Final Fantasty VII - Taking Fandom Too Far

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Final Fantasy VII

image

Final Fantasy VII was Squaresoft's first Final Fantasy title to appear on the Sony Playstation. Being very avante-guarde for it's time, FF VII used pre-rendered backgrounds to serve as scenery for 3D rendered characters, and made use of their already existing ATB system. Although not terribly innovative in that sense, the game also introduced a unique magic system and a new dynamic to combat, which will be explained in-depth later.

First thing I'd like to put out of the way is this is among the most popular gaming series I'm aware of. Having spawned several different prequels, spin-offs, sequels, and even a feature-length movie, this game certainly left its mark on the gaming, anime, music, and well... Entertainment industry at large.

I'm still impressed by the adaptive battle menus.

Final Fantasty VII was, and still is, heralded as possibly the best RPGs ever released. As a slave to the ATB system, the game was still very much confined to the fact that it was turn-based. More free-form than other games, sure, but still just turn-based. Stand in line, and bop enough enemies until they all die.

To counter-act this, the game created two new features that gave it some unique life. First, there's the Limit Break system. Limit Breaks are large-scale, powerful attacks that occasionally appear when the player is low on health. The benefit of this as it could be the saving grace you need to win a battle. The issue of this is that you have to sit through the Limit Breaks. FF VII was notorious for long-scaled attack sequences that couldn't be skipped. And the stronger the limit break, the longer the animation.

As well as Limit Breaks, the game introduced Materia, which is an equipped form of magic stone that is allocated to weapon slots. In certain situations, Materia could even be conjoined, so that their effects can be combined. (For example, Double Cast + Attack Magic Materia.) In and of itself, a cool dynamic, but not enough to really say this game went the distance to break away from the old ATB system that's been found since Final Fantasy V.

Gameplay-wise, there's enough diversity with skills and spells to really sink your teeth into, but the game has obviously superior Materia strategies to make most setups appear same-y at or around the end of the game.

Looking back now, the game is awfully blocky.

Graphically speaking, the game is dated, so it looks very bad by today's standards. Even at the time, though, the stark contrast between the pre-rendered backgrounds and the 3D-rendered characters was enough to make any character or situation stick out like a sore thumb. Not always bad, but somewhat killing of immersion and atmosphere.

The cutscenes themselves were top of the line at the time, like Square is so often found to do in this day and age. By today's standards, the visuals were blocky and uninteresting, but that the time they were rich and immersive, if not a little bit bright.

Sound and music were iconic at the time, and still exists very frequently in music, from song re-workings by The Black Mages to the up-to-date Advent Children soundtrack. The game's sounds and music are the stepping stone that made this game seem so alive, as the music was always appropriate and effective. To this day, it is not unusual to hear one or more songs from Final Fantasy VII being played somewhere, or in countless gamers playlists.

The story is where this game really shines. Or would, had the developers fleshed out the events more fully. The game's story follows a soldier named Cloud Strife, a battle hardening warrior, and part of the special-elite-super-military-warriors. Well, he was, except we join him as a member of a resistance group against the government/corporation in power at the time. As the game progresses, we delve into Cloud's history as a SOLDIER and reach the grand goal of the story.

No! My brain! Come baaack!

The biggest issue is that as the game progresses, the story unravels, and the player becomes more confused. The plot thickens with sickening jerks and twists that leaves the player more confused in the last hour of the game than the first. Many points which were built were never resolved, only to make a vengeful come-back in the sequent sequels/spin-offs/prequels/side-stuff. By the end of the entire process, the players are left with even more questions and very little resolution.

Unlike MGS 4, which had an equally jolting story, FF VII was never really resolved. To this day, discussions as to the true nature of Cloud, or Sephiroth (the big bad), Zack, or countless other characters. Nothing is explained in full, and all you have to show for completing the game is spoiler-intense questions, just without the end-game answers.

After the fact, you'll find yourself boggled with too many questions, and no certain answers.

The game has a healthy host of side-quests, which involve such strange actions as breeding ostrich-like birds known as Chocobos, digging through tombs to unearth vampires that join your party, collecting ninjas that exist to steal your Materia, and finding powerful summons and spells that will increase the sheer amount of damage you can churn-out per turn by the end of the game.

Final Verdict

Rent It. This is a slice of gaming history, but it's just that, history. Since then, the elements that have made this game unique have been improved and built-upon, redone with more excellence and refinement, and churned out to a better story. The claims of "Best RPG ever" is a very hollow one, as the game plays and feels as dated as it is. It's not a classic that has survived the test of time.

Also, I'd like to mention that FF VII was my first foray into hardcore gaming, and certainly the object of much nostalgia. Though, the things that make this game notable just aren't notable enough to recommend. Gamers still persist, and fanboy-ism for this title runs rampant in any circle you could possibly look for. The problem is it's fandom that is misplaced. It's not a bad game, it's in-fact, a very decent one. If you're looking for a mediocre gaming experience, look no further. Conversely, if you're looking to have your mind-blown by excellence, shop elsewhere.

