"Possibly the most satisfying game ever."

Final Fantasy VII is one of those games you hear about being amazing, so you look into it and you may be skeptical because when tons of people love something it just seems lame, but image this: when I was in grade school, I had no idea the final fantasy series existed. My parents were worried about me melting my mind, so at this point I hadn't really experienced video games at all, I hadn't watched too much TV (except for like, PBS) and I was pretty much one of those weird, new-age aftermath kind of kids. By the way, I'm 21 now, to give you an idea of time. Anyway, my friend Jonathan did have access to video games, and he, at the time, had just received FFVII as a gift or something, and was trying to explain it to me. I found the story a little hard to follow, but, in one very long sitting I had the whole plot laid out for me, and I was very intrigued. However, I still wasn't allowed to play video games, so I just sort of had to wait and forget about it. Then, two years ago, I bought a playstation and a lot of games at a garage sale, and one of the games was FFVII. This is actually pretty amazing, because a vintage game store recently opened and I went to check out other playstation games and they're all really expensive and FFVII specifically was like, 60 dollars. Anyway, it wasn't hard to find a memory card and I excitedly began the quest that had been described to me many years earlier. So, consider this: I have never played the game before, but I know the whole story, and it's got it's early playstation graphics competing against my child's imagination. I was skeptical, although I fought and denied the feeling, because I knew that the anticipation and years of build-up were inevitably a curse. But, through all this, I began, and dove whole hog into the Final Fantasy experience.

This game is amazing. Having only recently gotten into video games, I feel like I may have a different approach towards experiencing and then judging them. For me, the graphics of that time were uncannily appropriate for the game, and the jagged, polygon characters moving smoothly and simply through elaborate backgrounds filled my dreams for the whole time I was playing it. The soundtrack was perfectly campy to match the other silly aspects of the game, but also incredibly involving and evocative.

After playing through a few of the other Final Fantasy games I can say that, in my opinion, the style, aesthetic, and general thematic make-up was best in this game, and in this subject all the games have gone down hill. The sort of apocalyptic dirtiness, the oppressive feel of the urban and mechanical things bring a much needed balance to the well-loved but also silly JRPG elements such as feminine male characters, incoherent emotions, etc. I feel like I'm stepping on eggshells with that sort of talk because I'm sure some people may find it rude or annoying. I want to be clear in saying that I don't really think any of the "silly JRPG stuff" should be changed or removed, it's definitely a necessary element in this type of game, it just needs something original or at least uncommon to balance out. I think FFVII plays every level of its aesthetic perfectly, and is therefore ageless, well, ageless to anyone who doesn't get furious looking at dated graphics.

Finally, the plot is actually very involving! The somewhat heavy themes of the game are balanced by cute and humorous dialog, which is contextualized by the simplified, cute-ish character models, which are similarly contextualized in the themes by the dramatic and beautiful music and scenery. Amazingly crafted and so, so good to play, this game deserves all of the credit it receives.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/02/08

Game Release: Final Fantasy VII (US, 09/07/97)

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