started comparing Final Fantasy VIII to the rest of the series. Then I realized that, unbelievably enough, it is very similar to the original Final Fantasy from 1987!
In both games, the first part of the game consists of independent missions that have hardly anything to do with the greater plot. In Final Fantasy I, you save a princess from a kidnapper, you free a port town from a bunch of pirates, save an Elf Prince from a sleep spell, etc. In Final Fantasy VIII you go on the Fire Cave test, and then on various SeeD missions.
In both games, battles are slooow. In FF1, even an easy fight could take forever because the characters moved and attacked so slowly. In FF8, even an easy battle could take forever because of the long GF summons that are neccessary for a large part of the game.
Neither of the games use MP. Although the magic systems are still very different, I find it amusing that people complain on the lack of MP in FF8, when there was none in the first game!
Both games have great endings that really raise my opinions on them. Also, both endings have to do with time paradoxes. In fact, the ending of FF1 is stunning for its time, and so is the ending of FF8. If I were to replay either of the games, it would be only to see the great endings.
Although I know that the differences between these games by far outweigh the similarities, the similarities are there. As a side note, I didn't play FF1 when I was a little kid; I played it for the first time in October 1999, and when I played FF8 just a short time later, it invoked the same feeling of a half-dull and slow game, with a great ending as FF1 did.