Review by ZFS
"The best example of perfection materialized into game form."
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII is possibly the best RPG that Squaresoft themselves have actually made. They have made many, many good titles but this one is one of the best ones I've ever seen before. The game itself circulates around Cloud Strife who is an Ex-SOLDIER from the company known as ShinRa. Throughout the game you will control the main character, Cloud, as you go through trying to stop the evil ShinRa, Inc. from sucking the life completely from the planet and at the same time solve and destroy another mysterious person who seems to be even worse than ShinRa. With all of this in mind, Cloud and yourself have many things to await by taking the challenge of playing Final Fantasy VII a game that is considered by millions to be the best RPG ever made by Squaresoft and just RPG's in general.
Final Fantasy 7 has a different, unique, and groundbreaking kind of game play that set itself far away from any other RPG in the past. The battle system in Final Fantasy VII consists of a turn-based, ATB battle system. You basically have a bar that fills up and when that bar fills up you are allowed to attack, defend, use an item, etc. The battle system works very well in the game and presents a new kind of battling that is both fun and challenging at the same time. Most of the menus in the battle system are actually pretty simple with your basic Attack, Magic, Item, and Defend type of options. You pick the basic of each of these and you go about fighting the enemy.
Something that really is a true innovation and adds a lot of challenge is the great Materia system that allows you to link for example Fire and Ice together to get a better effect out of it overall than linking Ice together with something else. The Materia system also allows you to go throughout the many places throughout FFVII looking for really rare or strong Materia that is really out of the way and cannot be found by just following the story. This leaves room for a lot of exploring and adds on to the replay value because you'll definitely want to go back and collect the extra Materia for very difficult boss battles that would lie ahead.
Despite the battle system and Materia system there is the basic exploring and adventuring type of game play that is present in almost every game known to man. You control one character throughout the entire game when you are in a city, on the world map; whatever no matter where you are (except for a battle) you will only control Cloud Strife. Cloud, as you would probably figure, is the main character in Final Fantasy VII and is definitely a good and strong one at that. Unlike a previous SNES game Chrono Trigger, the characters do not follow behind you; rather they just go into Cloud and you just see Cloud himself instead of other multiple characters following him.
One of the great things about Final Fantasy VII is the great and epic boss battle that you face throughout the entire game. Every boss in the game presents some kind of challenge to you and sometimes will take you a while to get use to the patterns that it might have and what moves are really something while other moves are pretty useless against your party. In boss, and any battles for that matter, you will only have 3 members of your total team participating in it. The boss battles in FFVII are no cake walk at all, in fact throughout most of the game you will find yourself struggling to beat many of the bosses if your playing for the first time because you have to get use to the Materia system, the way the bosses fight, etc. All of this adds up to the total difficulty of the game as well as the fun factor of the bosses.
Unlike most RPG's you see throughout much of the long history of RPG's you will find that they have no replay value, but unlike ''most'' RPG's Final Fantasy VII is much different indeed. The thing that adds onto the replay value is the ability to trace back and collect Materia that you might've missed, places you didn't explore, and fighting the hard as crap to beat Weapons. There are a few places that you will skip over just because they are not apart of Final Fantasy VII's story; instead they are just little side quests that you can do to get extra Materia or to gain a different kind of transport. One very fun thing that will definitely keep you coming back for more if your into this sort of thing is the ability to catch and breed Chocobos. The many different kinds of Chocobos you can breed and catch really add to the replay value and sometimes can be frustrating especially when your trying for that ever impossible, Gold Chocobo. Although Gold is the best, there are many different colors each having their own special attribute that will let them cross-different parts of the land. All of this adds up to great replay value and will definitely keep you coming back for more despite it being an RPG, oh and of course trying to get to Lv. 99. So overall the game play factor of FFVII is very, very good. Almost flawless, the game has great difficulty, replay value, and a battle system that is definitely a keeper. The Materia system is very good and suites the game very well for what it is. All of this adds up to FFVII getting an easy 10, no problem.
The graphics in Final Fantasy VII are very good especially for their time. While now they would be considered horrible and blocky, back then it was a groundbreaking type of graphics that would just plain make your mouth drop in awe. Unlike the past Final Fantasy games that focused a lot more on sprites Squaresoft finally went to new lengths to make sure that the Playstation was pushed to it's potential, using polygons, which is the bases for games, makes Final Fantasy VII look very well done and adds a nice descriptive feeling to the game.
