Final Fantasy VII
Reviewed: 01/12/2003


Since just about all of you reading this review are pretty familiar with RPGs, I don’t feel that I need to go into great detail about the big transformation for RPG’s. The “big transformation” being the shift from 2D graphics to the world of three dimensions. The first RPG to truly represent this shift in gaming was, of course, Final Fantasy VII. For the first time, we were able to see the Final Fantasy style world map realized with new, breathtaking visuals. While few serious gamers will forget the impact FF7’s graphics had on RPGs of the future, it was the many other equally stellar aspects of this game that made it one of the greatest RPGs ever.

It’s safe to say that Final Fantasy VII is one of those games that come along about once every 5 or 6 years. It’s a game that not only sold insanely well, but it propelled the system it was on to hugely popular status. In retrospect, it was probably the biggest game since Super Mario Bros. 3. When I say in retrospect, that’s the key. This whole review is written in retrospect of what was Final Fantasy VII. What it was was a game that completely changed the way you and I played our video games. That’s because this game was able to support every bit of technical wonder with astounding gameplay. With that said, let’s delve into the actual game and explain to those of you that somehow managed to miss out on FF7 in the first place why this game was and is considered to be so great.

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The combat takes seconds to learn, but many hours to master

The game opens with a nifty CG sequence closely followed by quick action. Immediately, you are thrust into the game’s battle system. While there is little diversity in the battling in the first part of the game, the battle system grows infinitely better and deeper with its “Materia” system. Materia is basically a bunch of magical orbs that you collect and equip on your characters weapons and armor. These materia are broken down into different types based on their colors. For instance, green materia is magic, while blue materia’s function is to support other materia. Equipping certain materia on your gear will enhance it in certain ways while others will simply give you more magical or summoning abilities. It’s a very deep system that will keep you closely and constantly involved in your character’s growth.

The game also managed to carry over almost all of the classic Final Fantasy trademarks including chocobos, an airship and the presence of Cid. The chocobos offer a very deep minigame diversion from your main path which involves the breeding and growth of racing chocobos to breed certain chocobos that can travel to previously barred areas. The many minigames and other diversions also include the excellent Gold Saucer, which is sort of like an RPG amusement park. All of this adds to a great experience.

Of course, none of this would mean jack to me if the storyline sucked. However, the storyline is where this game’s true strength lies. It has a very deep, engaging and emotional plot that involves the main character, Cloud, finding his true inner self while fighting the evil forces of Shinra Corp. and his nemesis, Sephiroth (otherwise known as the greatest villain of all time). That barely skims the surface, but since about 90% of you reading this have already played the game, you know what I’m saying anyway.

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Well you know what they say: “Fight tyranny with terrorism.”

Now, there are plenty of ways to get a good, deep plot. What separated this storyline was the classic, personalized emotion of it all. You can’t help but care for every character in a unique way. Whether it’s Cloud’s cold exterior mixed with his confused history or Barrett’s anger and emotion, every character hits home, and that just doesn’t happen with many games. I felt like I could hang out with this crew. This was something that started with FF3 (FF6 on the anthology) and has continued with every successive Final Fantasy. Still, no FF game gave me more of an emotional kick in the balls than FF7. It broke this pirate’s heart to see “the scene” but in reality, it kicked ass.

Speaking of kicking ass, let’s not forget the music. It’s the best you’ll find in any video game. All of the emotion this game packs is complemented perfectly by sweeping ballads composed by Nobuo Uematsu. The soundtrack to this game is worth buying…and cherishing. Definitely one of the stronger points of an already amazing game. The music is really just a very tasty icing on an already scrumptious cake. The game is damn near perfect in RPG standards.

It’s true. This whole game is just so damn awesome. Even after playing through it four or five times through and having done nearly everything possible in the game, I never tire of simply roaming through the Cosmo Canyon area in a little red buggy, picking fights with random monsters. If you haven’t played this game, you should do one of the following. 1) Get up right now and go buy this game. Play it until you drop. 2) Never play another video game as long as you live. That may sound extreme, but I’ve had plenty of time to evaluate this, and remain strong in my stance. This game is a true classic.

-Cory Buck

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Legendary
Story Excellent
Graphics Excellent
Sound/Music Legendary
Replay Value Excellent
The Verdict: 10