NewClassic:

Looking back now, the game is awfully blocky.
Looking back now, the game is awfully blocky.

Man, I could make a face like that! It's pathetic!

I'm not sure how this review is meant to be received. Are you rating an 11 year old game against today's current titles in regards to graphics and gameplay? Or are you just trying to knock the game down a few notches to get fanboys to calm down?

The nostalgia factor is always going to give people rose-colored glasses in retrospect, but your review is the same as going back another 11 years to 1986, and blasting Legend of Zelda for being overrated, choppy, having awkward clipping between levels, and carrying a cliched "save the princess" storyline.

Honestly, I never really got into FF7. I tried, but just couldn't.

brabz:
I'm not sure how this review is meant to be received. Are you rating an 11 year old game against today's current titles in regards to graphics and gameplay? Or are you just trying to knock the game down a few notches to get fanboys to calm down?

The nostalgia factor is always going to give people rose-colored glasses in retrospect, but your review is the same as going back another 11 years to 1986, and blasting Legend of Zelda for being overrated, choppy, having awkward clipping between levels, and carrying a cliched "save the princess" storyline.

Actually, like I said, this was the first RPG I really got into so many years ago. This review was written with my rose-colored glasses on, and I'm really pointing out what I noticed.

Obviously, old game had old graphics, that's about as much as I wanted to say to that. When I say old, I'm referring to gameplay, too. Games that have done the ATB system, or a unique magic system, that's done them better since then. I'm not saying the game is bad, by any stretch. I'm simply saying the game is old, and that the people who wax poetic about them aren't being fair toward it. It's an old, admittedly stale game.

Older games that have done the distance like Chrono Trigger or FF VI deserve the kind of praise this game gets, and I'm simply saying this game doesn't. I was counter-balancing my now versus my memory of then. If it seems harsh on nostalgia, it's because it was.

So, I suppose I should say, in short...
The gameplay didn't last the test of time, and get's unfairly good reviews for it. Go play something else with better gameplay. Don't let the rose-tint fool you. Gameplay and story survive long before graphics and sound do, but this game doesn't deliver well enough on either for me to recommend. Hope that clears that up.

Anarchemitis:

NewClassic:

image
Looking back now, the game is awfully blocky.

Man, I could make a face like that! It's pathetic!

I'm not sure how sarcastic this is. Um... Hobble bobble?

Leodiensian:
Honestly, I never really got into FF7. I tried, but just couldn't.

To echo the review, you're not missing much. Plot synopses run rampant for this game, given the fandon, so you could learn a lot about the story without ever playing the game. Other than that, the only draw is the music, which exists all over the net as soundtracks and such.

I still like 7 to this day and always will. 6 and 7 are in a dead tie as favorite numerical FF game for me. The visuals don't bother me, not even to this day...I still play NES game in their 8-bit glory after all.

To this day, and even from your comments, I can never understand what the hell is so confusing about the story. I have only played the game once, and after beating it, pondered much about it's events, symbolism, and such to this day. The only thing that ever threw me off track was the notorious "is cloud really a sephiroth clone (literally) or clone (metaphor)?" Aside from that question which took me much pondering, the story was rather coherent, and not the slightest bit confusing. I guess I was one of the few kids that could get it. As for things being not so fleshed out...well sometimes the best part of the story is that which isn't told and is left to the imagination. I know it pisses a lot of people off and is not favorable to do, but the are times where ambiguity works and leaving things up to the audience to ponder can add to the experience as it did for me and many others I know.

None the less it is still one of my favorite stories ever told and I thought it did more right than wrong. i can see why some people may not like it, and the fan base has sullied it's good name over time. Coming from old school final fantasy gaming, I welcomed it and can see what some may have failed to grasp, and why certain people could not get into it.

Great and very objective review. I had the intention of playing through the rest of the game so I could write a review myself. I would have covered the story in more detail, personally, because it can be described as a bit of a Charlie Foxtrot. I would have put quite a bit of focus on the half-hearted environmental sidestory; Mako energy is just a great big metaphor for oil, which is somewhat let down by the fact that the only energy equivalent that is viable is coal energy. Hmmm. [Scratches head with confusion]

Of course, that was all made up for by the fact that the party went into space, and apart from my plot criticisms, you've pretty much covered everything that I would have said about the game. So, well done for reviewing this objectively, and as always, keep it up.

Im going to agree with -Seraph- the story is not that confusing. Sure I can see how it may confuse young kids who cant remmeber what happened a hour ago but there was never any doubt as to the characters history.
However if you are referring to Zack and how every little detail of his past was not explained, why would we want that ?
I get pissed of in movies when we have "jeff goldblum" moments where someone comes out and explains every little detail about every single event, take that into games and it equals another 5 hours of text you have to read.

You really shouldn't mention graphics at all since old game = old graphics. I love Star Ocean II which has 2D sprites. I hate those little punks who said "FFX is much better because it looks nicer"... makes you want to shove a 7' katana thru their breadbasket.

