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on April 20, 2001
I doubt that there will ever be an equal to this epic game, Final Fantasy VII. It's the reason I became the gamer I am today!
Final Fantasy VII puts you in the shoes of a young man by the name of Cloud Strife. Starting off, you're simply a mercenary hired by a resistance force called Avalanche, whom are fighting against the earth-dominating orginization, Shinra. Progressing through the story, however, you find it goes much deeper than that. Throughout his adventure, Cloud strives to find the link between him and his arch enemy (but once friend) Sephiroth, what Shinra is planning for the world, and struggles to find where his emotions lie in a deep love triangle between his long-time friend Tifa, and the kind-hearted flower girl, Aeris. Of course, along the game there are many other characters and sub-missions that lead to different stories, but either way this game promises to leave a lasting impression.
The gameplay, much like the story, is simply amazing! As you progress through the game, you will find new Accesories (items such as rings, ear rings, ribbons, etc.), Armor, and Weapons. Depending on each items power, your overall strength for attacks, defense against attacks, magic effectiveness, and magic defense will increase; however, the true depth comes in the junction system. Each item you equip to yourself will give you junction blocks. These blocks are used to equip magic that you buy or find along your journey. Magic comes in many forms:Some increase stats, some heal, some are attacks, some are devastating monsters (called 'Summons') that unleash devastating attacks on all enemies, and some help you attain more items (such as the ability to 'Steal'). Junctioning magic can also lower stats, bringing more strategy into the game. Junction too much magic, and your character's overall hp (or 'health points', which decrease with each hit) will be minimized in the next battle. Junction to little, and your character will be to weak to inflict any useful damage on the enemy.
My final great aspect in this epic edition of this great series, is the music. The music in the game effects your overall emotions as you play, making the game look and feel even more amazing. I guarantee that after playing this game, you'll find yourself humming at least two of its tracks!
So in conclusion, this game is FLAWLESS! If you want something that will satisfy your gaming pleasure for many a day, this is it. Final Fantasy VII is quite possibly the best game ever made, and in my opinion is still unrivaled.
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on November 11, 1999
Final Fantasy 7...... If you haven't got a copy then either you don't have the playstation or you are plain nuts! The most impressive game to date although now overshadowed by FF8 this game has the greatest plot ever... The mystrious past of you Cloud Strife in a dark world chasing his memory of enemy Sephiroth who wants to ... (SNIP) I'll leave that to you... The graphics are amazing though a bit cartoony, and the battle system is easy to use, casting summon monstaers or slashing an opponent with your huge sword or maybe casting a magic spell, this game just shows how far the playstation can go and it's crammed into 3 massive discs... FF7 drops you straight into battle and the first thing you notice is the brilliant graphics, and this gets better during the FMV cut scenes and is even more shocking due to the Summon monsters who appear, once you see the graphics you think oh it must have a rubbish storyline and plot and a boring game with impossible to solve puzzles, but this is not true, Square known for their enthralling plots, have made one of the most shocking emotional plots inthe world, with you trying to find the truth of the past and about who the real enemy is, while numberous of sub games are given to you to keep you hooked, you can head to the Gold Sourcer and play on the arcade or go on a rollercoater ride, or snowboard at the icle inn or even breed chocobos. And the game just never lets you down in the emotion department, which thrills you with what should I do, traitors and love and hatred, also spying and confusion, this game is an atomic bomb covered in a shape of 3 discs, FF7 a must for all gamers...
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I'm old enough to remember when RPGs weren't called RPGs. In those days the essence of the game was to move the players about a game board, fighting battles, collecting treasure, and finding clues. Origin's Ultima series was the grandparent of these games - immensely entertaining, but essentially two-dimensional. Among its heirs were the first games in the Final Fantasy line.

This was also a time when computer capabilities and capacity seemed to double every few months. Final Fantasy VII is the result of an inevitable synergy between technology and imagination. Players found themselves in a three-dimensional world where they could wander at will. They were playing with characters that were not only more animated and lifelike, but also had something that resembled personalities. In a very real sense, FFVII changed the gaming landscape, and RPGs reached a new level of credibility.

What is inside is the story of Cloud Strife; an ex-soldier turned mercenary who is drawn into the struggle between Avalanche, a revolutionary group, and Shinra, a rapacious company that is rapidly draining the resources of the planet. Starting out in the city Midgar the battle moves back and forth across the planet, as Cloud gathers team members, accessories and power. Everyone has a history, often mysterious, and an important role to play.

Eventually it becomes clear that the real enemy is a laboratory experiment gone horribly wrong. Shinra's effort to produce supermen has created Sephiroth, who has become one of the legendary villains of the gaming world. Physically beautiful, his mind has been ruined by his knowledge of what he is, and his goal has become the destruction of the world.

