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Final Fantasy VII - Review

The Best You Can Get?

By: Dan Highwind


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

30-60 Hours

 
Overall
number
Criteria

Final Fantasy VII
 

   Final Fantasy VII. By now you must have heard about this game from 1997. If not, you've been living in a cave for the last three years! SquareSoft proves in this stunning and awe inspiring title, that they can truly tell a tale that revolves around all kinds of subject matter. To steal a page from GameFan Magazine, Final Fantasy VII is quite possibly the greatest game ever made!

   Final Fantasy VII revolves around a battle system that is simple, yet complex in style. The basis of the battle system in FFVII involves tiny colored orbs called "Materia". Materia grant certain abilities, spells, and status effects to the user. Materia are equipped to holes, or slots in a weapon that either connect Materia together or keep them separate. For example, if you equip an All Materia into a slot the links to a slot that has a Fire Materia, that character can now cast a Fire spell that affects all the enemies on screen. By the way, Materia gain levels, usually about five or four, and when leveled up these orbs can cast stronger spells and offer more options to the user. Another additional element to gameplay is the Limit Break system. If a character sustains a certain amount of damage during battle, he/she will be able to pull off a visually spectacular attack that causes some major pain! The battles in FFVII move quite fast, my only gripe is a small one, the random battles sometimes happen way too often. This really seems bad to the first time RPGer because you could be running out of MP and have no Ethers left to restore it. Small gripe though.

   FFVII's interface is like most of the FF games. Simple, fast, and great loads of fun. The menus are not exceedingly complex and can be navigated with quite some ease. While exploring a town or dungeon, the player can look at their characters' stats at just about any time. To the first time RPGer FFVII's interface may seem surprisingly simple compared to how it looks. Once you've learned how to handle it, you can master it.


I am frog!  Hear me ribbit!
I am frog! Hear me ribbit!  

   The sound effects of FFVII are all together fantastic. Swords sound like swords, and guns sound like guns. When an enemy is disposed of you'll here a noise that can only be described as releaving (simply because you got rid of the beast!). The music is probably the best I've ever heard in a video game ever! The emotional themes run high throughout your quest underlining key story moments with incredible sonic pieces that will leave your ears tingling, and screaming for more! Nobuo Uematsu shows that he has mastered the art of dramatic musical compositions in just about every track heard. FFVII's music is so great that I bought the soundtrack, no less than a year ago. You can't get any better than what is in FFVII.

   FFVII has great originality in plot, but lacks a little in gameplay. The plot is an excellent blend of character double crosses and emotional misgivings. The gameplay is basically like any other FF game in the series, ATB (Active Time Battle) meters, menu navigation, and a good host of characters. Though the originality is a bit redundant, Square seems to be able to pull off a spectacular game, regardless of the redundancy.

   Plot, don't get me started on plot! FFVII's plot is incredible! Set in a high tech world, FFVII revolves around a group of mercenaries called AVALANCHE. That's about all I can tell you without spoiling the story. Anyway, FFVII's plot is a general blend of comedy, romance, action, and drama. Just about everything you wold expect from a Final Fantasy game. There are lots, and I mean lots of plot twists that will keep you guessing until the very end! The plot may get confusing at times, and is a little linear, which is the only thing that kept the plot from getting a perfect score. If you like what I mentioned above, you'll enjoy the plot thoroughly.

   Probably the only thing about FFVII that doesn't live up to everything else in the game is the localization. The game is translated rather well, but has one too many grammatical errors that run throughout the story. Though these errors don't detract from the story, they do stand out. Localization is a small piece of the pie though.


If you think my ship's impressive...
If you think my ship's impressive...  

   Final Fantasy VII has outstanding replay value! FFVII consists of many different side-quests and games that can be played throughout your quest, and they get addicting if you're not careful. The optional bosses, Emerald and Ruby Weapon, add another reason to play this game through more than once. These two bosses alone will give you a hard time coming up with a strategy, in some cases I found myself planning strategies at school, before I went to sleep, and even while I was playing through different areas of the game! The story will also keep you coming back for more! Just being able to tie up loose ends during another playthrough is fun enough. You'll be surprised at how many times you will play FFVII.

The visuals in FFVII are incredible! Well rendered (for the time) polygonal characters mesh with pre-rendered backrounds painted and illustrated by none other than Yoshitaka Amano himself! The FMVs are movie quality, and blend seamlessly into gameplay. FFVII has some of the best second generation PSX visuals you will ever see!

FFVII isn't overly difficult, but it's not a cake-walk either. While most bosses can be defeated with little to no strategy, some will give you a tough time, and really push you to the point of trying to quit your quest (of course, who would do such a thing?). For the most part though, everything is balanced and provides an experience that will leave you satisfied.


Look ma'!  I'm in 3D!
Look ma'! I'm in 3D!  

Final Fantasy VII is one of the greatest games ever, there's no denying that. With over thirty hours of gameplay, and two optional bosses FFVII will keep you playing forever (or so it seems)! The Materia system, and the storyline also make FFVII a complete package. If there is only one game you get all year, make it Final Fantasy VII!







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