I really liked this game when I was younger, but now I can't stand it. Maybe it's because I've had a taste of quality RPGs(see: anything BioWare) and just can't go back to the JRPG style of playing a book, more or less.

FF7 was good in its time. But, like you said in an earlier comment, it isn't timeless. At least, not for me.

-Seraph-:
I still like 7 to this day and always will. 6 and 7 are in a dead tie as favorite numerical FF game for me. The visuals don't bother me, not even to this day...I still play NES game in their 8-bit glory after all.

To this day, and even from your comments, I can never understand what the hell is so confusing about the story. I have only played the game once, and after beating it, pondered much about it's events, symbolism, and such to this day. The only thing that ever threw me off track was the notorious "is cloud really a sephiroth clone (literally) or clone (metaphor)?" Aside from that question which took me much pondering, the story was rather coherent, and not the slightest bit confusing. I guess I was one of the few kids that could get it. As for things being not so fleshed out...well sometimes the best part of the story is that which isn't told and is left to the imagination. I know it pisses a lot of people off and is not favorable to do, but the are times where ambiguity works and leaving things up to the audience to ponder can add to the experience as it did for me and many others I know.

None the less it is still one of my favorite stories ever told and I thought it did more right than wrong. i can see why some people may not like it, and the fan base has sullied it's good name over time. Coming from old school final fantasy gaming, I welcomed it and can see what some may have failed to grasp, and why certain people could not get into it.

Okay, if you're thinking that the story isn't convoluted, then you've done it wrong. Mostly because no one really knows the answer to this stuff. When I finished the game oh so long ago, I was under the impression that Cloud had picked up Zack's memories somewhere after the Nibelheim incident, and that Cloud was in fact a normal soldier in the hum-drum military. After achieving SOLDIER, he was assigned to take out Sephiroth, who's been around running amok and screwing everything all to hell. Although, digging around the GameFAQs board, it seems like Sephiroth was actually a piece of Jenova.

So, from the understanding point of view, the game has answers to the questions I didn't understand. The spin-offs cleared that up, right? Nope, let's blame plot holes on bad writing disguised as good writing.

So, go ahead and read this plot concept "What If..." After you're done reading, and really wrapped your head around what all of that means, why did all of these convoluted things have to happen, Tarentino style?

Logically speaking, the game makes sense. Look at the plot, though. Does it have to be that confusing or twisty? Can't the story have been simple, or been laid-out in a manner that wasn't confusing or learning about the present while drunkenly clog hopping through the past? Is a piece of writing, thus, as a story, it could've been done better.

Definitely could've been done better.

avykins:
I'm going to agree with -Seraph-, the story is not that confusing. Sure, I can see how it may confuse young kids who can't remember what happened a hour ago, but there was never any doubt as to the characters history.
However if you are referring to Zack, and how every little detail of his past was not explained, why would we want that?
I get pissed off in movies when we have "Jeff Goldblum" moments where someone comes out and explains every little detail about every single event. Take that into games and it equals another 5 hours of text you have to read.

You really shouldn't mention graphics at all since old game = old graphics. I love Star Ocean II which has 2D sprites. I hate those little punks who said "FFX is much better because it looks nicer" makes you want to shove a 7' katana through their breadbasket.

The game looked weird, even for the time. I said as much in the review. I'm not saying the graphics are bad. If you read that, then you're looking at it wrong. Read my words:

The Review:
Graphically speaking, the game is dated, so it looks very bad by today's standards. Even at the time, though, the stark contrast between the pre-rendered backgrounds and the 3D-rendered characters was enough to make any character or situation stick out like a sore thumb. Not always bad, but somewhat killing of immersion and atmosphere.

The graphics didn't look bad then, they just were inconsistent, therefore looked out of place. Make special note of the "Even at the time."

Also, insulting my intelligence by comparing my memory to a "young kid who can't remember what happened an hour ago" is not a good way for me to see the light and suddenly agree with you.

I find this post to be borderline tasteless, for all of the above reasons. As well as hating on gamers just because they have differing opinions from you. Stop insulting me, and putting words in my mouth, then we'll maybe have a civil discussion about this game.

Until then, please don't insult me. It's rude.

First off I did not intend to insult you (so if you took offence I do apologise) I merely meant that for alot of gamers this was their first RPG. I origianlly played it when I was around about 10 so once again I was not insulting you I just meant that kids ususally cant understand it.
I found it twisted myself but then replayed it when I was a little older and understood it perfectly without need of any sequals to clarify things.
Also if we were given a plain stright line boring story then people would criticize it for that. So either way it loses. Besides who really wants a game that leaves you with no questions ? It did wrap up most of the key points as far as I can remember and those tiny few that were left out, well, use your imagination.
As for graphics They never stuck me as look weird or out of place. Star Ocean had beautiful little 2D sprites running around on 3D BG's. Now that looked out of place.
Also I was not hating on you just offering my personal opinion which just happened to differ from yours.

Thank god there is someone else out there who has the same opinion of this game as I did...

