Review by BeserkerX

"You are treated to greatness - Grasp it with both hands!"

I sit here, pondering, whether I have played anything quite as fantastic, as great as this game, no, you are not reading a biased, fan-boy, who has played a single RPG, I've played many, many, many RPGs, but the Replay value and greatness of the plot & how well it's put together always seems to drag me right back to where it all started..... Final Fantasy VII. If you are new to RPGs, then this is like nothing you have ever played before, the story itself, reflects greatness, you take the role of an Ex-Soldier, destined to lead a group of characters through-out many battles, ultimately rivaling the greatest villain for all time.

Graphics: It is utterly pointless, to even consider for a second that the graphics of this game par with the current beautifully designed games coming out at the time of this review, how ever, this aspect of the game can be over looked, the graphics are 'decent' and in some parts, even 'well done', it should most definitely be noted, that this game was released in 1997!, at that time, this was the graphical benchmark of RPGs, at the time of the release it's 3D Graphics Wowed players every, so that should be considered before judging entirely by the way its characters look. In almost all scenes, the characters themselves appear extremely blocky, their arms, legs and such are all blocks, however, this picks up during battle scenes, in battle the characters look very well done, not blocky at all. Some FMVs will actually WOW crowds, even today, not because of their complex graphics, but because of their making excellent use of simplistic graphics.
Score - 7/10

Music - One word which comes to mind, is most definitely 'Greatness'. This aspect of the game, in my opinion will never get old or wear out as years pass, never have I turned down the volume when playing, no, not even on my 4th time playing through the game, the only way to appreciate how well it is, is for you to listen to it. Every beautiful piece from Aeris' theme, to the One Winged Angel theme are so well put together, they perfectly suit the moment, you can't find better game music else where! Nobuo Uematsu have really outdone themselves this time! Even when compared to the likes of Final Fantasy X, and other games, released years after Final Fantasy VII, the music in this game truly stands out, I have yet to encounter any game music which even comes to par with the One Winged Angel theme.
Score - 9.5/10

Characters - A very dynamic set of characters can be found in this game, they all develop gradually through the game, as their personalities change from selfishness to caring for others. The characters involve a set which clash together forming a very well put together team which includes an identity-confused Ex-Soldier, a Flower Girl with mysterious power, a man who literally bears the weight of the world on his shoulders, a Women who is out to revenge her family, and more! Their personalities clash very well together. Each character embarks on their journey as a person intent to discover his/her secrets, however, they soon build a strong bond between each other.
Score - 8/10

Game Play – The game play is truly superb, the only slight adjustment which could have improved would be to allow a ‘run' function, although it's possible to make your lead character run, you will have to keep a finger on the cancel button, which, with time, becomes some what tedious. The Aspect of using magic, or materia, is very well done, you acquire new materia as you progress throughout the game, with each new materia obtained, a new magic spell can be cast, if this proves to complicated then don't fret, there are overly simplified tutorials which the player can observe, to find out how to master the materia system, what's more is that with this system, you can highly customize your characters, by using support materia, to make your already powerful spells even stronger! The battle system is simply superb, after having played many Final Fantasies, I can truly say that this happens to be one of the best in my opinion, the game, like its Final Fantasy predecessors, works on a ATB bases, whereby, once your character's time gauge becomes full, then that character will have his/her turn, this may be affect by other status too. You are also shown whether your characters are protected by barrier spells or not, an aspect which I find highly useful against the more-difficult bosses. The desperation moves from other Final Fantasies have once again returned, in this title, they are referred to as Limit Breaks, when a character is damaged enough by enemy blows (not friendly ones) he/she will continually build up their limit break until it reaches breaking point, whereby you are able to execute a limit break, these limit breaks are unique to each character, not only that, but each character has many, many limit breaks, the standard is 15, however some may have less accordingly.
Score – 8.5/10

Replay Value – Yet another area in which the game truly shines, you will, I guarantee, at least, play through the game twice, most people however, play it many more times, there are many side quests to do, This includes obtaining the two secret characters, getting every character's ultimate weapon/limit breaks etc, on top of that, there are many optional areas & optional bosses to kill, if you feel intent on acquiring every item in the game, then you will really want to play it many times, what's more is that you can easily try out different challenges, such as a no materia game, hence increasing the already high replay value. Very good replay value indeed!
Score – 9.5/10

Controls – The controls are not difficult to master at all, if however, for some reason, you do not like the new controls, and are more accustomed to different ones, perhaps due to playing another final fantasy prior to this one then that to can be easily over looked, as you can alter nearly all controls to your liking by simply customizing them, yet another great feature of the game.
Score – 8/10

Story - Easily the best aspect of the game, the first play through of the game, it may seem a bit obvious, however, the second, or even third play through, will reveal to you that everything in the entire story is 'more than meets the eye' everything from whom the actual villain is to what the characters themselves say. There are many interesting plot twists, imploring you to grip your controller tightly in hand, continuing to play thinking "Damn ... I wonder what's going to happen next" It's indeed very interesting and takes some thinking to clearly understand everything throughout the story, however, it's well worth understanding! Here's a quick overview of the story, It begins when a mysterious, Ex-soldier, aids a rebel group, intent on terrorizing the Shin-Ra, a group of people, lead by a power hungry, greedy president. The City where Shin-Ra head quarters is located has two extremes, People who live on the the 'upper-world' above the slums, on the plates of the city are of Extreme wealth, thus leaving an array of civilians in the Lower-world, in monster dwelling slums.
Score - 9.5/10

Overall - Easily one of the best, if not thee RPGs I've played. Good Characters, Awesome Game Play, one hell of a story, let's consider how the final score adds up, keeping in mind I'm rounding it off, to avoid any problems.

Final score: -

Graphics: 7/10
Music: 9.5/10
Characters: 8/10
Game Play: 8.5/10
Replay Value: 9.5/10
Controls: 8/10
Story: 9.5/10

Therefore, according to the above data, the Average score for Final Fantasy VII is 9 out of 10 (Rounded, again, to avoid any confusion!)

== Bad points ==
- Having to hold down the cancel button in order to run … argghh!!
- Blocky characters, in general .. Blocky graphics.
- Slow loading time compared to newer games such as Final Fantasy X

== Good points ==
+ A superb storyline, which is almost guaranteed to attract your attention.
+ Excellent game music, in my opinion, some of the best ever.
+ A very good group of characters that fit together perfectly.

Is it worth Getting ?!
Take my word for it, this game is greatness, it is absolutely worth getting, the few minor features which are considered bad, such as the old graphics are indeed overshadowed, and made insignificant compared to the game's greater aspects, such as the plot, excellent Game Play, high Replay Value and the wonderful array of different characters, hence, it is indeed worth getting!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/18/05

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