Review by Braben

Reviewed: 03/12/04

Simply the biggest video game achievement the mankind has ever done.

Final Fantasy VII is, by far, the best game ever made, there’s no doubt about that, and there will never EVER be something like this again, Square reached the top here and if you disagree, probably you are one of those people that hates Square because they used (they used, nowadays is another story) to make most of the best games in the market. In any case, if you think this game is not the best of the best, YOU ARE WRONG!, and I'm not a fan boy, Square's SaGa series is awful, and I think Final Fantasy IX and X, while splendid games, are not all that worthy of the Final Fantasy title, as well as Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II (for the Nes), I know what I'm talking about.

Story (10/10):
This is, above everything, what makes Final Fantasy VII the best of the best. It has the most complex, deep, mature, and interesting story of all time, it will make you cry, smile, laugh... everything, and I think there will never even be a game with a story better or even as good as this one. There is plot twist every two minutes, and they aren’t stupid twists, they are MAJOR twists, and main twist is legendary, I remember that when I finished that part (those who have played know what I am talking about) I was totally shocked, not only it was something completely unexpected, it was something that completely changed the game, after that part I was amazed, confused, and also a bit disappointed, but in a different good way, it is hard to explain.

Final Fantasy VII is a very sad game, and that is a very good thing, one of the key elements probably, there is a couple of humorous events, that part at the Muro Market has to be the most hilarious sequence in the video game history, but the game’s general mood is very depressing, something that I would say is excellent because it makes everything more mature and also helps a lot to make it the never seen before involving experience it is. Final Fantasy VII’s plot is the most serious ever in a Final Fantasy, and that is another reason why it is the best of all time.

The “best plot ever” starts when Cloud, a mysterious, solitary, and easily pissed off kind of mercenary starts to help a bunch of members of a group called Avalanche, which wants to stop a company called Shinra that is slowly sucking the energy of the planet. Of course this is just the beginning... and that beginning is furious, the beginning of the game is spectacular, and unlike so many rpgs, everything keeps getting better and better and when you stop playing you think, “man, I am in heaven, this just can’t get any better”, but it gets, oh my god if it gets!

It is true that everything gets very confusing as the plot continues, there are so many turns, so many characters, so many sub plots, to sum up, there are so many things happening at the same time and all of them are so great that sometimes it is a little bit hard to follow everything. I cried when it was over, because I knew that I had just finished the most intense gaming experience in my life, from now on I can’t play video games in the same way than before

Graphics (10/10):
Being fair, Final FantasyVII’s graphics are pixilated and sometimes weird, the characters are poorly made when they are not battling, they even look grotesque sometimes, and during some mini games like the submarine one or even the wonderful Chocobo Races we have to admit that the graphics are a total mess and pretty ugly, but they are COOL, totally outstanding, I love those SD characters, I’ve always liked SD characters better than any other, and this may sound ridiculous but I think Final Fantasy VII has the best graphics ever in a Final Fantasy, even compared with Final Fantasy X (I mean, they are not better, I’m not crazy, but it think they look better), I love those bizarre graphics more than anything in this filthy world. The magical spells are stunning, the summonings are a total blast, and the CG sequences were great years ago and are amazing even nowadays.

Music (10/10):
I think that there’s only one game in the world, with a better soundtrack than this one, and that is Tales of Phantasia (the Snes version), anyway, Final Fantasy VII has the best music ever in a Final Fantasy game, even better than the one Final Fantasy VI had (at least for me). Some tunes will last forever in the people’s hearts: Aeri’s theme is one of the best examples, or the boss themes, the battle theme, the Cosmo Canyon theme… all of them, in fact, I can’t remember a single musical track that is wasn’t amazing, not even one. The soundtrack fits the game like never before, in general the music is very sad, like the game itself, and again, that is probably why it is so good, sad tunes are always like more beautiful and easy to like.

