Review by Cyber-Sushi

"An amazing overly-hyped masterpiece.."

After I first played Final Fantasy 7 [FF7 for short], I can be honest when I say I was not impressed a bit. But then months, maybe even years later I decided to take a look at myself at the time I played FF7 and I realized something. I didn't like FF7 because I didn't want to. I didn't want it to surpass my favourite FF game: FF6, and that just wasn't right. So I decided to play again. The whole thing through without thinking about Final Fantasy 6 in mind and I sure enjoyed it - not more then FF6, but this title is definitely worthy enough to have the Final Fantasy name and even take it to new places to explore and perfect.

This is another one of the Final Fantasy games that everyone will always remember. Even if all of the latest Final Fantasy games are usually instant classics but FF7 is special. Not only because of the game itself, but also because of the amount of attention this one received with all the advertising, T shirts etc. But, FF7 did deserve the hype all the way. But why didn’t other FF’s get this much attention? Well, FF7 was something new and exciting. It was Square’s first game on the Playstation and it spread across three cds. The FMVs were breath taking and people were expecting a lot from this one. But hyping FF7 too much also gave a few bad results. With all of this commotion and advertising, Square raised everyone’s expectations. FF7 gets the job done, but not for all gamers. If you’re a fan of the the FF series, you’ll have to think about something. FF7 is not the same as the others. It's a big leap from Final Fantasy 6 only in certain areas of course. And you have to ask yourself if you are ready to take that leap. Well at first I wasn't for sure. But with a little preparation, I went for it, and enjoyed every moment of it.

Final Fantasy 7 succeeds in creating a lighthearted, fun kind of feel when it is needed. This fun feel definitely made the game much more enjoyable. It’s nice to be able to stop for a minute, catch your breath and take a break by snowboarding or helping moogles fly. This fun feel is what I missed in FF8. I have heard many complain that FF8 was just too serious. Mini games are a nice little break and/or reward for working oh so hard to get to where you are. There’ll be plenty of mini games everywhere you look from a motorcycle race to a rock paper scissors type of fighting game. But the real place to party is the big 'Chuck E. Cheese's' Golden Saucer, in other words mini game heaven. While playing the game you’ll encounter several mini games. You'll be raising or racing chocobos, avoiding Elena's punches, snowboarding and much, much more.

And besides a fun feel, there is a lot of emotion here. There are moments in the game that you'll remember for the rest of your gaming life, which I can not reveal without spoiling something. But you'll know what I mean when you hit them. You'll know, because you'll feel it unless you’re an emotionless robot of some sort. Whether it be your hands shaking, your eyes burning up with fury or that lump in your throat that makes you want to cry FF7 has it all. If you just devote your time and some money to FF7 it'll give back way more. It’ll give you an incredible experience, one that you’ll never forget. It will go down in your gaming history book along with all the other special gaming moments that you’ve experienced.

The storyline I found somewhat confusing at first, but after I've read about it and re-read some dialogue, I now have a full understanding. Don't be surprised if at one time or another you stop, think and say ''huh?'' You may not understand it at first, but just remember that you will soon. The story is fantastic, with plenty of surprises, sad moments, happy moments, and extremely funny ones (haha look at Cloud in that dress!) that'll have you begging for more. It starts off relatively simple. Cloud is a mercenary who used to work for Soldier, an elite group of soldiers. He was hired by Avalanche, a group who wants to stop the evil Shinra Co. from destroying the planet by sucking up all the ‘mako’ power. But it becomes a lot more then that; you'll see. Cloud's reason for staying with Avalanche starts to change from just money. He begins to see things from a different point of view.

The characters are all thought-out, have their own personalities. They all have their own stories – some intertwine with each other’s but in the end, all get a lot of development in their story (some more then others – hehe.) Below I’ll give a short intro on some of the characters – if you wish not to risk spoiling any small detail, I suggest you scroll down until you see this symbol - **

The main character, Cloud really is quite an interesting person. He has a strange and mysterious past and supposedly grew up with Tifa. From there off it gets much more complicated and gets kind of confusing as well. I can’t reveal too much about his story though. In the beginning, he doesn’t care about the world, just the money he can make. He’s a natural fighter with a large sword called a ‘Buster Sword’ which is very dangerous. The only friend he really has is Tifa in the beginning of the game, but a lot happens. And you’ll see how Cloud changes throughout the game.

