Final Fantasy VII

There are few games that receive the universal approval, glowing praise and plethora of awards that Final Fantasy VII did, and fewer still that withstand the test of time so resiliantly. More than ten years after the game's original release, Final Fantasy VII arrives on Playstation 3, via the PS store. There really is no need to provide a proper introduction. This Role Playing Game defined the genre as we see it today, revolutionizing gaming and JRPGs in the mid 90s. Story telling of this quality was unheard of, and the incredible tale echoes through multiple generations of gaming. For those who already know their way around FF VII, there's little to say, but for those that aren't yet convinced, this review is aimed at sharing a few of the most incredible experiences first enjoyed over a decade ago.

Final Fantasy VII

The first few hours of the game involve some ground-breaking cutscenes and a steady build to the story that separated gamers at the time. Those that say they played FF VII and didn't enjoy it most likely quit after just a few short hours, some as early as the first boss (a tricky one for uninitiated RPG players that don't listen to the hints). Overcoming the initial hurdle and truly immersing yourself in the game is the key to enjoying it. Allowing the story to open up, to let the characters have their unique introductions, to understand the motivations of all the parties involved; every step is essential. Continuing beyond this leads to the most gripping progression to any game. The first ten or so hours of the game see you explore the colossal, industrial city, Midgar, ruled over by the corrupt Shinra Corporation. As your group of misfits comes together, things start with the simple aim of putting an end to Shinra's reign of terror, but by the time you've seen your way through Midgar, the entire story explodes onto a far grander scale, with the mighty Sephiroth and main character Cloud Strife right at its center. The most incredible part of all that? You've not even finished the first of three discs in the original Playstation release, and the massive Midgar City, bigger than most complete games in the generation, is just the start - just one small dot on the massive world of Gaia.

The rest of the world is littered with unforgettable places and often equally memorable characters. Fans of the game will lovingly recall The Golden Saucer, a sort of amusement park that allows you to take part in a variety of mini games such as basketball, which later expands to include Chocobo racing, submarine control and even skiing. Much like the story, the locations aren't without their darker side though, with even the polished Golden Saucer featuring an underworld of prisons and forced labour. Similarly, several villages are in run down areas, suffering the fallout from Shinra domination. Even those with little to offer aren't without incredible charm though. Whether you're visiting the home villages of main characters Nanaki or Yuffie or looking for a willing pilot to take you even further across the map, there are incredible sights to see, lovingly crafted scenery and wonderful areas to explore. Even more impressively, the areas and technology span many generations, with the mighty Shinra corp offering modern machines and powerful advancements, while smaller villages have little more than their local well. Nothing seems out of place though, in a world that accurately reflects the political situation.

Final Fantasy VII

Visually, it might not be stunning by modern standards, but the CG cutscenes and dazzling boss fights were awe-inspiring at the time. The massive landscapes, varied enemies, intricate character models and imaginative scenes were used to craft a superb, rich environment, populated by equally interesting characters. Ranging from the dark and mysterious Vincent Valentine through to the innocent and beautiful Aeris, the cast of characters has never been outdone. The most memorable is likely Sephiroth, whose very name would still get a massive roar of approval at any game-related convention. In particular, the final confrontations in the game involve this dark foe, with some stunningly epic battle scenes. After fighting for hours to even reach the final area, it's an incredibly rewarding experience to fight for several more hours through intense boss battles before finally witnessing the entertaining and emotional conclusion.

The music in Final Fantasy games is almost as iconic as the famous RPG formula itself, with Nobuo Uematsu composing some of the most incredible themes for the FF VII release. The main theme for the game, Aeris's theme, and many more will be remembered fondly for all time, while One Winged Angel is an unforgettable piece that will go down in history as one of the greatest boss themes of all time. Though there wasn't voicework to go with the music (unheard of in games with such a huge amount of dialogue), the sound in the game was ahead of its time and set new standards across all genres.

Final Fantasy VII

In all honesty, there's little point rambling further. If you've already decided against the game, there's not much that will change your mind. If you missed out on the opportunity to try Final Fantasy VII in the original release though, this Store edition is a great way to experience one of the most impressive games of all time. For those that already own the game, the price may appear quite steep, but for many like myself, the temptation will still be there to relive this classic adventure.

Game details

Publisher:

Squaresoft

Developer:

Squaresoft

Players:

1

Online:

None

Review summary

Gameplay:

Potentially the greatest game ever created

Graphics:

Dated, but visually unmatched in its time

Sound:

Iconic music and themes

Lastability:

A massive story with tonnes of extra stuff to do

10.0

Meteoric

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