Review by AChilds
"The best RPG ever made? I'd say so!"
I am a veteran RPGer, and I must say that Final Fantasy 7, the latest game in Square's masterpiece is definately the best that I've ever had the pleasure of playing. Some RPGers were very disapointed, and consider FF7 a failure in the world of RPGs, yet I STRONGLY disagree... I will share my opinions in this review.
Graphics - This is definately the point I judge RPGs the least on, but nonetheless, Final Fantasy 7 definately delivers in this catagory. The pre-rendered backgrounds are absolutely outstanding, easily the best in any video game I've seen to date (and this is a year after it's been out!) The polygons are EXACTLY what I like in RPG characters... they are based off of Tetsuya Nomura's amazing art, and capture SD anime art VERY well, much better than what I've seen of FF8's in the FF8 demo. The move VERY well, with great body language throughout. You really feel like you control the character. I remember thinking in past RPGs such as Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy 6 (3 in the US) things like "Well why can't Chrono jump on top of this thing?" or "Gosh! Why won't the game let Locke climb across this rock?" or whatever. In FF7, I didn't feel that way at all, and felt in complete control of my character. The FMV is absolutely amazing, and, once again, is STILL the best I've seen. It blends flawlessly with the actual gameplay, to create an absolutely amazing storytelling environment. These graphics do not hurt the score at ALL, unlike some gamers, as these are still the best graphics I've seen in not just an RPG, but any GAME to date. (and yes, I've played alot of games since then)
Music - While not as important as say, gameplay or story, this is an extremely important aspect of any RPG. Guess what? FF7 delivers. I feel that this soundtrack is Nobuo's finest work, even outdoing the previous Final Fantasy games (FF4-5-6) and Chrono Trigger, which he helped to work on. Songs such as One Winged Angel, the Final Dungeon, Valley of the Fallen Star, Shinra, Tifa, Aeris, Staff Roll, the ending... I could go on forever! Most all of the songs I listed beat anything on FF6 or CT's soundtrack, which are the two finest video game soundtracks before FF7, in my mind. Enough about music, lets move on to...
Characters - Tetsuya Nomura did a GREAT job creating the amazing characters of FF7. I feel that these are some of the best in any RPG to date, if not the best. It seems as though he took the best of Amano's and Toriyama's styles and talents, and combined them for the characters in FF7, and it definately works! Cloud and Sephiroth are two of the deepest video game characters ever made, and all of the other playable characters develope strongly in FF7, while in games such as Chrono Trigger, FF6, FF5, or FF4, not all of the characters develope, only the main one(s). In FF7, even characters such as Cait Sith and Yuffie have very memorable and touching moments, while I can't recall any such as that about Mog, Umaro, Gogo, or Ayla. :o| Also, FF7 features LOADS of side characters. YOu might have to take notes to keep track of them all! I'll bet there are almost 100 characters given names in this game, that each have an important role in the story, and you must keep track of them all to get the full effect. Outstanding job, Tetsuya!
Gameplay - one of the most important aspects of an RPG is the gameplay, as you will get in MANY battles throughout the game. If those aren't fun, it spoils the gaming experience. Once again, FF7 delivers. It takes the best qualities of all of the previous Square games: the defined characters of FF4, the amazing customization of FF5, the exciting battles of FF6, the strategy and fun of Chrono Trigger, and puts combines them all into this one game. I feel it takes the best aspects, and it does create quite a package. The battles are fun and interesting, and don't get as old as some RPGs. ::COUGHCOUGHDRAGONQUESTCOUGHCOUGH:: The Materia system offers great customization, but puts severe limits on what characters can use, unlike FF6. Also, while there are some overpowerful Materia (Knights of the Round and 4x Cut, mainly) they either take FOREVER to get or require LOADS of AP to level up to be useful. The Limit break system is one of the best I've ever seen. I mean, if you are in a fight, and you are being beaten, you are probably gonna get upset enough eventually to really take it to the guy. That's how limit breaks work! As you get hit, a little meter fills up. When it reaches the top, you get to unleash a super-powerful attack on the ememies, causing LOADS of damage to bosses, and usually finishing off a random battle right then. Overall, when you combine the great customization, character definition in battle, enjoyment, strategy, etc. in FF7's battles, it creates a package unmatched in RPG gameplay.
Story - WOW! This is easily the best story in any RPG I've ever played... no contest! It is VERY complex, can be taken on many many different levels, is always exciting and fast paced, never gets boring, and requires several play throughs to really understand! It is VERY deep, and has lots of very complex symbolism, that you won't get without spending a few hours at the library. The loads of characters, great side plots and extra things to do, addictive gameplay, outstanding secrets, and AMAZING setting (graphics, music, dialogue) all add up to the best story I've ever seen in an RPG, and one of the best I've ever heard, PERIOD! Far superior to all of its predecessors and RPGs of the company (or ANY company. Including Xenogears, FFTactics, FF4-5-6, Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest 6, Star Ocean, etc), FF7's story is a VERY memorable one, and I can't imagine a better one. With themes of love, hope, courage, destiny, and all around life, it has something for everyone!
Overall - FF7 seems to be the product of every Square RPG before it: it takes the best elements of each, a $30 million budget, a staff in the hundreds, and 3 years of time, and we get FF7, the best video game ever made. PLEASE do yourself a favor and get this game! Even if you don't like RPGs, I PROMISE you that you WILL like them after FF7! :o) DO YOURSELF A FAVOR! GET FF7!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 12/16/02
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