Final Fantasy VII

aka: FF7, FFVII, Finalnaja Fantazija 7, Zui Zhong Huanxiang 7
Moby ID: 858

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 92% (based on 110 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 664 ratings with 32 reviews)

Fusion of drama and gameplay

The Good
Final Fantasy VII is probably the most famous Japanese RPG of all times. It helped popularize the genre like no other game before or after it. Western players started paying attention to the odd genre that mixed ancient RPG mechanics with anime-influenced drama. Fan fiction and shrines dedicated to the effeminate antagonist Sephiroth began to flood the internet.

One could argue about this game for hours, but it cannot be denied that Final Fantasy VII gave a tremendous kick to the genre, propelling it into the future - for good and (mostly) for bad. And while the Japanese RPG design philosophy that began to dominate the market under its influence is seen by many - myself included - as dubious and destructive for the genre, the game itself cannot be held responsible for that.

Final Fantasy VII brought to the genre something it had been craving for a long time: cinematic presentation. The contrast between this game's dramatic visuals and everything that was created in the genre before it is instantly noticeable. Square had showed their talent in that field before as well, but this time, they had the technology to help them, and the impact was huge.

The beginning of Final Fantasy VII clearly shows what its designers are capable of. The dramatic intro pulls the player into the game, and then seamlessly "disintegrates" into the gameplay. The game throws the player right into the middle of the events. High-quality pre-rendered backgrounds, different viewing angles instead of the traditional top-down perspective, and gorgeously-looking battles hook the player right away.

But the strength of Final Fantasy VII is that it never focuses only on cinematic presentation. It uses it to enhance the dramatic impact of its narrative, not to reduce interactivity and player input. Unlike so many other games that tried so much to be "movie-like", Final Fantasy VII doesn't sacrifice its gameplay to the new technical means of expression.

In fact, in terms of gameplay it has virtually everything a Japanese RPG is able to offer. Character growth system is interesting and allows plenty of experimentation. Like its predecessor, it contains a wealth of optional quests, two entirely optional characters to seek out and recruit to your party, and a huge amount of secrets scattered around the world. Exploring the "world map" of Final Fantasy VII becomes one of the most enjoyable playing processes in the game. The 3D view creates a sense of wonder and excitement when you experiment with various types of vehicles and chocobos to access areas that seemed out of reach before. Withe the proper means, it becomes possible to explore every corner of the large world. Even underwater areas are fully explorable with a submarine.

The amount and the variety of things to do in Final Fantasy VII makes it a much less linear and richer experience than most other Japanese RPGs. You can take a break from the main story and just explore the world; go and visit the Gold Saucer, a huge entertainment area where you can gain lots of extra items and powerful materia; seek out and fight powerful optional bosses, etc. Monotonous turn-based gameplay routine is frequently interrupted by fun mini-games (there is even a mini-strategy game, where you command a whole army and can place catapults and other weapons in order to defend the top of a mountain); some of them are compulsory, but most (such as chocobo breeding) are completely optional.

The narrative of Final Fantasy VII is very ambitious, involving social, psychological, and even philosophical problems. While the story doesn't always captivate the way it was supposed to do, some moments are positively unforgettable (such as the famous tragic scene in the middle of the game). Thanks to the cinematic presentation, the emotional impact of the narrative is stronger, and the player is brought closer to the heroes than ever before.

Like in the previous Final Fantasy game, the relationships between the characters is the true cornerstone of the narrative. Every character contributes to the story; while the "main arc" involves the usual confrontation with the antagonist and subsequent world-saving, the "meat" of the narrative are undeniably the personal stories of the characters. Nearly each one of them is interesting and believable, helping to tighten the bond between the player and the protagonists.

The setting of Final Fantasy VII is quite interesting. Already Final Fantasy VI was more inclined towards modern setting than traditional medieval fantasy; Final Fantasy VII introduces a full blend of fantasy and sci-fi. It is not just any kind of sci-fi, but a moody, dark, a bit "blade-runneresque" setting complete with a giant city controlled by an evil mega-corporation, advanced biological experiments on human beings and other species, etc. The game also contains other sci-fi-elements, including even a space flight. One could argue that the setting is a stylistic mess, but the truth is that it goes really well with the games' ambitious narrative.

The variety of locations in Final Fantasy VII is a huge step forwards compared to earlier Final Fantasies - mainly because of the superior graphics, but also thanks to the creativity of the designers. This is by far the most interesting and colorful collection of locations in the entire series - starting with Midgar, a huge city where you spend the first, introductory part of the game. Midgar is decidedly the coolest Final Fantasy location ever. Other cities are also very interesting, far from being the generic towns of most RPGs. Particularly inspiring are the mysteriously looking Cosmo Canyon and the "Chinese" Wutai with its pagodas and unique architecture style.

I absolutely love the music in this game. Nobuo Uematsu has written some of his most varied and emotionally engaging pieces for it. I've played so many Japanese RPGs, but Final Fantasy VII is one of the few whose battle music has stuck in my memory.

The Bad
One of the game's weakest aspects is its writing. So many times, when you begin to "emotionally connect" with the interesting characters, one of them utters an awkward, confusing phrase, and your understanding is shattered to pieces. The problem is that while weak writing was somehow endearing in older installments of the series, it becomes more of an issue in this one, since the game's cinematic style puts the focus on the narrative more than ever before, and the players naturally expect more from it. Since Final Fantasy VII is also much more ambitious in its narrative, involving broad sci-fi thematics (such as genetic experiments), rather complex social questions, and even trying to bring across a "message" of sorts (environmentalism etc.), the flaws in the writing obstruct the enjoyment of the narrative more than it was the case in earlier games.

While Final Fantasy VII is really good at enhancing stale Japanese RPG gameplay with all kinds of nifty extras, you have to bear in mind that it's still a rather rigid, limited experience. One can enjoy it for its big heart and its peculiar artistic charm, but it's still a game that largely relies on a decades-old Wizardry-like system, retaining archaic elements such as random enemy encounters and menu-based combat.

The game is also on the easy side, so don't play if you are only looking for a good challenge. Your characters are simply too strong, and with some bonus areas properly explored and powerful weapons or materia obtained, the battles are regularly won without much effort. They are still fun, because there are always so many possibilities to become even stronger and defeat the foes more efficiently, but don't expect anything really demanding here.

The Bottom Line
The success of Final Fantasy VII is not accidental. It gave the genre cinematic treatment that not only helped popularize it, but also greatly enhanced the experience of following a complex, emotional narrative set in a colorful world. Unlike most of the games that it influenced, Final Fantasy VII didn't sacrifice gameplay to this new treatment. On the contrary, it is one of the more open-ended and gameplay-rich Japanese RPGs, with an abundance of secrets and optional things to try out. To many, it's a gateway to the series and the genre; to me, it remains their most proper swan song.

PlayStation · by Unicorn Lynx (180475) · 2016

The console RPG that rules its genre... epic, funny, tragic, imaginative, unforgettable.

The Good
In all my gaming and role-playing years I've rarely been so deeply and profoundly shocked as when Sephiroth dropped upon Aeris, like a silent black hawk on an unsuspecting white dove. Storytelling and imaginative, over-the-top battles at their best. Lovable characters, a truly memorable villain, bizarre monsters, a cartoony-anime look that often mocks itself and a frequent change of pace with mini-games and plot twists made this game what it is: the masterpiece of a quirky, but unique and intriguing genre. It somehow manages to combine childlike innocence with countless battles and an epic, world-breaking tale. Powerful warriors who look like kids with over-sized heads and weapons. And that is magic...

The Bad
You either love it or hate it. But one should definitely give it some time if one is not familiar with the odd, cutesy look of most japanese role-playing games. FFVII was grossly underrated by die-hard PC gamers who really didn't give it the attention it deserved. Unfortunately, the usual problems with console ports didn't help much. Don't expect complex character development or any real choices concerning the plot, since this is not the way Japanese developers approach the genre. Being a hardcore RPG gamer, I believe that these two factors are key to games of this kind. However it cannot be denied that this different approach has its merits. Whether one likes it or not is another matter entirely.

