Review by Raidramon0
"There's a reason why this game holds up well 15 years later"
Remember back in 1997 when Final Fantasy 7 was first released on the Playstation? It pretty much shocked the gaming industry as a whole, with its then impressive graphics, heart-tugging story, and superb gameplay. Now that the game is celebrating its 15th birthday, it's time to take a look back as to what made this game one of the best-selling Playstation games of all time. And while some aspects have aged rather poorly, it's still has it where it counts.
Players (for most of the game) take on the role of Cloud Strife, a mercenary for hire who is under the employment of Barret Wallace, leader of a resistance faction called AVALANCHE. The faction has charged itself with the duty of destroying the various Mako reactors throughout Midgar, which are slowly but steadily draining away the planet's life blood. These Mako reactors are owned by a huge tyrannical company called Shinra Inc. Shinra pretty much has the monopoly over Midgar, and maybe the whole planet. But what starts out as a rebellion against this company will ultimately lead to something far bigger.
The game doesn't bother with giving any sort of long, boring cinematic or story at the beginning. Instead, it starts with Cloud, Barret and the rest of AVALANCHE ambushing Shinra troops from a train. This tells you that for the most part the game isn't messing around with all these long dialogues and expulsatory triggers that plague RPGs today. For the first few hours of the game, you're pretty much stuck in the slums of Midgar with said triggers telling you where to go next, but there are still plenty of places to explore. But it's this that makes you appreciate the open world a whole lot more once you finally get out of that city. After that, there's a whole world for you to explore and the only restriction is your transportation on hand at the time.
The presentation may look pretty old by today's standards, but back then, it showed what Sony's new console could do. The CGI cinemas were pretty awe inspiring and captures the key moments perfectly. And while the blocky polygonic characters may look archaic today, they still have some charm to them. The music is some of the best I've heard and still holds up surprisingly well today. The quiet serenity of the world map, the upbeat tunes when you duke it out with monsters, the ominous music at the more tense moments, and the music of the final boss fight is still etched into everyone's mind, at least those who made it to the end.
But, of course, pushing the system to its limit wouldn't mean much (if anything) without a charming cast of characters, and there are 9 playable party members to choose from (of course, Cloud or someone else has to stay at the lead at all times) and it's got a well-thought out story. At first, the whole save the world thing might seem abhorrently cliché, but as you get further to the end, you'll discover many plot twists and shocking moments. One moment at the end of the first disc is one that'll never be forgotten (veterans will know what I mean) and it doesn't stop there. There are also some rather humorous moments to ease the tension, like when Cloud has to rescue Tifa from a brothel by cross-dressing and Cid's foul mouth that spouts out more profanity than the entire Ozborne family combined. It's these moments that make it worth playing through.
Of course, there is plenty of variety to keep you going. The materia system lets you customize your party members pretty much anyway you choose, which adds quite a bit of depth to the battles. There are also mini-games and side-quests to keep you going. Chocobo breeding is one of the deepest and longest side-quests. In fact, it could easily be its own game. There are also optional bosses to fight that yield really nice rewards, but as you might guess, these beasts are ultra-difficult, definitely harder than the final boss enemies. In fact, the North American version contains 2 boss fights that are exclusive to that region and will haunt the dreams of many gamers because they have devastating attacks and around 1 000 000 HP (I'm not joking). But it's the rewards and satisfaction of killing these seemingly invincible Goliaths that draws many a gamer to them.
Since its release, Final Fantasy VII has been ranked as one of the best Playstation games of all time. While there are some minor flaws with the game (how the enemies are favored by the CPU and some spelling errors), putting these issues in the spotlight is basically nitpicking, and that pales in comparison to everything else this game gets right. Now that the Playstation Vita has received a much-needed firmware update that allows you to play PSone games on it, it's possible to play this game on virtually every Playstation console Sony's come out with in either disc or digital form. Unless you're not into RPGs, you don't have any reason to pass this gem up. You just simply don't.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/20/12
Game Release: Final Fantasy VII (US, 06/02/09)
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