The evil villain in FF7 is Sephiroth - the best villain I've ever seen in an RPG or any game, period. Once you've seen him (especially in FMV) you'll forget about any other ‘bad guy’ and start to wonder “how the hell am I gonna beat him??!” Sephiroth is the ultimate enemy. He starts off normal, working with Cloud. But he's a confused and destructive monster of a human being (not even..) And his words flow out of his mouth as if he had it all planned already - as if he knew what was going happen so he'd have the perfect thing to say. Sephiroth himself is a major part of the FF7 story. You’ll find out sooner or later that Sephiroth isn’t your only enemy, but he sure is the main one. He's dangerous, he looks awesome, he has a deadly and long sword called the ‘masamune’ and he's not willing to give up no matter what. He'll be walking in a direction and if something gets in his way, he’ll simply keep walking forward and move his obstacles out of the way, just because he has the power and ability to do it. Sure, there are villains who come close to pure evil, but Sephiroth really has it all. Everything you can name that you like about villains – you’ll find in Sephiroth.

Tifa is a bartender at her very own bar – 7th heaven. She’s also a key member of Avalanche. She’s had a thing for Cloud for a long time, but never found the right moment to reveal her feelings. She’s a strong fighter, born and raised in Nibelheim (or is it Nivelheim?) who uses her fists as weapons. She always tries to be sensitive and caring, especially when it has something to do with Cloud or someone else she cares about. Her limit breaks are very deadly and she’s definitely not your typical female healer.

And then there’s Aerith/Aeris. The one who screws it all up for Tifa [lol], the one whom most people like so much. She’s spunky, happy, peaceful, caring, and kind. You first meet her selling flowers near the start of the game… you won’t think she’s too important at the moment, but you’ll see how much she really accomplishes. She’s not too much of a fighter, but she still comes in handy. You can either spend all your time levelling her up and getting new limit breaks(which will be VERY useful in tough battles), or you can set her aside thinking that you won’t need her because.. argh can’t finish that sentence. Anyways, it’s up to you.

Barret, the crazy and energetic tough guy. He has a gun planted on his right arm (I think..?) and there’s a story for that dealing with his home town and his friend, Dyne. He likes a argue with people, but Cloud the most - all the time even. He has a daughter (well kind of) named Marlene, who comes first when Barret makes important decisions. He’s the leader of Avalanche and is always ready to sacrifice to make things better for others. Oh and his hometown isn’t too fond of him.

Red XIII or Nanaki is a tiger/dog type of beast. He comes from Cosmo Canyon and has a long story to reveal dealing with his father and mother. His grandfather, Bugenhagen will help you on your quest. Nanaki is very powerful and wise. He’s usually very quiet but has a good idea of what’s going on, and his species live for over hundreds of years.

Cait Sith, the return of the moogle! I can’t say too much without giving out some spoilers.. but it’s pretty much like this : Cait sith is a cat riding on a big stuffed moogle. He uses a mega phone to attack, and has some crazy limit breaks. Cait Sith is strong, and ready to fight at all times. That is all.

Yuffie is kind of a ‘secret’ character, and you’ll have to do some work to get her to join you. The ending won’t be different if you have her or not (same with Vincent) but she’s still worth getting. Her limit breaks are very powerful. She uses a big shuriken type thing for a weapon, and can never seem to keep her mouth shut. She likes to talk and steal – so you better keep an eye on your materia… : ).

Cid Highwind, the most memorable character of all. He’s constantly angry and swearing at everyone and smokes a cigarette. He had always wanted to go to space, but he had some bad luck and it never happened. Cid uses a spear type weapon and strong limit breaks. He’s always ready to give a smart remark to whatever someone says, such as when Cloud says “Let’s Mosey” in the game. The Cids will be here forever!

Vincent - another one of my favourite characters from FF7. He's mysterious, his past is unknown and you'll have to work extra hard to get him in your party. It starts in the Nibelheim/Nivelheim mansion. You’ll need to follow the clues to find a code to the safe. You have to enter the code in very little time, and then you have to face one big bad enemy. And AFTER that, you’ll have to go down open the door to Vincent and say the right lines to get him to join you. Vincent has unique limit breaks, in which he transforms into a powerful monster and you lose control of him whatsoever. He’s almost a zombie.. or a vampire if you will. He has the speech of a poet, confusing words and concepts that not all will understand. But then you start to unravel his past.... and you can see how sad and unfortunate it really was. That's why I took him to fight Hojo... so he could get his revenge >: ) Ahem, but I can’t say too much about that.