The Bottom Line
Final Fantasy does not have the depth, strategy and freedom of great role-playing games such as Baldur's Gate but its strengths lie elsewhere. It is a true masterpiece of its kind and it offers a truly unique experience. And whenever I listen to its music it still gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling.

Windows · by Silverblade (1382) · 2004

The best Final Fantasy Game by far.

The Good
I can simplify the good aspects of the game into one word, everything. Final Fantasy introduces you to a world with a desperate future. A corporate superpower known as Shinra has a monopoly on Mako, the best source of energy on the planet. Shinra's generators suck Mako out of the planet at an incredible rate, despite the fact that Mako is the life energy of the planet and without it, everything will die. A small group of terrorist known as "AVALANCHE" hires an ex-soldier (shinra) mercenary to help them in their first foray against the evil corporation. After the successful bombing of a shinra reactor, things get much more dangerous, and the mercenary, Cloud Strife realizes that he has been draw into a conflict that will determine the future of the planet. Even more mysterious is a shadow of the past that may have been working in the present all the while.

      Final Fantasy VII's story is its strongest point, is weaves an amazing tale throughout the entire game and will keep you interested until you finish it.  The music of FF7, although in midi format, does a great job of representing the moods of the characters and sets the tone of the game.  The graphics are well done and the battle scenes are much better on the pc than a play station.



The Bad
Some of the dialog was shaky and seemed poorly written (or prehaps poorly translated) during a few scenes.

The Bottom Line
If you have any intrest in the Final Fantasy series of Japanese RPGs, buy it.

Windows · by Iceman256 (4) · 2000

If Everest is the higher mountain in the world, then Final Fantasy 7 is the Everest of videogames.

The Good
The world of FF7 is huge, from the sector-7 to wutai, you will travel through that whole world, meeting a lot of friends and enemies. The game has thousands of side-quests with lots of objects that will make your adventure a lot easier. If you have never played an RPG, FF7 should be your first, very comfortable menus and battle system that will make it a great enjoyable experience. The plot is one of the things that made that game 'The Game', a very well driven story within 3 CD's, and believe me, there is a lot of space to tell you a great story (those stories that don't fade away easily once you finish them) in that number of cd's, the character staff had some of the most memorable characters ever shown up in an RPG, a shame you don't know anything more about those characters once you finish the game. All that is touched by a brilliant and breath-taking soundtrack with some great hymns that will stay in your head for ages.

The Bad
Maybe the characters were too blocky but what the heck, it is from the earlier Playstation days. The ending was ok, but would have been nice to show in more detail how was the life of the main characters after the events that took place in FF7.

The Bottom Line
The perfect evolution of the Final Fantasy series, if you never played any FF game or don't know what the hell is a RPG, FF7 is the perfect start. If you like RPG's or games with deep plot (like adventure games) you will surely like that great classic piece of art.

PlayStation · by Depth Lord (934) · 2004

Love it or hate it, this game made the PlayStation.

The Good
Before I get into the game, a little back story:

After Chrono Trigger was released, Squaresoft made the shocking announcement that it would be developing for Sony's PlayStation instead of Nintendo's new 64-bit console. And it's first title for the little grey box would bear its most prestigious name: Final Fantasy. Until Final Fantasy, RPGs hadn't been "system-sellers", that title usually going to mascot platformers or popular arcade ports. But in addition to the attention garnered by that initial announcement, Square spent an unheard of amount on publicity and advertising, and FF7 rocketed to the top of the charts upon its release. After a few weeks of euphoria, the backlash began as gamers realized no, it wasn't the be-all end-all of all games, and it wasn't perfect. Some gamers simply couldn't commit the attention and intelligence required by RPGs, others couldn't deal with the eminently Japanese style of the game. Nevertheless, the game pushed the PlayStation into preeminence and Square all but handed Sony their victory in the 32/64-bit wars.

So, how does the game stack up?

First of all, the entire game is done in the kind of super-deformed anime style that is traditional in Japanese games. Expect wild haircuts, a puzzling mix of sci-fi and fantasy, and some character design that seems equal parts madness and cannabis. As if that were not enough, the styles shift frequently, from the blocky, faceless placeholders you see during overworld navigation to the dark, detailed, Blade Runner-esque battle models. If you're over your head watching Dragonball Z, this might not be the game for you. Personally, I found the styles interesting, and Square somehow manages to take the tired archetypes of "scarred antihero, healing nice girl, talking dog" and make them work.

Also, while later-generation games like Metal Gear Solid played like movies, FF7 plays like a book. Lots of text coming up in blue windows, again, nothing new to anyone who's played Square games on the SNES. You'll be expected to read, and an attention span is a must, because this plot gets deeper and more twisted than anything else on the PSX by about halfway through the first disc. Sony kept it's promise not to censor or alter the material in any way, and you'll get a fair share of PG-13 language and themes in this game. Eat that, Big N!

The labyrinthine story starts out with ex-soldier Cloud Strife helping the guerilla group Avalanche blow up some Mako reactors owned by the government that generate energy at the expense of depleting the planet. It doesn't take long for it to roll out the "Ancients", and from there the plot gets so complicated I will not even attempt to describe it. I liked the story, but again, you may not.

Essentially, the game follows the pattern of: 1. wander around performing tasks and solving puzzles, fighting random enemies for EXP & items 2. find a critical juncture, learn a little bit more about the plot 3. fight a boss 4. learn some more plot, then move to the next area Once again, nothing unfamiliar to RPG aficionados. The little minigames are entertaining, and some of the puzzles and tasks are downright funny (i.e., sneaking Cloud into a bordello by having him cross-dress).

Like most RPGs, the battles fall into two categories: random battles which occur whilst wandering around the map, or boss battles which yield key items and plot points. The random battle system is high on the Frustration-O-Meter, but Square makes it a bit less painless by giving the battles some incredible graphics that use the PSX's capabilites to the fullest.

The way items and such are handled is fairly straightforward. Each character wields a certain type of weapon (sword, gun, megaphone), and better equipment and armor becomes available the farther you progress into the game. Magic is handled by "Materia", which can be placed in the slots of weapons or armor, and allows characters to use magic and summon spells, and do useful things like steal items, or transform enemies. If one character uses a materia enough, they become proficient in it and can access more powerful spells. Usually the best thing to do is give every character two or three materias to specialize in. The system breaks away from the traditional RPG convention of having one or two weak-ass "magic" characters in the back casting spells while the "fighters" hack away in front. In FF7, every character is customizable based on how you assign the Materia.

Also, during battles, if a character is attacked, their "Limit" gauge goes up. If a character is attacked enough to fill this gauge, they can perform "Limit Break" attacks, definitely the coolest in the game.

It bears repeating that this is an incredibly deep game. There are two characters with fully developed back stories that are not even necessary to meet. This game has more side quests and mini-games (including a racing game, strategy game, and various casino-type stuff) then you can shake a stick at. The "chocobos" of FF fame can be caught and mated to yield different colored Chocobos, that can take you to inaccessible areas of the map and uncover more game. Square practically creates an entire world in this game, and it's incredible.

The Bad
This game has some flaws that don't ruin the game, but keep it from being as good as it could have.

First off, the game gets praise for it's incredible cinemas and battle graphics, which I can understand. But the bulk of the game consists of moving a VERY crude polygon model of your character around interactive 2D backgrounds. Why didn't they keep the battle models?

While Square included a little helper in the American version that puts arrows at the exits of each area, the low resolution of the PSX sometimes makes it downright impossible to tell how to get from point A to point B on the map. In-game navigation can be very frustrating.

