FF7 Review (#4)
You know I WAS going to write about "Final Fantasy VI" as my first review, but after some heavy consideration I realized that for the time being I better start out with an easier game to review, rather than a complicated game to review! So here I am. Excited about writing my first review, and trying to figure out where to start! I guess I'll start out with the history of "Final Fantasy VII!" I know alot of Final Fantasy fans probably know this story already, but for those who don't I'm going to tell it for them! Around 1996 (Or maybe it was 1995!?!?! I can't remember!), Squaresoft had completed their masterpiece "Final Fantasy VI" for the Super Nintendo (Which from this point on shall be known as the SNES) and was already planning on their next chapter in the series!
At this point in time, Square was excited because Nintendo was making their next system: The Nintendo 64 (Which from this point on shall be known as N64)!!! Now Square was excited because Nintendo would finally be making a system that was CD-Based! Maybe I should stop and explain why this was a good thing. For starters, not known to most people, Square and Nintendo were having a "altercation." About what you ask? Well as you know the previous systems, the Nintendo (NES) and the SNES, where cartridge-based systems! What's wrong with cartridges you ask? Plenty. For one thing, Square wanted their games to be massive! They wanted to make their games huge, long, with stunning graphics, and most of all, they wanted their games to be of epic proportion!
Now true I would definitely call "Fanal Fantasy IV" and "Final Fantasy VI" epic, but Square wanted their games to "more" epic! They wanted their games in a CD-Type format so that they could have better graphics, longer stories, and even more epic story-lines! Did you know that there were some bosses cut out from games like "Chrono Trigger" because of limited space on the cartridge? Neither did I until Square brought it up in an interview one time! Not only that, but because you had to make a built in memory card into the cartridge that would die after a period of time, which would make it harder to make the game longer, and so on...you get the picture!
So I bet you can see now why Square was excited about N64! For the first time they would be able to do everything they wanted to with their games! And then some (Like make their music in the game MP3-Audio instead of that cheesy Midi stuff)! It was looking good until disaster struck. Nintendo decided, although no-one could ever figure out why, to go with cartridges instead of CD's for their new system! And NOW Square was mad!!! Square (Which was originally a second-party to Nintendo) wanted out of their partner-ship with Nintendo! Soon there were heated arguments everywhere!
Finally the two company's had such a heated rivalry that they broke up! Nintendo sold the stock they had, Square sold Nintendo's stock, and they went their own separate ways! So while Nintendo is out of the picture permanently, Square needed a new company that would let them make games for them (And hopefully, be using a CD format to make them with), and now is where Sega's new Sega Saturn system, and Sony's new Playstation (PSX) come into the picture!!!
Sony was, at the time, being ridiculed for trying to enter the console market. People thought Sony wouldn't make it against Sega and Nintendo, and therefore their system was selling average at best because of that too! Which is why when Sony heard about Square and Nintendo break-up they jumped at the chance to speak with them! Sony offered them a deal that they could make games for them using CD's to make them with, time and flexibility, and they even told them they'd leave in certain four-letter words to stay true to the original script (Nintendo of America censored all bad-language and even cut parts of the story out)!
Square decided it was a good deal and signed with Sony to produce their next chapter of their epic "Final Fantasy" series for the all-new PSX!!! And soon after words, Square and Sony released "Final Fantasy VII" for the PSX (Which many found strange because although we DID get "Final Fantasy VI," since II, III, and V never came to the US, VI came as "Final Fantasy III!!!" I wonder how many people are scratching their heads wondering if they missed something!)
So how did the game deliver after all this hassle was over? Lets take a look!
Yes ladies and gentlemen, graphics ARE one of the reasons Square wanted the CD format so bad! So did they make good use of the CD with the graphics? Well...yes and no. For starters the backgrounds are VERY good!!! They may be pre-rendered 3D backgrounds, but the settings, houses, buildings, EVERYTHING is done with care!!! They help capture the dark and mysterious feeling of "Final Fantasy VII's" world!!! It helps make places you go to in the game, stick to the back of your mind! They're very powerful settings!
However, along with the great backgrounds comes HORRIBLE mutated polygonal characters that look just aweful!!! All the characters hands look like blocks, their faces look painted on, and in some cases look out of place! And it's because of this I probably would have given the graphics a lower rating except for the fact that this game was released in 1997! And because of that fact I'm gonna give credit to Square anyway's because at that time this WAS state-of-the-art!!!