The plot is remarkably rich. Within the main story arc are many smaller stories that build the players understanding of the nature of each of the characters. There seem to be an unending number of weapons, powers, and monsters. More than enough material for many replays. The graphics are a bit primitive for our time, but were startling when this game first came out. As your imagination adapts to the imagery, the game becomes truly engaging on many levels. Final Fantasy VII is still one of the best of its genre, Whether you are a student of gaming or an aficionado, it belongs on your shelf.
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on June 30, 2004
It's been called everything from the greatest game of all time to the undeniable peak of an already legendary series. It's a big part of the reason Sony overtook Nintendo and ultimately won the 64-bit chapter of the console wars. And, truth be told, it's single handedly responsible for reviving a passion for video games that had lain dormant within me for years. So, cutting to the chase, is it worth the hype, does it really measure up to those previously mentioned, simplistic, cherished classics of the 8-bit era, can it really be as good as it's been portrayed? Well, yes and no. Final Fantasy VII is not the best game I've ever played, period. What it is... well, it's easily in the top five.
The story basically throws players into the fast lane right off the bat. The opening video montage leads directly into a late-night raid on the planet's largest governing body, the Shinra, a raid in which the player is actively a part. As events unfold, the point becomes clear; you're a mercenary, aiding a terrorist organization in their efforts to destroy a significant portion of the city to make a point that the Shinra cannot ignore. Five minutes into the game and already it's covered more mature material than the previous six combined. Make no mistake, Final Fantasy VII is not a game you'll want to hand your six year old to help him pass some time in front of the TV. Not only does it cover some rough psychological terrain (mortality, semitism, terrorism and political espionage are discussed, in depth, and confronted... just to name a few) but the characters and dialog themselves aren't nearly as squeaky clean as they were in previous installments.
With that said, the in-game visuals of FF7 are very much lacking, especially in comparison to later titles. This was obviously a very early release for the rugged PSone. Edges were extremely jaggedy, especially so when not in a battle, live renderings of the characters left a lot to be desired and even the cutscenes themselves were compressed poorly, leaving huge artifacts all over the glorious video renderings. In sharp contrast, though, the animation and design of the hundreds of different enemies, players, items and boss characters is amazing, and the variety of static, immovable backgrounds are superbly concepted, executed and presented.
To a much lesser degree than the visuals, the musical score is undermined by the medium in which it's been presented. This is a soundtrack that would have shaken the earth if it were performed by a master orchestra. Unfortunately, the difference between a symphonic performance of these classic songs and the spotty, digitized portrayal that shipped with FF7 is as large as the difference between the sketches of the characters themselves and their eventual presentation on-screen. Sure, you'll recognize them without a second glance... but they've been crammed into a format that really can't do them any justice.
As has been the case with each new chapter in the Final Fantasy legacy, one new tweak has been thrown into the mix, in this case going under the name "materia." As the game progresses, you'll find these colorful blocks of concentrated energy (be it on the body of a defeated enemy, alone in a cave somewhere or for sale in a shop) that grant the holder magical abilities. They're the only way to upgrade your characters' abilities, and are completely interchangeable between the members of your party. By equipping a block of materia and then defeating enemies, the magic "levels up" and gains new abilities while simultaneously strengthening its previous benefits. Each weapon and bit of armor you find throughout the game has a slot for the employment of materia, which effectively limits the number of them you can use at any one time. You'll eventually need to make some tough choices over which materia to develop and which to ignore.
A lot of players have voiced a strong dislike for the materia system, claiming it kills the variety of your characters. The common consensus says that by giving the player the ability to assign any skill or spell to any character, Square has basically given you a bunch of clones with which to do battle. I'd have to disagree. If you really want to nitpick and pay attention to the specifics of each character's stats like that, you'll notice that each character has a different affinity to the various materia commands in the world. Sure, you can give anybody in your party the ability to cast "fire," but it's going to cause more damage if you give it to someone with an inherently high magic ability. Square's kept the variety in this cast, they've simply given you the ability to ignore each character's strengths and sculpt an army on your own accord.
The theory behind Final Fantasy VII is outstanding, yet simple: create a game with an untouchable story, tremendous characters, amazing design, mouth watering special effects and great musical accompaniment. It was the right game with the right pop culture appeal at the right moment. It accomplished every single one of its goals, and it's going to win "best video game ever" polls from now until the end of time because of it. What it won't win, though, is a perfect ten from yours truly. While I'd be more than happy to go so far as to say the story contained herein is the best of all the Final Fantasy games, I can't say the same for most of the other aspects of the game. The visuals and audibles are hampered by the PSone's own internal limitations, the characters are topped by those of FF8, and the mini games make me shake my head more than they entertain me. This is very, VERY close to perfection, but I've admittedly played a few titles that are better
