The G-Zone!!






Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation) Review


Final Fantasy and I don't always get along. I remember playing through most of Final Fantasy VI (that's III on SNES, for the uninitiated), only to lose hours of progress towards the end due to accidentally entering the final dungeon, which it wouldn't let me flee from. I also remember later playing through maybe half of Final Fantasy IV (or II on SNES) and having a blast up until I hit a wall where I'd have had to grind about 8 levels to learn a spell I needed to progress. I dropped both games after the aforementioned events, even though I really wanted to see them through.


I don't have a massive PlayStation collection, but of course one of the must-have titles on so many fans' lists is Final Fantasy VII (Which was actually Final Fantasy MCXVII... kidding!). I grabbed a copy, mostly just to have, and eventually decided to pop it in and see what all the fuss was about. I played for about 2 hours and then got bored and dropped it.


...Until a full year later, when something went off in my brain and I decided to pick up from where I left off, still in the first dungeon of the game. From that moment on, I couldn't take my hands off the controller. I became addicted! I played through the whole thing in about a month, and was sad to see it end. Finally (teehee), a Final Fantasy game I could finish.


GAMEPLAY:

Well, a JRPG is still a JRPG. The turn-based combat wasn't exactly a thrill ride, but the Materia system kept things pretty fresh. Equipping Materia to a party member gives them all sorts of abilities, depending on the Materia used. From spells, to summons, to other special effects, it was fun to experiment with throughout the game, and I was always finding something new to try, even in the last dungeon.


SOUND:

Perhaps a bit controversial, but the music of this game could be a bit bland to my ears. I didn't find all too many tracks memorable, and in fact, this is one of few game soundtracks which contains songs I actually really don't like, and the two offending tracks play in back-to-back areas! Yeesh! However, and this is a big however, on the other hand, you have some truly masterful compositions, which fully deserve to be held in the enormously high regard that they already are. The game's various boss battle themes especially, which always put me in the mood to kick some tail. The final boss theme as well, with its ominous Latin choir, is definitely now in my all-time favorite video game songs. SEPHIROTH!


VISUALS:

Being a PlayStation title, of course the game tends to be a bit blocky. It also jumps between styles a lot, which I figure is sort of the dying breath of the 16 bit era. In the overworld, you control the tiny avatar versions of the characters, much like in the previous games. However, when you're in battle, the character models are much more detailed and realistically proportioned. On top of that, when the game rolls a pre-rendered movie, the models shown are the most detailed of all. One thing I really loved in this game was when you'd be in the overworld and the background would become a full motion video, with your avatars moving with it as the camera panned elsewhere. That was a mind-blowing effect, even playing this game for the first time over two decades after its release.


STORY:

This is what you play the game for. A rebel group called AVALANCHE's attempts to overthrow a corrupt corporation turns into a fight to stop an impending cataclysm brought on by Sephiroth, a mysterious man dressed in black, who once fought alongside the main character, Cloud. Unraveling the mysteries of the characters is what had me glued to the screen more than anything. The twists and turns in this rollercoaster of a story had me actually shouting. "WHAT?!" "DID HE JUST..." "DOES THAT MEAN..." I eagerly await the next time a game does this to me. While Cloud and Sephiroth are the main focus, every other character who joins you has at least a bit of story to them, though for some characters you have to look a little harder. You may need to do some extra reading once the game is done just to fully understand everything, but to me, that just added further thrill of more pieces of this big elaborate puzzle clicking together.


FINAL SCORE:

This fully deserves to be up there as one of the best JRPGs ever made, one of the best PlayStation games ever made, and one of the best stories ever told. You fully give yourself over to the world and keep playing and playing and wondering what's next, until the only thing that's next is for you to shut the game off after staring into the post-credits star field screensaver for half an hour, reflecting on your journey. This is a game you can't miss, and once you've finished, you can't forget. It has a little something for everyone.


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