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Final Fantasy VII

Traditional RPG
Final Fantasy
  • September 7, 1997
  • October 2, 1997
  • November 4, 1997
A 343 total ratings
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Starting the wave of RPG's

A Final Fantasy VII review Author: alrightya Published: October 27, 2003
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This is the title that opened the door for RPG's in America. Not many RPG's were seeing the light of day in America prior to FFVII. Japan has always had an abundance of RPG's, but the States were always getting left out. Then came FFVII, the fourth installmant of the popular Final Fantasy series to come stateside(we didn't receive II or V until they were released on PSX, and have still never received III). Since then, America has had an often over-abundance of RPG's (both good, and unfortunatley, mostly sub-par) arriving on store shelves. Final Fantasy VII is a true masterpiece and perfect title to start the wave of RPG's coming stateside.
First the gameplay, the most important aspect of any game there is. Battling is one of the most important parts of any RPG, this game is no different. You spend a large amount of time battling, most importantly so you can gain experience and level up. The battles are one of the best aspects of this game, and for me, one of the worst. Over time you grow frustrated with all the random battles you encounter. I am not a huge fan of random battles, I prefer systems like Chrono Cross and Lunar, where you can see the monsters on screen and they don't just pop out of thin air.
The battles are your active-time so as soon as a character's gauge fills up, that character is free to attack. One unique feature is the Materia system where by equipping certain materia, you can learn magic spells that anyone can use with that certain Materia equipped. Cloud can power up a fire spell by earning experience with his Materia, then Tifa can use that spell by equipping it herself. It is not the best system for spells, I preferred FFVI where each individual character had to earn their spells. The Materia system makes it too easy because any character can use any magic as long as one character builds it up. Another system is the limit breaks, take enough damage and you can unleash a mighty attack on your foe or foes. It is a great feature, and trying to gain all the limit breaks is a fun quest in itself. The summons are common to any Final Fantasy, and in VII, they are beautifully animated, just extremely long and you can't skip the animation no matter how often you summon a beast.
Aside from battles and wandering the world-map, FFVII has an abundace of side-quests and mini-games. There are playable characters that you will find, and a couple characters that you can find but aren't mandatory to beat the game. Still, you know you will want to find them. There is the Gold Saucer, which is where I spent countless hours playing mini-games. You'll box, arm-wrestle, engage in submarine warfare, and a few other fun games as well. There are many sidequests like breeding chocobos, where you'll see what kind you can breed. Other than the sometimes tedious random battles, the gameplay of FFVII is perfect.
You start off as Cloud, an ex-soldier working for a rebel group known as Avalanche, lead by Barret. Right from the start, the story takes off. You are on your first (and what Cloud thinks will be his last) mission with Avalanche. You are infiltrating a MAKO reactor run by the Shinra corporation(the company that is sucking MAKO energy from the world, MAKO energy is what keeps the planet alive). You are introduced to Barret and also introduced to the battle system while on this mission. You will battle soldiers and monsters until you get to the depths of the reactor, plant a bomb, and get out before it detonates.
From there the plot twists as you stay working with Barret and Tifa(your new character and an old friend). You will encounter a few plot twists and a very unexpected surprise(only a surprise unless you waited to long to play the game, and already heard what happens) as tragedy will strike your party late in the game. During your adventure you will meet and battle, both with and against, a character named Sephiroth, who you will discover has a certain history with Shinra as well as your character, that is something you will have to discover on your own.
The characters in this game are all unique in there own ways, and Squaresoft took the time to develop almost all of them enough that we could feel we knew who they were and what type of people they were. I would have liked a little more development on Red and Vincent, but they aren't part of the main plot, so it's understandably that we don't hear that much about them. The character with the most story and development, other than cloud, is the evil Sephiroth. One of the greatest villians ever, along with Kefka of FFVI and Psycho Mantis of Metal Gear Solid, come on, with Mantis you had to switch control ports to have a chance, very memorable battle.
At it's time it was one of the greatest plots ever in a video game, topped only by it's predecessor, FFVI, and the masterpiece Chrono Trigger. It still is one of the greatest stories you'll ever witness, which is a true testiment to the greatness of this game.
This is what got people talking about the game in the first place. At it's release, FFVII was the best looking game ever released on any platform. It was second-to-none. After turning the game on you will instantly see why it would not have worked as a N64 title, which was what people expected it to be before Squaresoft converted to Sony's Playstation. The character designs were magnificent at the time, and although some might disagree, I still like the graphics and believe they have stood the test of time.
The world is highly detailed and colorful. Squaresoft did a perfect job when creating the look of the game. The summons are beautiful, although long and tedious. The cities are nice enough to wander through and look at the sites. Some character animations during battle are awe-inspiring and the FMV sequences are jaw-dropping.
The scene with Sephiroth walking through the fire, which is depicted in the instruction manual, left me completely breathless and a certain tragic scene almost brought tears to my eyes. The graphics are perfect. They may not be as good as FFX, but for their time there was no competition in this field.
Absolutely stunning. Nobuo Uematsu is the greatest video game composer of all time. From when you first turn the game on and hear the prelude, then start and hear the main theme, you know Final Fantasy music, as well as video game music, has changed forever. Not a single moment, other than the repeated battle theme playing during almost every battle, did i feel the music was repetitive or out of place. Outstanding job Mr. Uematsu, I applaud you on this masterpiece.
The great warrior, the cosmo canyon theme, is a brilliant piece representing the great Seto. Aeris' theme is beautiful and well deserving to be the theme of one of the most beloved characters ever. One-Winged Angel, the final boss music, is by far one of the best pieces, alongside Terra, the overworld, and Aria De Mezzo Caraterre, the opera song, both from FFVI, you will ever hear in a game. It is the first song that comes to mind when I think of the music. A fitting song to such a great battle.
Except for the repetive and over-used battle music, the soundtrack is flawless, absolutely brilliant and powerful.
Replay Value
It is a rather long game, but you WILL be back again. I've gone back time and time again to make sure I've found everything, all the materia, all the secret items and battles, and the ever secret video featuring Zach of soldier(play the game to find out who he is). It is a game you cannot play just once and put away. You will come back, maybe not soon after, but it is inevitable, you will be back for a second round of FFVII.
The only flaw I had with the game was the overabundance of random battles. It could get quite tedious after awhile. But every other aspect of the game far outweighs it's one-single flaw. And besides, who wouldn't love a game with the world-famous Chocobos in it.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "One of the greatest games ever, and worthy of all the praise it has received."
A dotted line Average Reader Score (Based on 343 ratings) | Rate it Now
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Vapid Buttmunch
Member since October 27, 2003
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