Review by EBunleashed

Reviewed: 07/06/05

One of the Best Games of All Time

The Playstation debut of Final Fantasy was a much talked about thing. For ages I wanted to get my grubby fingers on it, but the closest thing I got was Final Fantasy VIII when I was 10 years old (which I sold cause it confused me at the time). Now, years later, and now lacking any type of Sony console, I needed my FF fix. Luckily, a copy of FFVII for PC caught my eye and I bought it immediately. At first I was merely satisfied, but after I did things like escaping Midgar, riding chocobos and meeting new, likable characters, I was overwhelmed with amazement. Now, time to get to dissecting this thing.

Story: 10/10
*Spoilers ahead* You are Cloud, a former member of the elite military group called SOLDIER, headed by the massive conglomerate Shin-Ra, Inc. You have become a mercenary as of late, and now taking a job from AVALANCHE, a group that wants to stop Mako production. Mako is an energy that Shin-Ra makes using the planet's source of energy, the Lifestream. Anyway, AVALANCHE plans to stop Mako production by destroying the Mako reactors, but once Shin-Ra knows where AVALANCHE HQ is located, they destroy the entire sector, forcing out the remaining members Cloud, Barret, Tifa, Aeris, the last surviving "Ancient", and Red XIII, a wise, animal-like creature that talks and was part of the Shin-Ra scientist Dr. Hojo's experiments. Not only that, but rumors arise of the return of the greatest SOLDIER member ever, Sephiroth, once thought to be dead. Cloud must save the world from both Shin-Ra and Sephiroth before the planet is destroyed.

The story is truly a work of art, even if it's a little complex at times. The characters are all very likable and memorable, and at times, you might even be at the brink of tears or laughing. The comical-yet-vile Don Corneo, the despicable Rufus Shinra, the relatable Cloud Strife, Vincent Valentine, the man seeking for redemption and more are examples of wonderful character design in the plot. Only a well-written game story can provoke such extreme emotion.

Sound and Music: 10/10
Composer Nobuo Uematsu really outdid himself in this game. Almost every theme is memorable, and it always fits the situation. Cid's ambition and dreams of being the first man in space, the evil that Sephiroth has become, the excitement and joy to be had at the Golden Saucer, the plans of the diabolical Shin-Ra. All of these made clear and amplified by the incredible music. The sound effects are good too, with the ever satisfying slash of a sword, the crunch of a punch in the face and more made ever the more convincing by good sound effects.

Graphics: 8/10
This is where the game falters a little bit. Sure, this was awesome for 1998, and it was intended for Windows 95, but the FMVs can be rather grainy, and the overworld character models could be better. However, the saving grace of these graphics are in the battles. The characters are wonderfully detailed, the summons are awesome, and the enemies are awe-inspiring.

Gameplay: 9/10
Wow. This is amazingly good. The battles are an odd combination of real-time and turn-based, with the ability to cusomize your characters with materia, which not only give your characters abilities like magic and deathblow, but also increase your stats in some cases (Deathblow gives +1 luck, for example) and decrease your stats in others (Neo Bahamut is -10% HP, for example). Not only can this make your characters powerful, but this can also promote a good amount of thinking and strategy. Outside of the battles are minigames, which can be fun in some cases (Chocobo racing!), but frustrating in others (Snowboarding...). They may be frustrating due to the fact that the PC version has sloppy and flimsy control on a keyboard. All of the actions are done in the number pad. What the crap?! Your hands have to be mushed up into a little ball to play, unless you customize the controls or use a control pad instead. Regardless of the icky control, this one is a hoot to play.

Overall: 10/10
Wow. This game is beautiful. This has to be my second favorite game of all time, second only to EarthBound for SNES. The gripping plot, endearing characters, unforgettable music, fun battles, massive bosses and neat minigames are all stuffed into an awesome 3 CD package. This is one you don't want to miss, although you need to download a patch to play it on PC without it crashing every now and then.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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