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Developer:
Squaresoft
Publisher: Square EA
Platform: PSX
Release Date: September 03, 1997

by Jason Ferguson




Final Fantasy VII is a game that set the standards for all other RPGs to follow. A powerful storyline, excellent characters and a great battle system helped to make VII an instant classic. Although it's several years old by now, VII is a truly epic game that you can never grow sick of.


Final Fantasy VII takes place in a world where technology governs everyday life and a large corporation, called Shinra, dominates everything! Your main character, Cloud, is a former member of Shinra's elite military force SOLDIER. The game starts off with Cloud joining up with an eco-terrorist group known as Avalanche. Cloud and his comrades aim to save the planet from Shinra and are plotting to destroy a large reactor that is draining the planet of its energy. Like every other Squaresoft RPG things aren't quite what they seem to be, and Shinra may be the least of the planet's worries! The story is, although not overly complicated, very deep. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested, and there's a lot more to the story than meets the eye. There will be times when you think you've got it all figured out and you realize you've got two more discs to play!


Final Fantasy VII does an outstanding job of forming an emotional bond between you and the characters. The character development is done extraordinarily well and as the game progresses you’ll learn a lot you didn't know about everybody. Several of the characters are shrouded in mystery and are much more than they appear to be. I'd elaborate on some of this further, but I don't want to give away any spoilers. Let me just say that Cloud and Aeris will especially move you. The characters are very memorable and they'll make you feel almost as if you're a member of the party. Sephiroth is one of the greatest villains I've ever seen in a game. His mere presence will awe you and probably make you want to strike out in anger.


The battle system is Final Fantasy VII is quite simple, but probably my favorite in any Final Fantasy game. Your equipment is pretty straightforward...you go to shops to buy new weapons and armor, or occasionally pick something up along the road. Each piece of equipment has materia slots which you can attach materia to. There are hordes of different materia available and each can be used to teach your characters magic abilities. Different pieces of equipment may have different numbers of materia slots available, so just because a weapon has a stronger attack doesn't always mean it's the better weapon. An awesome sword will do you little good if you can't cast any spells while you wield it! The more a materia is used the stronger it grows. As the materia levels up the character equipped with it will gain access to more powerful spells. For example, the lightning materia can be leveled up to teach Cloud lightning 2 and 3. The characters in Final Fantasy VII are not very distinctive in their classes so each of your characters can be equipped with each materia. After a character has taken enough damage they gain access to a unique ability called a "limit break." These limit breaks differ depending on the character and each character is equipped with several different ones. Gameplay is pretty straightforward and easy to catch onto, and I found the material system to be excellent!


The graphics aren't one of the high points in Final Fantasy VII. Even for the time the graphics weren't really anything to write home about, unless you're writing home to complain. The characters are very blocky when not in combat and just look plain stupid. The cinemas are pretty neat though and feature some very cool events. Unfortunately the people in these cinemas are still not very convincing at all. There are some nice backgrounds though, and when you're in battle the character graphics are better by leaps and bounds! Still, VII pretty much invented the FMV, so it deserves some credit. Flaws in its graphics are due to age. The music to Final Fantasy VII was very impressive and to this day still triggers an emotional response in me. The music is some the best in any game and the best I've seen at bringing out the emotions the characters are feeling. Sephiroth's theme is one of my favorites and it'll probably creep the crap out of you every time you hear it.


This is a game full of things to do. You can breed and race chocobos (if you can stand them...personally I can't), you can play mini-games, search for hidden materia and pick up optional characters. There's a lot of exploring you're allowed to do in VII and it's a game that will keep you busy for quite some time.


Not a whole lot of bad things can be said of Final Fantasy VII, and even if I could think of something bad to say, someone would probably burn my house down for saying it. Although not as deep and original as games like Xenogears or Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy VII is a masterpiece and one of the finest RPGs I've ever played. It's a captivating game that will provide you with hours of entertainment.


Final Grade: 95%




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