Review by Kulsprutejojjo_
A wonderful game, but is it that great?
First off, I am going to say that I love this game. Really. While many here agree with me on that point, I could also say that the game has flaws, which many of the fans seem to deny. I'll give a review as detailed as possible in the following review.
For a starter, the story in this game is awesome, no question about it. You start off as Cloud, who claims himself to be an ex-SOLDIER who has recently joined a terrorist group called AVALANCHE, led by the burly Barret. In general, the story starts off with the evil corporation Shin-Ra as the major bad guys, who are draining the planet's energy to create electrical power. The whole majority of the beginning of the game takes place in Midgar, with Shinra as the major bad guys, and personally, I find this part to be one of the best parts of the game, giving us a new, gritty Cyberpunk-styled environment.
Later on, however, the president of the company (ironcally refered to President Shinra) gets killed by a man named Sephiroth, who is confirmed to be the main villain of the game. Soon after this you leave Midgar, not to return until very much later, which is sad, because I especially liked the setting of Midgar. While it is nice to see some new settings, it almost feels like you're playing a new game from this point forward.
At this point, the team's main objective is to follow track down Sephiroth, who is also tracked down by the Shinra, now led by the president's son, Rufus Shinra. I'm gonna be a bit honest here, because while this part is kinda good, it becomes pretty obvious that the game is pretty linear from this point on.
As the story gets more interesting later on in the game, Sephiroth threatens to destroy the planet by crashing a meteor magically into the planet, while Cloud at the same time goes through a series of traumas. I believe at this point, the game focuses a little too much on Cloud's state of mind than on the actual problems the planet is facing at the time. I mean, it's not like you'd worry about that your cat died when the world is about to end, would you?
Overall, I can say that the story is still rather good, and it made the game worth playing through until the end. While not perfect, it did catch a lot of attention to me, and while somewhat flawed, it is still a pretty darn good one.
Story score: 7/10
The gameplay in this game is rather simple and easy to understand. For many of the ones who had this game as their first RPG, it was something special for them, because it was easy to learn and easy to master. The materia system is easy enough that almost a kindergarten kid could learn it fast enough.
The weapon classes had been majorly revamped for this game too. Instead of having several weapon classes that could be used by specific characters depending on their class, they focused in this game mainly on giving each character a specific weapon type unique to them. For example, Cloud uses swords of about the size of himself, while Tifa uses fighting gloves and Barret uses specially crafted machine guns attached to his right arm. The idea of this was probably to have a simplier system than previous installments, where both thieves and black mages could use daggers, but not certain other weapons, for example. This made it easier to know which weapon could be applied to which character, as every character had a special weapon tyoe that only he/she could use.
The enemies in the game range from easy as hell to hard as hell, depending to which level you are at when facing them, and if you have played the game before. The enemies in this game do not scale with your level, perhaps with the exception of Safer Sephiroth, who gains some health depending on how many characters have reached around level 70. This in general meant that grinding levels in the game became a key strategy to defeat some of the tougher enemies in the game. This in general removed some major strategic thinking behind many battles, making the game a lot less of a challenge.
The game had some alternate bosses, that could be challenged when you had reached certain stages of the game. Most notable of these were the WEAPONS, who are considered the most challenging enemies in the game, with a whooping 1 million HP (with the main exception of Ultima Weapon) and a motherlode of attacks that could whoop even the most skillfull player in a matter of seconds if you were unlucky. And the rewards for beating them are pretty appealing, too.
In general, tha gameplay is pretty easy to understand, but if you are a hardcore player like me, it might get too easy if you are playing games for the challenge. You might want to consider beating Ruby or Emerald weapon if you want some challenge out of this game.
The musical score in this game is by far one of the most appealing traits in this game. The main theme is epic and ambient, giving you a great feeling about what this game is all about. If the story didn't drive you in, there is a high chance that the music did. Most of the songs catch the mood of the scene they're trying to represent very well, making you feel almost like you're taking part of the scene.
