Final Fantasy 7
Final Fantasy VII. The game by which all other RPG's are judged. The game that brought RPG gaming to the mainstream audience. The game which set the standard for modern RPG's. The first RPG that many gamers ever played. Also the first RPG to gain widespread publicity. Great game? Yes. Was it worth all the hype it recieved? All signs point to no.
Anyone who says that Final Fantasy VII was a terrible game is only lying to themselves. It had a thrilling plot, some of the most emotional moments ever to grace a video game screen, and in my opinion, the best villain the gaming world has ever seen. If not for FF7, RPG's would still be a mainly underground genre, and the best games would only be available in Japan. However, FF7 was also the bane of RPG's.
FF7 was the first of the easy RPG's (unless FF Mystic Quest is counted). This game was easier than FF4 easytype and a seasoned (or not so seasoned) gamer could beat the game without dying a single time. Although this made the game accessible to the non-hardcore gamer, it also presented a problem for RPG fanatics. Gone are the days of cursing at the TV or throwing the controller (with the possible exception of when the gamer finds out this is not the Final Fantasy he is used to). The game can easily be completed in 60 hours or less, with the only challenges provided by the Emerald and Ruby WEAPONS, which do not hold a candle to the optional bosses of FF4.
The game is further made easier by the new system, called the materia system. Although confusing at first, the gamer will quickly learn that any character can be made instantly powerful, even the one who was never used. Certain combinations also make the gamer unbeatable, with a certain combination allowing the gamer to walk away from his PSX during the fight against Ruby or Emerald, and when he returns, Cloud being victorious.
However, FF7 is far from a bad game. The plot is definately worthy of the name Final Fantasy. The gamer experiences smaller plots which are perfectly crafted into the larger picture, and although a bit confusing at the outset, soon come together to unfold one of the most beautiful stories in the history of gaming. Cloud's development is wonderful, although he is the only hero whose background is developed well. However, the gamer may be so wrapped up in Cloud's story that he may not even notice. A welcome change is also the development of the villain. Love him or hate him, Sephiroth is almost as developed as Cloud's, and his backstory is every bit as good, if not better. FF7 also has the most emotionally charged moment in a video game, which is further enhanced by the 3-D graphics. Just about everyone already knows what this is, but if you don't, don't spoil it on yourself and skip to the next paragraph. *SPOILER* From the moment Aeris's sad theme begins to play, the gamer sees Sephiroth looming above her, one cannot help but feel the same emotions that Cloud is feeling, as he watches helplessly as she is impaled upon his sword. Granted, Palom and Porom's sacrifice and Celes's attempt at suicide were emotional gaming moments, but somehow this is one time that graphics count, and the heart of the gamer will be touched a bit more with the 3-D atmosphere. Of course, if you're a Sephy fan and Aeris hater like myself, you might find yourself satisfied that Aeris got what she had coming, but the sense of loss will still be there, once you find out that you have one less character to select. *SPOILER*
Musically, FF7 is good, but not wonderful. Although the boss theme is catchy, One-Winged Angel is a beautiful piece, and Aeris's theme is heart-wrenching, FF7 isn't exactly the high point of Uematsu's career. The overworld music is stale, and the character themes, with the exception of Aeris's are not quite as good as the usual. Something that fans of the series may also pick up is the absense of a few notes that begin the battle theme of FF4-FF6. In fact, FF4's boss theme even included these 12 notes. (I believe that FF9 marks the return of the notes, although I haven't played the game yet as of this writing.) Of course this is a minor thing, and only something a nitpicker will find and/or care about, but it is an interesting note.
Replay, of course, is lacking, although there are several sidequests to increase the length of the game. Chocobo breeding can be time consuming and monotonous, although essential for a certain something (it's powerful!) in the game. Some of the harder to obtain items and materia also make the game even easier, although they do add a little length. It's not like the gamer will care to see the ending again though. Be warned, the ending is rushed and feels incomplete. FF7.5 anyone?
Graphically, FF7 is good, but not outstanding. It's another love or hate situation. Props to FF7 for being the first 3-D Final Fantasy. However, polygons mean the loss of artwork. Fans of realistic looking characters have something to be happy about. Although the characters appear SD during most of the gameplay, realistic characters appear during FMV cinemas and battle screens. Nomura fans rejoice. Eyes no longer take up 3/4 of the face. However, being an Amano fan, there was just something about the graphics that didn't impress me as much as they did everyone else. Still, FF7 is graphically leaps and bounds ahead of FF6, but one must remember, it's also on a console twice as powerful.
In conclusion, if you haven't already played FF7, it's worth a try. It's also that great introduction RPG for the gamer who's been afraid to play anything that doesn't say "Mario," "Sonic," or "Crash Bandicoot" on it. The RPG fan may be turned off a bit by the ease of gameplay, but the thrilling plot will force him to continue playing.
Replay Value: 7.0
Reviewer's Tilt: 9.5
Dark Mistress' Reviews
Final Fantasy 7 Reviews
This Page © Copyright 1997, Brian Work. All rights reserved. Thanks to Sax for his help with the layout. Do not take anything from this page without my consent. If you wish to contact an author, artist, reviewer, or any other contributor to the site, their email address can be found on their index page. This site is link-free, meaning you don't need to ask me if you'd like to link to it. Best viewed in 1024x768.