Review by Acquire

"An incredibly awesome game."

Final Fantasy is possibly one of the longest running series of RPG's. Square sure knows how to make great games. I've never been huge into RPG's, I have tried a few, but this game just drew me into its awesomeness. This, however, was different. It was also the first to reach a PC.

Story.
You will start as Cloud, a guy with a huge sword and former member of the military group SOLDIER, which is part of Shinra Inc. Shinra, has built many Mako reactors through out the world. What is Mako? Without going into too much detail, it's life energy, which the planet has a lot of. But this energy is needed for the planet to live. Basically Shinra is literally slowly sucking the life out of the planet. Anyways now Cloud is just wandering around and he happens to take a job for the rebel group AVALANCHE that wants to destroy Shinra. They start by destroying a reactor, but Shinra retaliates by smashing AVALANCHE headquarters. The members of AVALANCHE are forced to leave the city. During all this they meat the last remaining Ancient, as well as a Red XIII a specimen of one of Shinra's doctors. While this happens, news of the legendary former member of SOLDIER, Sephiroth, who is now considered mad, has returned. Sephiroth wants to destroy the world, and he must be stopped. I've explained a lot here but this is but a spec in only the games beginning. After this the story gets much deeper and involving as you will learn the dark secrets of Shinra inc., the wisdom of the late ancients, and the power that materia can come to posses.

The story is just awesome. It'll engulf you in its deepness, and twists. It is also filled with many magnificent characters. A good thing about this game is that the story is always developing, though slower at some parts, it always feels like you're getting somewhere (which is the downfall to some RPG's, they get boring). In this game suspense, action, and story are always present to push it forward. There's never a dull moment.

Graphics.
Obviously by today's standards this games graphics are outdated, nevertheless, for their day they were some of the best. When you're just roaming around the character models are pretty bad; they're incredibly blocky and lack a lot of detail. An example of this is the female characters that wear long dresses. When they walk it looks like they are wearing rectangular shaped pants. But once you get into a battle the graphics seem to vastly improve, there's actually good detail on the characters, and summoning is still fairly beautiful even to this day (as are the other magical powers). The towns all look very good. They've kept their sharp look mostly due to them being static. Other than door (and door like things) most things in towns, other than the NPC's (non-playable characters) don't move. NPC's do suffer from the lack of detail and blocky character models. Colors are vibrant and there is good variety between different towns. Every place you will come upon has its own unique style. The FMV's are awesome; they push the story with style, even though they do look a bit grainy now.
The game is old, so the graphics do show their age, but thankfully this games experience will greatly overshadow this, they are still decent.

Gameplay.
I was surprised by this. Past RPG games I've played which use the turn based system have bored me. But this one seemed to be different. Aside from the basic moves of an RPG, this game also features materia. Materia is condensed Mako. They give the characters magical powers. But be careful because although materia is very helpful, some materia has different affects on your characters stats. For example, a materia may increase magic points, but decrease the character's hit points, or, it can decrease defense, but decrease attack power. There is also a limit breaker, which is like an ultimate move for every character. There is a limit bar which fills up as you fight enemies, once the bar fills up; you can use the move on your enemies. As the game progresses and more battles are fought, the limit move will level up to even more devastating attacks. All of the basics (in the magical sense) are in as well' from fire and ice, to cure and summons. The system is fluid and fun. The vast amount of special powers (and characters) that can be used keeps things interesting.
Every character can equip and upgrade their weapons, as well as buy different items with Gil, the games currency. Gil is gained for winning battles.
The towns in the game are easy to navigate. If you for some reason get lost there is a button to put a pointer over the character and indicate exits and ladders. The world map is also fairly easy, since it's not that big. You will also have the ability to ride a Chocobo (a big yellow bird), a buggy (which can cross shallow rivers) and the most useful a boat (formally an airship, it can cross shallow ocean).

Sound.
The game doesn't include voices so that's out of the question (it's all in text). But it does have some truly awesomely epic music. The music sounds like something you would find in those old 16-bit era games. It's very catchy, and sort of like jingles. Every town has its own music fitting it perfectly. There is also separate music for certain moods in the game. Sometimes, even if you're lost, it's just fun to listen to the music. The music in this game brings joy to the ears. Sound effects are excellent, the explosions and magic attacks are well done (the thunderous pounding). Summons have especially good effects added to them.

Replay value.
This game is full of replay value. Being an RPG, it is fairly long. There's a lot of different things to do, many side quests to play through, materia to level up, characters to level up, and places to visit. One of the “towns” is like a huge amusement park. So there's a lot of little games to try out there. There is also some Chocobo races. And, there's always the urge to get a perfect play through (as in getting and doing, or trying, everything in the game).

All of the preceding proves this games awesomeness. The game has greatly withstood the test of time; even now it is still an incredible game to play, though not as good as the console version, most noticeable in the graphics department. The gameplay is solid and fluid delivering hours upon hours of fun battles. This is possibly one of the best RPG's I've played, the story is gripping, and the magnificent music and gameplay truly deliver a great gaming experience.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/26/05


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