Review by ChateauNoir

"Quite possibly one of, if not the greatest game ever made"

Very few games are able to stand the test of time. What may be popular now may be soon forgotten ten years down the line and deemed as something decidedly average and plain like most action games today. However, Final Fantasy VII is still a rare gem that constantly proves itself through all the JRPGs today, providing influence and inspiration for all game developers alike. Whether some people may call it overrated or not worthy of its constant praise and attention, it is without a doubt a very damn popular game, with many diehard fans willing to pay any amount just to get their hands just to be able to see their favorite characters in a next gen remake.

Being one of the best selling games on the Playstation One, as well as one of the highest rated games; a gamer looks back at this RPG, while keeping into account the technical limitations of the PSone console in addition with the many RPGs that have fallen in its footsteps. Final Fantasy VII has proven to be one of the few games that are able to stand the test of time. It is without a doubt one of the deepest gaming experiences I have played to this very day.

Graphics

Although technical limitations kept Final Fantasy VII from looking its best; in comparison to other PSone games of the era proved it to be still one of the greatest looking games on the console. Looking back now, the framerate during battles is quite laughable, with probably a few frames to show each attack. However, considering how many different types of attacks and summons there were, it definitely was pushing the PSone to its very limit. The backgrounds are still incredible, although they are prerendered (due to the limitations), they still look insanely beautiful. Towns are incredibly detailed and the atmosphere is perfectly captured through these works of artistry. Which begs to mention the grand art direction in this game. It perfectly shows the fusion and certain distinction of the fantasy world and modern world being molded into a one, creating a certain type of atmosphere that allows the escape from reality while still maintaining its bits of sanity without becoming overly superfluous in the fantasy elements. Although not technically a marvel (with characters looking boxy and the framerate during battles), the art direction is still something to gawk and marvel at; the feeling has still not burned.

Sound

Music: In my opinion, quite possibly the greatest soundtrack of all the Final Fantasy games. I immediately bought the soundtrack for this, just because pretty much all of the music sounds great. Although due to disc size limitations the music is only in midi format, it still gets the job done. In essence, the music creates the atmosphere in this game with specific songs being reserved for the very right moments. A few melodies will make you thrilled and feel suspenseful, and a couple will make you nostalgic and cry. This was one of the few games I felt a need to buy a soundtrack for, and I'm quite cheap. It's just how great and such a masterpiece this score is.

Sound: There're no voice actors that we're used to hearing in this time and age, but sound effects in battle pretty much get the job done. Nothing too special about the sound, and sure they're recycled, but it serves its purpose.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy VII still proves to be quite a deep and fun game today despite all of the contenders out there using similar systems. It went by an ATB system (Active Time Battle), in which you had to wait for a character's turn in order to choose an action. All of the enemies followed the same rules making it balanced throughout. These actions included physical attacks, using items, and materia.

Materia: was a unique concept that allowed characters to use and upgrade their magic skills. Although equipping materia reduced health, it can certainly be stronger than physical attacks. When materia is equipped, every time a character levels up, the materia gets stronger as well. For example, Fire levels up to Fire 2, then Fire 3 evolving into something stronger and bigger. There is a whole load of useful materia in this game, while upgrading each and every materia will literally take dozens and dozens of hours.

Limit Break: Every time a character gets hit, the limit break builds up, and the character unleashes a special move. There are certain requirements to evolve and get different limit breaks, while the final limit break for each person has to be found in hidden locations.

All in all, FF7 still provides plenty of variety and deep gameplay despite being an old PSone game.

Story

In my opinion, the greatest story in video game history. The story starts out with you being a lone mercenary working for a rebel group against Shinra. What begins as a rebellion begets into something much, much more. From thence, you meet unique and different characters, while finding about the dark past of the antagonist, and the history of certain races. There is certainly a deeper backstory: one concerning the Ancient race and the alien Cetra who posed as such, a love triangle between Cloud, Aeris, and Tifa, as well as another story of personal regret of a certain "shady character" creating one of the most evil villains in RPG history, and another twist that will probably make you cry.

Drama, twists, and dark themes: You have it here.

A perfectly deep story that deserves nothing less than praise. I still regard it to be the best story in an RPG.

Conclusion:

A strong and deep story, interesting characters, deep gameplay, and talented art direction. What more could you ask for in a game? It's still remembered and deeply cherished by fans today, with many fans waiting for a coveted Remake. However, what fans need to know is that we still have this masterpiece right here and right now, that is if you can still find it.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/09

Game Release: Final Fantasy VII (US, 09/07/97)


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