Also, even for an RPG, there is a lot of text. Square creates an entire world, but it still has a little to learn about drawing people into it. Not only is there no spoken voice in this game, but the music is almost all MIDI, not Redbook audio. This is almost ten years after Ys on the TurboGrafxCD here people, and I'm still listening to the whines and bleeps of MIDI music in my RPGs? Gah! The music is good enough, but the game can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a 16-bit or a 32-bit title. And you get one, count 'em, one battle theme for every battle except bosses or Chocobos. Doo-doo-doooo-do-doo-doo-dooooo-doo-doo-doo-do-do...

And lastly, here's a tip to all Japanese game designers: BEFORE you release your game, get an American to read your script so we don't have any more of those grammatical fiascos that have become famous over the years. While this is no Metal Gear (The truck have started to move!) the game still finds a way to slip in the occasional "Off course!". All your base are belong to us!

The Bottom Line
Rent this game, and play through the first act or so. If you love it, or even kind of liked it, like I did, get it. But if you absolutely can't stand the style and pace of RPGs, this is not one to break the mold. But this game is the best at what it tries to do.

PlayStation · by Anatole (58) · 2001

The seventh era of Square's rule

The Good
The world of gaming industry would surely not be the same without this game. Almost everything about this game is more than good. At the time of its release few games could rival its graphics. The backgrounds and characters were beautifully designed and the FMVs added a cinematic experience that no other game had at that time. The materia system was also pretty good and easy to use with many combinations that you could try in battle. The developers really succeeded in mixing a sci-fi world, full of technology, with magic and with the concept that the planet was alive. I believe that the eccentric, anime-like style characters fitted there pretty well too. Great graphics and great gameplay. But Final Fantasy VII is more than just that.

You take control of a cold-blooded Ex-SOLDIER named Cloud who joins a resistance faction called Avalanche in their struggle to get rid of the Shinra Inc. – a corporation that made the lives of people easier by creating reactors to drain Mako energy but ignoring or not caring that this Mako energy is the same life force of the planet and so the planet will eventually perish if that goes on. Still that’s only a prologue to the game. Many events that will change your true goal will follow.

All the characters of the story are tragic. They will all have to face their past, sooner or later and meet their destiny. The player will have an emotional impact with the events on the game that will make his/her hair stand on end. The magnificent music will help on that feeling too. I mean who needs voice-overs when the music was written by Nobuo Uematsu? Another thing that made this game what it is – is the villain, Sephiroth. Sephiroth was probably the most tragic character off all. Square took him to a far greater level than any other villain in the series by giving him deeper reasons that justify his later actions. Just name a villain from another game that has a reason for what he/she is or does and not just because they didn’t wake up nicely in the morning. Well? That’s right. That’s why Final Fantasy VII is unique.

The Bad
The only bad thing I can say about this game is the difference between the graphics of the characters when on field and the ones when inside a battle. The gameplay on the action mini games is a minus too. Also the gameplay of the rest of the game is linear but if you think about it Cloud, the leading man, doesn’t do what he does because he was ordered or because he was caught up in a major scene where the facts controlled his choices. It was his choice to follow Avalanche and then it became like his quest to defeat Sephiroth. I believe that feeling of freedom of choice makes you not notice the linear gameplay. Well maybe not.

The Bottom Line
FFVII is one of the best games that were ever created. Not only it brought japanese RPGs to the west but it also expanded the definition of what the title ‘’Final Fantasy’’ meant – something that didn’t please many of the fans of the series though. It also made Playstation, along with the Gran Turismo, the console it was. And after all these years if you think the graphics and the gameplay are outdated so that you shouldn’t bother checking it keep in mind that it’s an RPG. Graphics matter not. The true core of RPGs, especially the ones that are turn based, is the plot. The plot and the depth of the characters. This game has both. That’s why it has last and will last even more.

I also want to say something that was bugging me for quite a long time. Characters in video games can jump higher than normal people, keep their breathe for 10 whole minutes underwater and lift swords yes lift swords bigger than them like they were feathers. And they look cool.Why? Because it’s a game. A GAME! And in a game ANYTHING APPLIES. WAKE UP!

PlayStation · by DreinIX (10480) · 2007

Almost the greatest in comparison to PS1.

The Good
Still a great game, no matter what. This version is for the computer, so things are less pixelated and a little extra customization. Everything about this game is supreme. The story line is just so deep and enthralling. It pulls you in and doesn't let you go. You'll fall in love with some characters, hate some others, and have your heart broken a couple of times. This game is purely, purely the best. One thing that really, really kills it though...

The Bad
The sounds/music. Midi is just crappy compared to the real instrumental music you get on the PS1. The sounds stink, and unless you get a gamepad, it's a little difficult at times to control. The entire game is good, but the inconvenience of finding actual FFVII for the PS1's music and importing it yourself, and possibly high-resolution characters can be rather annoying at first, but definitely worth it. You also need a Windows XP patch if using it, but that's an easy find.

The Bottom Line
Greatest game ever still, but if you have a choice between the PS1 and PC version, go PS. It's way better than nothing, though. Buy it, now. You wont find the PC version in stores, but online is a definite. Get the PS1 version if possible, if not, GET IT, no matter what.

Windows · by Kain Ceverus (30) · 2007

Nobody beats Final Fantasy like Square

The Good
The passion, the drama, the suspense, all in one game. Final Fantasy VII is one of my favorite games in the world of classic RPG's. Before Everquest and World of Warcraft changed video games everywhere, Final Fantasy VII takes you on a magic carpet ride full of mysterious and darker paths than ever before. When you have a reluctant sword-wielding hero, a beautiful princess, a martial arts expert, and a evil sorcerer, who's side are you on? Every sequence in the game lets you know when and where it might shock you the most during an hour long of battle. My favorite tearjerker in the game was the death of Aerith Gainsborough (god bless her heart). It is so sad and deeply emotional and that's why loyal critics and fans are wondering: Is this the end of our beloved hero Cloud Strife or will armageddon strike early?

The Bad
I don't know the difference between linear gameplay and customized graphics, but the least part in the game was the ending of the game. Because some are just spoilers, but not all of them. Before Final Fantasy VIII, we just can't remember what will happen next time.

The Bottom Line
My three choices that Square Enix needs for Final Fantasy VII to do are:

  1. Turn it into a Hollywood movie.
  2. A remake might do the trick.
  3. A possibility for a broadway musical.

Whatever it is, I sure hope I could get a positive answer next time. But now, let's all have a story of our own. A story I like to call: What's Your Final Fantasy?

A great and fun retrospective of the Playstation universe. "Final fantasy VII" is an example of god's gift to heaven.

PlayStation · by Kadeem Gomez (31) · 2011

The Greatest game of all time!

The Good
From start to finish Final Fantasy's intricate plot pulls you in and never lets you go. It will make you angry it will make you cry and laugh. It will grab you like no gaming world ever has before. With Gorgeous graphics and a soundtrack you will never forget, Final Fantasy is an adventure everyone should go on. 70 hours plus of pure heart.

The Bad
erm... maybe speech instead of text may have helped

The Bottom Line
The Shinra Corporation is draining the world of life. Enter Avalanche a group of rebels intent on stopping their plans. Enter Cloud Strife a rogue Vigilante. What starts as a mission to stop the plans of the Government soon turns into a quest to save the world from the dark forces of Meteo and the evil knight Sephiroth.

Windows · by Matthew Bailey (1257) · 2000

The Moby Dick of all RPG games

The Good
With new technolgy and advances in Square visual works, Final Fantasy VII is indeed the best game to have been sold on the wal-mart shelf. The game features a fully drawn out story with deep character development and cool plot twist. A man of a young age named Cloud Strife sets out to find the mystery behind the black materia and Sephiroth's plan for the earth. This game is indeed the best. If you haven't played it yet, you've got al ot of problems.

The Bad
Nothing to dislike other than the cubic characters that suppose to represent you characters. Other than that... awesome game.