Final Fantasy VII is a solid game with some of the worst fans i've ever seen

To counter-act this, the game created two new features that gave it some unique life. First, there's the Limit Break system. Limit Breaks are large-scale, powerful attacks that occasionally appear when the player is low on health. The benefit of this as it could be the saving grace you need to win a battle. The issue of this is that you have to sit through the Limit Breaks. FF VII was notorious for long-scaled attack sequences that couldn't be skipped. And the stronger the limit break, the longer the animation.

That was FF8's system as I recall. FF7 had the Limit Break Bar which charged up when you took damage and remained charged until you used it, replacing the default attack command. Effectively you could charge up your three character's limit breaks on random battles while healing all your guys, finish the random battle with magic and then unlesh all 3 Limits at the very start of a boss battle.

Other than that minor discrepancy of factual knowledge, I concur. After revisiting FF7 on the PC recently to relive my childhood memories, I found myself somewhat disappointed by the whole thing. I can safely say that, for me, FF7 didn't stand the test of time.

This is what I think on the issue:

From the desk of Darth Cal (My Sith Lord alter ego)

"I have alread condemed most of the the lead male protaganists of the Final Fantasy series to permanantly have their Manhood Licenses revoked but the person of Cloud has a specialy cruel fate.

Mr. Cloud I find you guilty of the crime of Cross Dressing, Gayness and most heniously attempting to pass yourself off as hard core. I hear by sentance you to have your genitals put though a VERY RUSTY, FILTHY MEAT GRINDER. (zaps Cloud with Force lighting) TAKE HER AWAY.
(This is actualy a sample from a humor feature I'm working on;)

I remember the first time I beat FFVII, I watched the ending screen (all the stars with the music playing) for about a half hour waiting for something to actually resolve.

The best part of FFVII was the materia system and Tifa's victory pose.

Dont say I did anything wrong. If I understood everything about the game and you or anyone else didn't, well that's how it is. I KNOW by my own experience, that I DO understand the plot and everything that happens in the game. I saw very little plot holes while playing, but if you wanna believe that go ahead, I wont stop you but dont say i got it wrong.

I did the same thing Maet. Waited and waited. Anyways, I'm a huge fan of this game. So huge I recently went to all the trouble of getting the PC port to work on XP. Worth it? Probably not. But I have to admit the graphics didnt pose a serious threat to my immersion, even today. But maybe my rose tinted glasses are coke-bottle thick.

Shadow88, I dont think Cloud was ever really "hard core". He is a whiny, cowardly confused and broken man for most of the game, before he finds himself. Always hiding behind the more dominant personalities of others. He is flawed, and this is what makes him likable. I hate characters who are too perfect.

FearTheTruth:
I did the same thing Maet. Waited and waited. Anyways, I'm a huge fan of this game. So huge I recently went to all the trouble of getting the PC port to work on XP. Worth it? Probably not. But I have to admit the graphics didnt pose a serious threat to my immersion, even today. But maybe my rose tinted glasses are coke-bottle thick.

Shadow88, I dont think Cloud was ever really "hard core". He is a whiny, cowardly confused and broken man for most of the game, before he finds himself. Always hiding behind the more dominant personalities of others. He is flawed, and this is what makes him likable. I hate characters who are too perfect.

I never said he was. Please reread the post

i still thin FF7 should continue to hold its place as the best RPG of all time while agreeing with the OPs opinion to a large extent. the thing that he fails to take into concideration is the just 'jeewizz' factor of the game for alot of us. my very first RPG experiacne was on the old NES with i think it was FF3 or maybe 2? hell i dont know i only really recall spending days trying to find some way into this vally from the world map that and little metal blurp or blurbs or something, you fought the green versions at level 1 but they metal cousince were only 1 HP , you missed almost every swing, they allways ran after your first attack and you got a stupid ammount of EXP if you ever did get lucky enough to kill them. kinda like those pot things in the end of FF7.

anyhow with that version of FF being more or less my benchmark for RPGs you can see the shock and awe that FF7 was. for me its the first real example of a 'modern' RPG. with great depth, a story that is more than 'see spot, see spot run', an equipment system that is far more than upgrading from a rusty sword to a bronze sword and eventualy too a steel one, and a battle system taht was more than mashing the attack button or once in a while trying to run (though admitedly not much more but why fix something that isnt really broken). for me it was the first RPG that created a world i could get into from spending hours down at the beach trying to get a peek at pixle boobs, to becoming a world famious bird racer/breeder even their version of disney land was great, who WOULDNT like to visit that place for real?

sure loads of games have been done since then and have been done much better, but when asked what i think is the best RPG of all time i still say FF7. though ill add that with the choices since then it would be hard to hold that opinion NOW by someone totaly new to RPGs.

all the things that you list as flaws i count as part of its charm. one could argue that the Roman Coliseum is a pile of rocks that are nothing but a crumbling mess taking up space that could be put to a better use. one mans trash is another treasure though. FF7 holds a place in MY heart akin to my first Kiss, or my First time having sex, or my first time driving a car. sure the car ws a wreck, and the chick was bone ugly (for the sex and the kiss) but its still special. i think you will find alot of people think this way.

