Final Fantasy VII Reviews

Neo Ethereal
287,394 (159,830)
Neo Ethereal
TA Score for this game: 536
Posted on 10 April 19 at 19:26, Edited on 12 April 19 at 19:59
This review has 9 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
The Classic That Defined a Generation

Final Fantasy VII was not only my first JRPG, but the first RPG of any kind that I played in my life. When trying the Japanese demo for the first time, I didn't understand what the game was or what it really wanted me to do, but something about its feel and atmosphere, the music, and compelling turn-based combat kept me hooked enough to learn more, and I took the plunge on the full American release once my meager teenage self had enough trade in credit at the then-EB Games (I gave up my Sega Nomad for it, in case you're curious). The game transformed my perception of storytelling from that point on. Now, rereleased for another generation to enjoy, can it do so again?

I must give a resounding yes to that question. I haven't played Final Fantasy VII since the original American release, and not since I became an adult in any sense of the word. It has always held a special place in my gaming heart, but now I can see the story and characters with matured eyes, and I think it's the better for it. While arguably the game has not aged well graphically, the art style holds onto its charm, the music is as powerful as ever, and this updated port runs as slick as glass in all aspects of gameplay, unlike the port of Final Fantasy IX. Loading, saving, and transitions between different gameplay modes are lightning quick, easing the burden on combat even when it's time for grinding. I've never for a second felt any desire for a high speed mode here. Also unlike the port for IX, there are no nagging issues or features missing from the original, such as not being able to rename your characters, or pixelation during prerendered cutscenes. Also, there are some subtle fixes to the original American translation. Some of the dialogue and punctuation gets a bit ridiculous (my modern writer's eye notices this more than my old naive teenage reading level), but I appreciate that some of the most embarrassing translation mistakes have been fixed (such as the old "this guy are sick" line).

Final Fantasy VII may be old, but I still think it's a shame to post spoilers here about the story. It's not without its oddities here and there, but I find it to be the strongest overall out of the PSX-era Final Fantasies, with highly distinct, likable characters, a wicked villain who we can sympathize with to an extent, a borderline cyberpunk mega-corporation as a persistent antagonistic force, and an overall compelling tale based around identity, love, and sacrifice. It also contains one of gaming's most poignant moments of tragedy, one that has lasting repercussions for every character involved.

The gameplay is razor-sharp and easy to grasp for those new to JRPGs or veterans alike. Especially if you toggle "active" mode for the ATB system, combat moves at a snappy pace but not so fast that you get overwhelmed. The materia system is solid as a rock and allows for a great deal of customization in how you want to approach your battles. Limit breaks in my opinion have never since been as awesome as in this game. The attacks themselves are awesome to watch without being gaudy, and even the sound of activating one gets me pumped.

Nobuo Uematsu is deservedly famous for all of his Final Fantasy scores, but the seventh game arguably contains his finest work. The character themes are emotional and distinct. The battle and boss music has yet to be matched by any other JRPG in my opinion, and the different variations of JENOVA's and Sephiroth's themes still give me chills. If this soundtrack isn't worth being called legendary I don't know what is.

So yes, in this reviewer's opinion, Final Fantasy VII still holds up as a masterpiece of its genre, and the port was done properly, unlike the one for the ninth game. I don't know what the full blown remake may hold, but for the time being this version of Final Fantasy VII stands as the definitive, must-own edition.

Finally, given the site I am writing this for, there are achievements. Unlike the rather asinine list from Final Fantasy IX, this game has a totally reasonable achievement list that can be obtained from a single (albeit completionist) playthrough, and doesn't ask anything of the player that goes far above what they would do even if gamerscore weren't involved. Getting 1000/1000 will still involve a commitment of time, but nothing as ludicrous as the aforementioned ninth game, and this is a completion I can see myself enjoying immensely.
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