The Bottom Line
If you are an anime-manga fan, this is a game for you. If you like deeply involved stories and character developments and so forth, this game would be the definite "inter-active" book for you

PlayStation · by Brian Clark (2) · 2003

Great 32-bit capture of the original spirit of the series, yet it lead everyone in the wrong direction

The Good
FF7 represents the quantum leap the series made after a 3-year hiatus to a more sophisticated platform. After their break-up with Nintendo Squaresoft finally came to Sony's PSX to develop the next installment of their long-running series. Would the spirit and soul of the series get lost in this new high-powered (at the time) platform? would we get lots of cgi and no game? thankfully no. At least not yet.

FF7 remains true to the spirit of the series, which is to deliver a strong, solid storyline with deep, complex characters on it rather than giving you a free-form rpg experience. Sure, you get stats and there is a certain level of non-linearity regarding what you can do, but no one will mistake this for a Ultima game, or a Wizardry. As it goes, FF7 story is one of the best, coming close to dethroning FF6 (my all time favorite) when it comes to character development, seriousness and emotional punch. There's a lot more to like though. The action is perfectly balanced with the use of cool cinematic animations for each summon, magic, etc. You may hate all the stupid materia management hassles you have to go through, but they are still worth it.

On the technical side of things, the game didn't really take full advantage of the posibilities the new platform offered, and made a lot of concessions to their long-time design trademark, which gives you elements you either love or hate. For instance the SD (Super Deformed) characters. The reason they were kept like that was to keep the tone and emphasize the emotional aspects of the game, it is a long known fact that there's a reason the japanese manga characters are (usually) drawn in simple big-eyed "naif" ways. Because simplicity conveys much more feelings than complex ultra-realistic drawings. The simple, almost childish, character design tells our brain "this isn't finished" and thus forces us to interpretate by ourselves, to see beyond them and find for ourselves what's there. It's this interaction that causes the game's emotional moments to be so much powerfull, because you "see" whenever Cloud boils with anger, you "feel" Tifa's despair at her un-answered love, all because they are represented in the simplest of ways, with the same facial expresion that you can never quite make out.

This ever present simplicity of graphics has always been a staple of the FF games (and well, practically every japanese rpg) and here is made evident by the use of much more realistic backgrounds, while you could attribute the naivete of the graphics in the snes games to technical limitations, their intentionallity becomes undeniable when we see it on the psx, where the SD characters are placed over super-realistic (or at least pretty good looking) pre-rendered backgrounds.

Essentially everything that made the FFs so great is here, and all with tremendous whiz-bang cinematic effects and cgi. However...this is a double edged sword....

The Bad
I could point out here the technical deficiencies of the game (the midi-like tunes through most of the game, the use of simply shaded polygons, instead of textured ones, etc.) but there is a much bigger problem in this game that needs to be pointed out, and it's not even it's fault.

The biggest problem with FF7 was what resulted of it, it's biggest problem was what it caused. To put it bluntly: Squaresoft is going the way of the once mighty Origin. And where Origin died by trying to Hollywoodize itself, using actors and expensive sets, Square is headed by using catchy cgi, and graphical glamour.

And where did it all start? with the Playstation, and with FF7. Gone where the days of submiting creative content to a limited platform, a whole new horizon seemed to be ahead, but as us pc gamers known, technological quantum leaps often bring a lot of mediocrity with them. What would Square do with greater graphical detail and cgi cutscenes? well exploit that of course! And to the max if needed! Really, I don't think they are the best in the business (just look at any Capcom or Namco cgi cutscene) but they seem to be the ones that use it the most, often with disastrous results (just look at Parasite Eve).

From FF7 on, Square would totally submit their games to this cinematic treatment, and though their games haven't always been the pinacle of interactivity, the illusion of it was still there. Now, it's gone, shattered to pieces. Forever? Who knows.

Don't believe me? fine, don't think of the cgi, but let me give you an example of how this philosophy has seeped into the bones of the series spirit. Look at the cover of this game. Cloud stands proudly with that "complex hero" look ready to take on all comers, quite far from reality really but a very good omen. Gone from this point on is the humble aproach to storytelling the FFs used to have, gone is that excellent "collective hero" concept were there wasn't really a main character you could pinpoint and say this is him! this is the one that has to kill Gonzo and win the game! Now we slowly take the plunge towards a more marketable heroic aproach. And while Cloud still remains on this side of the fence, not far from us is the "Totally Cool" superhero-that-shops-at-Gap which would soon take over (yes, Squall, I'm talking about you).

The Bottom Line
This can be pretty much defined as the last of a dynasty (though bear in mind I haven't played FF9 and I'm told it does recapture the original spirit) It is a great game but aimed to those with an open mind. It will take some adjusting to get into this game even for those of us that played the snes FFs and I can only imagine how it may be to someone who has never touched a japanese rpg. Final Fantasy VII walks that very dangerous middle ground, it will not appeal to those who want nothing but photorealistic graphics and glamour, and it will not appeal to those who want complete freedom of action and stats up the wazoo. It will appeal only to those with a fresh perspective willing to get into an inmersive world and go through a deep and complex storyline sprinkled all over with action.

PlayStation · by Zovni (10502) · 2002

Yuffie, give back all my materia!..

The Good
The graphics and the music are so significant, I just got addicted to them. Following the development of the story, the fates of different characters are so touching, as there is jealousy, sacrifice, friendship, love, and betrayal, they all seem real to me. And the battles use ATB (Active Time Battle) system, it's one of the big differences from other RPGs. Also, on map you can use different means of transportation, such as airship, vehicles, ships, and various chocobos. The materia system is also very interesting, you have to raise their levels in battles. In some secret places, you could find many powerful weapons, items, or summon materias. Don't miss it.

There is an "international" version of the game, there are several differences, overall the versions are more or less the same. The international version has an extra disc with bonus material: CG, desktop skins, sounds, music, animations, and original design.

The Bad
Nothing bad... maybe the PC version's requirements were too high for that time, and sometimes if the hardware was not fitting, the game wouldn't work properly all the time.

The Bottom Line
It's a perfect game with perfect graphics, perfect battles, perfect characters, and perfect story. Just play it, you won't be disappointed.

PlayStation · by Fading3 (19) · 2005

The best of the best.

The Good
Final Fantasy VII was... awesome. The graphics were good for that time, the backgrounds were detailed, the script and translation were great, the music was MASTERFUL, the characters (Vincent, Sephiroth, Cid) were all very cool, the battles were fun and strategic, and the humor was pulled off perfectly. The CGs are some of the best on PS1 (Chrono Cross might top them), and the story wasn't too shabby itself.

I used to think Chrono Trigger was the greatest RPG... of all time. FFVII, however, has changed my mind. Chrono Trigger, to me, still stands as the best SNES RPG, but FFVII is the greatest PS1 RPG.... Even though Chrono Trigger was remade for PS1... uh... Well, FFVII is, in my opinion, the best RPG the gaming world has to offer.

The Bad
There were slightly too many random battles for my liking, but they all proved necessary to defeating bosses later on. Other than that, I disliked nothing else in FFVII.

The Bottom Line
If you have a PS1 and don't have FFVII, go get it. Now. You won't regret it.

PlayStation · by Rufus Shinra (21) · 2004

Best of a great series

The Good
The story (although it was creepy at times) was very interesting. I liked how many characters you get and all the weapons you can obtain. I also loved the way they had the magic with materia. Maybe one of my favorite features was how many secrets there were.

The Bad
It wasn't long enough. It was an extremely long game but I would have liked it to never end.

The Bottom Line
The best Final Fantasy game.

PlayStation · by Attila (553) · 2001

Very good game, very good!

The Good
This is by far the best game I have ever played. I love the fact that it is so long. Usually I hate that in a game but this game just takes you, so the longer the better. I also like the fact that it has curses and all that and it's rated teen.

The Bad
Nothing.

The Bottom Line
VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY GOOD GAME, NOT TO MENTION: AWESOME BEYOND YOUR DREAMS.

