on 26 August 2006
There I was with my new playstation which I had for Christmas. I remember the games I received with it quite clearly. Resident Evil 2, Crash Bandicoot 2, Worms, Gran Turismo and Die Hard Trilogy. Needless to say it didn't take me long to get very, very bored of these so off I went in search of good "next generation" gaming. And my search brought me to this masterpiece of a game.
My friends had been raving about it for months but to be honest it seemed quite boring and complicated to me. This seemed like a game more suited to the Japanese market. Not a game we Westerners should be playing...
Still I went ahead and purchased a copy, and from the off I was hooked. The opening FMV sequence I remember as breathtaking. We Start out looking at what appears to be a night sky filled with stars. The camera then moves to focus on the face of a girl (who you later discover is one of the main characters) before panning back over the city. The game title comes on then and lets you know that you're in for a world of adventure and excitement. As the camera then zooms back in on the city and follows the path of a train carrying our band of adventurers the FMV flows seamlessly into the in-game graphics and your journey starts.
The game itself is amazing in every aspect. The graphics for back then were revolutionary. It was one of the first fully 3D RPG's ever. The whole world was vibrant and full of colour, and some of the scenes were capable are bringing you close to tears. These days graphics have totally changed. We now have RPG's like Final Fantasy 10 which admittedly are beautiful that make the game look blocky and bland. The advancements made in graphical technology do nothing however to mar the awesome adventure in this game.
The story is perhaps to date, one of the most complex stories ever written for a computer game. Perhaps the only games to nearly compare are the other games in the Final Fantasy series; but even then most fans will agree that the story of 7 easily surpasses all the others. Most will also agree that this was one of the only games around at the time that provided you such a strong emotional attachment to the characters. Through the story and the many, many subplots that were worker in, you grew to know the history and life story of all the characters in the game. This provided you with an emotional attachment to them that could cut you deeper than any game I've ever experienced. When one of them hurt, you hurt. And as players of the game know, when a certain event occurs half way through the game, you will feel a strong sense of loss, that is pretty much unique among games.
The gameplay, though certainly not groundbreaking, certainly fit the game perfectly. The game operated on the perhaps legendary materia system. This worked by attaching magic stones (materia) into slots in your weapons and armour. Attaching this materia gave your characters certain powers and abilities that they otherwise did not have access to. Limit breaks were another important part of the gameplay in this game. These are what you might call extreme abilities that your characters accessed when they had built up a certain amount of stress. And of course, like many other RPG's Final Fantasy 7 took advantage of the XP based levelling system that allowed your characters to level up to level 99.
The sound in this game is also excellent. After not playing it for while you'll suddenly start to hear the fighting track in your head again and will even start humming it to yourself. Appearance of insanity be damned. Seriously the music of this game was so good and added such a lot to the environment of the game and the emotional attachment offered that a soundtrack CD was released and was purchased by thousands of fans.
The main thing I buy a game for however is not the graphics of the sound, but the lastability. And this game lasts a long long time. Playing it the first time through, if you do absolutely everything your looking at a good 200 hours. And you're almost guaranteed to play it through more than once. There are so many things to see in this game. So many towns and dungeons to visit, so many enemies to defeat and so many materia and spectacular weapons to discover, that you'll find youself playing it until late into the night. The best part is that if you ever get tired of playing the main game there are dozens of little minigames all played in a huge arcade that you enter halfway through (and that you can go back to anytime after). You can play snowboarding, motorbike racing and even a first person shooter game on a rollercoaster. This doesn't even scratch the surface though.
I can't finish this review without mentioning something that has been almost integral since the start of this series... chocobos. These are big birds like ostriches that you ride around. In most of the final fantasy games, preceding and succeeding number 7, that's pretty much all you can do. In 7 however you can undertake the daunting task of chocobo breeding! This involves breeding chocobos for the purpose of racing them. The depth of this is unexplainable but I'll just say that some very nice things can be uncovered by breeding chocobos, and will leave you to uncover the rest.
All in all, this is a fantastic game that is not to be missed. It completely revolutionised the RPG genre, and is remembered by millions of people as one of - if not THE - best RPG's of all time.
on 8 March 2006
RPG's are about stories, and this game has without a doubt the best story of any rpg/game/and probably movie I have ever played or seen. It is absolutely fantastic. I've played the other Final Fantasy's (though not the first six, so I cant speak for them...bugger) And they just dont have the sheer depth this game has. I didnt give as much of a toss about the characters in Final Fantasy 8 (the teenage element got slightly annoying) and Final Fantasy 9 I lost interest in pretty quickly (though at least it brought a new feel to the game) and ten just didnt AFFECT me as much as this game did. The stories may be epic in scale, but their not as gritty or deep as FF7. The characters in FF7 are SO well defined. So well written, you'll adore them all (and when you see the movie you WILL be cheering your ARSE off when they you see them). And lets not forget, one of the best baddies to ever grace our screens, Sephiroth, who steals the show as jaw droppingly cool. I'm bored of the namby pamby dungeons and dragons way the final fantasy series is going. The setting for FF7 is brilliantly atmospheric, and the locations truely unique and epic. It feels alot more adult than any of the games that have come since. The subquests are fantastic with chocobo racing (and breeding!) snowboarding and, or course, trying to take down those mighty Ultima, Ruby & Emerald Weapons. It will have you going for HOURS. And when you finish it, you will be so so satisfied.
