Hey peeps. Due to the resounding feedback I received from the article below earlier this week:
I have decided to talk more so about one of my favorite games and how it could have been one of the greatest entries into the franchise. Today I would like to discuss one of the characters within the Final Fantasy 8 universe; Squall Leonhart.
When people think FF8, they think Squall. He is the main protagonist and monster damage dealer of the party. As a character, Squall is a cold-hearted bastard whom frowns upon those who try to share his life. Throughout the course of the game, he suddenly softens up and learns to feel, love, and even smile eventually. The problem is I feel, the previous protagonist was someone who was very similar of these characteristics. That being Cloud Strife (no fanboy-ism coming up btw).
See Cloud was also a cold-hearted bastard. The thing is he had the story behind him being like that. Cloud became cold after receiving mako poisoning and losing his friend via Shin-Ra. Originally as shown by Crisis Core, Cloud was actually a funny guy who enjoyed company. The personality change could be felt and understood. With Squall, he was adopted after losing his parents at a young age. That can’t necessarily be it, as he would have been too young to feel that loss. What reason does Squall have to be angry with everyone? Because Ellone left? Sure that would make you sad, but I don’t feel it is a life and personality changing circumstance. Personally speaking, I think Squall was an attempt at replicating the success of Cloud Strife with a different attitude.
I feel it may have been best that instead of Squall being a cranky bastard, that he could have been someone completely different. All protagonists of the Final Fantasy series bring something unique to the table. Cecil was a Dark Knight with guilt and shame, Terra was the emotionless robot child of a Esper and Human, and even Vaan wanted to fly the skies to live his dreams. Imagine Squall as a quiet, confident leader, who takes great pride in being a hero. A team player who is sarcastic, you truly don’t see him open up his entire person until Rinoa comes into his life. Throw a secret in there into his back story that is a shocker (Laguna being the father should have been this in a huge way, like really frickin’ huge) and I believe you have yourself a brand new original hero.
The love story between Rinoa and Squall is a bizarre one. Rinoa is Seifer’s girlfriend (which never gets told in-depth), and upon meeting Squall, they do not get along. Even when Rinoa is being mauled by the two Iguion’s summoned by Edea (I can’t believe I remembered their names off by heart), Squall doesn’t seem to budge. After the second Edea battle, Rinoa passes out and goes stiff. From that point on, Squall is in love with her and can’t be without her. Is it because a silent woman is a great woman? All sincerity, it made little sense to me. Before the battle, Squall blatantly thinks to himself, “Everyone wants us together, it is so obvious”. A real jab at the relationship if ever. The love story always baffled me. If he had just made love to Quistis at the start, and then got with Rinoa at the end, this may have been the “Squall is a boss” Final Fantasy edition :)
The last thing I will talk about Squall is the way he treats his comrades. Zell is loud, Irvine is a pervert (true though), Selphie is awkward, Quistis wants to rape me, and Rinoa is a b****.. but now I love her. A simple summary of the mind of Squall. You can have this still, yet I feel Squall’s leadership status is so wasted. The party characters in the game were pretty weak in my opinion, and it could have been nice to see Squall talk them up. Example, in the first disc before the Dollet mission, Quistis says your partner will be Zell Dincht. Squall calls him loud and refuses to shake his hand. It might have been a great gesture to have Squall say “Zell. He is loud and weird, but it is really good to have a top fighter on my team”. Something along those lines. Remain quiet and confident, and then when Seifer is announced as the other member, then Squall can have his cold moment as a reflection of their rivalry. Squall in the future shows these heroics (running several floors to save Zell’s life in prison), it is a shame they aren’t exploited more throughout FF8.
In summary, Squall is a very damaging hero, one whom you can always depend on in battle. His characteristics are flawed and his status as protagonist is limited due to the lack of sense made in his back story. His love life is awkward and that is that.
That’s about enough for today. Keep the views coming and I’ll talk more about one of my favorite games another time.
Until then, join us at PTVP for all things entertainment, including more Final Fantasy.