Review by Aldrasio
"People need to play more FF games before they assume that this is the best ever."
Ok, this was the first Final Fantasy game I ever played. When I played it, I'll admit that really loved it, despite the crappy graphics. I mean, I first played this in 2004, when graphics were all that was on most people's minds. However, after playing VIII, X, VI, and IV, I can easily say that this is not the best in the series.
Graphics - 6/10
Square really came up short here. I'm sure most people are going to say that it was a PS1 game that that Square couldn't do any better. No, the graphics aren't good if I consider the time, and no, the graphics are not good for the system. Square could do better. In FF8, they did a lot better. The field characters in FF7 look like chibi rendered in 3D. The battle sequences looked decent, as they best reflected what the characters were supposed to look like. The FMV sequences were great, but still could've been better. As for the pre-rendered backgrounds in towns and dungeons...well, sub-par. At one point, very early in the game, I couldn't find how to ge to the next area because halfway through the screen was what looked like a red pole, which was really a board-ramp. (While finding this, I'll note that I gained 2 levels, but I'll cover that in gameplay.) At some points, you had to get your character to go blindly around a hill or something to get one of their better weapons for the time being. Overall, not too great.
Gameplay - 7/10
Let's start with the battle system. Not the best, but not the worst. The materia system had its faults, mostly because the character couldn't do anything unless they had materia that mainly lowered their HP to raise their MP or lowered their attack/defense to raise their magic power/magic defense. The summoning materia did this the most (Knights of the Round, the second best summoning materia, lowered your HP by about 10 percent). There are, however, 3 materia (excluding blue and purple materia) that equip all magic, commands, and summons respectively without lowering your stats. You have to defeat the second most powerful boss in the game to do so, and you really don't need them to beat the hardest boss. Also, (this is one thing that I don't like but is true for at least most FF games) once you get to a high enough level or find the weakness or a way to exploit a glitch, you can beat any boss without a problem. The glitch I'm talking about is the W-Item (probably supposed to be X-Item) glitch, which lets you turn one of any item that can be used in battle into 99 of that item. Granted, the materia system wasn't all bad, just somewhat limited, seeing as you could only equip at most 16 on each character. One combination allows you to give the enemy every bad status possible by just attacking them. Another one revives your entire party when the equipped dies, as well as attacks the enemy with fire. I could go on about materia combinations.
However, one thing that really bugged me after playing some of the older versions was that you couldn't target all enemies/allies with magic unless you had "All" materia. However, with the "All" materia equipped, you could only target all enemies/allies. Rather, you could only target all allies/enemies 1-5 times per "All" materia equipped, but you couldn't pick which 1-5 times you wanted to use it. It had to be the first 1-5 casts. This gets extremely annoying very fast. However, it's also true that you can't target all allies/enemies at the touch of a button in (as far as I know, only) I, VIII, and X, but they don't have an extraordinarily tedious way of going about targeting all enemies/allies.
Next up is the actual basic stuff. I mentioned earlier that I leveled up twice when trying to find my way somewhere. Let me note that I gained 2 levels in 15 minutes. Not because the enemies gave off a lot of EXP or because characters didn't need much EXP (as neither are true), but because I got into so many random battles. Granted, because it was so easy to get lost, I was never underlevelled for the actual story. There were also bosses. Lots and lots of bosses. If I had a dollar for every boss I had to face, I'd probably have enough to buy another PS2. This would probably bug me more if the boss battle music wasn't so awesome (in my opinion), but I'll cover that in sound. Also, most of the bosses aren't even mentioned in the actual story. You just fight them. A few are this sewage thing (I can't remember its name), Motor Ball, Lost Number, Materia Keeper, Red Dragon...and these are just on the first disk. I'll stop there.
Story - 6/10
First off, there were so many mistranslations in this game. "If you push move forward and press the [CANCEL] button to run." "Attack while the tail's up, it's gonna counterattack with its laser!" "W-Item/W-Summon/W-Magic" (I suspect W was supposed to be X). "Aeris" was even a mistranslation, but at least it was understandable. On to the actual story. The main character is Cloud. He starts as a mercenary and then joins some group trying to save the planet, makes some friends, finds out that his enemy is alive, and spends 3 disks trying to find him.
There are 7 characters you have to meet, and 2 that you don't. There's Cloud, who is supposed to be some deep character with a dark past. He carries a huge sword. There's Barret, who is basically Mr. T with a machine gun as a right arm and a daughter. He's the kind of person who is a hardass by appearance, but is really a nice person. There's Tifa, who is too shy to tell cloud that she loves him, which doesn't change at all through the game (or even in Advent Children, for that matter). She punches stuff. There's Aeris, who is apparently the last of the Cetra or whatever. She hits things with a pole. There's Red XIII, who is a talking lion. He wears something on his head that allows him to beat things up. There's Yuffie, optional character #1, some ninja person who throws a spiky thing at things and loves materia. No one likes Yuffie. There's Cait Sith, some fortune-telling robot who is really a spy, but has a change of heart halfway through the game. No one likes Cait Sith either. There's Vincent, optional character #2, some guy with a robotic everything except right arm and head, who shoots things with a gun. He's probably the only character I liked. There's Cid, who (you guessed it) owns an airship. He hits stuff with a spear.
The antagonist is Sephiroth, who wins an award for being the only final boss people don't like hitting because he's so awesome. In his human form, he carries a 10-foot katana, but later he transforms into a seraph with an extra wing.
There wasn't much character development, Cloud aside. Your first impression of these characters is usually your last, too.
Sound Effects - 5/10
I'll group the sound effects and soundtrack separately, because they don't need to be in the same category.
The sound effects would probably be the same if this was on the SNES. I'm not even joking. There aren't actually very many sound effects, it just seems like it because of how they combined them together. What can't be helped is how bad the sound of fire is. It sounds like it would if it was on the NES. Overall, pretty bad sound effects.
Soundtrack - 9/10
Not the best, but up there. I really liked the majority of the tracks that played, but I absolutely hated Meteor's theme. The worst part is that it became the overworld theme on disk 2. Cons aside, I really liked the boss battle music, along with Cloud's, Aeris's, Seto's, Cid's, Weapon's, Jenova's, and Sephiroth's themes. I mostly liked Weapon's and Jenova's, though.
Replayability - 7/10
There's a lot you can miss in this game, such as important materia, important items, summons, etc.
Borrow. That's what I did. The person who lent it to me, however, doesn't want it back, so now I'm lending it to my friends. It's at least worth playing. (Besides, with the release of Advent Children, do you really expect any used game store will have one for very long?)
Overall, not the worst, but definitely not the best either. 7/10
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/30/06
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