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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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The Turning Point of the Genre

A Final Fantasy VII review Author: Wiegraf Published: February 07, 2005
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Final Fantasy VII is not the greatest game ever made. It has its share of flaws, even. However, it is quite possibly the most important RPG ever for how it opened up the genre to a whole new audience that may have never experienced it. The years before FFVII were populated with many classic RPG's (earlier FF's, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, the Dragon Warrior series, etc.) but compared to most other games of the day, they were cult classics--even though the cults may have numbered in the millions.
Then came September 1997. The long-awaited 7th incarnation of video gaming's most beloved series arrived in the hands of gamers all around the United States. What they experienced turned the genre of "Role-playing game" away from its nerdy stereotype and made it into a genre for all people to play and love. Enough background on what the game meant. Let's get to the meat and potatoes of it. Final Fantasy VII revolves around the story of Cloud, a mercenary whose past is uncertain. He now fights on the side of AVALANCHE, a resistance group who seeks to end the tyrannical advances of the Shinra corporation. Shinra uses special reactors to suck cheap energy out of the planet, which is known as Mako. This energy is far more important than just power, however--it is the lifeblood of the planet, and its removal will eventually destroy it. Because of this, Shinra now seeks the wisdom of a group of people known as the 'Ancients'. These people are said to know the location of a so-called "Promised Land" where Shinra could move and use its reactor to suck out even more Mako energy. This barely scratches the surface of FFVII's plot, but suffice to say, it is very deep and quite entertaining to watch.
However, this isn't a plot analysis, its a review, so let me start looking at the nuts and bolts of things. Graphically, the game was a revolution when it first came out, with its pre-rendered backgrounds and CG sequences, which FFVII popularized the use of in other RPG's (such as later FF's and Chrono Cross). Obviously, the CG animations and super-deformed characters appear dated now, but trying to knock a game (especially an RPG) for graphical concerns is not something that I want to do, nor do I feel would be necessary.
Soundwise, this is an easy thing to score. Uematsu is a master, and he shows his skill on the soundtrack. There are plenty of great songs to choose from, foremost of which being the end battle theme, "One Winged Angel". The sounds are well selected and set the game's differing moods well. Thus, high marks here as well.
So, now let me get to the parts of FFVII that I didn't enjoy as much. One flaw that seems to plague many RPG's is the feeling that even though you are (apparently) the only people who can save the world, your hand is still held in places and you are shown exactly what will happen instead of finding it out for yourself. This is of course needed at parts, in order to keep the story from getting confusing, but it happened a little too much for my tastes. For example, why is it that after you kill thousands of enemies without batting an eye, you suddenly get captured by one or two Turks? (Maybe I'm just splitting hairs, but I have ALWAYS hated that in RPG's, and it gets annoying fast).
As I said though, Final Fantasy VII is simply one of the most amazing RPG experiences I have ever played. The effect it had on the genre and the series is incalcuable, despite its flaws (i.e., it's hand-holding nature and somewhat cliche character traits). If you haven't yet played it, go to your nearest game store with around twenty dollars. Buy it. Sit down. Enjoy.
You can thank me later.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "Quite Possibly the greatest game ever made? That statement isn't too far off."
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