Windows · by eric eric (1) · 2003

The greatest game I have ever played

The Good
Man, where do I start? Well, I won't describe everything good about it, since that'd take me all day. The story is ENGROSSING and RICH, wonderful and gripping. The graphics, for the time, were excellent, with some awesome cutscenes that still hold up today, five years after the release. This game is an experience that should not be missed. It edges out FF6 as the best Final Fantasy game yet.

The Bad
My ONLY minor gripe with the game is the amount of random battles, required to level up to beat tougher bosses.

The Bottom Line
I can't fully describe the effect this game had on me. It inspired me. I bought it in Christmas of 1998 I think, but still think about it, hum the music, every day. Square created a great world here and I'm surprised there aren't many branching games yet. Midgar, which is where the game starts, is one of my favourite settings ever, dark and gritty, ruled by corrupt corporations, Cyberpunk defined. If you have not played this game, PLEASE DO, it's on discount shelves now and is a classic... the greatest game I have ever played (and I have played many).

PlayStation · by Stuart Max (8) · 2002

Hey-hey, I saved the world again today!

The Good
You know what´s funny?

Bob the Imaginary Gaming Friend: "What?"

Its that I like the game, but now thinking about it its very hard for me to say anything good about it. Nothing comes into mind.

Bob: "Since you are the story kind of a guy, it probably was the story and characters."

But that`s the thing... I think I hated the story and I definitely hated the gameplay.

Bob: "Oh, well then... your guess is as good as mine."

But I don`t know... then again I loved the characters... actually I hated most of them... and the story was just basically save the planet.

Bob: "Perhaps it was the plot."

Yes. Thank you. It indeed was the plot... or the way it revealed itself that made it so fun and enjoyable. I now have played through 5 Final Fantasy games and therefore I can say that they all tell the same story, so their only strength lies in making the player forget that he is just saving the world again.

The plot starts somewhere in the middle, then reveals something from the beginning while constantly trying to confuse with over-abundance of information and only after the ending will you put all the pieces together.

Here is a brief introduction of the beginning: your playing a spiky-headed guy with a very big humongous sword who works for some terrorist organization, blowing up reactors and such. Life is good. You live in bar with Mr. T, his step-daughter and your busty childhood friend. Then on one mission things don`t go exactly as planned and voila! - the troubles start.

Oh, yeah... that busty childhood friend Tifa is definitely one of the highlights in the game. I very much enjoyed her badly pixelated boobs. Totally wah!

Bob: "You really like your anime girls, eh?"

Yeah... once you get past the super-deformed graphics all of the girls in the game are very enjoyable. They have... umm.... interesting personalities... yeah that`s right... well-defined characteristics. I only wish that there would be remake of FF7 so that I could enjoy their presence even more.

Back to the game. The plot and the girls do a good job of keeping you hooked. Considering how horrible the game itself was it was nice of the plot to throw surprises and cheesy revelations at you... it felt rewarding after all those 10000000 random battles and 100000 mini-games it took of you to make it into another story scene.

And I also liked Cloud. I very much bonded with him.

Bob: "Thats because hes a schizophrenic like you. I guess hearing voices inside your head is all that it takes to form ever-lasting relationships."

I like hearing voices inside my head. It makes me feel special.

Speaking of voices, the music is pretty strong in this game. The emotional tunes work quite well and stay in your mind forever

I also liked the way the CGI movies were integrated into the game. Basically you have these characters standing on stale drawn background pictures but sometimes the background image switches with the CGI movie and it does it so smoothly... well it just looked cool how you running around switched with a CGI movie where you could still run around.

And the background images were also quite nicely drawn. Reminded me some of the early 90`s Sierra adventure games.

Well, I really dont know what to say anymore. The plot was good and I really dont want to say anything that would spoil it for you. Part of it`s strength lies in the unknowing.

Bob: "Oh, you mean like that Aerith..."

Shut up!

The Bad
Well, as I said before there was a lot that I hated about the game.

I totally hate random battles and FF7 doesn`t have just random battles... no... what FF7 has is: "Oh noes, another empty corridor with random combat after every three steps... please God, just kill me now". It was mildly irritating in the beginning, but after two weeks of playing I was ready to commit suicide.

Bob: "Why didn`t you?"

And rob you of your nice existence as voice inside my head? I could never live with the guilt.

Bob: "Technically, you wouldn`t be alive then."

Anyway, its as if the designers were thinking something like this when creating the game: "We with the guys were thinking that since FF-s are only played for their stories that we should just make the game full of places that you have to go where you always get imprisoned and then we will force you to fight with some weird-looking boss (with lots of random combat in between), whom we will make extra-hard to beat.... just for the sake of torturing the player... and wait, it gets even better, and then we will let the player discover with an especially cool plot twist that all that forced waste-of-time nonsense had nothing to do with the story anyway... ain`t we brilliant?"

Needless to say, it gets tedious if not life-strength devouring very fast.

Bob: "Tell me how the battles looked like."

What? What do you mean by "how battles looked like"?

Bob: "How did it felt fighting monsters?"

How did it felt? Didnt I already say how much I suffered because of the random battles? They looked flashy. They felt stupid: "Oh my god... that extra secret summoning materia did 568976 damage on that poor little monster. Wasnt it good to spend 124142 hours of my life to get that extra cool damaging thingie and see this unbelievably rocking animation."

Basically... the only thing you need to do in battles is to kill monsters.

Bob: "Thank you captain Obvious!"

And it wasn`t just combat. The game suffers from "Mini-games-at-every-corner" syndrome.

Bob: "Poor game... so badly in need of psychological help."

Yeah, my point exactly. There are stupid annoying mini-games everywhere... sometimes 10 in a row. Here`s an example - you are in maze, you see locked door, to get to that locked door you have to go through a mini-game of dodging boulders, after passing that you see a funny guy who has the key to the door, to get that key you must chase him, etc.

There was even a California Games style snowboarding in it... right after the famous emotional death scene. It might be just that I have a good sense of style...

Bob: "Hardly true."

.. but in my opinion, if your going to make a game with serious story then you don`t put silly mini-games in your game... especially before and after emotional scenes.

Bob: "Let me put it this way... would you have had random battles instead of those mini-games?"

Well the thing is that the mini-games and random battles mostly happened at the same time. I really would do without both... but I`ll take mini-games of chasing funny midgets and pressing lots of buttons very fast over random battles everyday.

But Final Fantasy 6 for example managed to do without those silly mini-games. And it didn`t lose anything because of it. And I think thanks to it it even had better pacing than FF7.

And the pacing is one of the bad things in FF7. It takes too long to get from one place to another. This game is filled with long unnecessary locations with hundreds of mini-games and battles thrown into your way. It just takes too long to get from one story scene to another. It only manages to grieve the player.

And there are other reasons why I hate the mini-games in this game. The game starts in an extremely cool cyberpunkish city called Midgar. It`s recent technological advancements have destroyed the nature around it. The rich people live on the floating sphere and the poor people underneath it. A simple thing like flowers are a unusual sight in these days. Everything in Midgar was beautiful. The cold futuristic atmosphere, old abandoned churches with flowers growing in it, colorful brothels, etc. But after Midgar the game introduces silly colorful locations such as the Gold Saucer... an amusement park dedicated to mini-gaming. I missed the cyberpunkish feel of the first few hours. It never returns.

Somehow I never quite could put together the game and the overall storyline in my head. The stuff that happens in the plot is mostly quite serious (with a few unintentionally funny scenes here and there): stuff like schizophrenia, death of loved ones, revenge, human experiments, selective memory, etc. But the game ruined the seriousness with the mini-games and the old guys who live in caves and whos sole purpose is to tell you how much monsters you have killed. Thats not what I would call deep genre-defining gameplay.

Bob: "So let me get this straight. Either the story lacks sense of self-irony or the game lacks sense of good taste?"

Hmm... now you got me thinking... I think I wouldn`t have minded the silly stuff so much if the writing would have been done in a more tongue-in-cheek approach. Actually yeah, sense of self-irony is quite needed when your telling a tale about saving the planet or universe. Just take Anachronox for example. It constantly parodied itself and managed to have emotional scenes also. So the serious storyline might also be bit faulty.