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on November 9, 2000
After playing all the US released predecessors to this title, I saw the commercials and got actually mixed feelings, feeling it would be hard core, but not as epic. Boy, was I WRONG!
The gameplay matches that of Final Fantasy VI (FFIII in the US), but the controller for the playstation adds a new stability element to control. The battle system is very simple any [person] can win random battles with the clean interface. Also, the Materia System (magic system) is very user freindly and gives the character's powers that you can almost feel you now posess yourself.
To add to this interactive realism is the greatest graphics before Resident Evil 2. The pre-rendered backgrounds are more artistic than most entire games are, the battles are cool with cool monsters and amazing spell effects, and the Cinematics, ..., well, just WOW!
To continue this interacive movie/addition to life itself is yet another great soundtrack composed by gamemusic god Nobuo Uematsu (bigger than any other composer name). The music arranges from mysical to energetic, from simple to epic, and from peaceful to apacalyptic. "Aeris", "Cid", "The World", "Jenova" and "The One Winged Angel" (the last battle theme) are the best tracks in the game, and some of the finest tracks ever devised.
To complete this circle, Squaresoft gave this game a storyline of true epic preportions. While I did tear several times in earlier Final Fantasy titles, I never really CRIED, but when the big plot twist at the end of CD 1 occurs, I still ball my eyes out. Never before has emotion and narrative been combined so well into one epic. When done with the game (and watching the stunning ending that's beyond description), I felt like I just finished a novel, one in which was beyond the puny use of words could elaborate. I was in awe, and I think anyone who pays attention to this game would be too.
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on December 23, 2000
Of the much storied Final Fantasy series, this is my favorite(except maybe for Tactics,...). Final Fantasy 7 is simply a must own game. In fact, I bought this game before I even bought a Playstation. First off, the battle system is solid. There are not too many random battles, but instead the perfect amount. The materia system, which lets you place magic orbs in your weapons for different effects is extremely deep and allows for great strategy. Should my weapon poison after every hit, or do a double strike? This sysetm is easy enough for newer players, and simultaneously intricate for the veteran RPG players. Also, there a lot of characters to choose from, including 2 secret characters. But don't think Square went for quantity over quality, the characters are extremely well designed and cool looking. On top of that, the story is excellent. Each character has an interesting background, and the main character's story is amazing. Add to all these things fun minigames, an in-game casino, the ability to breed and race chocobos, side-quests, optional super bosses, and incredible cinematics. This game has a lot to offer, and now it's very affordable. Go buy it!
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on June 16, 2000
RPG fans know that the Final Fantasy series is the best and most successful rpg series of all time, and Final Fantasy VII is arguably the best of the Final Fantasy's. I can't explain it, but when you play FF7, you become part of its world. You just can't stop playing! (Homework? What Homework?)...
First, the gameplay. FF7 takes you to peaceful and exotic towns and cities, mysterious caves and forests, a corporate tower, an eastern palace and pagoda, urban slums, an ancient temple, a rustic farm, even a motorcycle chase and an addicting casino. The game provides countless hours of new challenges (rare materia, chocobo breeding) and pointless fun (snowboarding, gambling) in addition to the main quest. The amount of detail is gorgeous too, especially in the towns. The detailed buildings and room interiors are some of the best video game backgrounds I've seen. They retain the overhead view of old FF's, unlike most of FF8, but they are so life-like. Of course, the characters are memorable, and the plot is intruiguing. There are so many great moments in the game, and the awesome movie sequences which show off heavy-duty computer animation are icing on the cake.
Second, the music. I have always loved the music of the Final Fantasy series (Nubuo Uematsu is a genius). The FF7 sountrack has plenty of incredible songs and a lot of mood-creating or atmospheric tunes. This is different than the FF6 soundtrack which had awesome catchy song after awesome catchy song. However, the FF7 soundtrack contains Uematsu's best work. The Overworld Theme (aka the Main Theme), One-Winged Angel, Interrupted by Fireworks, and Aeris' Theme (and Flowers Blooming in the Church too) are masterpieces. If you ever get to hear the orchestral version of the FFVII Main Theme, you'll see why it is probably my favorite FF song. And some unlikely favorites of mine are the Cosmo Canyon theme, Anxious Heart, the music in Bugenhagan's observatory, and especially the Chocobo Farm music. Nubuo Uematsu is a great composer, and I can see why he is now composing a movie score (a Japanese Anime). Music buffs will undoubtedly appreciate this game.
The only weak points of FF7 are the fact that the game, plot, and music don't get their best until 4 to 10 hours into the game, so some impatient players may miss out on the parts that make the game so good. Also, the plot gets vague and confusing at times, but hey, at least it makes you think.
Basically, this is my favorite rpg. I'll admit it's not for everyone, but any rpg fan who actually hasn't played FF7 will definitely enjoy it.
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on January 25, 2012
One of the benefits of growing up and getting a full-time job is that you can buy and enjoy the things you missed during your childhood lol.

