Review by KnightsoftheRound
"Final Fantasy VII should have been the RPG to revolutionize all RPGs, but sadly, this game is the Revolution itself."
Final Fantasy VII, released in the year 1997. This game has sold more then 9 million copies world wide and is considered to be the best RPG ever made. People have debated over this, many saying no it's not the best RPG ever made, and there are people who will support this idea. This is the first RPG I have ever played. Someone told me about it and lent it to me. I realised after playing it, that I was playing the most amazing game I have ever seen. This happened several years ago, and was considered a amazing game, and is still considered a amazing game to date. This game already has quite alot of reviews, but I feel that is a necessity that I explain in detail why this game is so amazing.
This is the most questioned section of the game. There have been countless debates about the storyline of this game. Many people seem to believe that the story is incomplete, which can be true to some extent, involving "plotholes". Plotholes are unexplained things that happen for apparently "no reason". I feel that the plotholes of the game arn't really plotholes, but more as areas left to the player to think for themselves about what really happened in the game.
Anyways getting on to the plot of the game, the game starts out with a character named Cloud Strife. Now Cloud is a mercenary and is hired by a rebel group known as AVALANCHE. AVALANCHE is lead by the second character you meet named Barret. He is fighting against the Shinra company that basically controls the city of Midgar. Shinra has these structures called Mako reactors, that extract Mako Energy from the planet. This however is causing the planet to die, and AVALANCHE wants to save the planet by destroying all of the Mako Reactors. Cloud soon becomes wound up in all of this and claims that he must defeat Sephiroth. As you may have guessed Sephiroth is the main enemy of the game. You come to learn that Sephiroth was infused with Jenova cells and was essentially "created" by Shinra as an elite soldier, that became the best member SOLDIER has ever had. SOLDIER is a group of soldiers who work for Shinra, basically Shinra's elite force. Cloud envied Sephiroth and wanted to become a hero in SOLDIER. Unfortunatly for Cloud the war was over after he became 1st Class in SOLDIER. Cloud reveals to his friends his past with Sephiroth explaining to them why he must defeat him. During his adventures Cloud learns the truth to his past and the truth about Sephiroth, and the truth about the planet. He must save the planet from Sephiroth. There is so much story developement that I couldn't possibly explain everything here, and there would be way to many spoilers. You definitely have to play the game for yourself to learn the real story behind the game.
Definitely another argued point of the game. I have heard people say how the gameplay makes it so all characters are the same. This is true, but also un-true. It depends on the way you play. The materia system allows you to have the freedom to control what character has what abilitys. Instead of having 1 character dedicated to magic you can make all your characters have magic. I personally find this alot more interesting. Being able to completly customize your characters is great, and adds many strategys and combinations of materia. Materia comes in the form of a small orb in several different colors. Each different color means the materia might have a different atribute. Such as green materia contains magical attacks, and red materia contains summons. When you want to give materia to a character to must place it in the slots of your weapons. Everytime you place a materia it will change your characters status in a negative way and in a positive way. Everytime you equip a magic materia your characters strength and HP (hit points) will decrease by a small or large % depending on the materia. However your magic strength and MP (magic or mana points) will increase by the same amount that your strength and HP decreased. So its like a trade-off.
This game on the other hand has weapon specific characters. In the sense that Cloud can ONLY use sword weapons. Every sword in this game is meant for use by Cloud and only Cloud. Every Gun-Arm you find is for Barret and only Barret, and ect. The only decision you ever have to make when equiping weapons is which one to use. Because certain weapons have higher attack power but less materia growth, or none at all. However weaker weapons may have less slots but double materia growth. By now you may be wondering what "materia growth" is. Materia grows in the same way as your characters. Your characters gain EXP (experience points) after each battle. But you also earn AP (ability points) your materia will use these points to eventually "grow" to the next level. Once you achieve a level your materia will learn a new ability. For example the Lightning materia grants the character using it the ability to cast "Bolt". But when the materia gains a level you can cast "Bolt 2" then "Bolt 3" and finally your materia will become "mastered" it will no longer gain ability points and it will produce another Lighting materia for you. But it will start at Zero AP.
During the game you will also be able to ride on several vehicles and play several mini-games. The vehicles include a dune buggy, and crashed airplane and chocobos. You can also gain several other surprise "modes-of-transportation" aswell. The mini-games include snowboarding, a submarine game, and several other neat things, such as games at the amusement park. The game also has many hidden secrets for you to discover like all RPG's that really add to the game.
The graphics were amazing during the time that the game came out. I can definetly say that the graphics are far from todays standards of gaming, but the pre-rendered backgrounds will always look amazingly great. Even though the graphics are dated, I still love the atmosphere of the game. If you like playing games for story and gameplay then the graphics should mean little to you. The battle graphics however are alot better then the field graphics, the characters are alot more detailed then their field counterparts. It would be unfair to give teh graphics a poor mark due to the age of the game. Think of all the time it took to make all those prerendered backgrounds and everything else in such an imense RPG.
I definitely have to say that the music in this game is amazingly great. I enjoyed all the music from this game, I honestly don't think there is a single soundtrack I dislike. All the music in the game is awesome and fits the game perfectly. Nobuo Uematsu has done a great job in the music section for Final Fantasy VII. You couldn't ask for a greater collection of music for a RPG. The music fits the games atmosphere amazingly well. To fully understand you would have to listen to it for yourself.
Replay Value: 10/10
There is absolutly NO reason why someone wouldn't want to play this game again. And there are enough side quests and secrets to do to keep you busy with this game for quite some time. Especially if your a completist then you will definitely have your hands full with this one. FFVII should provide between 40-60 hours just doing the basic game without using FAQs/Walkthroughs. This time could be increased with the use of one. It also depends on how much time you spend walking around, leveling up and ect...
Final Fantasy VII should have been the RPG to revolutionize all RPGs, but sadly this game is the Revolution in itself. It is quite possible that no other RPG will ever surpass the engrossing storyline of this game, and the extremely large amount of detail in minor areas of the game, and the large amount of sidequests and extras that will keep you playing this game for along time. It takes alot of dedication to complete this game and to experience it to its full potential. Final Fantasy VII is a game that will be around for along time, I don't see it going away anytime soon. My final recommendation is, if you love RPGs and are looking for a RPG to play you should definitely buy this game with no hesitation, and it being a PS1 Greatest Hits it is only $19.99 (Price when I bought it in Canada) It may be lower or more expensive depending on where you are. If you are more a graphics oriented person, you may have a hard time adjusting to the graphics of this game if you have never played any PS1 games. You should however be able to appreciate what the game offers, especially for its time period. All FF7 fans can rejoice in the coming of the new movie sequel Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and the new Dirge Of Cerebus: Final Fantasy VII game coming in hopefully not to long. If you want to be able to experience these sequels in a more enjoyable way you owe it to yourself to experience Final Fantasy VII.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/27/04
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