But still... you don`t put mini-games of repeatedly pressing button X and chasing of funny midgets in game with such a melancholical storyline.

And the dialogue... oh my god the dialogue... how horrible it was. Well thankfully the characters were designed so that theyd scream out their personalities by with their looks only... but still. It seems that the all the characters in FF7 have an unfathomable need to speak out their body sounds: "Blurrppp. Oy-oy-oy! We must save the planet! For future generations! Hmpf!". And thats only under-exaggerating.

Bob: "Perhaps the designers intended the style of the dialogue to be that much needed self-irony for this game."

That was not self-irony. That was just plain horrible banality.

Bob: (waits patiently for the traditional soundtrack bashing in Winterwolf`s reviews)

The soundtrack... Sweet Mary have mercy! While it did have some strong emotional great tracks, it was mostly filled with annoying loopy oompa-doompa tunes. I still hear the battle music in my nightmares. As I said before, the music in this game is quite strong, which is not always a good thing.

The Bottom Line
Bob: "It still sounds like you hated the game though."

I didnt... I liked it... but I just couldnt ignore the bad things, considering what suffering I went through because of them. And this game can`t excuse itself by saying that it intentionally was so horrible like Shin Megami Tensei II could. There is a small difference in intentional and unintentional torture. Unlike SMT 2, this game wanted to be fun.

Bob: (surfs around in gamefaqs and other similar sites): "You shouldn`t feel so sorry for the game... it seems that most of the world considers it to be a fun game."

........

Bob: "And hey, it`s even praised as the greatest game ever created in all times."

........

Bob: "And some say, that I should worship Sephiroth and die.... hmm... probably some sicko."

.......

Bob: "Hello?"

No matter how many people love this crappy gameplay doesnt change the fact that its crappy. If your ever going to play a FF game you should be prepared. I wasn`t and look what happened to me.

Bob: "To those who cant see Winterwolf: its not a pretty sight. It seems as if he literally tore out his hair and his face is horribly disfigured."

If you ever want to play a FF game I would recommend the sixth - much better pacing, less flashy combat, almost no mini-games - knows how to do save-the-world stories with glamour.

If you are only going to play one Japanese RPG in your life then I would recommend Persona 2 - a psychological thriller that knows the word style.

But if you really want to try FF7 then... well play so far until you get the feel of the characters... if you dont like the characters then dont bother playing anymore... if you like the characters then it`s going to be a one helluva journey through different emotions for you.

Bottom Line: I hated the game, I loved the story. I will treasure some of the scenes in the game forever in my heart. And I kinda already miss Cloud and the company... but noway am I going to play the game again.

PlayStation · by The Fabulous King (1330) · 2011

The Best Squaresoft Game...Ever....

The Good
This game has far too much to write about for a small review. Not only does it provide hours and hours of gameplay, the storyline is incredibly complex and very detailed. The graphics were unmatched for their time. The mini games are enjoyable. Hidden items are abundant. With a unique magic system called materia, you can use much to fight the evils in Final Fantasy VII. The characters are so beloved and treasured, that many feel like they actually lived.

Wow.

The Bad
Nothing. It's flawless.

The Bottom Line
Excellent. You should really pick this game up. Cloud needs you!

PlayStation · by Dan Theman (5) · 2003

This is the game that made me buy playstation

The Good
Most series seem to lost it after a few sequels, but apparently not Final Fantasy. This game contains all of the elements that have been a major turn on for RPG fans for years. AND it's in 3D! WWWEEEEE!!!! It's even got Mr. T in it. And, finally, a story line that's more than "kill the bad guy." Plenty of side quests too, which makes it highly replayable.

The Bad
There's not much to not like about this game. Its only downside is its age. Soon, its graphics and gameplay will become dinosauric.

The Bottom Line
Well, its a very good game. One of the best ever. Everyone I know who owns playstation owns this game. You can't go wrong.

PlayStation · by Sam Tinianow (113) · 2001

Mystery beyond mystery. Why is this game fun?

The Good
There'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 Bad
As 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.

Windows · by WWWWolf (444) · 2004

If i was on an island, i would choose this over food....and i wouldn't even need a tv

The Good
This game is the single greatest rpg in the world. IMO, it is the best game ever made period. The story kept you guessing and interested, the characters complemented each other well, the combat was actually interesting (especially for a turn based RPG), the sounds were good (remember, its a ps1 game) and the graphics were great when it first came out. Let me put it this way, i like graphics in games. i think its like the icing. But i would be willing to play this old 1997 game over any RPG known to man.

Let me put it this way. i actually took the time to come back to this post and fix my spelling mistakes.....thats how much respect i have for this game.

The Bad
....why is this category even hear for Final Fantasy 7?

The Bottom Line
I would describe it as greatness/perfection incarnate.

PlayStation · by Sinar Frost (2) · 2005

Best RPG ever.....

The Good
What didn't I like about this game? That's a better question. Just about every thing in the game was spectacular.

The music. Wow. I still remember the catchy boss music and music from Cosmo Canyon. Great stuff.

The plot was great. The save the world, get the girl (too bad it doesn't work out), and the whole thing is genius. FF7 puts an original twist on the idea.

The characters were great. All of them but Yuffie. Even the Turks were cool. Even Sephiroth, the main bad guy, who you are supposed to hate, you cannot help liking.

The Bad
Graphics and Yuffie.

If they made a re-make of this game, I would want it to be EXACTLY the same as this one, albeit with state of the art graphics.

The Bottom Line
Stop reading this review, get in your car, drive to the nearest videogame store, and buy this game. Now.

PlayStation · by Boris Stovich (26) · 2004

Where it all started

The Good
This is probably my favorite RPG game. It inspired me to get a Playstation and not just be at the mercy of borrowing my brother's from time to time.

I liked that it was turned-based battles. And the music of the different characters really stayed with me. I have purchased the soundtrack for this game as well.

The Bad
I did not like some of the hokey relationship stuff between the childhood friends. This doesn't impact the gameplay though.

The Bottom Line
This was my start into the realm of Final Fantasy. I have bought many of the others - but this one will always be my favorite of the group.

PlayStation · by Frozen Codebase (121) · 2009

The God Of Console RPGs

The Good
Although having great graphics (for the time) the gameplay and storyline wasn't ignored (in fact, this is one of the best FFs). Some of the music was great, namely the Ancient Capital and Rocket Town music. Loads of secrets that reveal more important plot info although arent necessary and a fantastic cast of characters and an easy materia system that is easy but not massively dumbed-down allowing to be experimental.

The Bad
The normal battle music sounded more annoying than the Crazy Frog using a voice changing program to sound like a chipmunk and the Yuffie sidequest messes up your materia settings. The characters look like lego by today's standards... but who gives a damn.

The Bottom Line
The best place to start with Final Fantasy... and dont complete the game without finding Vincent Valentine and Lucrecia's Cave.

PlayStation · by Neon Hammerite (35) · 2005

Best game ever made!

The Good
It is the best game ever made! It has a very good story....not so good graphics but I don't care...

The Bad
There's not much to complain about... it's too short and they should have made a direct sequel.

The Bottom Line
This is the best game ever made in the whole world! Hironobu Sakaguchi, YOU RULE! How the f**k did you make this game this good... it's better than all the other Final Fantasies... I mean... FFX and FFX-2 are only crap... too easy games... and no good story in them.

PlayStation · by Cheon Cheong (1) · 2004

Best game... ever!? That's right, EVER!!!

The Good
Everything. This is my absolutely favorite game on any console, no matter what, hands down, period. The storyline, the graphics, the characters, the battle system, the enemies, the world, the vehicles, the materia, the... THE FREAKING EVERYTHING. I find NO FLAW in this game. Anyone who disagrees is wrong, period.

The Bad
Well, the only thing wrong with this game is that it has an ending. It should never stop. Ever.