on 1 February 2010
Instead of a normal review, in which it would be hard to say anything new, I'll simply tell the story of my personal encounter with this game.
On the 5th December 1997, for my 13th birthday, I received a shiny new playstation complete with the original Tomb Raider game. Whilst out shopping, I saw a playstation magazine with a free guide book for said game, and since I was struggling with the difficulty, I bought it. The magazine also came with a guide for a second game by the name of 'Final Fantasy VII' which I had never heard of.
A couple of weeks later, I saw that guide lying around and for no good reason read the first page. "You start with three potions, a phoenix down and an ether" it said. "Potions", I thought, "that reminds me of Shining Force II", a Mega Drive game I'd played and much enjoyed years before. I'd never heard of 'RPG' as a genre, but the connection with that game was enough to perk my interest. So I decided to rent the game and check it out. I watched the lovely intro scene, and then I was off. I was never a big manual reader, nor was I used to any kind of 'turn-based' combat, and so the first battle had me in a bit of a panic - the guide didn't help in that respect. Luckily the developers catered for idiots like me and had kindly made the earliest part of the game very easy. It took me perhaps half an hour before I was utterly engrossed.
Two days later and I was some 25 hours in, and it was time to return the game. It goes without saying that it was now top of my Christmas list, but despite this I begged my mum to let me re-rent it, for the 4 days between then and Christmas. She said no of course, and those days made my anticipation of the big day the highest it had been in years.
I got the game on Christmas Day, completed it over the following month, bought the 'master's guide', did everything in that, started the game again, completed it once more and have done again a number of times in the past twelve years.
This game is utterly brilliant. The battles are fun. The story is great. The characters are great. The locations are amazing. You will laugh, and you may just cry as well. The game never feels like its buying time with you like so many other RPGs; suddenly revealing the only way to fix you broken boat is to head into the Dark Fortress of Doom and retrieve the Wrench of Destiny, or meeting character after character who tell you their cat has been kidnapped by the Evil Witch of the Hills and ask if you would please stray from you crucial-to-the-future-of-humanity quest in order to rescue it. The main story is enough, and it unwraps itself beautifully.
Is it perfect? No, but there isn't a single game that is. People are right that the graphics are nothing compared to today, but in this game's case it really doesn't seem to matter, or at least it didn't bother me one iota the last time I played it. The Simpsons doesn't look realistic either, but that doesn't stop them selling t-shirts.
I'm not going to tell you to play this - I'm sure most of you already have. Personally I think this game should be remembered like the early classics of literature or art, standing out against the background noise of history, a modern day Chaucer or Leonardo. Deus Ex was a fantastic game. Metal Gear Solid was a fantastic game. This is a modern day Madonna of the Rocks.
on 22 February 2005
You most likely will be reading this review because you already have the game, are just reliving memories, and laughing at people who possibly put the game down. To these people, I salute you, a fellow Final Fantasy gamer. To the others, who have not played the game, and are possibly checking out earlier games from the series having experienced the later ones, I give you one the best gaming experiences you will ever have.
This game first appeared on the PlayStation in Autumn, 1997. It already had a big fanbase because of it's history on the Nintendo systems, and it did not fail to disappoint them. The PlayStation allowed Squaresoft to launch Final Fantasy into a whole new 3D world, which left players mesmorized.
So what do we have? Well, there is the main player of the game, Cloud Strife (though you can rename him, and every other player you control), joining up with a terrorist group called AVALANCHE, in order to halt the workings of Shinra, an enormous organisation slowly but surely destroying the planet by sucking up it's energy to fuel it's city, called Midgar. His entrance off the top off a train marks the beginning of an epic 80 hour story (get a memory card) where you battle with a host of other characters to stop the planet from dying. The sheer depth of this game is mindblowing. There are many side-quests to be completed (I give you Fort Condor, Chocobo breeding and Weapon destroying) which leave the gamer with plenty to do other than go through the story. Like me, if you play the game again, you will most likely find something that you didn't see before.
The graphics are outstanding. The PlayStation had many years in it after this game and, although they look dated now, still produce some of the finest art I have seen in a game. I particularly remember Cosmo Canyon. Something about that place just makes me want to find somewhere in real life just like it. The characters themselves are not exactly life-like but appreciating the level of detail surrounding them, this is an extremely minor flaw. The FMV is gorgeous for the 60 minutes that you can see it.
