Review by roadlizard

Reviewed: 07/26/11

The best story ever written for a video game.

Final Fantasy VII was a game that when it was released in 1997, it quite literally took the world by storm. Even Today, 14 years on, it is still the most talked about and popular Final Fantasy in the entire series and one of the most influential RPG's of all time.

Story: 10/10. The story gets a 10 out of 10 because I cant give it an 11. It’s as simple as that. You play the game as the ex-SOLDIER member Cloud Strife who has left behind the days of working for the evil Shinra Corporation and teamed up with the local vigilante faction in Midgar known as AVALANCHE. The game takes a full on jump-into-the-action approach when you begin the game working with AVALANCHE on a mission into the No.1 Mako reactor. It is AVALANCHES goal to cause disruption to The Shinras constant farming of Mako energy from the planet, which is said to be the lifeblood of the planet. It’s what makes all things live, people, trees and animals. If all of the planets Mako energy is absorbed, then the planet dies. The Shinra only care about making money and have become blinded by their greed. Adding to the dilemma is Clouds former war buddy, Sephiroth. Sephiroth was considered to be the greatest and most skilled of all warriors. After disappearing for many years, He has resurfaced and has gone insane. Having developed a distaste for all other Human life he wishes to end the world and all forms of life on the planet.

This Story is so well written. The 9 playable main characters all interact with each other and have their own unique personalities that compliment one another. There is this Impressionable feeling that although the characters are flawed and vary so much personality wise, they all rely on one another and need each other to overcome the evil that they face throughout the game. Final Fantasy 7 does a great job on another thing. It is fantastic at not just characterizing the heroes of the game, but it also does a great job at characterizing the antagonists as well. The Shinra aren’t just a faceless corporation you spend your time fighting against. The Shinra employees, just like the main characters all have unique personalities and after awhile they all become familiar faces making you hate some and love others. Even Sephiroth himself has his own unique characterization and will go down in the record books as one of the greatest video game villains of all time.

The biggest downside about the story aspect of this game is the dialogue itself, because although it is extremely well written, it was translated horribly. There are many errors in spelling and wrong usage of words and grammar in the game. However, it is not bad enough to not understand what is being said or raise confusion on whats going on.

The Character development in this game is extremely thick. The party is constantly changing. A lot of games characters have changed from the start of the game to the end of the game. In this game the characters are all so deep and develop so much that they change from disk to disk. This is a long and intricate story that is extremely complex and at times will cause a lot of confusion but when you finally work it all out and everything neatly fits into place, you get this overwhelming sense of euphoria and feel extremely humbled by it because stories like this only come along once in a life time.

Game play: 10/10. Game play of Final Fantasy 7 is the based on a very traditional style of Japanese story telling. The game play itself is set in the field, where you are able to wander around towns and the world map exploring and making your way to the next area to proceed in the story. This is broken up by the random encounters of monsters and boss fights, which take part in the battle side of the game, which is all done in turn based combat. You and your enemy will take turns in attacking each other. Neither one of you can disrupt each other’s attacks but because you need to play with speed and get an attack in before your enemy does. It leaves you needing to think carefully and 3-4 attacks ahead of where you currently are. Doing away with simple button mashing in the more difficult fights of the game.

You have the traditional arsenal of both spells and physical attacks. As your progress further and further through the game you’ll be able to buy stronger weapons and Armour to add and customize yourself in battle. Magic comes in the form of Materia. Materia are orb-like in appearance and can be found and purchased from shops to add and remove to your characters to bring specific properties to battle. You get your standard fire, ice, thunder and earth Materia but you can customize it further by using other Materia in conjunction with one another mixing Fire and All Materia results in hitting all targets in battle. Another example is mixing Phoenix with final attack. Which will cast the phoenix summon when you die. All the traditional Summons have made come backs such as Shiva the Ice goddess, Ramuh the god of lightning and Bahamut the king of Dragons.

Graphics: 4/10. To be perfectly blunt, the graphics in Final Fantasy 7 are without a doubt, ugly as sin. This game has not aged well at all. That being said the graphics are generally speaking, broken up into three groups. Field, Battle and FMV. Graphics in the field are the worst and harshest on the eye. The character models look blocky and horrible like the town drunk and village idiot got together one night, got drunk and woke up the next day to discover they'd made half a dozen characters out of milk cartons, painted them different colours and given them names.
That being said however, the environments look really nice and well drawn to immerse you into the game. Keeping you in that cave or town to explore and take it all in. The FMV graphics is where this game truly shines. They look really good for the times it’s all highly polished and really enthralling. You keep hanging out waiting for these to creep up because they look so damn good.

Sound: 10/10. Lets face it, you could play Russian roulette with any of the Final Fantasy games and you’d end up getting one with a great soundtrack. The music has been masterfully composed. It all sounds original and crisp and many of the songs from this game have been put down as some of the best pieces of video game music ever. The thing is, that this game doesn’t try to over do the constant necessity of orchestral based tracks over and over again like most of today’s modern games do, because at the end of the day they all sound different but the style is all the same. This games music was styled and made to fit each and every scene where music is being played and designed to reflect the environment your in.

Overall 10/10. This game is one of the best investments you’ll ever be able to make in the RPG genre. It has aged and shows it quite a lot, but if you are able to look past the way it simply looks and enjoy it for what it is, I can almost be sure that you will not be disappointed with Final Fantasy 7.

A staple in the series as well as the genre this game belongs in any classic or RPG fans collection

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Product Release: Final Fantasy VII (EU, 11/17/97)

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