And at the time the backgrounds alone were revolutionary, much less the (Mutated) 3D characters! So because of that fact I'll give it a pass! Plus I DO think the battles are pretty amazing themselves! And now for the Full Motion Videos (FMV)! What's a FMV? It's a movie sequence for a game that sports graphics similiar to the Toy Story movies! Anyway...
The FMV's (For when the game was released that is) are breath-taking! With many different details they definitely make the game look nicer than it already is! And that's an even better thing! So while the graphics seem pretty out-dated by todays standards, I wouldn't worry too much because the graphics isn't even the games best feature! Enter the story!
Now THIS is where the game TRULY shines!!!! It's been a LONG time since I've been told a story like this!!! The story in this game is so good, it even makes some movies, or better yet, even some books you've probably read recently, look like cheap efforts at story telling!!! In fact, if you base this one game on the movies from the year 2000, then it seems like the movie business just broke down! I remember in 2000 seeing such disasters like "U-571," "Titan A.E," "See Spot Run," and the COMPLETELY idiotic "Charlie's Angles!!!" Even some of the better movies like "Cast Away" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" didn't have as good as storytelling as this game does; Although, Tiger IS a must-see film!
The story is about a selfish mercenary named Cloud who is hired by a small rebellion called AVALANCHE (And yes, that is really how they say their name!), to stop a powerful corporation called Shinra Inc. from sucking up the planets life force! The life force is nick-named Mako energy, and it's what keeps the planet alive. At least for a little while. Because Shina keeps sucking up all the Mako (And turning it into Materia) the planet will soon die, unless someone stops them!
That someone is AVALANCHE. At first the plot starts out pretty basic but soon turns around and becomes a deep plot, with an epic journey that mixes friendship, love, drama, comedy, and the battle between good and evil all in the same plot!!! You'd think it would get confusing but it's not! In fact if ANYTHING it makes you think!!! Because unlike some films you see the cast of characters are so unike, and loveable you can't help but smile, laugh, get mad, and even cry!
For instance Aeris is a kind and gentle flower girl who is always looking on the bright side of things, and being the one to make everyone feel better. While on the other hand there's Cid, who doesn't like to take orders from anyone or anything, and will more likely than not shoot off his mouth to make his point! It's been a long time since I saw a cast that was so different, yet they were all very good friends! Some shows that are good examples of this type of friendship are Peanuts and Disney's Recess! Because even though all the kids are totaly different from each other, they are all really good friends!
And if you feel the same way about friendships like I do, then this game is right up you're alley! Although some of the characters' names are ridiculous (Like Cloud, Tifa, Yuffie, Aeris, Red XIII, and Cait Sith), others suit the characters just fine (Like Barret, Vincent, and Cid)! But if you don't like the name you can just re-name the characters, so don't worry about that! But if it's been a long time since you've seen a good movie (Or read a good book) with a plot to die for, get ready because Squaresoft out did themselves here!
Yes folks, even though the Final Fantasy games have always been praised for their great gameplay, there are some flaws here that I "must" address here! For starters there is no use of the analog. Instead you have to use the D-Pad to move the character around. Now maybe had this been a SNES Final Fantasy game I wouldn't hold this against the game. But no, this game is in 3D; and therefore, causes a bunch of problems in the gameplay. How you ask?
Well think of Zelda 64. Imagine using the D-Pad to move Zelda around. Not a very pleasent thought huh? Because in the Zelda game you NEED the use of the analog to make those sharp turns in battle to beat the boss! And while Final Fantasy VII isn't an action/RPG like Zelda is, in some cases it can just be a pain! Like there's this one mini-game in the game where you're on a motorycle, and you have to knock the other guys off their motorcycles before they get to your friends.
Now although the D-Pad works, it's painfully hard to master because you don't have the same freedom with the D-Pad as you do with the analog. But other than that Final Fantasy VII offers a lot of fun gameplay to keep things interesting! There's the plot, battles, mini-games, music, exploration, there's always stuff you'll miss the first time around! And because of that, you'll want to go back to the game a second time around! And that's a good thing! Trust me.
You know whether it's the fact that Squaresoft has been doing this long enough to know what they're doing, or whether they just really like playing games, this game has plenty of heart to go around! From the lovable cast (And the sticky situations they get themselves into), to the deep storyline, and the addictive mini-games, Final Fantasy VII has been handled with care and respect! It's just so hard not to fall in love with this game! It's been such a long time since I've played a game with so much thought put into it! I'll probably never play a game like this again. But whatever your reason be for trying out this game, I'm sure that it will live in your heart for a long time! And as I end this review I must say this one thing to Hollywood: "Take a hint from this game and write some good plots for future movies!"
Be sure to check out our complete list of other Final Fantasy Reviews.
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