Final Fantasy VII

Final_Fantasy_VII_Box_Art

Where and when did you first play this game? How many times have you played this game?  And when was the last time you played the game?

I played Final Fantasy VII (FF7) in 1997 for the Sony Playstation, and in 1998 when the game was ported to Microsoft Windows.  Both games are the same in storyline and features.  The PC version has smoother and improved graphics, but also corrected some of the translation and spelling issues from the PS1 version.

I recently purchased FF7 on the Steam platform for the PC.  This has been an interesting experience because while the graphics have been greatly up-scaled in resolution, the background environments which the characters walk around look like the original versions from 1997 or 1998.   I’m not really impressed with this version, BUT, this was just a re-release of the original game.  It’s not a re-imagined version like some other Final Fantasy games in the series have received over the years.  I’ll take it with a grain of salt.

But, if Square Enix ever releases a newly rendered version of the game, I would certainly purchase and play that one, too.

What is it about this game that you loved?

This game didn’t remind me at all of the original Final Fantasy (FF1) from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1987.  FF1 was a top-down, blocky, RPG-style game with a limited color palate, limited number of baddies to beat up, and a more standard elemental-monster structure (i.e. Fire, Wind, Water, Earth) with the final boss being Chaos himself.  But while FF1 and FF7 are very different games, in story, scope, and style, there were a lot of similarities, too.

Both games included a huge world maps to explore, experience points, randomly generated battles, some of the same monsters, same spells (i.e. Fire, Ice, Lightning, Cure, Life) and the same victory tune, which played at the end of the monster battles.  Da-Da-DA-DA-DUMP-DUMPY-DAAAAAA!

Final Fantasy VII did a great job taking the familiar elements from Final Fantasy from NES and North America’s Final Fantasy III (actually FF6 in Japan) from SNES and blending them into a new style of Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy story lines are normally pretty creative, if not a little bit out of control at times, but they don’t connect with other games in the long-running franchise.   One of the things I love about the FF series are the little tributes to the previous games, like similar monsters appears in most of the games, the Cactaur, and the Tonberry.  There is a tradition of naming the flying ship builder, Cid, and that name appears in many of the games.

This game also took the series into a whole new world of 3D gaming on the Sony PlayStation.  The environments which you walk around are 2D in nature, but the characters all 3D sprites.  The battles sequences are 3D monsters and characters, so the battle sequences were very impressively rendered in 3D on the PS1.

What is the best (or worst) moment in this game? Or what about this game made it memorable?

I don’t remember a lot about the original run through of the game because the storyline was quite complex.   The main character, Cloud, starts off as a hired-gun, but is looking for some meaning in his life.  He joins a group call AVALANCHE to stop the evil mega-corporation Shinra from draining the world of its Mako Energy.  Mako is basically the planet’s life-force, which would destroy the world and everyone on it.   Cloud is basically an eco-terrorist for the planet.

The system to upgrade weapons and improve spells, called Materia, was one of my favorites in the Final Fantasy franchise.  Materia could be added to your weapons and armors to help increase and improve you skills.  It was a lot more interchangeable and useful.  If you had more then one type of Materia (say Fire) you could equip almost any character with the basic skills, and so if you entered an snow/icy area where monsters would be weak to Fire, you could gain an advantage.  There were limits on the system.  Some Materia was unique and difficult to find, or could only be equipped once or twice, and of course for a spell to upgrade from  but it was really one of my favorite systems.

One of the more interesting things about the FF series, especially in the later games, there are a LOT of side quests which can be played to take you off the beaten path, and get you away from the main story line.  For example, in the amusement park called the Golden Saucer, you can race and raise chocobos, a large yellow chicken looking bird. By raising upgraded versions of chocobos, this allowed you entrance in to different areas of the over-world map, which opens up new quests to you.  Personally, I tend to think the side games can be really fucking frustrating, some times nearly impossible to complete, but in the end, it’s really about the amount of work you wanted to put into the game, and these were nice to have in for the dedicated few who wanted to put the time in.  Some of the games I really enjoyed, but raising chocobos to reach an impossible to beat monsters, not my cup of tea.

final-fantasy-vii-cast

Another really impressive thing about the game was the animations for the Limit Breaks and Summons monsters, both of which could be used to destroy and fight your larger, more powerful enemies.  And you have all the classic Summons from previous FF games like Odin, Shiva, Ifrit, Titan, Bahamut and Leviathan.   The concept of the summons monster is something which has been in the game for quite a few generations of the game, but some of these animation sequences are really nothing short of awesome with all the different ways these monsters kick ass and take names.  There’s camera movement, special effects and 3D rendered monsters who area really something to see.  Generally, the main characters are a lot more cartoonish, but overall move well, are highly animated and are fun to play.

Limit Breaks

Summons

Is there a special story about this game? Maybe an event in your life or some thing memorable you associate with this game?

This game is the reason I purchased a Sony PlayStation in the summer of 1997.  I had heard a lot of about the game, which was being released later that year.  I got some money for my birthday that year and I ended up purchasing the PS1 along with another RPG game, Wild Arms.  The Wild Arms game was pretty good, but it was really FF7 which was I waiting for that year.  When I got the game, I was still in college at Arizona State University so I was staying up very late playing the game into the night on the evenings which I didn’t have classes early in the morning.  I had learned a lesson about taking classes really in the morning, so this played to my advantage by playing FF7 to wee hours of the morning.

Final Fantasy 7 was one of the most impressive Final Fantasy games I’ve ever played.. and I’m going to play it again on Steam.  More to come soon!

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