Review by Gbness
"They tell me of an uncloudy day..."
Now introducing one of the most hyped games of all time. The Final Fantasy series has always had its fair share of hype, especially when it came to FF1, FF4, and FF6. But of all of them, none of them have been more hyped than Final Fantasy VII. You can just check out the reviews on GameFAQs right now. There are over 40 reviews that gave it a ten. So obviously, if a game is hyped to that much extent, it'll have to be good. Is this game good? The answer is a big, obvious YES.
Final Fantasy VII was also a big jump in the Final Fantasy series. For one thing, FF6 was the last 2D FF. Final Fantasy VII changed all that and made it 3D. Also, it was a real jump in terms of storylines, as it offered a more mature storyline with lots of experienced and advanced technology, as well as the best graphics that had ever been seen in those days. And back then, in good old 1997, it was considered by a huge number as the best game ever. Heck, even the back of the cover says that it is quite possibly the best game ever. Why has it won this hype? Read down to find out.
If you look at it closely enough, you will shortly see that Final Fantasy VII's story isn't really as complex as most people claim that it is. It's still a very long story with tons of plot twists, and it changed all types of game stories in the day. The protagonist of FF7 is a 21-year old man named Cloud Strife. He is a pretty dull hero actually, until he develops much later. There is a big war between an evil company named Shinra, and a rebel group called Avalanche. There is also a cold, cruel villain within Shinra named Sephiroth. He is one of the most evil villains of all time. He kills many characters, nearly destroys the entire world with a meteor, and does more. One of the coolest villains of all time...
The characters themselves start out bad, and then get really good. They start out bad because they really don't get developed until a little later. Still, that's no problem, because it quickly grows to become one of the greatest casts you'll ever see. The main hero is Cloud whom I've already described, and he has eight friends with him: Barret, the big muscle-head leader of Avalanche; Tifa, Cloud's errr... sweetheart; Aeris, a beautiful flower girl from the slums; Red XIII, a scientific cat-dog specimen with inhuman intelligence; Cait Sith, a fortune teller who appears to have a couple bodies; and Cid, an awesome pilot. There are also two secret characters, Yuffie and Vincent. They are well developed for secret characters. Overall, FF7's storyline/characters are excellent.
Final Fantasy VII simply cannot be matched within gameplay. To start off with, the controls are pretty good. The O button control can be a little uncomfortable at first, but it soon becomes just fine. The X button used to cancel is exactly the same. The D-Pad is used to move, O is used to select, X is used to cancel, Triangle to bring up the menu, etc. There really aren't any problems in the controls, and anyone who doesn't like the sound of them will soon find them as second nature. The battles also control pretty well, so overall the control is pretty good. Great job in this area, Squaresoft.
The battle system is very unique, although it reminds a lot of people of FF6's esper system... in FF7, Materia is collected. There are five kinds of materia: Red summon Materia, Green magic Materia, Purple independent Materia (this increases stats), Yellow skill Materia, and Blue support materia. On each character's weapon and armor, there are slots in them. Some are linked for the various Blue materia. A lot of the Blue materia is stuff like ''MP Absorb'' that is used in conjunction with Red, Green, and Yellow Materia, so they are attached together in linked slots. When the materia is equipped in the slot, it can be used in battle.
Materia also levels up within battle, with AP. As it levels up, more magic/skills are gained on the materia. The battle system is awesome in itself too. Final Fantasy VII brought us a new system, called Limit Breaks. If a character is hit enough, they can use a certain skill. The meter for this is on the right of the screen. The Limit Breaks are almost always extremely powerful, and the meter also fills up very quickly. Some of the more powerful bosses can fill up almost the entire meter in a single attack. Overall, I really love the battle system. Well thought out, nice two systems, etc.
Without a doubt, Final Fantasy VII is the single longest game I have ever played. The final boss is almost impossible if you don't have some of the strongest Materia in the game (which is usually quite difficult), so it's really fun collecting the stuff, because you really, really want to finally beat the game and see the ending. The game itself, without taking time to beat the final boss, takes about 60 hours to complete the first way through. The second time through, with the knowledge of everything and less trouble in most areas, takes 40 hours to complete. It's a great, fun adventure that will really make those 60 hours that are used up worth spending and some of the best you have ever spent, believe me.
