Review by PlasmawarriorX

"Like my Zelda Review: Good, but not the best game of all time."

In 1997, the relationship with Squaresoft and Nintendo finally for the most part came to an end; it would take 7 years before the two got back together once more. While Square would make a ton of great games, there's been little debate of what people say is their masterpiece: Final Fantasy VII. At the time parsed as one of the best games ever. To be honest people are throwing that around a lot, but it's up to the game itself to warrant rather it's the best ever. Well, is it?

Concept:
Pretty much put up a team of heroes to smash though the enemies of whatever it is. It's typical RPG style so there's nothing fancy here. However this was also Square's move to make a 3-D world and game to match. I'll talk about that more in graphics, but at least their hearts are in the right place on this one. 9/10

Gameplay:
The first and most notable problem with this game that it's an RPG. Why is that such a bad thing? Well it comes down to what kind of RPG system used. This game focuses on 'Matera' to mostly do things. Issue is that this is supposed to make you stronger in some areas and weaker in others. Those areas are typically all about magical ability, which downplays many physical fighters a tad. Another issue is that pretty much everyone has physical attacks as special moves. Save for one character, everyone relies a lot on brute force for the most part. A downer since it had a smart idea. To make matters worse, there's no expansion on any one character that makes it worth going though sidequests. Other than a few weapons (which you don't need to beat the game) and 'Limit Breaks' you really don't have to worry too much about not leveling a certain person. It's not because it's an RPG that matters, it's that the experience is dumbed down a great deal. Gameplay makes up the game for the most part, and this one failed. 1/10

Controls:
Move, menu, conform, cancel. That's really the only ones you need to know. And for the most part this game actually sticks to that idea of RPGs. Sure there's some here and there mini-game controls but it's rather straight forward and that's what RPGs need to be. Even with doing special moves I don't normally want to worry about more than 2 buttons in a turn-based RPG. Later Final Fantasies would end up forgetting this simple rule (i.e. Final Fantasy VIII) but thankfully this one didn't. 10/10

Graphics:
Here's where the 'best game ever' is for sure wrong: These graphics, even when in combat, even for PS1 standards, SUCK! Out of combat we get a bunch of block-styled characters that aren't full body. Even the N64's block style had a lot of full features. With that being said there are some very good backgrounds, and the areas are totally different from place to place. The glow effects of light are stellar and they bring up the score pretty good. But with the short comings it's tough for me to really enjoy the backgrounds. 3/10

Sound:
This is where Final Fantasy begins to be epic. The opening sequence has one of the most pleasant tracks ever, and from there it has music for just about every mood. I loved pretty much every piece of music in this game. The sound effects aren't the greatest, but at least they tried to put out great sound effects. Cutting things up and shooting stuff are pretty decent. But for the most part there are no special sound effects. But the music is so epic I don't think the boring sounds will hinder you that much. 8/10

Story:
For the most part the story is easy to follow but there's two major points I would like to make known. At first the party is a group of people who are attacking a greedy group of office suits who pretty much rule the world by doing some basic terrorism to slow their progress (which I don't condor in any one way shape or form). After that, the villain ends up going up against pretty much everyone and everything. There are a lot of good bits that end up happening and it's a lot to put out here, but to say that the base story is very strong is an understatement. Here are the problems: One is that Cloud, our hero of the story, doesn't really care about how the world ends up, saying so himself many times, and being even more blunt at the end of disc two, where he pretty much says that he's only there to settle the score with Sephiroth, the main villain. That makes this hero more of a rouge, and not really that likeable. The second problem is for some stupid reason, no one takes the 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' approach to ANYTHING ON ANY SIDE! You think 'end of the world' would bring two sides together to combat it, but it doesn't. In fact, even once the two sides have to face the same issue with a side character but won't work together at all. Really guys, if it were one person trying to destroy the world, wouldn't you expect to at least gather resources to fight it? Sorry, but this just sounds stupid to me. But the basic story at least is worth it. 6/10

Challenge:
Basically there really isn't any. The game is painfully straight-forward to level and like I said the RPG system is not that good. To me this game seems more casual for RPGers which not only makes it more balanced, but also a bit too easy. You could sleep walk through a lot of the bosses when you get to a certain level, so that alone bothers me. Yes it's casual but too casual when you get to the final area. No pressure, no rush, no fear, no toughness. 3/10

Replay Value:
Not as high as one would think. Yes you can miss a few items here and there and be a compleationist if you want, but you really don't need any of these things to beat the game. If you did then yes the Replay Value would go down a tad more. That's the good news. The bad news is that's also to say getting them doesn't help you as much as it would. Sure I'd love Knights of the Round but that's just not important compared to smashing your enemy in half with Omnislash or something like that. Though it's good to go though a few times, there's little reason to do it over and over sadly. Though you can experiment and see what you like best, this also helps you in the long run. So have at it for a few goes. 7/10

Fun Factor:
I will say this game is a blast to play. There's just the right blend of comedy and time wasting to keep you going. The Gold Saucer is a pretty good time waster, but of course I tend to use a cheat during Chocobo Racing so that's also one of those things that you can add or subtract (though Chocobo Racing is pretty boring to me anyway). Sadly for most the mini-games do end outside of G.S. and it really hurts that after a while the games there aren't really that great ether. Though for the while that you get to take some breaks, they're enjoyable. But the game all-around is nice, so you don't need them anyway. 10/10

Fandom:
I LOVED the game when it came out, and I still do to some degree. But the fandom has become so diluted it's not funny. So many people these days are gaming n00bs who typically remember Cloud and Tifa from ether Avnet Children (which is a pretty good movie btw) or Kingdom Hearts. I'm very disappointed that many new comers to anime and gaming fandoms alike haven't played this game and don't seem to know much about it. Why? My guess is that SquareEnix isn't trying to put this game out again. I'm not sure why because everyone has been screaming for them to do so for the longest time. I'm just shocked. Would it kill them to put it on PSN or something? Why universe? Why? 3/10

Over-all rating:

I'm so much down on this game I admit, but really it's not as great as it was built to be or even present to be. As you can tell by the rankings of this review, when it's good, it's really good, when it's bad, it's really bad. And that's my problem. As much as I like it and really enjoyed a lot of it, I can't make this ‘best game ever' worthy even for 1997, let alone 2011. Still IF you can find it, get it. It's rare and expensive so good luck, but if you can't don't worry yourself over it too much. After all you can likely find Final Fantasies 8-13 pretty often these days.

I know I'm going to get grilled for being low on it, but 68 out of 100.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/14/11

Game Release: Final Fantasy VII (US, 09/03/97)


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