I dunno, glad you voiced your opinion, but really, I think it does a disservice to the game to make people not even want to play it. Not everybody is a fanboy, and anybody can agree FF7 is a unique experience for even this generation of gamers. People should try it, form their own opinions, and move from there. The people that really loathe this game are in the minority, though that may change over time, this game is a classic. Undeniably.

And, I will say, with age and nostalgia, things sometimes seem better than they were long ago. But, play this game, with no pretenses, no expectations of graphics, draw distance and cell shading, and maybe you won't be dissapointed. Just sayin'.

While you have an interesting review here, NewClassic, renting FF7 is not the way to go. This is a game that will consume A LOT of time, and renting will prove to be unsatisfying for the player.

Looking back now, the game is awfully blocky.
Looking back now, the game is awfully blocky.

Hey look. A Mii.

Great review. I've never played FF7, since it came out when I was four and my brother's description of the game as "grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, boss, die, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, repeat" is a bit off-putting.

I've got bundles of music from various FF games though.

avykins:
First off I did not intend to insult you (so if you took offence I do apologise) I merely meant that for alot of gamers this was their first RPG. I origianlly played it when I was around about 10 so once again I was not insulting you I just meant that kids ususally cant understand it.
I found it twisted myself but then replayed it when I was a little older and understood it perfectly without need of any sequals to clarify things.
Also if we were given a plain stright line boring story then people would criticize it for that. So either way it loses. Besides who really wants a game that leaves you with no questions ? It did wrap up most of the key points as far as I can remember and those tiny few that were left out, well, use your imagination.
As for graphics They never stuck me as look weird or out of place. Star Ocean had beautiful little 2D sprites running around on 3D BG's. Now that looked out of place.
Also I was not hating on you just offering my personal opinion which just happened to differ from yours.

Okay, I'll admit, I've been fighting a cold for that past few days, and I get irritated as hell when I'm sick. I've had a short fuse and a hair trigger for the past few days, so I'm a little snappy. I'm sorry, I should stop reading posts with rage-tinted glasses.

You have my apologies.

Amnestic:
Other than that minor discrepancy of factual knowledge, I concur. After revisiting FF7 on the PC recently to relive my childhood memories, I found myself somewhat disappointed by the whole thing. I can safely say that, for me, FF7 didn't stand the test of time.

Whoops. That's what I get for playing both of these games in rapid succession. I should fix that up a bit.

Shadow88:
This is what I think on the issue:

From the desk of Darth Cal (My Sith Lord alter ego)

"I have alread condemed most of the the lead male protaganists of the Final Fantasy series to permanantly have their Manhood Licenses revoked but the person of Cloud has a specialy cruel fate.

Mr. Cloud I find you guilty of the crime of Cross Dressing, Gayness and most heinously attempting to pass yourself off as hard core. I hear by sentence you to have your genitals put though a VERY RUSTY, FILTHY MEAT GRINDER. (Zaps Cloud with Force Lighting) TAKE HER AWAY.
(This is actually a sample from a humor feature I'm working on;)

No offense, but this reads like the article as written by the "Oh God, Homophobic" High School Football Team right after a nice steamy shower and lots of butt-patting. Downplay the masculinity attacks, they read as if written from inside the closet.

Maet:
I remember the first time I beat FFVII, I watched the ending screen (all the stars with the music playing) for about a half hour waiting for something to actually resolve.

The best part of FFVII was the materia system and Tifa's victory pose.

To be fair, about half of the setups in the game were cleanly resolved, although the other half left me wishing they would have at least given the player more than a few passing mentions.

-Seraph-:
Don't say I did anything wrong. If I understood everything about the game and you or anyone else didn't, well that's how it is. I KNOW by my own experience, that I DO understand the plot and everything that happens in the game. I saw very little plot holes while playing, but if you wanna believe that go ahead, I won't stop you but don't say I got it wrong.

That was the rage-tinted glasses. Otherwise, I do think the writing needs to be cleaned up, and told in a less irritating manner. It could be done in a non-linear, but still clear and concise manner. Instead, it seems like it's meant to be unclear. Just my opinion, I won't disagree with you, as you're very right.

Wyatt:
I still think FF7 should continue to hold its place as the best RPG of all time while agreeing with the OP's opinion to a large extent. the thing that he fails to take into consideration is the just 'jeewizz' factor of the game for a lot of us. my very first RPG experience was on the old NES with i think it was FF3 or maybe 2? Hell, I don't know i only really recall spending days trying to find some way into this valley from the world map that and little metal blurp or blurbs or something, you fought the green versions at level 1, but their metal cousin were only 1 HP , you missed almost every swing, they always ran after your first attack and you got a stupid amount of EXP if you ever did get lucky enough to kill them. kinda like those pot things in the end of FF7.

