Review by YSF

"FFVII marks the direction that future Final Fantasy is heading."

Few years back, i wasn't ecstatic with the overall PlayStation's libary,with a lack of aplenty RPGs. However, it was one company who influenced me tobuy a PlayStation, instead of a Saturn. And, that was SquareSoft. With theannouncing of the release of FFVII to the PlayStation, i knew that i had toplay it. And, i'm glad i make a right choice, buying a PlayStation.

The vast leaps of technology from the 16-bit to the 32-bit is what concernseverybody. FFVII does put a hint of what you can expect from the future FFsand what future SquareSoft games will be liked.

I got to say that FFVII has lived up to the hype, revoluntarising theRPG genre once again.

One of the noticeable change of FFVII is to go with prerendered backgroundsand polygonal characters over sprite-based that is onced used in the SNES. Theprerendered backgrounds creates a cinematic feeling, while so, the enviromentisn't in full 3-D. For the first thing, you can't rotate the camera angles, andbecause in certain areas, where the camera angles are placed very far away, thecharacters, objects, surroundings tend to look very small. Thirdly, it allowslimited space for free-roaming, unlike the traditional sprite-based that canoffer.

The characters are polygonals, giving more of a deformed look. Characters,especially Cloud show a lot of gesture movements, and i guess that's whatSquare is aiming at-to portray a person through his actions, facial andexpressions, other than dialogues alone, which traditional sprite-based isimpossible to do.

While so, the facial, and the deformed look has failed to portray thecharacters very successfully. Nevertheless, for the first time, Square hasdone perfectly well, for FFVII was one of the first 32-bit games Square ismaking.

As of a traditional custom, FFVII has no story connections with othercharacters. It puts you in the role of a mercenary, named Cloud, teaming upwith a group of resistance called Avalanche, aiming to stop the evilcorporation, Shinra from her conspiracy of sucking up mako energy. The twistis not just this alone, with the mystery of Sephiroth, Jenova and one maywonder what is the Promised Land about? (If you haven't completed)

The music, though not much of a vast improve from the standards set by FFIVto FFVI, is excellent. The music fits the atmosphere perfectly well, fromthe starting mako reactor to the crater. Even the final boss theme, One WingedAngel, suits everything perfectly well. All in one, the memorable musics arebound to give you an unforgetable experiences.

One of the reasons why Square choose Sony over Nintendo, is to integratethe use of Full Motion Videos that can't be done in a cart-based system likeN64. There are really some good cut-scenes like the motorcycle chase, endingetc, which more or less enhances the cinematic feeling.

While so, perhaps technology is one of the factors, FFVII has lost the'Pure' and 'Fantasy' fun that the 16-bit RPG enjoys, heading into a directionof a movie, and more of a sci-friction story. Unlike other FFs, this is the first FF that do not have a singlecastle. Nevertheless, gameplay is top-notch, and everything is incrediblefrom start to finish, and characters still possess a huge amount of in-depth.

Just like every new Final Fantasy Chapter, a new battle system is beingimplemented. Gone is the Esper system that is so widely familarised, andreplacing it is the materia and the limit break systems.

Each weapon and armour have materia slots, and all magics, summons, commandsetc are known as materia. The materia system works by inserting one of themateria to the slot. If you insert a fire materia, Cloud will be able to usefire magic. What really revoluntarised the genre is the fact that they are manylinked materia slots, hence allowing for experimental purposes, creatingcomplex materia combinations.. Breaking out of traditional battle combat isthe ability to have more than four commands.

The limit break is awesome, and devastating. Each character has a gaugebar, and once being attacked the gauge bar will rise, and when it is full, youcan execute limit breaks.

The flashier magics, limit breaks, that climax with the summon materiasbring combat into a whole new realm.

The success for FFVII does not depend on this solely alone. For the firsttime, the world map is in full 3-D polygons, giving endless explorations,once you have a Gold Chocobo and the Highwind. It is not just this alone.Final Fantasy VII also has an underwater world , and now, you can submergedwith a submarine. Impressive, and in short, FFVII's world map can be accessibleby land, sea and air. What's more do we want?

Another interesting aspect of the game is the ability to breed chocobos.Though FFVII doesn't has a flying chocobo like FFV, the ability of a goldchocobo to be able to cross oceans, climb hills brings over a feeling ofexcitement.

Unlike other FFs, FFVII has mini-games aplenty like chocobo racing, snowboarding, motorcycle chase etc though some may critise that the mini-games areuseless and a waste of time. Still, it adds to the challenge and besides wecan bet with chocobos, during a race, why not?

Game length is long, with tons of secrets to improve replay value. What'smore is the exclusive Emerald and Ruby Weapons that were added to the USversion. (Excluding the International Version).

All in one, FFVII changes the fate of the PlayStation, from a RPG-fearsystem with countless RPG-clone. Possibly the greatest hit in 1997, Square hasonced created a megahit classic title.

I just wish that the future FFs, will not be like FFVII, focusing on themainstream of the majority, and forget about us long-time FFs fans andbecoming more of a Sci-friction story and strays away from the simple, purefantasy setting that the 16-bit FFs enjoy.

Story : 8.5/10.0
Graphics : 8.0/10.0
Concept : 9.5/10.0
FMV : 8.0/10.0
Music : 9.5/10.0
Sound : 8.5/10.0
Gameplay : 9.5/10.0
Replay : 9.5/10.0
Challenge : 9.0/10.0
Presentation : 8.0/10.0
Overall : 9.0/10.0

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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

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