That covers the main characters..
**

The music is some of the best in the series. From Jenova's theme, to that song you here when Sephiroth walks away into the flames... it'll tug at your mind telling you how to feel even if you don’t understand why. You'll understand what I mean when you hear it for yourself.. a good piece of the tracks are inspiring masterpieces which were carefully constructed by the musical genius, Nobuo Uematsu. These are the songs you'll remember along with the other classics. Some are catchy, others will amaze you.. and the rest will make you smile, laugh or cry. I love this music, and so will you.. if you know good music when it hits you.

Now the main difference you'll notice in FF7 from FF6 is well, it's in 3-D. Yep, you can now fully explore towns in 3-D. I like the 2-D effect a lot but 3-D is nice I guess. All the characters are polygonal and are on the blocky side (With big cubes for hands as well) but trust me you won't notice while you play – you’ll be distracted by the great gameplay, music, and story. The environments, world map and cities are all detailed and are very colourful. During battle, the characters aren’t too impressive, but they look OK. The limit breaks all look fantastic… especially ones like highwind and omnislash. The FMVs are absolutely breathtaking, but when you see what FMVs FF8 has to offer - you'll forget all of these.. except maybe the one with Sephiroth and Aerith/Aeris.... oops.

The oh-so lovable MP system of FF6 is gone (*sob*) and in place of it is the Materia system. Materia look like little marbles and they fit right into your character's weapons. As you go along and battle more and more your Materia will also gain levels. As your materia advance you'll gain more and more spells to do.. until it becomes a master materia in which it's at its most powerful and can give ''birth'' to new materia of the same type. Certain master materia allow little special things that you'll see : ) There are different types of materia - Magic, Skill, Summon and .. err.. I forgot what the name of those other ones are called. In magic you'll be able to cast spells with different types of materia: there's fire, ice, tornado, meteor etc. Skill materia allow you to use a certain skill during battle. For example Sense allows you to see the enemy's weaknesses, HP, level etc. Summons are like GFs in FF8 and the Espers in FF6. A monster/beast will come to aid you in battle. You can also combine materia, to create your own custom combos. If you bind an elemental and fire materia on your weapon, your weapon will have a fire edge. This way, you can prepare for enemies that are weak against fire! Get it now? There are and endless amount of combinations so you have a lot of choice. These combos basically do what Junctioning does in FF8. I like the materia system, but so far FF6's mp/magicite system is my favourite.

Limit breaks are special techniques that can be pulled off when your character has taken enough damage to really get them angry. These are really cool - and there are hidden limit breaks for every character that'll do A LOT of damage, and look great at the same time. Some of the limit breaks include : Cloud’s Braver, Barret’s Big shot, Cid’s highwind, Yuffie’s Greased lightening and more. Limit breaks can be the deciding factor to the result of a battle. For example: you’re facing a boss. You forgot to save at the last save point and it was a long journey to the boss. You’ve been battling for a long time, you feel the boss is extremely weak – but only one of your characters is left.. and he or she has a limit break ready. What do you do? Do you risk it all and launch the ever powerful limit break? Or do you play it safe and heal yourself or revive your companions? Your hands will be sweating… what should you do?

The chocobo raising aspect of the game is one that'll take skill, time and money. You have to be really devoted to FF7 if you plan on getting your very own Golden Chocobo. It's a long process that'll have you waiting, working and sweating even. You’ll have to catch the perfect chocobo that meets the standards. You'll have to race your chocobos against some of the best racers out there, all with the help of Esther of course. You’ll need to breed your chocobos, to get new chocobos (you go from blue, green, black and so on) and take care of your chocobos to get a golden one but trust me the rewards you get for it are worth it. The Golden chocobo can go anywhere – absolutely anywhere. You want to walk on the ocean? The gold chocobo can do it. They are the ultimate exploring tool.

There are plenty of hidden things and secrets to find in FF7. After you're done with Sephiroth there'll still be plenty of do. You can find all of the hidden best weapons for each character, raise your chocobos, fight the difficult Ruby, Emerald or Ultimate weapons, and buy all those prizes at the golden saucer. There's lots to do - you won't be done with this one for months. And after a long while you might want to play it again. To relive the experience, to finally get Tifa's last limit break, to buy omni slash, to laugh at Cid's lines and to see if there's any possible way to keep Aeris (Don't ask) You'll enjoy this one from beginning to end, unless you're one of those people who just aren't ready for new technology. You can sit and wait, but when you're ready, promise me you'll play FF7. It's a wild ride of fun and emotion.

Scores

Gameplay : 10
Graphics : 9
Audio : 10
Controls : 10
Replay : 8.5
Overall : 9.9

Buy or rent? - Rent first if you're not sure.
Sushi says - It is very very very good.


Thank you for your time.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/23/00, Updated 05/23/00


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