Nobuo Uematsu was the composer as always, he was on top form here, and he did such a great job that I would marry him without hesitation if he asked me.

Gameplay (10/10):
Uf, Final Fantasy VII has the best gameplay ever in a Final Fantasy, the best combat system of any Final Fantasy, and the BEST magic system EVER in the damned UNIVERSE, like in the plot, there is no way to make something better.

The battle system is the same one from the previous games, only that in 3D, and with few but splendid improvements, like the Limits, these Limits are extremely powerful techniques or spells that the characters are able to use when they fill a bar called Limit Bar. Unlike the future Final Fantasies, where they have screwed the Limits, here they work perfectly, once we fulfill the Limit Bar, we can choose “when” and “where” to use them, and each characters are a very nice amount of different Limits, not only one or two.

This time we can only use three characters per battle, and this adds a lot of difficulty to the game because the characters are so good that it is extremely hard to choose which one you want to take with you. Also we will keep battling against tons of enemies at the same time on the screen, not only against two or three like the other Final Fantasies for the PlayStaion, blowing away five or six monsters using only one magical attack is much more entertaining and impressive.

The materia system is incredible, the absolute best ever without doubt, you have attach materia spheres to your weapons and armors (depending on the weapon and armor you’ll be able to attach more or less spheres) in order to use their power or special skills. Each materia has a different colour that represents different abilities and contains different kinds of magical powers, then every materia has different levels, we have red, green, blue, yellow, and purple, the green one is used to cast most of the typical spells like Fire and Water, the yellow materia gives us special abilities like “steal” or “mimic”, and so on, even those materias used to summon get better while we use them. Some of them become more powerful after using them for a long time while others turn into new spells, some of them become completely new spells also, and there are materias that only work after reaching a certain level with them. Raising materia is so unbelievably fun that it as to be experienced to be believed, and you’ll never see a game with a gameplay as deep but at the same time as fun and addictive as this one, you will find yourself rising al your materia for no reason after beating the game, take that for granted.

The summonings are unbelievably cool, and even if some of them take a lot to come to an end you’ll be amazed every time you see them, it is useless to complaint about that.

The map is now in 3D also, but fortunately it works exactly in the same way than before, in fact there is no real difference between the previous game’s world maps and this one, this time we have more vehicles to travel and maybe it is bigger, but it is as cool and easy to use as always.

Characters (10/10):
Again, Final Fantasy VII has the best characters in the series, and probably the deepest and most beloved characters ever made in the video game history. Something very important is that they are anime style, I don’t know why the Final Fantasy saga always had Americanized characters, which is a very bad thing. Reading the manual I have seen that Yoshitaka Amano was also the illustrator, so probably he also worked with Final Fantasy VIII, and I don’t know what was he thinking, because in these games, for me the character designs are a masterpiece, and I hate his style.

However, the interaction between them is really intense, they get involved with each other like never before in a video game, they make you feel what they are feeling, it’s simply amazing. Sephiroth deserves a special mention, because he is by far the best villain ever created, words can’t describe how cool he is, you will learn to hate him like the most evil human being in the world, but you will also be amazed because he is incredibly imposing, he is mysterious, charming, and very creepy.

Replay Value:
There are seven mini games (or maybe more, I can’t remember well) plus the famous Chocobos Racing, only the Chocobo Racing will make you play for about twenty hours or so, then you can add trying to find all the summonings, all the limits, beating Ultimate and Diamond Weapon, etc, etc, etc, not to mention you are going to replay it a lot, and ask every time you play how can something be so good.

As a result:
The plot is so intense that you will begging for it to continue, you will just want to see what it is going to happen no matter what, and if we add the best characters ever created, one of the best soundtracks ever created, and one of the most complex but at the same time entertaining and more than anything addictive gameplays ever created, we have the absolute best game in existence, all of the Square members will go to heaven only for this masterpiece, and you’ll fell like in it while playing. Best. Game. Ever, that simple.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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