Review by Behreandto
"The ground setter for Final Fantasy 8"
Gameplay: Your basic RPG controls are once again at your disposal here, though there is no two-player option like there was in Final Fantasy 3 (damn!). This game is interesting and does have some depth, but that depth varies... often too much. Sometimes you'll spend hours trying to accomplish something and then you have a smaller mission that takes a third of that time to do. Mostly I can say that if you take time to gain levels at the start (like get Cloud to level 12 in Mako Reactor No. 1) it's a joy ride until you have to gain more. Random fights are fewer and take longer (sometimes) than in Square's previous RPGs which is disappointing when you want to grow materia and gain levels. Speaking of materia... the new materia system is unique, but unnecessary when you get the master materia, but it'll give you something to do-level it up that is. The difficulty is moderate to hard but that once again is compensated by massive level gaining. The one cool thing that I must say what I really liked was the Golden Saucer where you can play a variety of different games from chocobo racing to fighting in the battle arena. Breeding chocobos was second..... What I disliked was the media attention Square gave the game.... lulling RPG haters who've tossed the idea of touching an RPG out the window and bringing them in. Up until FF7, there have been a small percent of gamers who play RPG's in relation to fighters, adventures, sims, etc. and once FF7 came out, my god, everyone who shunned them loves them thus proclaiming RPG's rule when they may have only played the very current media friendly ones like FF7 (I'm not saying this is true with everyone, but...). FF3 wasn't really hyped and it gained momentous applause in it's sales. Well, I seriously don't care that people love it and now like RPGs since this is good for the RPGs that aren't currently on the market anymore like FF2 and FF 3 because people conquering FF7 will want to know what the other games in the series will be like or that they want a challenge, thus buying them through catalogs. All in all the gameplay is standard type stuff and is kinda addictive if you have the time.
Story: The story gets a good rating here by me. Things start of as low key as they did in Final Fantasy 3 and evolve into something huge and insanely twisted. It's the future and the planet is slowly dying due to the fact that greedy companies are using the planet's life force to generate power for businesses and there is one group out there that has determination to stop them: Avalanche. Later the story becomes more warped and twisted due to Cloud's memories of the past somewhat different than the reality that is to be exposed later. I give applause to Sephiroth, as being the most maniacal, insane and power thisty villain in a FF game, who is by all literal terms the coolest as well. The story is fairly tight but loses it's ropes in the end. The ending sucked! Not only don't you know what happened to anybody, but you are given the assumtion it's a lead-off into FF8 which I'm very doubtful it is.
Audio/Video: This is what made us relinquish our money... the graphics. Now.... the towns are excellently detailed as well as the FMV's, but the battles... somewhat drop the ball because first, they aren't as detailed as the rest of what you see (though they are detailed) and secondly they don't make specific corralations to the expert detail thrown in to the enemies in FF3. Some foes and summons (Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, Bahumat) make a nice come back to the game if only to show off themselves in a new graphical interpretation. The summons are pretty damn sweet especially the last ones like Knights of the Round, but they take for ever to get the simple point across:your kicking the enemies' ass. Plus, Knights of the Round deals out a bunch of unessary hits that aren't needed when fighting wimpy enemies. It's good for bosses, but really inadequate for normal battles. Musically, FF7 is a symphony, but not an exitefest. True, the sounds are good and they fit the mood most of the time, but there's a lot more dolefullness than heart-pumping fast paced killer tunes. Some things like the fanfare make a comeback bringing nostalgic feelings from other FF games. One thing is certain... Sephiroth has the best final battle music given to a boss in a Square game so far! It's maniacal, twisted, and cocky and it's great!
Replay: Two secret characters and plenty of hidden items, chocobo breeding and the Gold Saucer are the major perks here.
Buy/Rent: Screw renting it, buy it! A visual masterpiece by Square with plenty of depth and an excellent game to bring an anti-RPG gamer out of submission. Good for introducing yourself to the world of RPGs. I'm nearly positive that this game has set the mark for what will be FF8.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 12/16/02
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