The character models in Final Fantasy VII are very good, especially good for when they are done. Throughout most of the game you will be in game seeing on an average just Cloud. Now you will see the many other characters throughout the game but the person you see the most on your team is Cloud Strife. The character model for Cloud and the rest of the Final Fantasy VII characters are very good. They don't have any hands, rather they have small black squares on their hands in order to save on detail and make the game run at a faster rate. The characters are actually very detailed despite this minor, no hand flaw, the graphics go in detail showing their eyes, feet, and even the exact clothes that they are wearing. Every character has something different about them and no character is repeated by another character, in that sense the graphics are really good by showing all of the characters differently instead of copying characters certain model over and over. Now like any game the FMV/Cinemas are the best thing in the game. In the cinemas you will see exactly what each character really looks like instead of just seeing them from the normal game perspective. The cinemas are very good and go into detail showing strands of hair that fall out of the place, the grooves and scratches on the plates of armor they might wear or the sword one might hold, everything is done in such detail that there can't be a problem with not liking the cinema graphics. Now the FMV's are quite a different story, while they are still very detailed, run smoothly, and give a better outlook on the character than the normal in game graphics they aren't near the ability of that of cinemas. The Full Motion Videos are very good, but still the use the polygon count, just a lot higher than the in game does. You still get to see a lot more detail in the FMV's but they just aren't like that of the cinemas, there aren't a lot of FMV's in the game but you can tell which are cinemas and which are FMV's.
Also, the environments in Final Fantasy VII are actually really good because they are more detailed than the characters themselves. This is very good because you get a detailed description of what the area around you actually looks like. For example while you are in Midgar you will see many broken down signs, dirty streets, nice lighting affects everything is done very well and shows you what the environment actually looks like instead of just providing a slopped up polygonal environment Square gives you a nice high-res visual of the environment. Overall the graphics in Final Fantasy VII aren't flawless, but they are very well done and set the tone for the overall game. The character models were spectacular for their time and still are something to be looked into. The environments in the game are very well done and look better than the actual characters themselves, so you get a detailed picture of your surroundings, and the FMV's/Cinemas are in very high-resolution and lets players see exactly what everything looks like and gives you a picture of where you are at and what it looks like, just very detailed. Again, the graphics aren't perfect but they are very good and get a nice 9.
The sound/music in Final Fantasy VII is virtually flawless; one does the best music composers for video games, Nobuo Uematsu the music. He does the music so very well that it fits the environment with no problem. The music is so well done that most of the soundtrack will be in your mind even 3 years after you have played the game because the music is just that good. The sound is also very good, equipping and unequipping Materia has sounds cool as well as the overall menu sounds that you hear through the game.
Now to begin the music in Final Fantasy VII is nothing short of plain amazing. Throughout much of the game the music will sound different than it did before, almost none of the tracks repeat themselves. Meaning that you won't be listening to one track and then later hear another track soon after. The music is played so well and composed so well that you actually begin to get the flow of how it goes and in no time you'll be able to know when a certain part happens during the song, without even thinking. Another thing about the music is that it is well thought out. By listening to the tracks and seeing your environment you can tell that time was taken to make sure the music suited the environment very well and Nobuo Uematsu made sure he made very high-quality tracks, and at the same time making them memorable so that you won't soon be forgetting a track, one for example would be the ''Turks Theme''. Overall the music is very well done and is a major part of the game.
The sound now is just as good as the music. The menu sounds you hear throughout the game are very well done and have a nice little ching when you hear it. Linking and unlinking Materia gives you a nice little sound that definitely will not cause annoyance to anyone. Now getting to more ''real'' sounds that you'll hear in the game is the sound of cannons being fired swords slashing, and Materia being used. All of these sounds are very well done, the sound of Cloud using his sword on an enemy is very good and getting a critical sounds so much different than Cloud normally hitting an enemy. And you can tell which weapons suit the character better because some sword will sound dull when a character uses them, but when they find their weapon it has a nice power sound you could say. All of this put together will give you nice sounds and definitely won't disappoint.
So overall the sound/music in Final Fantasy VII is very good and lets players listen to very well thought out music and nice sounds. The music is memorable in the sense that you won't be forgetting the many tracks that Nobuo Uematsu created in FFVII. All of the tracks sound very good and none of them are a pain to listen to; they are all different and suit the environment very well. The sound is very good as well providing you will many different high-quality sounds that definitely won't be annoying or stupid, putting all of this together and you get a great sound/music category that is a major part of Final Fantasy VII in general.
Overall Final Fantasy VII is nothing short of perfect, while having some small minor flaws the game provides you with many worthwhile tasks and will definitely leave a mark on you once you've finished the game. The gameplay is very good with the new Materia system, the game adds even more getting use to than previous Final Fantasy games and the best thing is that the system works. The battle system is new and innovative and at the same time works just like the Materia system. The graphics, while having polygons showing, they are definitely something to see and look at. The FMV/Cinemas definitely won't disappoint and will live up to the Playstation's potential. The sound/music is very well done and Nobuo Uematsu does very well with creating a nice sound and music category that contributes so much to the game that it makes it a major part of Final Fantasy VII. Combining all of this together you will definitely be busy with this game for hours to come and won't be finishing this game is less than 50 hours. Nothing makes this game seem bad and you can't get a better Final Fantasy than this one.
Basically this game is simply amazing, in my opinion the best RPG ever made. Due to the fact that it has so many great points to the game with very few cons it is so very impressive that you can't not like this game. The sheer amount of fun, drama, sadness, etc. is amazing and is easily a very deep game that takes you into the personality of each of the characters and gets you attached to them while not revealing everything about them. What you have here is no mere RPG, but one of the best RPG's made.
Final Score: 10.0
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/26/02, Updated 11/28/05
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