Final Fantasy VII Review
Well, I had originally intended not to review this game, I found it had to be done, or I wasn't an FF fan.
First of all, let me say this. I didn't hate this game, as most FF Otaku do...I didn't particularly love it, but I dont' hate it.
So, lets get started shall we. First, back to basics. What makes a good RPG? Well, there's numerous factors: Storyline, Characters, Graphics (but those make a good game in general, not just rpg's), Control and Playability, Sound...things of that nature. Final Fantasy VII has all of those...and while they don't really truly shine in any one area, they form together to come up with something that can hold your attention for a few days/weeks/however long you decide to play it.
Starting off with the simple stuff, graphics. The graphics in this were revolutionary for the time. Square's first game on Playstation was a big one, for good reason. This game featured full polygonal characters, computer rendered backgrounds, complete character animation, and really tiny arms. While the polygonal character models themselves are extremely laughable, battle graphics and animations aren't that bad. Also, this was the first RPG that I know of to feature in-game cinemas and cutscenes that weren't using in-game graphics. While today's standards laugh at the oldschool FMV's, they all certainly have some debt to pay to them. Score: 7
Next up, sound. The sound kinda disappointed me in this game. Especially the music. The sound effects we won't get into, nothing innovative or really lacking in those. They do get annoying after a while, but it can be overlooked. But the music...while not really TERRIBLE, they weren't good either. None of the themes come to mind while writing this, except mabye the battle theme, but even that took a while to get cool. Probably the black sheep of music in FF's happened in VII. Score: 5
Characters. Hahahahahahaha...funny to even mention this stuff. The characters are all your standard stereotypes: Cloud, the badass wannabe; Tifa, the spunky charasmatic fuckable; Aeris, the shy innocent girl; Barret, the big black guy with a soft heart; Red XIII, the mysterious experiment with further explanation required; Yuffie, the trash-talking kid thief; Vincent, the dark silent gunner; Cid, the foul-mouthed mechanic with a dream; and Cait Sith, the odd machine. Not to mention the Shin-Ra Corp. Execs (The nerdy evil scientist, gun obsessed military man, evil woman in red, fat guy you wanna kill, thin guy who wants out of it all, and an evil money grubbing president, and later his pansy-ass son to run it all); the Turks, the tough guys who are out to bug you; and Sephiroth, the no talking, no feeling killing machine. You can't help but get the feeling that you've seen it all before. Score: 6
Now I'm moving into the story. Which, I must say, is good, until you leave Midgar. Then, the entire story from then on in the game, (not-so-spoiling spoiler warning) is to hunt down Sephiroth. Thats it. Thats the game. Oh, and there's a bit of background on Cloud and Tifa in there somewhere. All the characters have mabye one bit of development in them, leading up to a mediocre enemy of some sort, an ultimate weapon or skill, or just the game telling you why they were born; and then its back to Sephiroth. Now, onto something personal. I am a fan of the 3 big evils: Evil person/creature, Evil Corporation, or Evil Empire. VII had 2 out of the 3 - the person and the corporation (but I was still having fun using Shadow to launch a spear up a Templar Soldier's ass, only to have Interceptor come and tear the villian a new one so the whole process could be repeated to care about the lack of an empire in VII). The fighting the corporation thing works, and it does lead nicely into the hunt for the person. I would have liked to seen more about the villian development though. Score: 7
What else is left? Ah, gameplay. While the story feels good to watch happen, the time between then is kinda iffy. It feels like Final Fantasy in the basic controls, the random battles, the moving from area to area and wandering the map...but then it lacks in the skills system and some other little quirks that more than bugged me. The Materia system...excuse me. No. Not feeling it. Magic stones that are born from the planet that you can equip through your weapons and have to level up just to gain new skills? Come ON, Square! You can do better than that! Also, I had a little problem with the unindividuality of the characters. I honestly couldn't tell one character in battle from another, save the graphic of the character, and the Limit Breaks. Lemme get off track here to say that I enjoy the "you've hit me too much, now you die" thing that the limit breaks present, and I'm kind of glad to see the post VII FF's have all used that. Now, back to me bitching about the magic rocks. Materia can be equipped in a characters weapon, making finding new weapons important. But there is such a thing as leaving too much up to the player. And as for the little bugging quirks, I found some areas sortof difficult to get through, simply because of the number of random battles, and the detail of the areas made it difficult to see the doors I was supposed to go into or the ladders I was supposed to climb. Score: 5
So if you happen to have about 50 hours to kill, consider FFX, IX, or even picking up VI or IV. However, if you've lowered your standards (or haven't played it already) get FFVII.
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