The Bottom Line
The best game in the history of the freakin' world.

PlayStation · by Kain Ceverus (30) · 2007

One of my Favorites.

The Good
The cool storyline and characters. First time I saw Cloud and Sephiroth I just kept playing to see what would happen next. Some attacks were awesome. Basically the whole game was good except for the things below.

The Bad
This game was made a long time ago and I understand that but the characters look weird. Their arms especially. That and there were only 3 discs for the game.

The Bottom Line
Go out and get the game.

PlayStation · by Rey Mysterio (23) · 2004

Linear, artificial, repetitive, overrated

The Good
FF7 starts as a pretty addicting experience. I was hooked on my computer for many many hours as I started playing it. The musics were great (best part about the game), character types were alright and the atmosphere of the futuristic world was lovable. Graphics weren't very good (compared to later Square PS games such as Chrono Cross), but they weren't bad either. Especially the character models left some room for imagination so I was content with it.

The Bad
THIS PART CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS

After some 30 hours of playing, the game started getting very repetitive. This happens with most Japanese RPGs for me though. You have to fight random fights every once in a while with long battle animations. The fights required no planning, no reflexes, no any kind of skill and no luck as it was so easy. You simply had to watch the roughly same animation about 1000 times. It boggles my mind how so many people can stomach it, even enjoy it. I wouldn't have complained about the fighting system's simplicity if the fights had only played a small part in the game. Alas, you had to fight a lot.

The story was artificially fabricated to be way longer than necessary, so the characters ended up wandering from place to place in an illogical sequence. Yes, sequence -- that's the other part I hated. Almost nowhere was I presented any choices to make, so I don't know if this would really count as playing a role. During the latter part of the game there were several places you could visit in any order, and there were some voluntary quests you could take on, but that's it.

The characters seemed interesting at first, but they didn't develop. They didn't interact. They just followed my lead. In some rare occasions they talked to each other, hooray.. The setting was just perfect for some drama or a love triangle, but almost nothing happened.

Overall the game had such a mind-boggling amount of completely artificial new characters, illogical route planning, illogical puzzles and a main plot that was grossly exaggerated, that I was only left with my mouth open: "This is the game that was praised by so many?"

The Bottom Line
Too many pointless, easy fights, artificially over-lenghtened plot and no character development. If you're a fan of other Jap RPGs, you'll like this, but then again, you've probably already played this. If you're new to the genre, you'd have to try it to know if you like it, because I can't imagine what general group of people would find this game an enjoyable overall experience.

Windows · by Joku Ugo (5) · 2003

Doesn't hold up to its own legacy.

The Good
Back in the day this game must have been a technical masterpiece. The background renderings are very well made, are overflowing with interesting detail and allow fascinating viewpoints. The quality of the special effects and FMV are outstanding and especially the almost seamless transitions between game graphics and cutscenes is still impressing.

Final Fantasy VII does everything in its power to not bore its players: there is a big variety of tasks, the difficulty is low and it has a fast pacing. There are no dungeons which overstay their welcome (even the final dungeon doesn't take long to beat) and the game quickly sends the party to new places with different background scenarios. This creates a game which is hard to abandon because it lays enough obstacles in the player's way to stay interesting without becoming actually hard.

The Bad
The story devolves into esoteric mumbo jumbo after the initial Midgard part, but it is basically fine. However, the dialogue - or at least the English translation - is terrible. It is stilted, unnatural and not even two consecutive dialogue boxes are guaranteed to match each other. I can't overstate how much this hurts the playing experience, especially because there are many too long sequences of endless talking.

I praised the rendered backgrounds, but they also come with a huge setback: they are often confusing to navigate. The character design is all over the place: during gameplay, the characters are crude figures while the battles show relatively realistic models - and the cutscenes freely switch between the two. I don't have a problem with both approaches, but they should have chosen one and stuck with it - as it is now, the clash ruins the immersion.

FFVII has a lot of mini-games of varying importance. Some are just simple reaction tests during the story while others have deep mechanics behind them. However, there is one aspect which connects all of them: they are unfun shit with bad controls. I neither have any appreciation for the people who designed this filth nor for all the people which let them get away with it. Kudos to everyone who has the patience to actually figure out Chocobo breeding, but seriously, the one awful mandatory race during the story should drive away every sane person.

The 2013 Steam version is a technical nightmare. The game crashed and freezed all the time (sometimes it even crashed Windows) and the controller support is nonexistent. It is only thanks to some community configurations that this game can be actually played, despite the inconvenient implementation into Steam.

The Bottom Line
Thanks to its graphical bombast and its status as first Final Fantasy for the 3D generation, FFVII has become one of the most treasured playing experiences of many gamers. This and its influence can't be denied, but unfortunately the quality of the game does not hold up to its legacy.

In the end, FFVII is a crude mix of competing concepts which never manages to form a cohesive experience. The game can't decide if it wants to be a goofy morning cartoon or a gritty afternoon serial. Everything it does right is marred by various drawbacks. Because of all these problems it is weaker than its SNES predecessors (with the exception of FFV) and I can't recommend it.

Windows · by Patrick Bregger (290568) · 2021

Great story and concept in general. Poorly animated, though.

The Good
Now, the more that goes under this section, the more I like such games, hehe. Duh, ain't it obvious? :) Well, let's start by checking everything that's great in this game...

The Story: now, my first FF game was the 8th sequel, so this one was the second for me, actually. Still, both of games have really long and complex story with great characters and both, action and dramatic scenes. Unfortunately, this one isn't made to have a happy ending... unless your main character, Cloud, is okay to stick with Tifa as a final. The story upgrades quickly, and will probably give you many hours of play, and that is if we don't count other substories aside that can increase amount of time maybe to double or more. So, as a conclusion, the story rules, and has all the qualities to join love and action into fantasy science fiction genre.

The Action: oh, I specially like this part. Comparing to Final Fantasy VIII, fights seem kinda much easier in this sequel. As I'm not for hard nor high level of playing, I prefer when I'm able to pass my enemies with better strategy or stealth tactic instead of fighting over 10 mins with a single enemy. The battle system is real-time turn-based mixture, which means, you have to wait for a certain time to be able to strike or use a spell, same as your enemy, but still, when your timeline is ready, you can act whenever you want to. Also, the great part in this squel (over FF8) is that you can pick up weapons and use them instead. Of course, in Final Fantasy VIII you could only have a weapon that you start with, and your were able to upgrade that certain weapon piece, but I never figured how to do that, so never mind that issue. As for the spells and materia (GF in FF8), you are pretty much able to buy that anywhere around, and the higher level between certain character and assigned materia is, the more effective magic or summoned creature is.

The Music: hmm, now that is a masterpiece. I mean, just a few months ago, I never listened to any SquareSoft music, but it's all changed now, hehe. All Final Fantasy game tracks are great in general, and this sure is no exception. It sure helpt to build the atmosphere in every point, adventuring or battling.

The Graphic: now this part was great, hey, check the 'against' section so you don't think I like all the graphics in this game, as I find some parts pretty crappy. However, since this is a PC version, I ask you again, why the heck do these consoles even exist? This sure has great graphic and runs pretty fast on even slower machines as well. Background art is really something, as well as all the animations that does not consist of human characters.

Well, what else is left to say... oh, yeah, the navigation. Well, that is great, either on the global map, simulating a craft, or running with a chocobo, hehe. Yeah, those are the bird I wouldn't like to ride twice, LOL! Naaw, seriously, the game is great, except for one thing...

The Bad
I know that this is intentionally made that way, but I'm really sick of how characters are poorly animated and made in general. I mean, elbows seem like every character is heaving some 50 pounds weight and all just came out of GYM. I mean, get serious, this is a fantasy world, but not for human kind, just for others around, LOL! Anyway, after like 30 hours of playing, I got used to that, still not completely, but okay. But I wouldn't like to experience such a graphical crap in my future anymore. I mean, Chrono Cross, Parasite Eve, Final Fantasy VIII & X those are the greatest SquareSoft games with amazingly made graphic characters, no matter some of them does not lok real, they look NICE, and that's that counts. I spit on all FF7 graphic characters!

