- Final Fantasy VII -
-= Overview =-
Final Fantasy VII is definitely one of the most innovative RPGs ever created. Whether you want to be a rebel and hate the new style is up to you, but no RPG since has taken so many new steps for the genre. It features excellent graphics and a storyline that focuses on characters instead of events. The music is also fantastic, in my opinion. It may be unlike other RPGs, and maybe it has too much graphical focus, but it has nevertheless been my most enjoyable RPG experience.
-= Story =-
: Rating :
I loved the plot of FF VII. I thought it was totally new, and unlike any RPG I'd ever played. The only game that I have played after it that has attempted something like it is FF VIII, which did not do it as well.
The story revolves around one character, Cloud. He begins as a mercenary against an evil company, and ends up saving the world. It sounds unoriginal, but when you play it, you'll see that more focus is put on Cloud then what he actually does.
As for the other characters, they are pretty much the same. They each have a perosnality, and behave a certain way. For instance, Barret acts very tough, Yuffie acts very childish, etc... This is different from past RPGs where each character just had humorous lines. In FF VII, the story is integrated with characters.
The story is not as dynamic as those in the past, but is more novel/movie like than any other RPG. This is something no game has done as well since.
-= Gameplay =-
: Rating :
Final Fantasy VII's gameplay is pretty good. The game uses the classic FF battle engine, with new 3D graphics. The active time system is the same, despite what the manual says. However, there are three options to regulate timeflow instead of two.
The characters' abilities are not dependant on their class or occupation, but on the "Materia" they wear. Materia is a group of magical orbs you possess that gives you certain abilities, like Steal, Fire2, and Counter Attack. Each Materia has its own levels and so the more you have it equipped the more you will enhance its powers. It is very customizeable this way.
The game has several sidequests, each with new items and materia to get, and info on characters. While not as extensive as a game like Final Fantasy VI, it provides hours of enjoyment.
The only bad aspect of the gameplay is that the game lacks an overall challenge. No part of the game is overly difficult, except two bonus monsters who yield extra goodies when beaten.
Aside from the challenge issue, the gameplay is excellent, and well integrated into the plot. I feel it deserves a 4 of 5.
-= Music & Sound Effects =-
: Rating :
The music was done by Nobuo Uematsu, composer for the entire series at this time. The music is overall excellent. I thought it was very suited to the mood of the game at most points. This, as I see it, was a first for an RPG. The music was also very good in general, with a wide range of tunes that followed a main theme and played appropriately throughout the game. The only complaint one could have is the instruments of the music, which sound kind of poor. They sound pretty synthesized, but I think they add kind of a charm to the game.
The sound effects were fine, used appropriately.
-= Graphics =-
: Rating :
The graphics are fantastic. The battles take full advantage of PSX 3D acceleration, and use many effects for the prettiest gfx possible. The fields are hand drawn well. Although some are in Japanese, they do look very good. The overworld map is probably the most beautiful part of the game. It uses 3D graphics also, and you never get tired of seeing it. All of these things look even better in the PC version, which uses a higher res and 3D accelerator cards.
As for the movies, they great. They look extrememly realistic and add a level of depth to the game, another first for RPGs. The only complaint one would have is the character inconsistency. There are about 4 or 5 different images of Cloud througout the game, which leaves the game feeling less complete.
The graphics were great, and added to the game a level of depth that had never before been achieved.
-= Fun =-
: Rating :
It was a very fun game, and very memorable. The humor in the game was situational, and not based on quirks of charcters, which I liked. The game, aside from the low challenge, provided hours of amusement and exploration. The game keeps you invlolved, and provides a variety of things to do outside the routine, including several mini games. There are tons of items to get, and lots of side adventures to go on. If you play through the whole game and do everything in the game, you will have one of your longest gaming expreiences.
-= Last Word =-
The game has gotten a lot of bandwagon criticism, but it really is a great game. Although it's very unlike its predecessors in many ways, I think that this is a plus, for it dared to be innovative, unlike other RPG companies, who produce unoriginal and "classic" RPGs. Some may be a fan of the same old thing, but if you want something new, this game will be one to try, especially because of the recent price drop.
Total Score: 90/100
(Sum of all categories x 4)