Review by Nivla

"It was a hit on the PSX and thanks to Eidos, it is a hit on the PC"

When the original Final Fantasy was released, everybody knew it was going to be a big success. But I don't think nobody predicted that there would be so many sequels to it (okay, so the stories of the games wern't tied in together, but they held the Final Fantasy title and that's good enough). Final Fantasy VII, which toped sales charts in the PlayStation, is released on the PC to see if it would do as well. And it sure did. Even today, it is one of the highest selling games ever to hit your computer.

The story of the game revolves around a young mercenary named Cloud Strife, who is also an ex-member of Shinra, a powerful organization that has a strong militia. At first, Cloud joins the resistance group Avalanche as a greedy mercenary, but very gradually gets involved in a fight to save the world. Bothered by a troubled past, our hero sets out on his adventure.

The story is spectacular, to say the least. Because it is a role playing game, it is highly dependant on the story. The story has a lot of plot twists, and it's full of dramatic irony (making you believe one thing and a whole different thing happens). The story is enjoyable on all levels, meaning that there is a very simple story, but also a much more complicated one behind it for those of you who enjoy that kind of thing. In addition to all that, there are several sub-plots that intertwine with the main plot. These sub-plots are often brought on by the minor characters that appear throughout the game.

One of the best points about the game are the characters. They all act very realistic, and they all stay in character pretty much throughout the game. For example, let's say there's a very tough character in the game that swears a lot and beat the crap out of other characters, you won't find him all of a sudden picking flowers. Also, the character development is done very well. The main character, Cloud takes a extremely noticable change in personality and attitude throughout the game.

The gameplay is spectacular. Final Fantasy VII utilizes the new ''materia'' system. Using this system, a player can customize a player in almost everyway possible. Their elemental strengths and weaknesses, their magic, and much more. Although this system does have it's good points, it also has it's share of bad points. As you get towards the end of the game, a character can have many materia slots. Therefore, switching party members can really be a hassel. But this system also allows for many secrets to be buried in the game. And Square takes advantage of that. Final Fantasy VII has the most secrets than any other RPG available. Another thing that made the gameplay great was it was easy to understand. After completing the first bit of the game, all the basics of the game will be explained to you at a beginner's hall, so there is no need for panic for thsoe of you who are new to the game.

This RPG uses a ATB (active time bar). Although you will be pressed for a decision, you can turn the mode to ''wait'', which means that you will have all the time in the world to decide on your move. This is a great mode for beginners. And for the more veteran players, there's an active mode, which means that enemies won't wait for you to decide. New to the series is the limit bar. This bar fills up as your character gets attacked. And when it fills up, your character can unleash an awsome attack, or a spell to benefit your party. These moves are called ''limit breaks''. There are nice features in this game that are featured in the previous two Final Fantasy games. These include summoning monsters. Players' favorite summons make a return appearance in Final Fantasy VII. They include Ifrit, Shiva, Bahamut and many more.

The controlls in this game is perfect. There is absolutley no button mashing required. It requires a very short time to learn the controlls. The challenge of this game is a healthy challenge for both rookie and veteran RPGers alike. First of all, the rookies will find the normal path through the game to be quite a challenging experiance. The path leading up to the fight against the final boss is a tough one. However, veterans are more then likely to find this very same path to be a bore (when it comes to challenge). It won't be very challenging for veterans. That is why side quests are included in the game. Side quests are side events and deviate from the main story. These quests can be really easy, or they can be extremely hard. The most experianced RPGers won't know what hit 'em.

Just like all RPGs, this one has a good variaty of mini-games. And unlike Final Fantasy VI, Chocobos are not only used for travel anymore. They are used for racing in this game. And that is one of the funnest mini games. You can capture and raise a chocobo any way you want to. Also, you can breed them to form new kinds of chocobos. These new kinds have different abilities such as wak over mountains, or over water.

The graphics, although good, could be a lot better. First of all, the battles did not look to impressive. The characters looked like they were poorly done. And the weapons were non porportional to the rest of the body. The FMVs (full motion videos) on the other hand was great! It was extremely well animated, with no hint of glitch of lag. The graphics are much better then those seen on the PlayStation counterpart. The audio is where this game really excels. The soundtrack is an unforgetable one (the soundtrack is also available, and is a top seller, just like the game). All the character's theme songs were carefully composed by Nobuo Uematsu (video game music god). All theme songs really do reflect on the character's personality and emotions. But perhaps the most famous song from this game is a song titled ''One Winged Angel''. Used for the final boss, this song is one of the most famous songs in all video games. The sound effects was slightly above average. Nothing to brag about, nothing horrible either. The overall audio was great, but does not live up to the PlayStation counterpart (unless you have a very good sound card and speakers).

The fun factor is extremely high. It is a very fun experiance to enjoy a story as good as this, and there are comedic relief throughout the game to release the really tense moments. You're going to more then likely find this a very fun game. Also, you are more then likely to want to play this again, just to relieve the story, and/or to pick up any secret items/weapons/materia you missed.

Overall, I would recomend this game to everyone and anyone. However, if your computer is not powerful enough, don't even bother, it's not worth it. This game requires a fairly powerful computer.

Fun Factor:10
Replay Value:10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/18/00, Updated 07/18/00

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