Review by Shirow
"Thought FFVII was good on PSX?"
In 1997, the game considered as the greatest RPG on all systems finally came out on the PSX. Its name was Final Fantasy VII and as all the ones that preceded it, was an instant hit among RPG-gamers and the others alike. But FFVII didn't just stop here, it also introduced a lot of people to RPGs and literally revolutionized the genre. People were amazed by what the title had to offer and even now, this game is still being enjoyed by people who couldn't play it before. Seeing how successful the game was, it was inevitable that it would be ported to the PC to please an even more important number of gamers. Thus, PC owners would get to know Cloud, Sephiroth, Aeris and the rest in one of the best RPGs ever. And now, the masterpiece which fascinated more than 15 millions players on console finally comes to the PC!
Final Fantasy VII now stands on 4 CD, the extra one being the installation disc. Maybe you were mad because you don't own a PSX and thus didn't get to try the game that everybody was talking about. The game still stands on 3 CDs where the first one will give you about 15 hours of gameplay, the second one 10 hours or so, and the third one 2 hours if you just rush through it and a lot more if you want all the secrets. The extra one is the installation disc which is so important for PC games. And talk about installation because this game takes roughly 2 hours to install. I even thought there was something wrong with my PC the first time I played the game. Thankfully, Square decided to see to things and instead of the usual dull backgrounds, you'll be seeing pics of the characters during this time. At least, we've got that but considering how the game is good, maybe such an installation is really required.
More noticeably, the graphics are much better than for the PSX (provided you have a good PC, of course). The characters are better drawn and more colorful and more details have been added to the backgrounds. Having played the PSX version first, I was a bit deceived with the graphics and thought Square could have done better. And Square seems to have realized this as they have improved the graphics. The animation is also much smoother and no annoying load-times before FMVs like in the PSX version. Truthfully, this new version is in every way better than its original counterpart but graphically, I'd be better not comparing these two.
Of course, it's a bit normal considering that the PC is much powerful and that there are graphical cards to boost your machine but still, I'm impressed. Everything is excellent and the SD designs make the characters really cute, even Sephiroth…Well, ''cute'' in his own way…The backgrounds are breath-taking too although there are some minor bugs in some parts of the game. I still remember how much I laughed when Cloud was stuck in a house at Nibelheim. It's nothing important though and my guess is you'll know how to deal with there minor bugs.
Besides, what's a few bugs compared to 40+ hours of excellent graphics and amazing details ! And most importantly, the FMVs are way better than those in the PSX version which were already excellent. There are no such things as load-times here but instead, the sequences just flow on as if they were part of the game themselves. The light effects during those and the battles is fantastic and show how much care has been taken while designing this game. This is not just your usual port, but instead an upgrade to an already amazing game.
There are still the same FMVs as on the PSX but this time, they're captivating thanks to the colors, light effects and details that have been added onto them. The scene wher Cloud is on his bike still strikes me as the best because of those stunning details on his bike and that very realistic expression on his face. And I thought this was SD ! All the FMVs are excellent though and I still remember how I stared wide-eyed as the Weapons were set loose by Sephiroth in the Northern Cavern. Wow, this game is probably the best as far as graphics come into consideration. Well, as of now at least !!
The music in FFVII is cool and some of the themes are very well-done. Yep, FFVII possesses a great soundtrack and you'll like the music. To those of you who played FFVI, you may find the music in here a bit disappointing when you compare it to the great music in FFVI and at a lesser extent FFV (Gilgamesh, where are you??) but FFVII also has its faire share of good music. The themes are nicely done like Junon's theme but most likely, you won't need to wait until then because I was pleasantly surprised by the opening theme, Bombing Mission. This fine piece of music did just what it was meant to do, gave me the determination to go quickly and finish that mission in the limited time.And once you reach the end of the game and battle Sephiroth, be prepared for a long and amazing battle theme !! The only thing missing is good sound effects and voice-acting for the character and summons but since this is against Square's habits, don't expect too much. It's allright to dream but not much…
As for the gameplay, FFVII simply scores a 10 out of 10. The game stands on 3 CD and you'll need a lot of time to beat it completely. Overall, the game is not that tough but it's long and will keep you busy for a long time. Add to it all the secrets and side-quests which made Final Fantasy so popular and you're in for a long time. Trying to beat all the secrets and making a perfect game will take most of your time and no thinking that you could have spent your money better here!! From the chocobos to the optional bosses, this game comes packed with 40+ hours of gameplay if this isn't your first RPG and lots more if this is your first game of the genre (it was for me !).
And I won't even mention those freaks who need to discover all the secrets and get all the characters to the maximum stats. Because, in this case, prepare to lose a lot of sleep, my friend ! Heck, there are a damn lots of secrets and side-quests in this game and you're gonna need a lot of time to discover everything.
Even more amazingly, Final Fantasy VII has a replay value that will make you come back for more even after 4 or 5 beaten games. Usually, I'm fed up after beating a RPG once and don't get the motivation to play it again since I already know the ending. But FFVII is way different and actually made me change my mind. However the number of times you play it, you will remain as excited as the first time and you'll still feel the same when you discover secrets or beat those tough bosses. Besides, it's impossible to find everything and to beat the game perfectly the first time you play it through on your own. I truthfully think that all has been said but hey, I still have things to tell. So, please don't go yet…
FFVII has also a terrific storyline which will amaze you and won't give you time to be bored. Follow Cloud, an ex-soldier who worked for Avalanche, as he tries to know who he really is and try to stop Sephiroth who is certainly the greatest villain you'll ever encounter. The relationship between Cloud and Sephiroth is bound to keep you hooked up and if that wasn't enough, there are a lot of smaller plots all related to one another for you to enjoy. Each character has his own story. I won't spoil the fun but I'll just tell you that it isn't just about saving the planet in FFVII.
Kefka who ? Ha, meet the most cruel and sadistic villain ever created : Sephiroth ! Kefka was cool but he doesn't have Sephiroth's style nor his looks for that matter. Sephiroth must simply be the best villain ever created. Yeah, even Gilgamesh cannot compare to him ! Everything about him is just perfect and his outfit is just too awesome for words. I want a cape like him…And trousers…And shirt…And glove…Bah, everything ! Watching him as he laughs like a maniac or as he wields that gigantic sword of his to kill innocent people is the best moment in video gaming and I keep on playing this game just to watch those FMVs where he appears !
The control is great too although it takes time to get used to. Although it may seem awkward at first, the keyboard is fairly decent but there's no better control than using a joypad with FFVII. Still, the default controls are well placed and you shouldn't have much difficulty getting used to everything in less than half an hour.
This game is extraordinary and you should play if even if you have played the PSX version. Add to that version better graphics, no load-time, and keep everything that made it so popular and you get the PC version of Final Fantasy VII. Why rent it ? You'll always feel the need to play it ! Nah, buy it ! As soon as possible !!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/13/01, Updated 11/09/02
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