"Slightly overrated but definitely fun."

Let me start off this review by saying that Final Fantasy VII is not the best game of all time, but it still is damn good. Sony was going to challenge the Nintendo 64 7 years ago. Sony needed something big to attract attention. Final Fantasy VII was this big something. Sony marketed this game a lot and it payed off. Final Fantasy VII sold a ton of copies and was instantly a legendary hit. Nintendo still feels the burn from Final Fantasy VII today. Sony still continues to stomp on Nintendo.

Anyways, Final Fantasy VII is extremely popular game so it does attract a lot of attention, which means it attracts it fair amount of hate. Final Fantasy VII fans that worship this game as it was the best thing ever are wrong, it isn't perfect and it isn't the best. People who are worse than Final Fantasy VII extremists are the anti-Final Fantasy VII fans. They call Final Fantasy VII a terrible game. Well, they couldn't be more wrong. Final Fantasy VII is an awesome game and Final Fantasy VII is a game every gamer needs to try.

Storyline/Characters: The game starts off with a spiky blond haired kid named Cloud Strife. The action comes into this game immediately. Cloud has been hired by a group named AVALANCHE to destroy a reactor in the big city of Midgar. AVALANCHE isn't a terrorist group; they just want to save the planet. The reactors in Midgar suck up a substance known as Mako. Mako is the planet's energy. The planet needs Mako to survive and Shinra, the company who basically rules Midgar and is in charge of the reactors, keep sucking it up.

You spend the first part of the game in Midgar. Eventually, after events unfold and you get new party members, you are forced to leave Midgar. Cloud and his friends are on a mission. A mission to stop Sephiroth. Sephiroth is the villain of Final Fantasy VII and he is a pretty good villain too. Cloud needs to settle the score with Sephiroth. Sephiroth is extremely powerful and skilled with his long sword, the Masamune. Sephiroth's true story and goals remain a mystery for the beginning of the game.

You travel throughout the world in pursuit of Sephiroth. Shinra is also heavily involved in the storyline and they won't make your mission any easier. Action, betrayal, romance, death, and despair all will have a place in the storyline. What begins as a mission to blow up a reactor soon becomes a race against time to save the world. Some of the aspects of the storyline have been used before in previous games but regardless, the story of this game will get you hooked from the get go. The characters are also pretty good too. I never really was fond of really any of the characters but I can admit that they are all well developed and they really have their specific role that really adds to the story. The story and characters are great. 9/10

Game Play: The system that is sued to customize your characters in Final Fantasy VII is the material system. The material system is simple, practical, and original. Materia is basically crystallized Mako. They appear in Final Fantasy VII as little gems or crystals. There are different types of material. Red, Green, Yellow and Blue are the types of material. Green material allows you to use magic such as Fire, Cure, or Ultima. Red material allows you to summon creatures such as Ifrit or Shiva. Summons are basically creatures that you call to inflict heavy damage or to protect your party. Yellow material is support material, you can attack twice or exchange your MP and HP. (MP is magic points BTW and HP is hit points. You use magic points to use spells and summons. Each magic spell or summon costs a certain amount of MP. If you run out, you can't use magic anymore. HP is how many hits you have. Each of your opponents can deal a certain amount of damage to you. If your HP hits 0, you run out of HP and you'll have to get revived by means of magic or item.) Blue Materia is usually an independent material and you'll be able to do stuff like fight underwater.

When you acquire some material, you have the option of equipping it or not. Red and green material does a little more than allow you to use magic and summons. When you equip material, depending on what it is, the material can lower some of your stats and raise some of the others. For example, you could equip some material and it would lower you HP by 10%, but raise your MP by 5% and increase your strength or speed by a little bit too. The material system is a great system but the downside is that it is rather easy to use but you can combine your material together (Combine Quadra Magic with Ifrit, you'll be able to summon 4 times in a row) to make some good combos. The materia system is fun. 9/10

Graphics: The graphics aspect is a tough part to review. By today's standards, they are pretty bad, but by the standards of back then, they were superb. In towns and dungeons, you'll notice the characters have no mouths or noses and their arms and legs are blocky. The graphics are rather pitiful and you'll probably laugh once or twice. Fortunately, the graphics in battle are amazing (Even superior to Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX) and there are some spiffy cut scenes that certainly make this game much more enjoyable. The graphics of Final Fantasy are definitely a notch or two up from the SNES Final Fantasies. The graphics may disappoint you nowadays but this game was made quite a long time ago. 4/5

Difficulty: This game needed to be successful. The game was fairly easy if you played straightforward. Sure, there were a few bosses that pose a challenge but it wasn't that difficult overall. For a game to be successful, it needs to be really well received. If a game isn't too hard and doesn't frustrate people, ratings would be higher than if a game was challenging and did frustrate you (On a general scale, you may like challenging games, I know I do) There were two optional creatures included in the American release of Final Fantasy VII called “Ruby Weapon” and “Emerald Weapon.” These creatures are quite difficult and there are only a few strategies you can use to defeat them. This game isn't really hard overall though. 3/5

Sound/Music: The sound was great. The sound of the footsteps, battle attacks, and sword slicing among other things were really impressive and realistic. The music was absolutely stunning. The town music was great, the regular battle music was catchy and the regular boss battle is bound to give you a smile. The music fits right in with what is going on. The theme that plays while you are racing against the clock is absolutely perfect! Final Fantasy VII has some of the more legendary video game music such as J E N O V A and One Winged Angel.” J E N O V A is my favorite video game song personally. The music and sound are just downright excellent. Bravo square for a brilliant soundtrack. 10/10

Replay Value: One of the most important aspects of a game in my opinion is the replay value. The replay value to this game is excellent. You can play this game over and over and just not get sick of it. I've lost track of how many times I've played Final Fantasy VII. You will definitely play this more than once and you will enjoy it each time you play. Final Fantasy VII is probably one of the best games for replay value out there. 10/10

Recap:

Storyline/Characters: 9/10
Game Play: 9/10
Graphics: 4/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Sound/Music: 10/10
Replay Value: 10/10

Overall: 45/50 = 90% = A

Overall: Overall, this is truly a great game. Like I've said, it isn't the best but it definitely is good and it is ludicrous to call this game a piece of crap. Every gamer needs to play this game, this game made RPGs more mainstream. It opened up the gateway to other impressive games such as Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX. This game is great for veterans of RPGs and people who are new to the genre.

Final Fantasy VII is a little different from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System RPG's. The old “kingdom and crystals” story that you may have seen in the earlier games of the series aren't really present in this game. Square took a gamble by altering the way a Final Fantasy game works and judging by the way the sales went, the amount of popularity this game has, and the door that it opened to several other games, I would say it paid off. I would recommend you purchase this game, you can get it rather cheaply now and you will enjoy it. It is popular for a reason.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/19/04, Updated 11/16/05


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