Anyhow with that version of FF being more or less my benchmark for RPGs you can see the shock and awe that FF7 was. for me its the first real example of a 'modern' RPG. With great depth, a story that is more than 'see spot, see spot run', an equipment system that is far more than upgrading from a rusty sword to a bronze sword and eventually too a steel one, and a battle system that was more than mashing the attack button or once in a while trying to run (though admittedly not much more but why fix something that isn't really broken). For me, it was the first RPG that created a world I could get into from spending hours down at the beach trying to get a peek at pixel boobs, to becoming a world famous bird racer/breeder even their version of Disney Land was great. Who wouldn't like to visit that place for real?

Sure, loads of games have been done since then and have been done much better, but when asked what i think is the best RPG of all time i still say FF7. though ill add that with the choices since then it would be hard to hold that opinion NOW by someone totaly new to RPGs.

all the things that you list as flaws i count as part of its charm. one could argue that the Roman Coliseum is a pile of rocks that are nothing but a crumbling mess taking up space that could be put to a better use. one mans trash is another treasure though. FF7 holds a place in MY heart akin to my first Kiss, or my First time having sex, or my first time driving a car. sure the car ws a wreck, and the chick was bone ugly (for the sex and the kiss) but its still special. i think you will find alot of people think this way.

Trying not to sound pretentious, but:
 Best adj. - Of the highest quality, excellence, or standing.

Best means just that, better than everything else. You disagree with that by saying "I say it's the best" (first bolded part) and later saying "later games are done better." Perhaps you were going for best RPG experience. But the experience, and the game itself, are two different things. I review on a game's merit, not how I felt 10 years ago when I first played it.

Besides, if you want to talk experience, then the game that did me in for amazing would have to be Earthbound, for the SNES. Other options include Fallout 2, Chrono Trigger, and FF VI. These all came before FF VII, and gave me a better gaming experience, as well as gaming merit. This varies from person to person, so I can't say you're wrong with your experience, although looking at the root wording, my point still stands.

Still, I think you're onto something. Props for showing a good eye for alternatives, which I rarely see these days.

chronobreak:
I dunno, glad you voiced your opinion, but really, I think it does a disservice to the game to make people not even want to play it. Not everybody is a fanboy, and anybody can agree FF7 is a unique experience for even this generation of gamers. People should try it, form their own opinions, and move from there. The people that really loathe this game are in the minority, though that may change over time, this game is a classic. Undeniably.

And, I will say, with age and nostalgia, things sometimes seem better than they were long ago. But, play this game, with no pretenses, no expectations of graphics, draw distance and cel-shading, and maybe you won't be disappointed. Just sayin'.

I think you missed the last part. The game isn't bad, I'd dare say it was even good, for it's time. By modern standards, it's still a decent game. I suggest everyone still play this game, I just warn them not to buy into the hype. Why is everyone reading my review so negatively?

Lord Krunk:
While you have an interesting review here, NewClassic, renting FF7 is not the way to go. This is a game that will consume A LOT of time, and renting will prove to be unsatisfying for the player.

You bring up a good point, but I think what I was trying to say with "Rent" is make it a trial by fire. Instead of coughing up $30-$80 on eBay to get this game, they should rent it to see if they like it. If not, then they're only out $5 or so bucks, if so, then they can decide whether or not it's worth $30+ to them.

Novajam:
Great review. I've never played FF7, since it came out when I was four and my brother's description of the game as "grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, boss, die, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, repeat" is a bit off-putting.

I've got bundles of music from various FF games though.

I'd say give it a shot. It's not a bad game, although it's not great. Just try hard not to get caught up in the hype, as if you listen to fandom, you'll be very disappointed by the final product.

What happened over the last few years where it's not cool to be a fan of games anymore? It's like a scarlet letter, saying you love a game that's heralded by most people to be a great game, and people write you off as a fanboy. What gives? If I say how much I love Bioshock, it's the only FPS I like, I'm a fanboy and therefore my opinion is moot? I think the whole thing may be a product of the console wars, exclusive titles, and whatnot. What do you think?

Also, I did like the review. Being an FF7 "fanboy" myself, I always like to hear people's unique tastes on FF7's unique experience.

Honestly, I was a little disappointed with this thread. I went into this review thinking 'Oh, he's going to give a synopsis on FF7, then bash all of the sequels'. Because the title says 'Taking Fandom Too Far', which in a way loosely translates to 'I'm going to talk about the FF7 spinoff games and how they're all created because of the Fandom'.

As for the original FF7, I have nothing against it. I can pick up that game every ten years and play it with absolutely no difficulty (exception to the PC version, being full of bugs, glitches, crashes, and all that). I had no problems understanding the plot. The game was done right, and even the minigames are still fun to enjoy. Back in the day when the game first came out, it was amazing. Many people made their PS1 purchase because of that game.

