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SummaryMystery beyond mystery. Why is this game fun?
The GoodThere's great graphics (well, apart of the very non-detailed 3D characters in the actual game...), good animations (some rather cool combat animations that aren't easy to grow tired about), Not at all bad music, a decent playability, a plot that doesn't have too many apparent dead ends.
It's hard to describe, but this game is just simply *fun*.
The BadAs a big fan of "western" CRPGs, there's a whole lot to grumble about. I don't think I'll even bother much - let's just say that the game system and mechanics are antiquated to the extreme. Combat system is pre-stone age. Dialogue trees have been invented too, but the Japanese obviously haven't heard about them yet. Random encounters are completely infuriating. I sort of did like the magic system though.
The dialogue is rather perplexing. Either it's decent, or it's annoying, or just pathetic. There are more JRPG plot or character cliches in this thing than you can count - and sometimes they turn out to be quite boring. (Luckily, not always!) And as many Cloud fans there are, I just have to say that I just couldn't identify with him. I found most of the other party members quite interesting though.
And save points *suck*. I want to save games immediately, not after getting hit by million little monsters.
I'm not a terribly big fan of the minigames in FF7 either - for some reason, I've never found them very inspiring in any game.
The Bottom Line(For what it's worth: I've played through the first CD and quite a chunk of the second too.)
Final Fantasy VII has some great fun. I have played quite a many addicting RPGs, but I think this is one has that sinister, evil kind of pull that gently tugs me deeper to the madness, *madness* that is the heart of this game. For other RPGs I can explain it - for example, I couldn't stop playing Ultima VII because I simply loved the world and loved the dialogues. But FF7 is different - I'm unable to stop playing, and the only reason I can say is "I'm having fun".
It's certainly not the story. Plot has been seen before. I like games with subtle messages, and this game just shouts at me "mega-corporations are evil and nature is cool" and all that. I found myself Yawning Terribly at the plot things. It's not the characters either. I found Cloud mostly uninteresting, though other characters were rather fascinating in their own ways. It's not the game system. Idiotically simple controls that thankfully still offer quite complex playability.
I don't know *why* I liked all this stuff. Maybe it's just the look of the game. Maybe it's just the right kind of environments, overall pleasantness of the game and the people in it, some rather interesting surprises in spite of the awful load of cliches there are. (Or maybe I just found the cliches themselves funny. Yes, that's got to be a factor).
I might be even recommending this game as one of the essential RPGs anyone needs to play to understand the genre, but I might be overstating. I would recommend it to people who have never seen a RPG and would like to start the hobby in a fun and fashionable way without getting thwacked by too many people. Just play it, it rules - and even if you don't like it, there are probably still a plenty of RPGs you probably do like.