There has never been, and there may never be a game that tops the innovation that Final Fantasy VII brought.
Feedbackdrmmr15 wrote this review on .
Released: September 3, 1997
Game Genre: Role-Playing
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
It doesn't get any better than this. You begin the game controlling Cloud Strife, an ex-member of a military group called SOLDIER. Now a part-time member of the terrorist organization Avalanche, Cloud is assaulting a Mako (a form of energy) Reactor with Jesse, Biggs, Wedge, and Barrett, the group leader.
As with any other RPG, the story takes place through dialog and cutscenes. Some of the dialog is short, letting you get right back into the action, but there are also longer (some as long as 10-15 minutes or more) that bring the story hard. This is by no means a bad thing.
To this day, there has not been a game that surpasses Final Fantasy VII's innovation. The game makes other RPGs seem hopelessly outdated. I will do the best I can to explain the gameplay, but it is so expanse and intense that I will not be able to fit it into this review.
I'll start with the battle system. Final Fantasy VII uses the ABS (Active Battle System) that has been used in some predecessors. Basically, ABS simply means that it is not entirely turn-based. Each of your party members has a time gauge that slowly fills. When it reaches the end, that character may attack, use an item, or perform one of many interesting actions that Final Fantasy VII brings to the table. This also means that you can't dilly-dally. While you scroll through item menus, enemies will attack you. Because of the ABS, boss battles can be extremely difficult.
Outside of battling, there is an incredible amount to be done. The game is fairly linear for a few hours, but quickly opens up to a vast world map. Chocobos, moogles, and airships all make their returns to the world of Final Fantasy. As you gain vehicles and thus more areas to travel to, you will find more sidequests and minigames that can provide some nice relief from the intense storyline. Just to name a few sidequests, you can go to an arcade-like place to replay some of the minigames from earlier in the game, you can fight strategy-based battles on Fort Condor, or you can breed and race Chocobos.
Final Fantasy VII is generous with random battles (until the final dungeon). You will find yourself walking through some screens without fighting a single enemy. Of course, this means that you will have to do some training on your own, or else find yourself unable to defeat a boss.
The last aspect I will describe is Materia. This new invention is so ridiculously creative that it adds an entirely new dimension to a game that was good enough that it had no need for it. As you travel through the world, you will find small crystals, made from Mako, that when attached to a weapon or a piece of armor, provide that weapon or armor-bearer with knowledge from the planet. To put it simply, magic. Not all Materia provides magic, however. There are five types of materia. Some simply give the user better attributes, some add a battle command, such as Steal or Morph, and some provide summons, powerful creatures that attack all enemies for a lot of damage.
The game may get too complicated at a point for some players to keep going, but that in no ways diminishes the greatness of this game to a regular RPG gamer.
Never before had a game seen graphics like Final Fantasy VII's. The cutscenes actually blend together with your characters at certain points, so that you can move during a cutscene. As for the cinematics, all I can say is wow.
The storyline alone is around 40-50 hours of gameplay. Add in the sidequests, minigames, and the three WEAPONs (unbelievably hard monsters that are there for extremely strong players), and you have yourself an extra 20-30 hours.
Overall Score (10/10)
Very rarely does a game get above a 9 from me. There has never been, and there may never be a game that tops the innovation that Final Fantasy VII brought.