PSX Review – Final Fantasy 7

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This review has been a longtime coming over the past month. I tried to publish it multiple times but things in my life got busy and deadlines slipped numerous times.  Life happens sometimes and we end up needing taking a break. When I first played Final Fantasy 7, I was in grade 9 and was in a similar situation – I needed to take a break! I was fresh into high school but got sick and ended up being off school for close to 100 days and fell behind in my classes. It was frustrating and rough, and about the only things that helped me get through it besides my family and friends was this awesome game. For months I played this game – it sucked me into an awesome world, epic story, and engaging battle system, and helped me cope through the challenging stuff I was dealing with at the time. I recently picked the game up and have been enjoying it even more than I did when I first played it. Here is my review of Final Fantasy 7!

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The story of Final Fantasy 7 is one that must be experienced, and while the game has been out for twenty years, there are still tons of spoilers and story points that I don’t want to spoil for those who still have yet to experience it. The game takes place in a steam-punkish world filled with technologically advanced cities, giant robots, warring countries, and just the right amount of magic! You follow the story of Cloud Strife – an elite warrior from SOLDIER. He initially doesn’t care about anything, but as he begins to meet new and important people on his journey, slowly learns who he is and why the world is worth saving. Throughout the journey, you face off repeatdely against Sephiroth – literally meaning emanation in Hebrew – the most powerful units from SOLDIER, ultimately ending in an epic battle for the earth!

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Each of the main characters are designed superbly and are outfitted with excellent back stories and a written dialogue. As seen below, the main cast is diversely populated with ninjas, sword wielders, big dudes with big guns, magic users, guns wielders, a talking cat, and even a stuffed animal! It was this cast that kept me pushing through this game – I cared about what happened to them whether it was seeing them obtain their goals or at times failing miserably.

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The places you get to visit in Final Fantasy 7 are rich and varied. You are initially stuck in a large post-apocalyptic city. After about 10 hours though, you are released into the overworld map filled with towns, cities, dungeons, and Chocobos! Some of my highlights included Rocket Town, The Golden Saucer (i.e., the amusement park/casino flying in the sky), and the quiet town of Nibelheim. You later also get to visit a winter village and destroyed towns from malfunctioning Mako reactors. All of these places come together to create an awesome world that you can easily get lost in.

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As a traditional JRPG, Final Fantasy 7 employs a turn-based battle system similar to previous entries in the series like Final Fantasy 6. You get to select 2 other party members to join Cloud. What I liked about the battle system was the implementation of the limit break system, which gave your party members super-powerful moves that can be charged up the more damage you take from enemies.  As the game progresses, more powerful limit breaks are discovered which makes it all the more rewarding when you take on overpowered enemies but nevertheless win with a last-ditch effort with a limit break! I also really enjoyed the material system which allows you to design your character class however you want.

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The materia system works as the games magic system but also ties into the lore of the world, as materia is really condensed Mako, which is the life energy of the planet. Materia comes in many forms from magic (e.g., poison, fire, ice), summons (e.g., Ifrit, Shiva, Bahamut), abilities (e.g., stealing, transform), and support abilities (e.g., cover, HP+, MP+). Some materia effects the players stats – for instance, equipping magic decreases strength and total HP but increases magic and total MP. So by grouping materia in strategic ways on a single character, you can quite easily create various “classes” to meet your needs. This is probably my favourite magic system of any Final Fantasy game!

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Apart from the beefy storyline (which takes 30-40+ hours), the game also has a HUGE amount of side quests including hidden characters (with complete stories and side quests of their own), hidden and powerful materia, and breeding and racing chocobos! There are also a couple of extremely powerful bosses too that make powering up to max level all the more rewarding! There are also a bunch of mini-games woven into the story (e.g., riding your motor cycle, snow boarding, driving a submarine). While nothing special in their own right, they added another layer of polish to the game, and can be replayed in the arcade in the Golden Saucer for points!

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In terms of graphics, the game was gorgeous at the time of its release with its awesome FMV scenes and epic summon and magic spell effects. Since then, the game has aged harshly. While the pre-rendered backgrounds still look good, the 3D character models are simply awful. But despite this – I was okay with the graphics.  The story and gameplay is so good that I very quickly forgot how bad the characters actually looked. Maybe I was playing the game through my nostalgic glasses, but I enjoyed the game more now than I ever did growing up.

The music list of this game is absolutely massive and remains timeless. Since the release of this game, I have been listening to the soundtrack (and remixes of the soundtrack) on and off for the past 20 years and I am still not tired of it!  Aerith’s and Cid’s theme still gives me chills! The sound effects are also great and add to the epicness of the battles with massive summons are called upon!

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In summary, Final Fantasy 7 is an absolute amazing RPG that is not to be missed. It still holds up to games being released today (and I think is still much better than the majority of JRPGs releasing today). The game has it all – amazing story, great cast, engaging combat, and timeless music. If you have not played this game, I encourage you to pick it up! If you don’t have a Playstation, the game is also for sale on Steam with upgraded graphics!  Overall, I give this game a perfect 10/10. A must play for any JRPG fan.

Final Score: 10/10

2 thoughts on “PSX Review – Final Fantasy 7

  1. Nice review! I remember playing FF7 as a kid and not quite understanding what was going on. Although, I believe it to be one of the best out the franchise, aside from FF8 and FF10. Are you excited for the FF7 remake on PlayStation?

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