Review by naga87
"Best RPG ever? Average RPG sounds better."
I played final fantasy games before, and I have to say that there good but not godly also. My first one being FF4, and but I never even got close to finishing it. I was somewhat turned off over trying to level up a character that started at Level 1, but that is another story. After playing VI, some of VIII and IX, I say that IX is the best out of them all. Nine have a much better storyline, gameplay, and characters that I really cared about much more IMO, and I hate that I'm most likely the only one that feels that way. Now lets explain this game in depth.
I don't know if its because I'm not playing this on the original PlayStation, but these graphics are the best out of most on the PlayStation for its time. Sure there pre-rendered, but there still realistic for the most part. The other FF games surpass this but this was jaw dropping for its time back when people were still stuck with their 16-bit systems. If you played this back in 97, the you would be in for something if you seen the FMVs.
Most of the music in the game is not all that interesting to be honest. I only liked a few themes. Jenova's boss theme, the Final Bosses forms, Cid's theme, the boss battle, and the Last Dungeon. Most of the music sounded like it was based off a MIDI engine, but this is more true for the PC version. I have to admit one thing, and it does a good job at setting the mood for the game.
For a game that is tooted to be the best ever, it has a painfully average combat system that is spiced up with a certain magic concept to make it somewhat addicting. There is a limit break system to make physical attacks more powerful, and there is the materia system used for magic. What I don't like about this system is that you don't learn magic by leveling up, you have to learn it by gaining AP. I don't mind that, but if it takes forever to learn certain magic abilities even late in the game, then its a problem. I understand that it would be cheap for some magic abilities to be mastered quickly, but why is it that If I want extra materia late in the game, I have to sit for a few hours, and start over on that. That means that leveling up lower magic abilities that has some use, will take some time. Forget Level 1 or 2, you want 3 late in the game.
Now lets talk about the mini games right quick. I find them to be painfully bad, mainly due to the terrible controls for them. The Chocobo races were the worst, and you had to beat one of them to get through in this game. Now that really didn't make me happy. Thank goodness for that Stamina trick, and that submarine was like steering a forklift in real life for the first time which can be somewhat scary since its sensitive to turning or moving, but in a video game, it just bad controls.
The score is somewhat low because of a cast of characters that seem bland for the most part, and a storyline that is nothing special. Its weird because you got people who can deeply look into these storylines, and make it out to be something that is not to me. It gets the job done and its not bad, but its nowhere near epic as it is made out to be. Its pretty much the save the world from destruction formula, and there is no real twist to it, until you realize who the real bad guy, but what is the big deal if people had spoiled this time and time again before I ever got to play it?
Lets take a look at the cast of Characters. Cloud, who is a trendy spiky haired, large sword carrying fighter with, some psychotic issues that for some reason never really get to fully understand, even at the end of the game. It would make no difference to me if he was a silent protagonist since he is does not have much depth in my opinion.Now there is Barrett, who is a rated R version of Mr. T without the catchphrases, so make sure the kids stay at home for this one. Tifa, who is a supporting character for Cloud, and there is nothing else I really have to say about her. Next up Aerith/Aries, who is a flower girl but with a mysterious past, but too bad that due to numerous spoilers by these fans of this game, a major FMV involving her has lost the its shock value! If only if they understand that we all never got to play this back in 1997!!! Next up, Red XIII, who is a lion type creature but I really didn't care much about him so I have little to say. Now, Caith Sith, a cat riding a big stuffed mog, and a bad fortune teller, Yuffie, a ninja that looks like a Coffee addict due to her portrait, and Cid, a white version of Barrett for the most part. There is one more character, but that is the ones I know about. The cast sounds like they have depth, but most of them actually don't do much or grow much since the game tries to focus only on mainly on Cloud, Tifa, and Aries, and Barret for some time. So the rest of the characters are pretty much more flat than everyone else. Its kinda like all those playable characters in Chrono Cross in a sense, but its like getting 4-5 of them instead of around 40, but that is another story.
Even the main villain, who is known as Sephiroth in this game, seems to not do as much as I expected out of someone who is held in high regard. He seems to get a lot of camera time during disk 1 and the early part of disk 2 at least. The last time you meet him, don't expect any dialogue or anything from this guy. I pretty much don't see why he is debated to be one of the best villains ever, considering the fact that he is like just like a typical antagonist to me. I guess I missed something, but whatever it was it was not important enough for me to notice anyway. Maybe its his coat, long sword, and the fact that he looks like a badass, but in reality, he is not really someone like that, a little sadistic, but that is it, o and or its maybe the fact that he has a move that has the longest attack animation I have ever seen in my 20+ years of gaming. Who knows. To sum it up, basic storyline for a RPG, basic set of characters, mysterious main villain that does not do anything too major, except two things, nothing really truly special.
Its worth playing but hype can ruin this game for those that can be impatient. The side quests and hidden abilities and magic will have you coming back for more if you care to do them, and the game near the end of disk 1 really starts to get interesting. Its a alright RPG, but its not in my top 5, hell, its not even in my top 20, that is for sure, and I had not even touch this game since I finished it once, and maybe forever. I had not played many RPGs, but I personally find Skies of Arcadia: Legends to be the best RPG I played SO FAR. Grandia II coming in 2nd, but mainly because it was much shorter, but I enjoyed the storyline and gameplay 5x better in both games than this one. I think the problem here is that this was one of those few games back then that did a few new things like interactive FMVs in a RPG, and the fact that this game had an epic feel to it that gets people to think that this is the #1 game on the PSX. I think its just nostalgia that is making everyone goes insane over this game. I honestly don't even see what is the big deal with the game looking past that, and please for goodness sake, Final Fantasy IX deserves more credit. That was actually worth talking about more. I know it has a following too, but I hardly see anyone make any mentions of this game anywhere I go for some reason. The characters where more lovable in that one, especially Vivi.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/18/08, Updated 09/28/11
Game Release: Final Fantasy VII (US, 09/03/97)
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