A mere few years ago I sat down and decided to fully sit through and play the game that would become my favorite game of them all, that game is Final Fantasy VII.
So,let us begin!
The Story.“There ain’t gettin’ off this train “
While I love practically every element of the game,the story is where the game truly shines.You start the game and in typical Final Fantasy fashion you are greeted with one of their brilliantly done FMV’s, immediately after you are rushed into the story without delay.
In the game you control Cloud Strife,a snarky ex- “1st class Soldier” who is now working as a mercenary;you were hired to help the eco terrorist group AVALANCHE in an attempt to destroy the Mako reactors throughout Midgar. Barrett, the group’s leader, believes the Mako is the planet’s lifeblood, and Shinra’s reactors are killing the planet(hence why he wants them gone). Also in the group are some unimportant people and then there’s Clouds childhood friend Tifa(she’s important!). Throughout the 1st Bombing mission you are given hint after hint that there is something going on, something involving Cloud and his past(this is important as the game goes on).Part way during your destruction of the Mako reactors things start to change and the story goes into a completely different direction,a great direction.
Throughout the game you travel across Final Fantasy VII’s massive and beautiful world,the amount of variation in FFVII’s world is shocking.The locations in the game are magnificent and shockingly different from each other,yet they feel as if they belong in the same world.
Further through the game you are introduced to many new characters and many villains as well.Among all of Final Fantasy VII’s brilliant heroes and villains there is one man everyone remembers,and that man is Sephiroth.
Sephiroth, one of gaming’s most iconic villains, is the main villain of Final Fantasy VII,he is calm brilliant and cruel, but beyond that he is one of the most interesting villains of any game out there.His story is a tragic one full of mystery and terrible betrayals and every bit of it is integral to the story and world of Final Fantasy VII, for the sake of there being many who have somehow avoided playing the game I will not spoil the story behind Sephiroth, but will say it is one you want to hear.
Then there is the characters and to put it simply the characters of Final Fantasy VII are great,they are unique and all have fantastic depth and a great sense of uniqueness to them,even if FFVII had a weak story they could have easily carried the game.Luckily for us though, Final Fantasy VII has a great story to match its wonderful characters.From execution,pacing to depth everything about Final Fantasy VII’s story,world and mythos is brilliantly done and is one of the most unique and memorable to this day.Chances are you will enjoy it.
The Visuals-“If everything’s a dream, don’t wake me”
From a visual standpoint the game is great,each area is beautifully built and the entire world follows similar cues for the aesthetic which is very important in building a believable world which is something else this game does wonderfully.
There are many areas in the game that will make you go “Wow” but for the sake of the few who need to play this game I will leave you to remember/find them.
On top of world building and locals, the characters are also very well designed and are very anime-esque and are very memorable. Among FFVII’s cast you will find many of gaming’s most Iconic designs such as Cloud,Tifa and of course Sephiroth
The Combat-“The brave do not fear the grave”
The combat is your typical turn based Rpg thing,just with a twist,that twist being Materia.
Materia is essentially magic crystals that were formed in the Life Stream.It is the most important part of FFVII’s combat, the right choice of materia can completely change your battle, it is usually the deciding factor in your victory or your defeat.The amount of variation materia adds to the combat is shocking, it seems basic at first but once you get into it you’ll find that it’s far deeper than you expect.
Then there is the Summons,the summons are done by using materia,but they tend to pack a much bigger punch.There are a total of 16 summons in FFVII,and each is drastically different and some are pretty tough to get,most notably the mightiest of all the summons,the unstoppable Knights of the round.In order to get the Knights you must first get a golden Chocobo,which for most is a long and hard task.
Then there is Limit breaks,each character has a ton of limit breaks with some of them being horrifyingly powerful.In FFVII you have a bar that builds up when you are attacked,once it fills you can choose from some of the limits you have earned and unleash a devastating attack. Earning them and unleashing them on your foe is deeply satisfying and just fun to watch.
Overall the combat is excellent for a turn based game and has some great depth thanks to the materia and limit breaks,and if you are clever you will become unstoppable!
The Exploration-“All right, everyone, let’s mosey.”
Final Fantasy VII’s world is huge and full of places to see and things to do,but one of the funnest things to do in the game happens a bit later in…You get The Highwind.
The Highwind is basically the coolest flying vehicle you will ever get in a game,with it you can travel pretty much anywhere in the world and it is amazing.It might sound dorky but the feeling of complete freedom it gives you is truly wonderful.
Beyond The Highwind you also have a car and you get a plane that can barely fly so it’s kinda crappy but in a fun way and also a submarine which leads to tons of awesome little hidden things,all of which are pretty cool.
Or if you want to ride something that lives you can ride a Chocobo, you can breed different colored Chocobo which have different abilities like running over mountains or rivers, you can read more about the Chocobos in the next section.
Everything in between-“Oh! Cloud! You’re hair looks like a Chocobo!”
Chocobo-Aaah the Chocobos,these funky giant bird things are the bane of many gamers existence.In Final Fantasy VII you can breed these ginormous birds and ride them around the world or race them at The Gold Saucer,like with many things in gaming you can easily get in over your head,but if you know what you are doing and keep a level head you’ll do just fine!And boy is it addictive.
Side Quest-When it comes to side quest not much compares to Final Fantasy VII,heck two of the characters are optional side quest and getting them opens up even More sidequest!Beyond story ones there is tons of secret weapons,hidden materia and random little tidbits of information you can find out about the characters and the world.There is so much to do you can easily sink 100 hours into this game.
The Gold Saucer-The Gold Saucer is essentially a giant arcade center.Inside this monstrous beast you can race Chocobos ,fight in battles to earn prizes or play a huge amount mini-games like helping a Mog get a lady,boxing,snowboarding or even basketball They’re all pretty fun and just having the ability to play them is a wonderful thing!Be warned once you enter you might never want to leave.
The Music-“Listen To the Cries of the Planet”
The music in Final Fantasy VII is amazing,it has one of the most memorable soundtracks out there and despite being over 15 years old is still my favorite soundtrack to date.While the songs work far better in their proper place they are still wonderful to listen to alone,so below I put a link to a FFVII OST playlist,so just feel free to sit back press shuffle and listen to those glorious sounds.
With the deep plot ,fantastic characters,the wonderful world and the sheer mass amount of content it is impossible for me not to recommend the game to anyone.So if you are feeling even curious about the game,do yourself a favor and check it out.
I was frozen in time, but I feel as if my time is just beginning…-Vincent Valentine