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Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII continued the trend of FFVII by naming the games based on their Japanese names(by that, I mean that FFVII was actually called FF7, instead of FF4, because it came after VI, or 3).  FFVIII did many things for the RPG genre.  It revolutionized the graphics and further pushed the PlayStation's power to its limit.  It also had extremely high quality FMV's that surpassed even those present in FFVII.

Final Fantasy VII introduced a totally new system that was never used in any RPG ever.  It was the Junction system, which totally changed the gameplay.  Gaining experience from endlessly fighting monsters was no longer necessary, as enemies and bosses were always the same level as you, destroying the necessity to level up.  Equipping new weapons was simplified so that it became simply a matter of getting money and materials, and weapons did not have any special properties(like Flame Sabre).  Armor was completely removed.

The battle system was renovated a bit.  Animations for summon monsters(or GF's) were lengthened and much more detailed, perhaps for better or worse(most people think it's for worse, since the animations are so long).  The Junctioning system basically allowed you to junction magic spells to a character's stats.  For example, if you wanted a certain character to be a good magic user, then you would junction powerful magic spells to his/her magic parameter.  If you wanted them to be a good physical attacker, you junctioned powerful spells to the attack parameter.  This totally eliminated the uniqueness of characters, as the only difference between FFVIII's 6 characters was their type of weapon and their limit breaks.

The soundtrack to Final Fantasy VIII was also a bit of a departure, providing more of a sci-fi feel to it, in contrast to the medieval mood of earlier FF's and the technological tone in FFVII's.  Still beautiful as ever, Uematsu delivers in the beautiful, haunting, and cool FFVIII soundtrack.

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