Review by Ja8oo

Reviewed: 10/28/04

Forever changing RPG's, Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII

What can I say about Final Fantasy VII that all of you don’t know? Not much, actually, none at all. I am sure most know that Final Fantasy VII is considered the best RPG by many, and that it also set the bar to new heights for all games. It has been deemed BEST.GAME.EVER by GameFAQs 2 years in a row, as well making an appearance in Game Informer magazine top 100.

When Final Fantasy was released, a 3-disk game was un-heard of, along with the shocker of Square with Sony and not Nintendo’s N64. So even before it was released, it had one of the biggest followings and publicity in gaming history. It was also one of the first RPG’s many had played, so it naturally held a place in their hearts. I am pretty confident, that every gamer has played Final Fantasy VII to some point, except for those who are not RPGer’s, and never owned a PS1 or a PS2.

The game starts off with Cloud (ex-soldier and currently a mercenary) working with the rebel group Avalanche, led by Barret. The mission of Barret and Avalanche is to destroy the reactors that are literally sucking the like of the planet that are made by Shinra, and Shinra themselves. During one of the missions, Cloud falls into a church where he meets Aeris. One thing leads to another, and Aeris is kidnapped. Cloud and company go to the rescue, where they find out that Shinra has in their possession Jenova. Jenova is whom Sephiroth (Former Shinra SOLDIER, who went crazy) considers to be his mother, but in reality he was just injected with her cells while he was still in his real mothers womb. Cloud and company are captured by Shinra, then awake in their cells to find there door opened, everyone dead, and Jenova missing from her tank. It turns out that Sephiroth was the cause of all of it. After a close escape with Aeris from the Shinra building and Midgar, thing pick up story wise, considering you watch an hour long flashback. After the flashback, the rest of the group decide to join him, they each have their own reasons. Things start to go deeper than trying to stop Shinra and finding Sephiroth though. Clouds past will come to haunt him, and he gets confused to where his alliance is with. His friends will have to help him coop with his troubles, and to bring back the real Cloud. It even comes along with its own love triangle, which is also very debatable. The story will keep you guessing, and will also leave you hanging, even after you beat it. It requires more than one play through the game to get everything.

Your journey in search of Sephiroth takes you to ports, Shinra bases, amusement park, canyons, and to the northern part of the world covered by snow. Most of the towns were small, but they had what you needed item wise. The detail in each town was different. In Midgar for example, it’s detail was some of the best in the game, with all of the smoke, graffiti, garbage, and the look of the slums. Then you get a town like Kalm, which is small, and has nearly no detail at all. Another thing that bothered me was the character models. The character models looked like LEGO men, but blockier. All of this nice background and have Gumby with yellow hair running around just kills it for me. It is a sign of laziness in my opinion, because it is not hard at all, or even time consuming to make a character model. I am not asking FFVIII models, but give them a mouth and hands at least. The graphics were good for during the time it was released, and it will still have a charm to those who are now just deciding to play it. The CGI cut scenes were great and very well placed.

The sound in Final Fantasy VII was the best I have heard. Period. Each town had its own theme song, as well as each of the characters. It also as some old tunes from past Final Fantasy games, like the Chocobo tune, and the victory song. Final Fantasy VII has one of the most memorable piece of music ever, One Winged Angel. It has a catchy tune, with a chorus in the background singing in Latin, all playing during one of the final fights with Sephiroth. As for the sound affects, you really do not notice them at all, I guess the game music over throws it.

Battles occur on the world map, in dungeons, and certain buildings. They battles are random, so you will never be able to avoid a fight. You can, however, hold down the L1 + R1 buttons to escape from battle. Final Fantasy VII introduces the Active Time Battle (ATB), which allows your allies or enemies to attack once their ATB bar is full. So there is no stopping in battle, unless you pause the game that is, so if you if you don’t pause and leave for a minute, the enemies are still attacking. In battle, once your ATB bar is full, you have a to quickly make a choice of what you will do because every second counts. You can choose to attack, defend, change your position on the battle screen, use items, use magic or skills, summon, or use a limit break if available. Limit Breaks are powerful attacks that you gain when you take enough its from the enemy and fill up your Limit gauge. Magic and summons deplete your Magic Points (MP).

The materia system is also introduce into Final Fantasy VII. Materia can do many things, such as: Buff up the character it is equipped to, enables a character to learn that magic/skill/Summon in that materia. You can change materia any time, other than in battle that is. You can equip as much materia to one person that his/her armor and weapons allow. Some materia, when equipped right, can add bonus effects and enhancements on the equipped person or to a spell. This is great, since you are not stuck with one healer, or one magic damage dealer, now everyone can fill in to that position. As you defeat enemies, you will gain AP, which is basically EXP for your materia. Only equipped materia get AP, and once they get to a certain point, they will gain a more powerful spell, or increase the effects in some cases.

The controls were simple, since the game was made pre-duel shock controllers. Triangle is menu, circle is to select, X is to cancel, D-Pad is to move. They are nothing fancy, and there is nothing to really talk about here.

The difficulty of Final Fantasy VII was its low spot. It was very easy. It did a few tough bosses, but the only ones that made you try are the Weapons that we received in the American version. Final bosses hard? No, they were not. If you got the Knights of the Round summon and/or Clouds final Limit Break, then you know what I am talking about.

There was much to do besides fight, like hanging out in the Golden Saucer. In the Golden Saucers, you could race and bet on chocobo races, play several fun mini games to win prizes, or join in at the battle arena. Final Fantasy VII gives you a chance to catch, raise, and mate your own chocobo’s. You can use chocobo’s to race or for transportation. You can also pick up two hidden character’s. You may think that hidden characters would not have much of a story, but they do. Each of the two secret characters have a side quest you can do, which you learn a lot about them and why they joined you.

Now, many people ask me if I Final Fantasy VII is my most favorite game. My answer is no. I do not have a favorite game, I have about 10 games that tie Final Fantasy VII for first.

Final Score 9.75/10

The reason for this score is the character models, lack of background music, and that is was really easy. They are not big problems, but problems none the less, though the story makes up for a lot of it.

This game is so widely like, that SquareEnix will be releasing one movie, and three games based on Final Fantasy VII. The movie Advent Children, will take place 3 years after Final Fantasy VII. Dirge of Cerbrus (PS2, PSP) will star Vincent, and it takes place one year after Final Fantasy VII. Before Crisis (Cellphone, Japan Only), takes place before Final Fantasy VII and you play as the Turks, battling Avalanche. The third game, Core Crisis, will be released on the PSP, but nothing is currently known about it.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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