The only main flaw I can see in the music is that there is no truly orchestrated song, since every last one of the songs in the game utilizes the Playstation's integrated sound chip to generate every song in the game. The only real song that isn't entirely generated by the console's sound chip is One Winged Angel, which actually contains auidible vocals, making it the only track in the game with that kind of feature. It's not a bad song, either, really. I just believe that this game could use at least one fully orchestrated track, secifically the main theme in my opinion.
This game has a broad cast of characters, each with their own distinctive traits and personalities. The game has 9 different playable characters in total, and the number of bad guys is a formidable number too.
Cloud is, as we all know, the protagonist and main character of this game. Needless to say, he spawned a new trend in RPGs by putting spikey-haired young men, or even boys, with swords about the half size of their body as the main character. Cloud himself is not a bad character in the game. But he is pretty badly messed up during most of the game, which is a major driving factor in the game. He is not exactly the most cheerful character in the game, but I wouldn't call him the most depressing one, either. While he does whine a bit about himself not being able to do this task, he is still very ambitious, and even makes a few jokes here and there (he even claims Barret looks like a bear wearing a marschmallow at one point). In general, he is a great character in the game, and not exactly what most other fans think of him. I myself think Advent Children removed everything from Cloud except the "messed up" part, since he seems to be mourning through the whole movie, even he was never that depressed in the game.
The main villain of the game is, as you know, Sephiroth, and in general, he isn't the most unique villain in the series, despite what many of the fans say. The most unique villain would be Kefka (I GOT SAND IN MY SHOES!). Sephiroth is as generic of a villain as Ganondorf in Legend of Zelda or Alucard in Castlevania. While these are not exactly bad characters, I believe that running on the concept of having an extremely cold-blooded villain is nothing special, really. While some characters may do this better than others, I don't feel Sephiroth is amongst these. Besides, he almost dresses like a woman in my opinion. I always wondered why he isn't wearing a SOLDIER uniform if he used to be a first-rank SOLDIER?
The other playable characters in the game are pretty good, although some may be pretty stereotypical. Barret reminds me a little too much about Mr. T in his personality, and Tifa has gotten a bit too much attention because of her boobs. Then we have Aeris, who actually is a pretty good character, who is very caring and sensitive most of the time. And Red XIII, who is some kind of talking dog or lion or something along those lines. He is a pretty good character story-wise, and is rather calm character. Cait Sith is a cat on a fat moogle, and I think that one speaks for itself. He's annoying, that's all. Cid is the final obligatory character you get, and I thik he's awesome as hell. While he may curse a lot and get pissed at many people, he is a good-hearted man, and a major source for many laughs on my side in the game, due to the fact that he has a tendency to curse a lot (and I mean, a lot). There is also two unlockable characters in the game, Yuffie and Vincent, who both are rather good characters. Yuffie is a spoony and kinda clumsy ninja who in the beginning only tags along to steal materia, while Vincent is a man who blames himself for what happened to his love, Lucrecia. All of these characters have their own sideplots to the main story, to give them a little more depth than just being empty filler characters.
As for major NPCs, there are a whole bunch of bad guys on Shinra who also wants to stop the main party for their own reasons. Most notably here we have Rufus Shinra, Hojo and Reeve. While there are a few more major characters that could be mentioned, I believe these have the most impact on the story. They all hqave their own purposes for doing what they do, and while some may almost be treated as good guys, others may turn out as bad guys near the end of the game.
All in all, the cast of the game is rather broad, but some characters could have been improved a lot, and I feel some characters got really ruined with the release of Advent Children, most notably Cloud.
To sum it all up, this is a good game, and Square did a pretty good job on this game, however, it's reputation exceeds it's quality, and is not the best game ever made. While still amongst the most memorable games ever made, I sttill think many praise this game a little to high, especially when treating Cloud and Sephiroth like the best characters ever made. While they may are good characters, it's not like they have more depth than any character from any other game series, for example. On the contrary, some people call this a bad game due to the fanbase. While it is true that the fanbase of this game is the most appealing one, it's not like the game becomes any worse because of it. I'm don't like the fanbase either, but just because this game is overrated doesn't mean it's bad. So in general, this game is good, but the fanboys of it has made it look worse than it really is. It is good, and you should not overlook that fact. But it's not the best game ever made.
Overall score: 8/10
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Final Fantasy VII (JP, 01/31/97)
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