Final Fantasy VII - Review

Final Fantasy VII

By: Jade Falcon

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 8
   Plot 5
   Localization 8
   Replay Value 9
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

20-80 hrs., for everything


Final Fantasy VII

   Final Fantasy 7. Square was making the jump from a 16-bit system which was heavily censored to a more powerful 32-bit CD system which wasn't censored. I feel that Square did a good job for what they had to work with at the time. I also feel that FF7 lashed out at Nintendo for their censorship. It is a great game, but it falls short of being perfect.

   You know Final Fantasy. The battle system is practically the same. The thing you'll notice is the Materia system. It's similar to the Espers from FF6, except they retain their own stats, and nothing passes to the character. The Materia placement depends on the weapon, each one having a different number of slots. This seriously hampers character individuality, since you could have the same Materia (basically) on all the characters, if you have it.

   The interface is the same run-of-the-mill menu system. The windows, however, instead of being one dull color, you can place a color in each corner, personalizing the window further. However, when you have too much Command Materia on a person in battle, their menu can get huge and annoying. This is the only problem I have with the interface of FF7.

Oooooo, pretty waterfall!
Ooh, pretty waterfall!  

   Music is excellent in this game. I almost bought the OST. The first time Mr. Uematsu used real instruments instead of MIDI rocks. His talent shines through in this game. The overworld is earth-shaking and Aerith's theme will make you cry. There is excellent variation in the music, from the Indian sounding Cosmo Canyon to the oh-so-popular One Winged Angel. Sound effects are your usual sword slash and enemy growl, but they could have been better since they were on a more powerful system.

   FF7 isn't really very original in the basic gameplay, but in little quirks it is. There are mini-games galore and lots of language. Mini-games help to break the monotony (and why some people still play the game), and the language adds flavor. Almost everything else is practically the same.

   The plot is what kills it for me. The plot is very confusing and has very little explaining in it. The plot also proceeds very slowly. When you reach disc 2, you have no idea what to do without consulting a guide or something. I've played FF7 through many times, and still haven't understood what's going on.

   The only problem with the translation I have is that they made many typos. (Beacause... you are a puppet... *shudder*) Otherwise, localization and translation is excellent.

Freeze me!
Some of the flashy battle graphics  

   I can play FF7 as many times as I can and not understand the story, but for some reason it's just fun. I have no clue why, but I just seem compelled to play it again and again. Maybe it's because of some memorable scenes (Aerith's death, Red XIII finding about his ancestry), or maybe it's just fun. I think it's the funness of the game.

One of the most noticeable features of the graphics is the FMV. It was the first in an RPG, and it's still some of the best. Polygons are okay, but they were the best Square could do back then, so comparing them to some of today's graphics would be stupid. Anyway, graphics are pretty good in FF7.

I was sort of dissapointed in the difficulty of FF7. I was able to zip through it kind of quickly the first time, even without a guide. The first time I played it, it took me about 54 hours to get everything but to defeat the Emerald Weapon. The Emerald Weapon is the only real challenge in FF7. Generally, though, it should take you no more than 30 or so hours to just beat Sephiroth.

Awesome bike.
I want his bike.  

Overall, FF7 was an excellent debut into the unknown for Square. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but it was fairly close. If you haven't played it, I pity you. Go out and buy it for $10 at any used game store. It'll beyour best-spent $10 ever.

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