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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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on 30 March 2006
I know what you're thinking.
No, really - you're thinking 'ok, it's got 5 stars but come on - it's a PS1 game. It won't look all that good on my sparkly PS2 and there must be lotsa better games around then this now. I'll just look for one of the sequels.'
You couldn't be more wrong.
Even in 2006, even with PS1 graphics (which are fine btw - and the FMV is astonishing), even with nearing 5 sequels, even with endless hype and praise, even with a £10 price tag - you will never own another RPG this good. Hell, you'll never own a game this good.
Quite simply, FF7 has the lot. An absolutely sparkling plot (yes, there's the odd piece of Japanese nonsense but it holds together far better then anything else out there), perfectly pitched gameplay that balances adventuring, fighting, problem-solving, gloriously dramatic FMV sequences and a healthy batch of side quests and games perfectly, a whole host of different characters, the finest armour/weapon mod system ever to be created in the genre (the materia slot system)...it's all there.
But there's soemthing else as well. The game actually has a real sense of soul about it. Sounds tacky, but it's true. You really do feel involved with these characters and what they're doing, with their personal relationships and tgeir attitudes. You'll find yourself shouting at the bad guys, cheering the good guys and (as many others who've played it will testify) even shedding the odd tear at a certain point.
It is that good, folks. If you're looking at buying FFIX, FFX, FFX2, FFXI then put down that box and first go hunting for the game that inspired them all - and set a benchmark that has yet to be surpassed.
FFVII - we salute you.
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on 12 January 2004
Practically every games console has graced my bedroom over the last 20 years. So you can imagine I've played every much-hyped game whatever the format. Sonic, Streetfighter 2, Super Mario, Wonderboy... good grief the list is endless. The one type of games I could not stand were Role-Playing games.
Then in 1997, Sony made a huge fuss about the release of Final Fantasy VII.
I, in all my gaming career have never seen anything like it and 7 years later, I still haven't seen and WILL NEVER see a better game. If you haven't played it then this is a game that will have you waking up in the middle of the night to continue the monumental quest set before you, missing meals, neglecting the Wife/Girlfriend, thinking about what you're going to do when you next get to play it when you're at School/Work and basically becoming a recluse to the outside world whilst your on it.
The storyline is so good, you'll be nodding your head in utter disbelief at how someone can have the brains to think up something like this in a film let alone a game. For example, the deepness of the plot as you set foot in the City of Ancients as Cloud has to deal with the power of Consciousness or the massive contribution Aeris plays and how unassuming her character is during the early stages of the game.
You basically feel the emotion and start to really feel for each character has the game unfolds, such is the powerful script. The music for each moment, character and town are quite remarkable and endearing, Gonaga, Cosmo Canyon, City of Ancients, Sephiroth and Jenova's scores spring to mind. The evil Sephiroth is simply the best and most powerful bad guy ever to grace any computer game. Think of an animated Darth Vader and you'll get the idea.
The game is vast and spread over 3 disks which wasn't even heard of for the Playstation back then. The graphics are still wonderful even in this day and age and the FMV sequences are to be massively admired.
Quite simply the is the best game EVER. It has the best storyline EVER. The best value for money EVER. The best baddie EVER. The best audio and music to a game EVER. The most deepest and varied gameplay EVER. The most emotional game for the gameplayer EVER.
This game took gaming to new heights in many ways and no game will ever have the same impact this game has had on many many people and other games since. Anybody who hasn't played this game will never understand how good it really is. The fact that there are 100+ reviews for this game and every one of them is given a 5/5 rating only begins to tell the story.
There is no game that will ever match this epic and it is truely unsurpassable.
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on 26 November 2002
Without a Doubt this is the best game I have ever seen. Nothing else even comes close, not even other Final Fantasy games, and I have played them all. At the time the graphics were awesome, although now a little dated in the light of FFX but they are still great. Some people do not like the design of the characters, as they are disproportional and eccentric but I think this is one of the games many, many plus points. The musical score is also awesome and extrememly fitting, helping with the emotion. From the outset you connect with the main character, Cloud, as he is a cool (and double hard) mercenary, although you don't get any insight into the true character for a couple of hours until you meet Aeris. Approximately 8-10 hours into the game the story properly begins, when you hit the 'world map' and you realise that the game you have been playing untill now which you thought was awesome enough, is only going to get better. When you begin to learn about Clouds past you won't be able to put the game down, you'll suddenly be think that it must be nearly dinner time, and then find that its 3am and you have been playing since you got in from work at 5pm! seemingly only an hour ago!
The story really is the most gripping and brilliantly written script ever with various twists and turns, laughs and heart breaks. The game contains the most emotional scene ever from a game in my opinion, and although i wont spoil it for those who haven't yet played im sure everyone who has played the game knows which part I am talking about.
The various side quests and games also take up hours of time after you have allready finished the game once, there is always something you still have to do! such as breeding the sacred Golden Chocobo.
As someone who has completed this game time and again, without getting bored, and has also done every side quest/game possible i can fully recommend it. Even if you dont own a console it would be worth getting a playstation just to play this game, as you can pick up a second hand playstation with final fantasy VII for less that £50 (the price the game on its own used to cost)
The ONLY downpoint to the game is it ruins any game (RPG) you will ever play again as none will measure up and leave you feeling disappointed, as I have done with Final Fantasy VIII, IX and X.
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on 20 February 2002
I'm not joking when i say that this has to be the most amazing and electrifying game i have EVER played.
The amazing FMV sequences, the depth to the characters and the outstanding music will leave you stunned for hours if not days after completing it.
It all starts when ex soldier Cloud strife teams up with a small gang called 'avalanche'and try to stop shinra from sucking up the earth's life.
But thats just a small part of the story because then oher people start getting involved such as SEPHIROTH who has to be the meanist, baddest and coolest bad guy EVER!
The game also includes mini games like 'road rash'when escaping from the shinra building after battering the hell out of everone and a snowboarding game.
Not forgetting probably one of the best parts of the game are the chocobo's. Raise them, feed them, breed them and race them and try and get the legendary gold one.
To sum it all up, this is the best game ever made.
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on 30 December 2003
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The early final fantasy games (final fantasy 1,2,3,4,5,6), that were played on the ancient super nintendo, inspired the gaming world over. It was not just the graphics but the utterly gripping and engrossing storylines that kept the gamers playing and the final fantasy legend alive.
Final Fantasy VII was the first of the series to be released on playstation and it is one of the best games ever to be released. The characters were exciting and as the game progresses a certain attachment between them and yourself grows. Possibly even more so is the hate and anger that builds up inside you because of what the evil characters do (SEPHROTH)!
Because you control the characters actions and decide who is in your party, what weapons they carry, what magic they use e.t.c, the game further pulls you inside and actually makes your emotions work (not like happy shoot em ups!) because when a charcter is hurt, somehow you are hurt also.
BE WARNED! a gamer who is only used to the PS2 graphics might not be amazed by the game initially and may find it difficult to get into, try FFX if this is the case. If those fans of FFX want to know the roots of the game however, buy FFVII because if you decide to complete the game inside out you are looking at about 120hrs of entertainment and that is not including weather you play it a second time, and for £12 that works out at £1 for ten hours entertainment.....VALUE FOR MONEY OR WHAT!
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BUY THIS GAME, IT IS THE BEST GAME EVER MADE, NO FINAL FANTASY COMES CLOSE TO BEATING THE MAGIC IT CREATES! I CRIED TWICE IN THE GAME, IT IS THE GREATEST THING EVER!!!
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