Review by pdxmusl
"Great Game - Annoyingly Long Cut Scenes"
Final Fantasy 7 is a gem. The world is large, with a pretty decent story. A good size list of monsters, with only a few forms really repeating themselves. For the time it was pretty innovative. Using a different battle engine that we are used to seeing. Vast ways you could build and organize your character.
I remember being almost blown away at the opening sequence. The back drops and areas you are going through are nicely rendered. Fight sequences were fun because the angle of the camera would change. The monsters looked lively. Walking around in the world looked real. Well, except, the sun never changes it's position, but most games around that time seem to have perpetual day everywhere. Some notable exclusions of course. What sort of hurt the game was that the characters appeared quite boxy. Simple shapes were used to render characters. Squares for there hands, etc. In some of the movie sequences or cut scenes, you didn't get this. They are nicely drawn/rendered. However, typical game play used boxy characters. To be fair, this was one of the first games of it's kind, so we didn't mind it as much. But latter games in the Final Fantasy series proved that the characters did not have to be so boxy.
It's not like you're going to burn a copy of the music from any game, but there were a variety of midi's to this game. Most of them had longer repeat cycles. And the music for Sephiroth, who can forget that? I never really got board of the music, and most of the music was paired well with what was going on and added to the overall experience.
The game play for this was pretty pretty good. There were tons of options. Many side quests to enjoy. Even an arcade in the game. You could ride cocabo's or race them. You could spend far more time enjoying the side items than it would take to beat the entire game. Their were many more vehicles to interact with, not just your typical air ship and boat. Battles were challenging, but not overbearing. In the game there are these things called "materia". Your characters don't really learn magic. Materia sort of gains experience and you unlock materias potential. Which was a lot of fun because you could configure your party pretty much anyway you wanted to. Since their really wasn't a strong concept of a class. Materia could be linked together to create additional effects. However, replayability is hurt in this game due to the size and complexity of the story. If you are familiar with the story, it gets quite old trying to skip through the sequences to get back to the main game. This is one of those games where most of your time is spent watching movies and not actually doing anything. There is seriously moments where you'll have about 5~10 minutes to move around and do something. Followed by a movie sequence that takes about an hour. Followed by another 5~10 minutes of freedom. Followed by another 45 minutes of a cut scene... etc. As the game progresses, you don't get this as much. But the cut scenes are quite extensive.
My biggest complaint of this game is the story. In general, it's a lively story. Decent and fun. But there are parts that just don't make any sense at all. It's possible that there were some translation difficulties. Also and again, running through all the dialog and movies over and over really hurts the desire to replay. I have beaten games in the amount of time it takes to get through some of these sequences. Otherwise the game world is so vast, interactive, and configurable. This is a game you'll likely want to play more than once.
I think where the game lacks is that given the size of it, it has a small list of useful weapons and equipment. Each character has there unique weapons, so I guess you could argue that with 9 characters total, there are a lot of weapons. But really only a handful are associated with each character. And out of that, only a few are really practical. So, it's a little small for the size of the game. And the end cave was disappointing. It is full of characters with instant death maneuvers. That's a very cheap shot to players. It means that you win more so on chance than you do with planning, preparing, and skill. It doesn't increase the difficulty, it just makes it more frustrating and unfair.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/26/11
Game Release: Final Fantasy VII (US, 09/03/97)
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