Review by Wildlight

"A wondorous blend of inspiring music, astounding graphics, and engrossing story makes Final Fantasy one of the best games on the Playstation!"

Final Fantasy. Two words that make every RPGers eyes light up in anticipation. Years in the making, Final Fantasy fans have waiting eagerly for a very long time for the release of Final Fantasy VII (FF7). It is with eager delight that I review this game, of which it can confidently be said, 'it was worth the wait!'

FF7 is a role playing experience like no other. From the moment the game starts, you know something very special is taking place. Breathtaking FMV sequences, such as the beginning one seen on many of the commercials, show themselves beautifully throughout this title. The awe-inspiring music will have you humming tunes throughout the day. The deep story and action sequences will keep you scratching your head wondering, 'what's going to happen next?' Underneath all of the gorgeous art, and stunning scenes, even more surprises await. The battles boast some of the most cinematic, most well-directed graphics and special effects on the playstation!

The story line, while somewhat long, keeps the player deeply interested in the game. While not as good as other RPG games, it does take time to go over each of the characters. There are plenty of people to talk to, and plenty of world to explore. Side quests and well done mini games keep the player totally immersed in the game. While not totally different then FF6, FF7 offers a totally different battle and character growth system from other RPGs.

Many have called Final Fantasy VII one of the best games on the Playstation. Here's why:

GRAPHICS (10/10) - Every part of this game is absolutely beautiful! From the moment you put in the first disc, the moment you finish the third, you will be treated to awesome art and astounding cinematic. Some of the spells (especially the summoning spells) have to seen to be believed. (Watching a dragon the size of Godzilla use his fire breath to totally blow away your opponents in a blast that is not unlike a nuclear explosion is truly amazing!! This is done in fully polygonal 3-D with dramatic camera angles switching throughout the spell). You will be sitting at the end of your seat watching some of these sequences. But that is only half of the fun! In case that's not enough fun, Square has given each character 4-8 special "Limit Breaks", special attacks accessible after so much damage has been taken, that's a blast to watch!

The cities are all done in stunning hand drawn art. But what really makes this awesome, is how the FMV sequences take place from the exact same scene. For example, in one scene, you see a train racing around the city in a wondrous FMV sequence. The train slows down, and comes to a stop. Rather then cutting out to a different scene, you control the action starting from the last from of the FMV. The smooth transition of background scenery to FMV is way cool!

I cannot say enough about the graphics in this game. Very wonderfully done and deserving of a perfect score!

SOUND (9/10) - Fitting the theme in almost every seen, the BGM was done very nicely. However, it would have been nice if the BGM had been, say performed and recorded on the CD, instead of computer generated. It is notably very nice and well suited for the game. The sound effects during battle and the city scenes also fit the action of the characters very well.

CONTROL (9/10) - For the most part, FF7 runs off of text menus. There are walk through tutorials at the beginning of the game, and descriptions for almost every item. The characters and menus are easy to navigate, and any confusion is cleared up in the tutorial.

GAMEPLAY (9/10) - This game is very fun to play! While the characters are pregenerated, to fit the well written story, you control the growth of your character through FF7s unique 'Materia' system. By assigning characters certain Materia (magic stones) you can increase or lower various statistics, empower your character with special abilities (such as double attacks, or counter attack ability), as will as change what spells he/she has at his/her command. Through each battle, each Materia carried gains more strength, opening up more spells or increasing their abilities they endow.

One of the most important aspects of any RPG is the story line. With the exception of the minor sidequests, FF7 is fairly linear, due to its intricate story line, no doubt. The story reads like a novel, and each of the characters possesses a very unique personality and their own story.

Also, there are various side quests that are totally optional, yet, if explored, allows you to see more of the characters' history and have a chance at more spells and items. More exploring will allow you to visit some of FF7s very interesting mini-games. There are at least half a dozen, and some of them are entire games unto themselves!

With 7 normal characters, 2 hidden, several vehicles, a dozen cities, tons of enemies and an entire world to explore, FF7 can keep anyone busy for a long time! The only possible negative to note is that many advanced RPGers may feel that the challenge level of this game is not as high as they would like. However, this makes this game very accessible to those whom have never played a RPG before.

REPLAY VALUE (10/10) - FF7 has tons of secrets. And with so many ways to modify your character through proper use and growth of the Materia, the combinations will keep you busy for hours!! And some of those spells are just fun to watch time and time and time again!

OVERALL (10/10) - One of the best games every made on the playstation, and nearly perfect in all aspects. The combination of astonishing graphics, wonderful BGM, engrossing story line and unique battle and character development system make this game a must have in any playstation gamers library. Ease of play will keep the new players from becoming too frustrated, while the engrossing story line and zillions of secrets will keep advanced players happy. Whether or not you are into RPGs, if you don't mind losing a few weeks of free time, seriously consider getting FFVII. You will not be disappointed!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 12/16/02

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