I've never really been into RPGs, but as a video game nerd I still no the plot synopsis of this game and have seen the movie. I just never understood watching characters stand in lines and attack other enemies attack. Although, I still say Doom is the best thing to happen to gaming ever.

chronobreak:
What happened over the last few years where it's not cool to be a fan of games anymore? It's like a scarlet letter, saying you love a game that's heralded by most people to be a great game, and people write you off as a fanboy. What gives? If I say how much I love Bioshock, it's the only FPS I like, I'm a fanboy and therefore my opinion is moot? I think the whole thing may be a product of the console wars, exclusive titles, and whatnot. What do you think?

Excellent point. I completely agree.

For me, Final Fantasy VII remains the pinnacle of Japanese role-playing.

Most of the OP's criticisms are rather silly (blocky graphics?) but the one which alarmed me the most was the idea that unresolved narrative is by default a weakness. On the contrary, creating a believable and compelling game world is exactly what gives you the liberty to leave loose ends for the viewer/player to think about. The core plot itself isn't confusing or convoluted at all.

chronobreak:
What happened over the last few years where it's not cool to be a fan of games anymore? It's like a scarlet letter, saying you love a game that's heralded by most people to be a great game, and people write you off as a fanboy. What gives? If I say how much I love Bioshock, it's the only FPS I like, I'm a fanboy and therefore my opinion is moot? I think the whole thing may be a product of the console wars, exclusive titles, and whatnot. What do you think?

Also, I did like the review. Being an FF7 "fanboy" myself, I always like to hear people's unique tastes on FF7's unique experience.

While I'd love to discuss this point in length, this is neither the time nor place. This is a review of the game Final Fantasty VII, not a review of FF VII's fans and experience. As a game, the game isn't the grand epic masterpiece people make of it.

It's a good point, but I not once give the fanboys a hard time during this review. If you're reading it like that, then you've misinterpreted my words.

Quaidis:
Honestly, I was a little disappointed with this thread. I went into this review thinking 'Oh, he's going to give a synopsis on FF7, then bash all of the sequels'. Because the title says 'Taking Fandom Too Far', which in a way loosely translates to 'I'm going to talk about the FF7 spinoff games and how they're all created because of the Fandom'.

As for the original FF7, I have nothing against it. I can pick up that game every ten years and play it with absolutely no difficulty (exception to the PC version, being full of bugs, glitches, crashes, and all that). I had no problems understanding the plot. The game was done right, and even the minigames are still fun to enjoy. Back in the day when the game first came out, it was amazing. Many people made their PS1 purchase because of that game.

Read the above. I'm about about reviewing games, not their fans or fanboys.

harhol:

chronobreak:
What happened over the last few years where it's not cool to be a fan of games anymore? It's like a scarlet letter, saying you love a game that's heralded by most people to be a great game, and people write you off as a fanboy. What gives? If I say how much I love Bioshock, it's the only FPS I like, I'm a fanboy and therefore my opinion is moot? I think the whole thing may be a product of the console wars, exclusive titles, and whatnot. What do you think?

Excellent point. I completely agree.

For me, Final Fantasy VII remains the pinnacle of Japanese role-playing.

Most of the OP's criticisms are rather silly (blocky graphics?) but the one which alarmed me the most was the idea that unresolved narrative is by default a weakness. On the contrary, creating a believable and compelling game world is exactly what gives you the liberty to leave loose ends for the viewer/player to think about. The core plot itself isn't confusing or convoluted at all.

Video games, RPGs especially, are long narratives. You're asking the player to invest hours, often spanned across several days, on an emotional and personal attachment to the characters and their plight. As such, it's a form of stress on the player/reader. That's what makes Catharsis such a powerful force, especially when talking about any form of interactive entertainment. As such, forcing a player to build a certain level, and leaving it unresolved is not a sign of good or compelling writing. Leaving morals and metaphors for the player to ponder, sure. That's subtle, that's subtext. Leaving actual events and goings-on in question is a pure and simple no-no, at least in my book. I invest time in a narrative. When I do, I want it to have a strong resolution. Considering each FF game has a simple opening point and ending point, even if said title had sequels, then it should resolve the issues. FF VII, in my mind, did not.

As such, it fails as the narrative it is trying to be. Perhaps not to you, but to me, it dropped the ball. Game over, man, game over.

Also, as far as the blocky graphics go, it was a single, simple statement. I didn't wax poetic about how bad the graphics were (past tense), I mention how bad the graphics are (present tense). The game doesn't look good anymore, that's all I'm saying. I've explained this about 3 times now...

Also, sadly, de-railing my own thread, I think this needs to be addressed before I'm hammered by more fans of this title...

Fandom: Prose and Cons
Here's the deal, folks. You've asked, and now I answer. I won't hate you for being a fan of FF VII, otherwise I would be a hypocrite. If you want to hear me wax poetic about a series, then look up my reviews for Earthbound and Mother 3. No one is immune to fandom, or liking of a series. This game, though, seems to spawn the most defensive and aggressive players I have ever seen from a series. This thread alone has gotten countless people to pick my review apart simply because I did it to their favorite game. Personally, I feel that it's fair, so I try to stay calm about it.