For me, the music is an extremely underrated part of this game. It's really memorable. The rush of the boss battle, the slow melody of Aeris' theme and the beautiful music in Bugenhagen's dome - they all combine to make a brilliant soundtrack (noticably, it's available to buy as an OST to the game - along with orchestral and piano versions, though these are predictably rare to buy now). I freely admit to playing the game again sometimes in order to hear the music put together with pictures.
The levelling up system in RPG's is often a cheap way of extending game time but here, it really works, and you're rewarded for putting time in to make your characters stronger. To level up, you fight battles with enemies - monsters, animals, soldiers or just simply other people. These battles appear randomly as you travel around the world (or sometimes at set points). This is often an area where gamers get annoyed, and just want to get on with the story. This is undoubtably a fair viewpoint, but to me, they add something to the game as you feel like you're truly involved with how your characters are developing.
There is a fair amount of strategy involved as you decide who has what Materia (magic stones that give your character more power). This part is difficult to understand at first, but, before you're given a chance to use it, you're made to go through tutorials early on in the game which give you ample time to understand it before you carry on. This materia comes in different forms and what makes it so great is that it can make your character completely customisable. If you give your character lots of materia, they become excellent with magic but not very strong physically. Obviously this works the opposite way. You'll have to juggle them around in order to suit how you want to play the game. Personally, like many, I balance it all out. Some people are naturally better with materia than others, however. To help you away from the magic, the characters can all find and purchase new weaponary, armour and accessories to aid them in battle.
The story is gripping. This was the first ever game where I felt slightly confused about having feelings for characters, and wanting them to succeed in the game. I almost felt guilty putting the game down and switching off the machine. I have read previous reviews and can happily say I'm not alone in feeling this way. It's like a well-written big book, where you understand the people involved and are keen to see what happens next. People cry at this game, it's that simple. I have to admit I didn't get that far (well, I maybe had a lump in my throat, but hey - I was 13-14) but at a certain point in the game it's certainly possible to feel such a way. The characters are all different in their approach to things and the player will always feel that there is one they like more than others (this is mainly because each has their own background which is always gone into in depth at certain points). But the character themselves will always be wanting the same thing in the game, and therefore so does the player.
In conclusion, Final Fantasy VII is the most complete RPG you are likely to find. The games following it in the series are all magnificent in their own right, but they all lead back to here. It really is the biggest bargain available.
The games in the Final Fantasy series don't endear themselves to everyone, but each of them (particularly this one) are creating a legend that, in my time and my life at least, will never be forgotten.
on 14 July 2006
For those who've yet to play this game may be put off by the dated graphics. But don't let that put you off, you absolutley have to buy this game. Final Fanatsy VII is a game that sucks you into an engaging and involving storyline, and lets your imagination soar as you day dream about this world that has been beautifully crafted and etched into your brain during breaks between play (if you ever get off that is, this game is good you won't wan't to, trust me on this).
This story is beautiful, engaging and infamous for making grown men cry like girls. You play as an "ex-SOLDIER" named Cloud, he was once an elite warrior fighting for the Shinra Electric Power Company (AKA Shinra Inc, or Shinra Corp.) but has turned his back on Shinra. Now he's in the hired muscle (or giant Buster Sword, in Cloud's case) business and joins AVALANCHE, an eco group trying to stop Shinra waste away the Planet's life to provide better lives for themselves. Through AVALANCE you will meet and plays as some of the most detailed and human characters ever (even if they do look like a red hound).
Of course the plot extends way beyond this, as you find out about an Alien invasion 2 thousand years before and how it is tied into Shinra's bizzare and inhuman experiments that have made many characters in the game (and maybe even in your team) who they are.
You will be joined by characters outside of AVALANCHE as you travel a massive world, through many towns each with their own story, and you will feel attached to, like you know the characters and places in this game, and feel compelled to play this game and fight to stop them all being destroyed at the hands of gaming's greatest villain ever, Sephiroth!
The story may seem broken but it all ties in, and there are many sidestories which explain your characters histories, make you feel like you know them so much that you would cry if one of them died.
Of course it isn't a Final Fantasy game with sidequests and mini-games. All of these are worth the asking price alone and through them you will obtain great powers and valuble items (Knights Of The Round anyone?).
The sound is amazing, Nobou Umasteru (think that's how it's spelt) has created an soundtrack that puts you into the world, there's a piece of music for each scene, moment place and characters. Including tracks like Aerith's Theme, Victory Fanfare, Great Nothern Cave and the unforgettable One Winged Angel.
The gameplay itself is pretty intense, in fights you select a command and your character will execute it. Simple eh? But with the in depth Materia system, Weapons and levelling up, you will find it deep, simple and satisfying at the same time.
