Even on the rise of Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, and Final Fantasy X. Final Fantasy VII stands tall as the best Final Fantasy to date, and to some degree maybe the best RPG ever made. This is the game that injected life. and popularized the RPG genre in the US and the world.
A Story Worthy of Remembrance
As a literary work, Final Fantasy VII is magnificent! You play as Cloud a mercenary hired by AVALANCHE, (a rebel faction trying to take down the powerful Shinra Inc. Empire), to destroy one of the Mako reactors in Midgar. The Mako reactors suck Mako out of the planet, and then converts it to energy in order to power up cities and factories. However, Mako is the life of the planet, so the planet is slowly dying, and that’s why the eco- terrorist group (AVALANCHE) is trying to destroy the reactors. This is the introduction to one of the most amazing Sci-fi stories you will ever experience in your life.
The story is full twists and shocks, the story develops in such way that it leads the player to make assumptions about the plot and then maybe an hour or two down the stretch shocks the player by presenting an event that was totally unexpected. Perhaps it is because the characters past is so complicated. Much like the great Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII’s story focuses on each and every single one of the characters’ past. This approach endeared me to every character in the party.
Strong Villains have always been important to me, and I am pleased to say that Final Fantasy VII has the best villain in any RPG that I have played (And I have played lots of them). The villain in Final Fantasy VII is cold, stoic and looks intimidating. His past is a mystery that you will slowly unravel as you play.
However, he is not like some other villains (FFVIII I am looking your way) who are evil just for the sake of being evil, Sephiroth has many powerful reasons for doing what he is doing.
Character development is beautifully done you will love each and every one of them. At one point in the game something will happen, something that will change your video gaming life forever, something that left me stunned on my sofa for hours, Final Fantasy VII has the most heart-wrenching scene in video game history. After the scene I realized how great Final Fantasy VII’s story was and how unknowingly I attached myself to its cast . I will not go into more details because doing so will ruin a personal moment that has to be experienced by the player him/herself.
I must mention however that the relationship between the hero, and the villain is peerless. Cloud knows Sephiroth, and conversely Sephiroth knows Cloud. What is really interesting is that Sephiroth knows more about Cloud than Cloud knows about himself.
If FFVII’s plot was just about solving Cloud’s, and Sephiroth’s secret past the plot would still be a great literary masterpiece (as far as games go). But to my delight FFVII has much more going on its story.
After finishing the game I could make an entire epic sized fan fiction on individual characters if I so would have wished. It gives me the chills when I think deeply about the plot, because the possibilities to make a fiction out of it are endless.
FFVII’s world has a deep universe, that if analyzed well, a conclusion could be reached (at least in my case) that a lot of the important mysteries surrounding the plot with the Ancients, Jenova etc. Originated millions of years ago on another planet deep in outer space before the game’s story began.
Trust me on this you won’t find a better story elsewhere. FFVII’s epic tale might never be surpassed.
Going in to the graphics department, Final Fantasy VII is a visual work of art. The pre-rendered backgrounds are beautiful. The polygonal characters though could have used a little more work because they look incredibly bad a least when compared to those in more recent Fantasies.
The FMVs are good but they don’t match the quality of those found in Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX and much less in FFX. But with this good of a story, who cares? During battles however, the game characters look amazingly well, close to those found on the FMVs. The over world map is wonderfully huge! You will appreciate the over world map more once you get the airship, and the submarine.
Sound wise the game shows the brilliance of Nobuo Uematsu. Final Fantasy VI is still Uematsu’s best work, but Final Fantasy VII sounds just as good. The songs I really liked the most were the Aeris theme and the main game’s theme that played in the world map. Most of Final Fantasy VII’s music is the same as that on previous Final Fantasies; of course it has changed a little. So the compositions are not entirely original, but who can complain? The previous Final Fantasy’s have the best music ever written.
A Polished Experience
Gameplay wise not much has changed ( The turn based battle system is essentially the same) if you have played any Final Fantasy before, you will feel right at home with Final Fantasy VII. The only innovation is the materia system, which allows you to use spells by equipping crystal balls to your weapons. All sorts of materia combinations can be made.
The difficulty of the battles is moderate, and while the last boss is sort of tough, if you took your time to complete the Chocobo breeding mini game, you should get a spell that can pretty much annihilate the final bosses without much trouble.
Last but not least, there are tons of mini-games, more than in any other FF, this gives the game an incredibly high replay value. Especially the Chocobo breeding game that I was just talking about earlier, the Chocobo game should keep you playing for awhile even after you finish the main game because if you get that golden chocobo, not only can you win great prizes at the Chocobo Racing Stadium but you can also freely explore every nook, and cranny of the huge over-world. There is even an Arcade in which you can play many types of games (the Snow boarding one being my favorite). I managed to finish the main game in 52 hours my first time through but I hadn’t completed a lot of side quests. I strongly recommend at least finding the two optional characters, Vincent especially, because each one provides more useful and interesting insight into the already extraordinary plot.
Final Fantasy VII is a true masterpiece by which all other RPGs are to be measured, the story is so good that I wonder if I will ever live long enough to see a Sci-fi story that that surpasses this on the genre. Someday when I grow old, and I feel that my time to leave this world is near I will look back at the best moments of my life, and somewhere within those moments the memory of Final Fantasy VII will forever stay with me.
Gameplay: 10- Replay value is the highest in any FF, plus tons of secrets and great minigames. Materia system allows customization and it’s simple and easy to learn.
Graphics: 9.0-The character’s blocky look take the score down some notches. But the world map’s graphical glory was unmatched in its heyday.
Music: 10.0-On par with FFVI.
Story:10.0 -The best story in any game ever. Don’t believe me? Check the millions of Fan Fictions written about this game on the net, no other RPG Story has ever commanded such fanatism.
Replay Value: 10.0- Mini games and Sidequests galore!
Overall:10.0- It’s a masterpiece!The game will perhaps go down in time as the greatest Traditional RPG ever.