Setting and Background
The game is set in an unnamed world with a fictional and unique world map. The map is split into different areas each playing a central part in the plot. The significant areas in the game are Balamb, Galbadia,Trabia,Centra and Esthar with many smaller cities within them.
Balamb is a remote area though notably contains Balamb Garden and is the opening setting of the game, and one which players must frequently return to. Galbadia is a larger area on the west of the map and possesses a large and powerful military forces as well as another of the three Gardens. Trabia, on the north of the map, contains the third of the Gardens.Centra, the southern area of the map is a large though mostly deserted area. Esthar is the largest area, though it is inaccessible for a large portion of the story, and is a well guarded and futuristic area.
What starts off as an average military assignment opens the door to a much greater threat, a sorceress bent on domination. Squall and his friends will have to confront secrets of the past, present and even the future to tackle this threat, though it is far greater than they could predict. After a long period of peace, forces of the Galbadian army begin to invade neighbouring areas, seemingly unprovoked, forcing Squall and his comrades into battle.
Main Article: Plot (FFVIII)
The game focuses on Squall Leonhart and his fellow SeeD as they undertake their first mission to assist a small anti-government resistance group. During this time they discover that a mysterious sorceress is behind the recent hostility and battles initiated by Galbadia. After being hired to assassinate the sorceress, the characters discover there is much more behind the recent developments than they could have imagined. They are then forced to track down the Sorceress who is not only seeking to destroy the Gardens, but is also invading local cities. The party take it on themselves to defeat the Sorceress but then learn that she is only a vessel for a far greater threat.
Throughout this time Squall,Irvine,Selphie,Quistis and Zell experience mysterious dreams about a man named Laguna Loire.
Final Fantasy VIII takes place on an overworld map, where you guide the character with the control stick. Doors, entrances, etc, will transfer you to a different overworld map.
Gaining magic is the most notable change from previous titles. Instead of gaining experience and learning new spells yourself, you must "draw" your magic and spells from enemies and "draw-points".
Summon monsters are also back, but this time they are called "Guardian Forces". These Guardian Forces can gain Ability points to learn abilities. Each GF has unique abilities.
You are also able to Junction magic and GFs to raise your stats significantly. This is a very important part of the game, and those who make use of it tend to fare best.
 Battle System
As with all Final Fantasy games, combat takes place separately from the game map. Fights are triggered either randomly, in some areas, or as a story event (boss fights, etc.)
Combat is carried out by selecting commands for the characters to carry out. Commands can be selected when an ATB bar has filled to the maximum. ATB bars fill at different speed, depending on the character. After a command has been carried out, the ATB bar empties, and begins to refill.
Combat ends when all enemies have been defeated. Enemies are felled when their HP reaches 0. Hit Points are lost when the target is hit with attacks, with different attacks taking away different amounts of HP.
After victory, items and experience are received. If you lose the battle, (when all three characters are Koed, in much the same manner that enemies are defeated) then you are forced to continue from your last save.
- Squall Leonhart - a talented, newly qualified, young SeeD drawn into a strange and mysterious world along with his friends and comrades
- Rinoa Heartilly - a spirited young resistance leader.
- Zell Dincht - a martial arts specialist
- Quistis Trepe - a Garden Instructor
- Irvine Kinneas - a smooth talking sharp-shooter
- Selphie Tilmitt - a spunky young cadet
See Also: Characters of Final Fantasy VIII
 Additional Information
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As in all Final Fantasy games, the in-game music is well-crafted and adds perfectly to the mood of the game. FFVIII was the first Final Fantasy game to feature songs with lyrics rather than just instrumentals, as well as the first Final Fantasy game to include music with a full choral accompaniment (Liberi Fatali).
See Also: Songs (FFVIII)