But here's the biggest problem, people think I'm fanboy bashing. Hold the phone, folks. Someone point out to me, since I clearly missed it, where I say "Fanboys are the scourge of existence"? Go ahead, I'll wait.

In the title? "Taking Fandom Too Far?" I'll stand behind that statement. People are defending this as "The Best RPG of All Time" while admitting that there are better. As such, the fandom has painted this game as something it is not. As such, I feel that this is a statement that has stepped over the line, and gone too far.

Other than that, though, where? Nowhere? All I say is the game is too hyped for what it is. It's a simple, mostly fun RPG that has a complicated narrative and several identifiable characters.

I have no crimson slash against fans. I have nothing against people who are devoted to this game. I'm simply saying the things people say about this game aren't entirely accurate. My problem with "fanboys" is that they just argue without facts.

I've got nothing against fans of the series, just the unfair praise they give it.

That is all.

digging through tombs to unearth vampires that join your party

A basement is not a tomb!

NewClassic:
Someone point out to me, since I clearly missed it, where I say "Fanboys are the scourge of existence"? Go ahead, I'll wait. All I say is the game is too hyped for what it is.

My issue is not with your particular viewpoint but with the recent torrent of backlash against FFVII. Perhaps that explains my own personal (over)reaction to the review. Over the past two or three years it's gone from being a highly revered, arguably untouchable gaming landmark to being the go-to whipping boy for RPGs, Japan, fans and even games in general. Simply expressing an appreciation for FFVII is about the most unfashionable thing you can do right now. Picking on FFVII is so de rigueur that I can't help but greet another critique with a weary sigh. Sorry.

Another thing that annoys me is that it's held to different, far harsher standards. Rather than being judged for what it did at the time (like every other game), it's instead judged according to modern standards. The result is that it's frequently criticized for upholding clichés and trends that it popularized! The "emo" protagonist archetype is the obvious example.

edit: and the title of the thread, whether intentional or not, is flame bait.

NewClassic, you either didn't read a thing I said or have your head too deep into the thought that every time 'fandom' is mentioned, it must automatically mean fan or 'something directly about the fan, him/herself'. You replied with "I review games, not fans" when my post was, "Why did you make a thread about Fandom, but only review the one game, when there are 20,000 terrible game-milking sequels you could have gone into more entertaining reviews over?" I merely stated that, by the title, I thought you were going to review Dirge, Crisis, and the others. After all, we've seen many reviews of FF7; what you said in your review was either nothing new over the last 10 years, or over-exaggerated versions of nothing new. If you reviewed the other games as a whole in possible retrospective of the first, I believe it would have received a better reaction by those on this board.

harhol:

chronobreak:
What happened over the last few years where it's not cool to be a fan of games anymore? It's like a scarlet letter, saying you love a game that's heralded by most people to be a great game, and people write you off as a fanboy. What gives? If I say how much I love Bioshock, it's the only FPS I like, I'm a fanboy and therefore my opinion is moot? I think the whole thing may be a product of the console wars, exclusive titles, and whatnot. What do you think?

Excellent point. I completely agree.

For me, Final Fantasy VII remains the pinnacle of Japanese role-playing.

Most of the OP's criticisms are rather silly (blocky graphics?) but the one which alarmed me the most was the idea that unresolved narrative is by default a weakness. On the contrary, creating a believable and compelling game world is exactly what gives you the liberty to leave loose ends for the viewer/player to think about. The core plot itself isn't confusing or convoluted at all.

As a matter of fact, it's not an unfair criticism to talk about the blocky graphics in this review, even comparing them to the standards of the time. The problem with the graphics in FF7 was that they were of very inconsistent quality. You had beautiful FMVs juxtaposed with crude and anatomically confusing 3D bodies.

When I review graphics in games, I review them with as much reference to graphics of the time as I do the graphics of today, and looking at the standards of Gran Turismo, a surprisingly high amount of power could be obtained from its 33MHz MIPS core and its 4MB of RAM.

RAKtheUndead:
The problem with the graphics in FF7 was that they were of very inconsistent quality. You had beautiful FMVs juxtaposed with crude and anatomically confusing 3D bodies.

Sign of the times though, surely? Unnecessarily lavish multi-million dollar FMVs were en vogue. Tons of games had them, everything from Resident Evil 2 to Abe's Odyssey to Chrono Cross to Tomb Raider. The character models were pretty ugly but this is 1997 we're talking about. At least they went with the bright & colourful route, as opposed to the muddy & pixellated one.

AceDiamond:

digging through tombs to unearth vampires that join your party

A basement is not a tomb!

There were other coffins and it was in a separate room which you had to get a key to access as I recall, while the basement itself was not a tomb, the room which contained the vampire could be defined as such! ;D I know your comment was mostly in jest, but I thought I'd respond anyway.

Well if asked to choose between old Active Time Battle or the new diablolike un-FF battlesystem, the old one wins 100-0. Also materia system was something that later Final Fantasys couldnt overcome (unless you really wanted to see Yuna hit for 99999).

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked