Final Fantasy VII Review

Final Fantasy VII is a 1997 science fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix, released for the PlayStation.  Serving as the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series, the game follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins the eco-terrorist rebel organization AVALANCHE to stop the world-controlling mega-corporation Shinra from draining the life of the planet but end up becoming involved in a larger world-threatening conflict.


Positives:

  • Great characters
  • Great story
  • Great soundtrack
  • Fun, challenging gameplay
  • Well-developed world setting
  • Extensive campaign
  • Innovative Materia system
  • Awesome antagonist
  • Plenty of minigames
  • Lots of unlockable content

Negatives:

  • Dated CGI
  • Repetitive gameplay
  • Tedious grinding

Campaign: The game does feature a very extensive and challenging campaign. The game follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins the eco-terrorist rebel organization AVALANCHE to stop the world-controlling mega-corporation Shinra from draining the life of the planet.  While on their adventures they discover that a larger threat is loose upon the world in the form of a former SOLDIER, Sephiroth. It does feature of very immersive and emotionally compelling story that has its share of twists. There are a ton of not only likeable characters but memorable characters. The main protagonists are comprised of Cloud Strife (former member of SOLDIER), Tifa Lockhart (member of AVALANCHE), Barrett Wallace (leader of AVALANCHE), Vincent Valentine (a former Turk), Yuffie Kisaragi (a Wutai ninja), Red XIII (a talking lion), Cait Sith (a robotic cat), and Cid Highwind (a pilot). The game does take its time to provide detailed backstories for the characters. The main antagonist is Sephiroth, a super soldier gone insane. The supporting cast is actually pretty good with a lot of them interesting and memorable. The story does come to a satisfying conclusion. (4 out of 5)

Gameplay:   Players randomly encounters enemies, which switches the environment to a turn-based battle area where characters and enemies await their turn to attack until one side is defeated (which is commonly known as the “Active Time Battle” system).  Characters can reach their Limit Break, which can be used only after a special gauge is charged by enemy attacks, which allows characters to unleash powerful attacks or undergo transformations. The gameplay is fun but challenging. The large variety of enemy types have different levels, strengths, weaknesses, and special abilities that make every battle strategic. The basic RPG elements: leveling up, weapon customization, special attacks, etc. do keep it immersive. Didn’t really have an issue with the turn based combat which helped to execute strategies. There is a whole lot of grinding when it comes to the game but is typical of RPG’s. FFVII utilizes it’s Materia system, which all characters can equip gems called Materia into weapons and armor that gives access to spells and abilities. (4 out of 5)

Graphics: It goes without saying that the graphics suck and have little to no appeal compared to today’s standards. The character and creature designs lack detail and watching them interact with the world is comical. The cinematics are decent and do give weight to the characters and story, but could be better. Decent for its time. The open world does look like cardboard.  (2 out of 5)

Score: The soundtrack is absolutely beautiful, many of the songs come highly recommended for download. Many of the game’s music is just fantastic.  Fantastic job by composer Nobuo Uematsu. The sound effects are on point.  Unfortunately,  there are voice performances which would’ve given more depth to the characters. (4 out of5)

Replay Value: Helluva big world for thrill seekers who enjoy exploration, treasure hunting, and battling monsters. There are a ton of mini-games that provide a distraction from the main story such entertainment at the Golden Saucer, a theme park that is built over quicksand. (3 out of 5)


The Verdict: In the end, Final Fantasy VII is not only a good game but a great game. Despite the dated CGI, the game features a great story, great characters, terrific soundtrack, fun gameplay, and immersive world. Final Fantasy VII gets 4 out of 5.

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