The Bottom Line
I was wondering for a long time what made americans love Final Fantasy VII so much, even though it doesn't have a speech included. Well, after playing Final Fantasy VIII, I became a definite FF fan(atic), but it kinda almost splashed when I got to play this game I'm reviewing. Well, as long as sequels remain better, I'm on for it, and I sure wouldn't like to miss "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" movie that's supposed to hit the theaters this summer. Look, many folks find this game better than FF8, but I wouldn't recommend you this one if you care at least a bit on how CGI looks alike in it. Otherwise, story, music, art (not characters - that sucks), everything's in place, and really great experience for any adventure/RPG admirer.

Windows · by MAT (238621) · 2012

Quite possibly the most overrated game of all time....

The Good
Now that years have gone by since this game has been released I want to take a long look at this game and try to figure out my it is considered good. Speaking of good this is the part of the review in which I tell you what is good about this game. One thing springs to mind it helped Japanese rpg’s become more prevalent in America. This was also a bad thing as I will discuss later.

The Bad
Here is were I will tell what is bad about this game, I love this part. The Graphics in this game are complete crap. The characters look like partially melted Lego men. The static pre-rendered backdrops lack color or any real detail. Oddly in battle the characters are fully detailed but still Playstation quality. Why don’t they always look like this? Speaking of battle graphics what is up with the enemy design? At one point you have to fight houses.(I wish I were kidding.) Finally in the graphics department there are the FMV’s the one element that sold this game. (You know it’s true fan boys.) This is clearly were Square spent all there time and money yet they are not that impressive. The characters look like their skin is made of plastic. And since there is no voice acting they are also mute. Mute plastic people are creepy. The Character design is poor Cloud, wears some kind of blue jump suit, and Sephiroth looks like a 80 year old woman and they both have swords that are to big for their bodies. And the only armor they wear is an armlet…right. And Barret wait till you get a load of this guy he is a walking cliché and raciest to boot. Is no one else offended by this? Or is everyone who likes this game just a bigot?

The Music and Sound are also poor. For one thing all the tracks are just recycled from Aeris’s theme. So it is repetitive, and furthermore the music is all done in MIDI format…wow how high tech. The sound effects do not stand out. Hell few games manage that. And why does Square always reuse music if the Final Fantasy games do not connect?

The Gameplay is nothing special, and at times is just flat out annoying. Just typical rpg stuff. You know fight tons of random battles none of which require strategy, and occur every 10 seconds. With some very annoying mini-games that are not fun and just plain stupid. For instance when you have to help Aeris escape the Turks you have to push barrels down to slow them, the only problem is you have no idea what barrels go where, so it’s as if all the mini-games are just poorly conceived. And how could I forget the Gold Saucer portion of the game where in your party stops chasing Sephiroth to go play games and go on the Ferris wheel.

The Story is by far the worst part of this game and, is one of the worst ever written for anything. What begins as a evil corporation vs. a resistance quickly becomes a tangled complicated mess. With 80 year old granny villains, planet life energy, materia, a confused past, it just make no sense. It is almost as if Square had different teams working on different parts of the story all in secret from one another and then threw it all together to get this confused pile of shit. The characters never get interesting. And the dialogue is contrived and never goes anywhere. The part of the game in which Aeris dies is suppossed to be sad and dramatic, yet the other characters seem unmoved by her death, if they are are not upset why should you be?

The Bottom Line
In the end Final Fantasy VII is just a big budget game with a plot that goes no where and is purely idiotic.Earlier I mentioned how making rpg's more popular was also a bad thing. Let me clarify that, after this game came out better games tried to emulate it and were ruined i.e. Arc The Lad IV. Unless you want to play an overrated game avoid this one.

PlayStation · by MasterMegid (723) · 2007

It can keep its beliefs to itself!

The Good
The play engine is much improved over Final Fantasy III on the SNES, and I had a great time getting into it quickly. The graphics in DirectX hardware rendering mode are something to awe at, especially in the beginning and at the end of the game. The music is terrific, but not in the same vein as Final Fantasy III on the SNES. What's really nice is how I can slam this copy into a laptop, using Virtual Drive 8 to not carry the discs around, and play it anywhere.

The Bad
Since 70 million Windows 98 users are supposed to be ignored, I'm going to give my experience on Windows XP in installation. Note, though, that my XP is SP2. Now, thank you Square for using Sega CD looking .AVI video for the cinema scenes. Would it have been too much to ask for using a different codec (.AVI can do Cinepak, MPEG-4's early version, and some other really swell codecs) or use the STANDARD called MPEG!! (I always found it weird that both Apple and Microsoft ran away from the royality-free MPEG formats till they both got into consumer hardware like the iPod and Xbox). That would've cleaned up the terrible video that is intercut throughout the entire game! The music is good, so no complaints. Now, this is all after installation, which I had to find an XP patch for the game and sit through a long installation. Anyways, sorry for the bad writing structure, but I did configure the game to use a GravisPad Pro USB, so that's a real lifesaver, since I played this game to death and back on PlayStation.

But as far game goes, and I did notice this with its first release on PlayStation, but this is so typical for adventure games from Japan:

Teenage boy meets teenage girl and they save the world with an airship and a team, with a few cute characters, from a megalomaniac.

If I want story, I'll read a book, watch a movie. I want action, and after seeing the same graphics and moves again and again, that swell rendering gets real old, real quick.

And I can go on again about the Sega CD looking video clips.

What I don't like is the cyberpunk look. Final Fantasy is supposed to just thank, and I also don't care for the homosexual chic is clothesing fashion (not a rude term, it's what the fashion mags use as the actual term for what Cloud is wearing, I'm sorry that it's called that). I also found Tifa (which is actually a boy's name in all of Oceania, Asia and Africa) too butch for me (I like my women to look like Terra from the prequel). Also, that whole Negative Utopia thing brings me down. It's like Orwell's 1984, except a corporation would never become like it has in the game (name one corporation that's even close to these cyberpunk corporations in power and not in a RoboCop movie). Also, I hate subplots, flashbacks and stuff like that. I want to in the "moment" when I'm playing the game.

Lastly, I hate "anime". I used to like Japanimation (it's real term before a bunch of . . . never mind, anyways . . .) and I don't find the characters at all designed well because of it. The movie really does the characters well, but not here, being more Matrix than Japanimated so, nope, no "anime" for me.

Lastly, no dragons, demons, moggles, chocobos or anything. What's up with that? And the Marxo-Environmentalist message? Sorry, that's not my belief or religion, and I feel that a game would do best to just be a game and not "enlighten" me, because I want to get away from the world and battle, not take on the problems of another world and their beliefs.

I guess you can tell I don't use myspace.com or Second Life, either.

The Bottom Line
You want to play this game on a computer? I suggest finding either bleem! with it's update patch and a nice Windows 98 SE computer with LOTS of power or an IBM clone or Macintosh with System 8.x using the Virtual Game Station. These are the best ways to play this game. However, somebody, today, would look at this game and wonder what's the big deal.

My suggestion?

Watch the movie.

Windows · by Fake Spam (85) · 2007

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Rent Hero, Alsy, Tim Janssen, Koroner, Big John WV, Alaka, Gianluca Santilio, Zaibatsu, jumpropeman, Havoc Crow, Kohler 86, COBRA-COBRETTI, Unicorn Lynx, brentplz, Patrick Bregger, Parf, Martin Smith, Marko Poutiainen, Plok, firefang9212, mikewwm8, Mike G, Wizo, Jeanne, jaXen, garkham, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Rellni944, vedder, jean-louis, Cantillon, ALEX ST-AMOUR, Xoleras, ☺☺☺☺☺, Victor Vance, Scaryfun, Apogee IV, lights out party, Riamus, Adam Wojciechowski, Cavalary, ti00rki.