Speaking of all that business with the final boss, Final Fantasy VII also has a huge number of side quests. There's one side quest to get the Gold Chocobo, so you can get a lot of materia in hidden areas. There's dozens of items in a location called the Gold Saucer, there are two secret characters to get, and there are three super bosses called the Weapons to defeat (Ruby Weapon, Ultima Weapon, and Emerald Weapon). There's tons of challenges in the Gold Saucer like getting 32000 battle points in the Battle Arena for Cloud's ultimate limit break (Omnislash), and tons of mini-games. Overall, you cannot pass up all this fun that Final Fantasy VII offers.
Final Fantasy VII isn't really that much of a challenging game, however. Most of the earliest bosses in the game are so easy you can beat them in a couple hits. The Turks are great cases of this. A huge robot that you have to fight around the end of Disc 2 called the Proud Clod (which is extremely tough and cool-looking) is also quite easy. Hell, the Ultimate Weapon and Diamond Weapon are easy! Just about the only huge challenges in the actual game are the final boss (he's ridiculously tough), and the optional Weapons. There's enough challenge to give new gamers at least a little bit of difficulty, but overall veterans should have almost no problem.
And it's not like Final Fantasy VII is going to get anything less than the maximum in replay value. It really is a perfect game for tons of things to do, and you're just really want to complete the game before you complete it. Just about nothing in the game hardly ever gets boring, except maybe some long story scenes occasionally, here and there. The game is just so much fun and fighting those Weapons and other cool bosses never really gets old. I guarantee that as soon as you finish the game, you'll want to replay it. Just about the only bad part is a few parts of the beginning, which are soon over. You'll love this game.
If you compared Final Fantasy VII to today's standards, it would be an instant 3/10. But this is based on how it is compared to THOSE standards. Back then, they were the best graphics of all time. The backgrounds of Final Fantasy VII are just awesome. Sure, the first few won't impress you, but those that come up later in the more advanced areas will simply blow minds. Character designs aren't very good, though. Characters are made of so few polygons and are so goofy-appearing that they could leave you laughing. Still, they aren't BAD and are still fair, so that's what matters. Although they're dirt compared to today's standards, they're still okay.
Enemy designs and boss designs are some of the best that I have ever seen in a role-playing game. In battles, characters are much better detailed, and enemies/bosses just look excellent. Huge robots, regular soldiers, etc., are really nice. Plus, the summons and magic also look just perfect. Ultima in this game is actually one of the best Ultima spells I've ever seen, and it's very underrated. Comet2, Flare, Tornado, and other advanced spells are terrific. Summons like Kjata, Hades, and Bahamut Zero are splendid. Overall, you will definitely love all of these characters and enemies in battle. The graphics in Final Fantasy VII are still good, hehe.
This is some of the best music that I have ever heard in a role-playing game, bar none. The various themes that play in towns are excellent, and this is also one of the greatest battle themes I've ever heard, second only to Final Fantasy IX's. The boss theme is even better, and it's really nice, making you want to kick some boss ass. Also, the final boss theme ''One Winged Angel'' is one of the best video game pieces ever constructed, in my opinion anyway. It's long, magnificent, and everything. There are also cool themes like Red XIII's theme and Jenova's theme.
Sound isn't really as good as music, but it holds up. All the swords sound like swords, guns like guns, etc. Magic also sounds brilliant. The comets falling in Comet2 really give you the boom of the comet hitting and the explosion. Ultima is one of the more excellent sounds in the game as well, and the sound's even better than the appearance is. There isn't any voice acting either, which is probably a pretty good thing. Overall, there really isn't much more to say. Final Fantasy VII's sound isn't anything splendid, and the music is a lot better than the sound, but it's all still great.
Overall, Final Fantasy VII is in a threefold tie with my three favorite games: FF7, FFX, and Kingdom Hearts. The graphics were the best ever considering that it was made in 1997; the music is one of Nobuo Uematsu's best soundtracks ever; the sound is pretty good; the story is excellent; the gameplay cannot be matched. Simply, Final Fantasy VII is one of the most fun games ever to be released. The side quests are mostly great, and I love the limit breaks and the battle system/materia in Final Fantasy VII. Overall, I'd say buy this game by all means. In some stores, it can be sold for $10-20. If you see it for this and don't have it in your gaming collection, get out of your rock and buy it this instant! Your life will instantly have more meaning.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/16/03
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