When a group of rebellions strike the Shinra Company, they are thrown into a race to save the world from certain destruction. They have no idea of the evil hiding in the shadows, or what he is capable of doing. And what transpires is beyond anyones imagining. Love, friendship, and sacrifice will thrust them to their very limits, as they struggle to save the world they love, and keep their memories from disappearing forever.
The unstoppable juggernaut RPG that is Final Fantasy VII… It is considered the greatest of the series by a majority of the people and the greatest RPG of all time by even more. I will agree that this was, and still is a fantastic game to play. I enjoyed playing it both times I did for the website. (Once in 2008 and then in 2013.) It certainly is not one I force myself to play to get what I need for the website. That being said, if you have only played this game I suggest you try the other Final Fantasy's that have been released before going on about how this is the greatest of them all.
If that was an intro that makes you mad, save the emails. The rest of the review will surely please every fanboy/girl out there.
Everyone who is anyone who has played this game will tell you, the story is what makes this game a place you can readily return to time and time again. The story of Final Fantasy VII revolves around the main character of Cloud on his quest to save the planet with the underground group Avalanche. Or so you think…within a small amount of time, there are story twists, and suspense that pull each of us in with the greatest of ease. We personally know someone who would fit any one of these characters, and can easily relate to them because of it. Their story and their connections to each other are what make this game so well loved. It is mirrored within us and our friends.
The story itself is so well balanced out too. It is not so fast that you miss something, and not so sluggishly slow that you just begin hating the game. It is right at the point you just cannot stop. You want to see what is right around the bend. It is on the edge of your seat, pissing your pants just to keep from stopping good.
And the happiness was not all there was. The sadness in this game was to such a point as to draw tears from even the toughest of men out there. Everything from Elmyra telling of her husbands passing, Nanaki finding his father after so many years of thinking the wrong thing about him, to Aeris….Aeris, the moment seared in the minds of all who played the game. Nothing since has ever hit
the emotional roller coaster of VII so perfectly. We laughed, we cried, we lived vicariously through this story. And that is one of the reasons it is voted the greatest story of all time over and over again.
And for those who simply need a break from the story of VII, there is never a point in time where there is not something else to do. There may have been a few extra things to do and a couple of optional bosses in Final Fantasies past, but VII take both to a whole new level. I mean come on they have their own amusement park chalked full of games that Disneyland began looking pale in comparison. Not to mention a plethora of other odd things here and there to make a few Gil, find a great Materia, weapon, or armor. You can breed and race Chocobo’s for Jenova’s sake!
And optional Bosses were brought to new and improved heights. Emerald WEAPON is the first boss in the series to have over 1 million HP, and Ruby WEAPON is perhaps one of the most difficult of optional bosses around still to this day.
Game play is certainly a Final Fantasy achievement. The Active Time Battle System that was introduced in IV, and perfected through VI was brought back into the mix for VII. And this time it was aided by a new type of battling. In the battles of VII, you now have complete contact from both attacking enemies and the party. Rather than just standing there swinging his sword, Cloud actually goes head to head with his target. This was awesome to see the first time through. I brought the realism of the game to new heights.
Also the addition of the Materia system added to the fun of the game play. Not only was it a part of the game play, but following suit of VI’s Espers, Materia actually holds a vital role in the story as well. These Materia added to the customizability of the characters into almost anything you saw fit. It truly was one of the better additions of fun in game play to hit the series.
When speaking of graphics, back in 1997, when everyone was making the leap into 3-D, it was just completely lacking in almost every aspect…then VII came along. This games graphics were staggering. Especially with someone who was fresh of the masterpieces of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. When you first see the intro of VII, even before the logo shows above Midgar, you knew this was something different. And this was going to be AMAZING in terms of graphics. Seeing the first battles with 3-D characters and enemies, the first time you got to witness the summons, magic as it leveled up…I mean it was spectacular all over the place. The backgrounds and world were simply beautiful, and full of color. Even in the snow areas, as white as they were, shined more than ever before. Also following the suit of VI, as the story progresses, things in the world map overall change. Where a temple stood, might be a massive hole in the ground. When something like Midgar gets changed, the city map on the world reflects it. It was amazing the detail that went into the graphics.
And of course this is the first title to have FMV sequences in the game. And here is where the graphics are outstanding, and a let down at the same time. You have these beautiful almost real renders of the Northern Crater when you first come to it, as well as when WEAPON are awakened. Then there is the great FMV at the end of the game, Sephiroth’s iconic walk through the flames, and the opening sequence of the game itself. All are fantastic in their own rights. But then you get Tifa running off the Cannon, and Cloud jumping onto the train in the beginning. They are horrid by comparison, and leaves one thinking what is this crap? But overall, the FMV are great, pull the story along wonderfully, and are just icing to the cake that was a massive lap in graphics.
Sound….sound is another one of the outstanding gems found within Final Fantasy VII. One of Nobuo Uematsu's best works in music EVER. Signed, dated, stamped, and sealed…the best EVER. Each song fits with the surroundings perfectly, the characters, perfectly, the mood perfectly, everything perfectly. I truly loved Aeris’s scoring, because it had pieces from Final Fantasy VI’s opera scene, and it was brought to a whole new height in VII. And this is the type of music, when you hear it on its own, you will remember exactly what you were doing the first time you heard it.. I believe if music can do that, it deserves the rank of masterpiece.
And not just the score was great here, sounds were everywhere, and they were nothing heard before. Everything from sounds of spells and summons, to the sound the Masamune made when Sephiroth used it…there was almost more ear candy in VII than there was eye candy.
There was only one real thing that irked me about Final Fantasy VII, which a lot of critics had issue with as well. Translation mixed with grammar and spelling errors galore. This was a problem from the beginning to the end of the game. Luckily this was the last title to be translated so poorly, as VIII began a tradition of utilizing an American and Japanese translator with their games. This allowed them to pull an American version closer to the original.
Final Fantasy VII will certainly stand the test of time. Its popularity has spawned an entire series around it entitled Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. The desire for a remake has now hit everyone’s most needed remake game ever. It truly holds as one of the greatest games ever made, and rightfully so. As of 2010, it has sold over 10 million copies, making it one of the most successful games of all time, as well as being Square’s most successful Final Fantasy.
To VII, I tip my hat. It is a great game, with so much going for it. It certainly has a special place in my heart. It will never be my favorite Final Fantasy, as that one will always go with VI. But it is certainly in the top 4.
*Warning*Watching the trailer on the right will spoil a major plot point in the game. You have been warned.
Happy Anniversary Final Fantasy VII! Thank you for a decade of memories