If you noticed I haven't put a bad comment in here yet, but here's a couple:
Your friends and family will feel neglected
The graphics are dated and it's pretty hard to see exits sometimes. Plus you may start seeing people as 8bit images or whatever the polygon rate is in the game.
You may forgot to go to work or school, which may lead to your teacher or boss to realise how little work you do.
But those are worthy sacrifices for an epic like this. So stop reading this and order it already.
on 20 December 2006
Without doubt the best video game ever made, this game is so much better than all other ff games( dont understand all the fuss about ffx, thought it was very boring with poor voice acting throughout). Okay the graphics don't hold up to today's games but its the story which makes this game so compelling. I can honestly say I never thought I could get so emotional about a game but this is special, a one off which squaresoft should be proud of for affecting so many people's lives for the better.
I only have one negative: every other game I have played since ffvii has been so inferior that it just seems pointless playing, thats how good this game really is.
For anyone out there who's reading this and has not played this game, shame on you, i suggest you purchase a copy immediately as this game will never be forgotten. If only they could make another like it.
Quite simply there is nothing out there to touch this game. Easily the biggest most engrossing final fantasy game that square have released with a staggering story so complex and so engaging. The characters in FFVII are clearly the best bunch that square have ever come up with and contain an extremely good croos section so that every gamer will be catered for.
The world map is incredibly huge and contains a huge amount of secrets to unlock and explore and then there is that story I spoke of earlier.
I have never played a game that has stayed with me for so long, even now years after completing it I still get those pangs of angst when I think about little things, be it the date with Aeris or the music when you first meet Tifa at the bar.
Infact this game has so many amazing characters that we don't even really get to find out very much about some of them because I suppose they couldn't actually fit everything in.
Gamers will know that the end of disc 1 contains the most special moment in gaming history one that has yet to and never will be equalled.
Please buy this if you haven't already played it to death.
on 30 May 2006
Final fantasy 7 has a very powerful storyline and the best storyline of all the final fantasy games released. It was rated very high upon its first release. something like 98-99%. The game play is far better than the later releases for PS 1 & 2.
Upon first playing the game you may find that it seems boring. However do not worry continue to play on as you will shortly after playing realise how good the game gets. The more you play on the better and more intense the story line gets. It is my best game of all time if u can look past the (what is now) outdated graphics and look more into the game play and story line.
The game is quite complex for a first time player but you soon get used to it. There is loads of different magics and summons and other abilitys you can find through out the game and loads of additional extras you can do during the game to take off the main story line for a while. I would avise you to buy it. If you do own and want to sell it because you think its boring then ask yourself one question.. have you played it for very long and gave the game chance to get started?
on 19 April 2006
Simply put this is the best game ever made. Period.
The story is just so deep and entralling once you've played 10 hours you're hooked and once you're finished you'd pay ten times the price of the game just to forget it all and play it again for the first time. It's THAT good.
The game plays like an interactive movie. You just identify and feel for the characters that you're drawn into their world.
Then there's the music. Which is second only to the story, (the sound they got out of the PS1 was impressive), the highlight being Aeris' theme, it is just beautiful. It's so good they released a 4 CD soundtrack to the game. It's excellent mood setting music, every place and event in the game has a perfect pice of music to go with it. It makes the experience all that more enjoyable.
To buy a PS1 and Final Fantasy VII now would cost less and If you have not experienced this game, I envy you because you can enjoy this masterpiece for the first time.
I don't think any game could ever top the experience Final Fantasy VII gives you. BEST GAME EVER.
on 27 October 2003
where to start?
storyline - the best story line in any game ever. there are so many twists and turns everything comes as a surprise as nothing is what you'd expect. the way each character is interlinked with each other through the storyline is nothing short of brilliant.
characters - sephiroth is THE DEFINITIVE bad guy. he just oozes evil. when i played this i became so attatched to all of the characters (except aeris but she was poo anyway). each character had their own little tale to tell that was so engrossing in itself, minus the main plot. i seriously think the way clouds character and motives and past changes throughout the game will never be bettered in any other game or story line. EVER.
Graphics - not the best, because it is 6 years old, but were revolutionary back in the day, and are still pretty damn good. CHECK OUT THOSE CUT SCENE FMV's!!!
music - the music in this game is so awe inspiring it just deserves, on its own, an hour of your time just to listen to it. especially: the boss music, the world map music and the jenova music.
overall opinion - Final Fantasy 7 is the best game ever. better than zelda, than metal gear solid, than FFX. anyone who says FF7 is a bad game is insane. i cannot recommend this game highly enough. if youre a fan of long games, or any RPG's youll love this. it took me 56 hours to complete, without doing all of the miniquests.
quite simply the best game ever. 10/10