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The most noticeable change from FFVI's battle system is the fact that there is a loss of character individuality in battle. Each characters' statistics vary slightly, but aside from their desperation abilities, the Limit Breaks, they are all essentially the same. It is possible to heavily customize characters through the use of Materia which grants various powers such as magic and special commands. As the game progresses, more materia is gathered and complex chains can be formed. Though all other aspects of the battle are simple, the ability to customize Materia chains alone makes FFVII's battle system excellent, especially for those who enjoy micro-management.
VII is the easiest Final Fantasy yet due to certain Materia chains being enormously powerful. There is also a summon and several Limit Breaks that can rip apart even the final boss quickly. Coupled with a very generous exp rate, FFVII is an easy game. Some optional bosses pose a much larger threat, but they too have their weaknesses.
Play control is surprisingly good in the transition to 3D. The only real problem it has is when switching maps and the camera angle changes dramatically. This often leaves the player running in a strange direction, sometimes even back to the previous screen. The menu interface is excellent once again thanks to a large number of sorting options for items and Materia. Localization is far from perfect as there are plenty of noticeable flaws. None ruin the game, but they're relatively frequent.
The battle system, plot, and the massive addition of FMVs are all original. Though the basis for many of these changes rest in earlier FF games, many of these are still new concept, especially the Materia system.
FFVII's storyline is excellent for those willing to study it. It can be very confusing at times as it backtracks a lot. This confusion, however, goes along very well with one of the game's themes. When the truth is finally revealed, it is excellent and has few plot holes. There aren't as many characters as in VI, but each character has a large amount of backstory and/or development. Very well done.
FFVII has one of the best soundtracks of any game. It has incredibly diverse tracks that heighten the mood, excellent battle themes, and few tracks that become repetitive as the game nears the end. Sound effects take full advantage of the Playstation as well and are excellent.
Though character polygons are still easily visible, the visuals are very good for the early Playstation era. Allies and enemies alike are greatly detailed. Summons look especially good and have some impressive effects. Little can beat FFVII's large supply of impressive FMVs though. Though not enough to make it look better than N64 RPGs released at the same time overall, they still make it look very good.
FFVII contains the addition of materia which allows immense customization and chains, an original and amazing storyline, tons of minigames, and incredibly impressive music and visuals. Though it does have its flaws, its impact on the gaming community was massive. I highly recommend this game, especially to Final Fantasy fans.
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