I enjoyed this game a lot for many reasons, mainly nostalgia and pure fun factor. I've played a few RPGs over time and most I just couldn't get into enough to beat.
Final Fantasy ("FF") VII was different because it was pretty much consistently fun and the story was engaging. The graphics were great at the time (I remember being awestruck by them then) and today the pre-rendered backgrounds still have some amazing detail and art. Character design is going to be a little strange for some people who are used to today's graphics; during exploration and some of the interaction your character is "super-deformed" and looks like a kid while in battle he is fully grown and adult in stature.

If you play the game within the context it was made and considering what it was up against you may appreciate its style more. On top of that, many of the elements within the game are still great and have aged gracefully in time- the great battle system, intriguing story (although imho it had a few too many twists toward the end), collecting "materia" (essentially a crystal-like material that adds abilities and power to weapons, armor, and your character, and allows you to summon creatures; also, it levels up the more you use it and your spells/abilities gain power), the dystopian-style setting, quirky characters, and the overall "sci-fi meets fantasy" feel.

But there are some negatives, and I'll list them-

1. (This is relative to your gaming habits and expectations)- as with most serious rpg games, FFVII is long, featuring 3 disks and about 50-60 hour of gameplay. Save points are usually plentiful enough though.

2. Like many Final Fantasy games, there is no quest log to tell you what your current quest/mission is. So if decide to not play it for a week or more and come back to it and know what to do you might find yourself lost (I did, anyway). FORTUNATELY, there is gamefaqs and other websites to help you with that.

3. The 3D graphics are old and simple and some of the super-deformed characters may not be appealing to people who are used to today's games.

4. Some (occasionally) repetitive battles and animations.

5. Mostly linear storyline and game.

I think a lot of people tend over-rate this game. It's very good and still better than a lot of games out there yet it might not be everyone's cup of tea. The story, while told AMAZINGLY well, doesn't give a message that everyone has to hear (especially if you've already seen movies like "Avatar"). That being said it is one of three rpgs I actually played all the way through, and that is saying something. If there are somethings that keep me coming back to it they're probably nostalgia, collecting materia, playing through memorable parts (especially the boss battles, which are just plain fun and strategy-intensive) and the battle system (especially with the "death blow" materia; "limit breaks" are great too).

Parental Note- The ESRB rating was, imho, questionable. Some of the adult subject matter seems to push it closer into M- rated territory. I'd say it's borderline T/M.
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on December 4, 1999
Final Fantasy VII is a great game. Everything about is great. The only thing I dind't like was the ending. It was too easy. To play for 80 hours to get to the end and use one summon materia once to kill the final boss was disappointing (even though I loved the final boss music). The weapons are MUCH harder. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Even though I still think FFVI is the best game ever made (Chrono Trigger is the second best game ever), this is a very worthy addition to the FF series and one of the best RPG's ever made.
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on January 9, 2003
Personally, I was somewhat disappointed in the game. After its building me up with the exciting and tragic end to disc one, the game never climaxed as it should have. On disc two I basically got a rehash of old Final Fantasy plotlines and villain conflict. When it came to disc three, I couldn't believe that I was stuck with the most worn-out type of resolution: facing one omnipotent, magical supervillain bent on world destruction. The end came with something equally saccharine wherein Aeris' death (which was never fully explained) releases HOLY and saves the world from Meteor. Square, I mean Squaresoft (I remember them when they were more modestly called "square"), could have done better.
On the plus side, the graphics are a breath of fresh air and the materia system is easy to learn. Limit Breaks give many different colors to what could have been very stale battle menus. And the overhead map seamlessly overlays with the main screen featuring Cloud walking about.
I could go on praising or condemning the game, but I think that most sensible people would agree that Final Fantasy VII and Wild Arms (its contemporary) mark the end of creativity in RPG's. Both games were released in 1997 to rave reviews, though FF7 had better sales. But they were such artistic and economic successes that they left the gaming industry in a rut which I doubt they will get out of any time soon. Look at all of the copies that we have running around today: Legend of Mana, Legend of Dragoon, FF8 through 10, Chrono Cross, Wild Arms 2, etc.. It shows what a watershed the game was.
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