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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 Seventh Saga: An Overview

A Final Fantasy VII review Author: Ziyad Published: October 19, 2002
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Ladies and Gents, this is the one that started it all. Posterior to this gem, a swarm of RPG titles exploded onto multiple platforms (mostly on the PSX) creating the boom we RPG freaks had been waiting for. My take on how it happened: Some Square intern was standing around during his coffee break, contemplating the dancing ability of Mog, when an angry coworker violently opened a cupboard next to him, which in turn hit his head, knocked him out, and caused him to have violent seizures. When he came back to reality, an inspirational thought came into his head: Mog was really an extraterrestrial whose antenna gave him the ability to listen to music wherever he was located, therefore allowing him to keep his beat. Fortunately for us, his speech was so slurred that others thought he was wondering whether it was possible to put Final Fantasy on a Compact Disk and the rest, as we say, is history.
But while critics debate this theory, we have more important matters, such as the game itself. No matter how it happened, it happened, and the truth must be heard! And the truth, my friends, is as follows:
Graphics: For its time, Final Fantasy VII was revolutionary. Amazing pre-rendered backgrounds were used, involving intricate details never before permitable in a Final Fantasy game. Locales ranging from the hi-tech Midgar to the eerie Mount Nibel all seem lifelike, enhance the experience brought about by the storyline. Unfortunately, 3D rendering suffers inexplicably. While characters somewhat look like people, they tend to be those super-deformed sprites we've come to love. Frankly, I find it more difficult to relate to someone with a square for a hand. As for CG, it is incorporated seamlessly and still looks tantalizing enough to excite the nerves, such as the lustrous opening scene, depicting Midair's look perfectly, even by today's standards. Battle graphics are very nice, especially the characters, who look human in battle, and actually capable of wielding their weapons.
Storyline: If there is only one word to describe FF VII's story, it's "Whoa." Right from the start, the game wastes no time in bringing you into the city of Midgar and throwing you into the action, introducing key characters and concepts in the process. Our main character, ex-SOLDIER Cloud Strife, has joined up with Avalanche, a radical group which opposes Shinra, a fiendish company with drains Mako energy from the planet and runs Midgar with an iron fist (okay, maybe just the president). While at first enigmatic, Cloud eventually tells about his past, which includes a short story about Sephiroth, a Shinra war hero, and our story's villan. Personally, I think this is one of the best executed villans of all time, always there, but never reachable. Though for the most part linear, this story is engrossing enough to make you want to take it out 5 years later (like me) and play it again, just so you can watch ::spoiler::. Okay, so I never liked her.
Characters: Alas, so much, but not enough. Cloud, being the main character, is fully developed, completely 3D, believable and convincing. As is Aeris, the flower girl, who takes a major part in the story, and Tifa, the.....uh....bartender. They all have their relationships which intertwine (some say in a love triangle) and allow gamers to empathize with them. Others, such as Cid Highwind, are memorable only because of the sheer number of four letter words used in a single sentence. Small problems occur after most of the characters reach the emotional pinnacle of their conflicts, "trials" I call them, and from then on, seem to become dead weights. The best example of this is Barret Wallace, the former leader of Avalanche, who seems to be a vital part of the story until the player reaches a single point, and then his usefulness has seemed to run out, save a rude interjection or two. And in such a game of vivid characters, its a shame Square didn't have the time to develop all of them, namely Vincent Valentine (oh, dear God, why Vincent!?)
Gameplay: Typical; but the good kind of typical. It stays smooth nearly all throughout the game, with almost no backtracking (except a sidequest or two) and a great variety. Admittedly, it is annoying when you're about to face a major boss or confront a major part of the story, only to take a step forward and find yourself facing monsters which you could take out in your sleep (if you happened to pass out on the x-button.) This does not detract from other events such as the entire Gold Saucer area (a giant amusement park) which sits purely for the gamer's entertainment and how can anyone forget breeding your very own Chocobos (a.k.a. playing God) to cross rivers and mountains, and reach faraway places. And let's not forget a motorcycle chase and a submarine battle to boot. Simply put, it's all good.
Battle System: The battle system is truly FF VII's high and low point at the same time. Following the standard turn-based ATB battles, a new concept is added: Materia. Your weapons and armor (which you buy, as usual) contain slots in them, in which one can deposit materia, which is concentrated Mako energy in a ball, and contains magical properties. For example, by allocating Fire materia to your weapon, you'll be able to use Fire on your enemies. At first simple, but potentially complex. Combos may go as high as casting the most powerful spell in the game eight times when you die, reviving yourself, and gaining back all of your HP and MP in the process. While revolutionary, it takes away some of the "specialness" from your characters which was available in FF III (VI), making members of your party to be exactly identical.
Music/sound: Nobou Uematsu does it again! Music ranges from the ominous Sephiroth's theme to the upbeat music of Gold Saucer, and even all the way to the opera style vocals of "One Winged Angel" (Italian choir, Japanese singers...heh,heh.) As usual, the battle theme does wear out after a while, but you'll miss the boss theme when you're done. If you can get it orchestrated, get it. It's absolutely wonderful. For, as you know, Final Fantasy would not be where it is today without music; instead, we'd have a wonderful silent movie.
Comments/Final Thoughts:
After playing the game several times, I am beginning to wish the programmers included some more variety in land on the world map. Not everything is a combination of gray and green. Additionally, a "skip summon animation" feature would have been wonderful. Yes, Knights of the Round looks flashy, but when I'm casting four times in a row, once is enough.
And while I may be gripping needlessly, many plot holes were left open; especially ones that would be better closed. The story is amazing, yes, but when you've got that "run that by me again" feeling, its better when important information isn't missing.
Now I'm not saying I don't absolutely love the game, but its easier to point out the bad than the good. But don't miss this gem. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm about to get Yuffie in my party.......d'oh.....I used the save point.
Overall Score (a percentage): 90%
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