Review by Blue001

"Final Fantasy 7 knows itself"

Squaresoft released this game in 1997, at least on western shores and has become a household name, known to all gamers. This review will be an attempt at describing the game which without a doubt lives up to its fame. It will look at each component of the game and more importantly how it comes together as a whole.

Final Fantasy VII's gameplay is at the time of writing this review, what some may consider "outdated". It uses an active-time battle system which is like the traditional JRPG turn-based system, however characters have a gauge that when filled provides the player the option to perform an action. It is tremendously enjoyable because at first glance it's simplistic that even a child could play through this game, but there is room for customisation for added complexity. The battles are always fair, and they are fast-paced which makes it entertaining, as opposed to other RPGs whereby the enemy hit points are relatively high to your damage output which drags out the battles. Other than the battles you have the field mode where you control a character and explore, needing only the directional pad and the confirm/cancel button to navigate through most of the game, which also applies to the battle mode. These controls are highly intuitive and responsive. There is a fixed camera for most of the game, apart from the world map which makes it easy to follow your character, and you won't be bugged by camera issues since the camera is situated at a high angle. The player also has the option to enable a cursor over your character and markers at exits/entrances so you won't become lost, and are able to track yourself behind obstacles.

Another part of the gameplay is that characters have a HP and MP bar that refills at certain points of the game, at inns or using sleeping in a tent at save points. This means you cannot stay in a dungeon forever as your MP depletes, and your MP is important for keeping your characters alive. This provides a sense of mission and keeps players advancing. It also means for extended stays in dungeons, items such as tents become of vital importance.

In relation to the presentation of the game, the pre-rendered backgrounds are astounding due to the great detail. This graphical style has aged well, and was great for its time but still beautiful today. Not only that but there are a diverse range of different environments, that suit the game's theme well. The developers added special effects where necessary, never over utilising special effects which has kept the special effects impressive as compared to games which have special effects all over the place lessening the impact. The player gets to explore the gigantic world, with each place having its own background story adding depth and realism to the world. There are comedic and believable characters, and their dialogue is a treat to read. Their costumes are well-designed and appropriate for the world's setting.

The music in this game is pleasing, an A-quality soundtrack, and they blend in with the game perfectly, with the right track being used for each situation. This adds to the overall atmosphere of the game and enhances the player's experience.

This game provides a lengthy journey, at a low price if bought today for PSX, with the main quest up to 40 hours and side-quests can have you playing this game for a hundred hours. This game is definitely worth replaying because it is likely you may have missed something on your first playthrough and the journey never gets old. It's not a game that once you have played it it becomes boring. It's a game that you can enjoy time and time again.

Don't miss out on this game, even if you have to buy it new since it is relatively cheap for the enjoyment you can derive from it. Final Fantasy 7 proves that its a game that sets out with a mission and knows exactly how to complete it, knows exactly what it offers and does it to the highest standards. Squaresoft has proved their talents in this game, deserving all its fame and acclaim.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/04/12

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

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