Due to the increasing amount of information and entertainment put out on a daily basis, I personally feel as if the concept behind there being any form of entertainment that “must” be consumed to be rather foolish. I believe that I railed against the very notion of there being a book compiled of 1001 video games, albums, books, movies, and even recordings. I understand that there is a form of shorthand that comes from referencing materials, but that does not mean they need to do anything but be aware of these materials, not necessarily consume them all, as that would take 1,001 years to go through the past 101 years of entertainment if you were locked in a room and did not need to eat or sleep. Also, I don’t think that Final Fantasy VII should be on that list, as I think the game is trash.
Final Fantasy VII Review
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), PSN, Playstation
Developer/Publisher: Squaresoft/Square Enix
I trust just about everybody reading this review is familiar with FF7’s core plot. Cloud Strife is a guy with spiky hair and a sword right out of Berserk while not having the build of its main character, and is oddly named leader of a ragtag group of freedom fighters’ attempt to stop a massive corporation from destroying the planet, with the game’s well known silver haired antagonist trying to do the same for reasons I forget because I was bored by the time they came up in the story. However, that very notion of forgetting the plot and being very empty about many of the details this game tossed around throughout did strike me as odd, especially when you consider I am more than a little bit familiar with the plot from simply learning about the game before playing it.
I’ll start with the characters, as the cast of nine party members are very recognizable, mostly due to the impact the game had upon release to the point it is often used to represent the entire series. I forget the name of the test that asks one to describe a character without mentioning their profession or physical attributes, and I honestly struggle to pick out three for every single character, as they all do come across as very one-note. Even with the main character I can’t figure out their personality, despite how he not only has a mental breakdown, identity crisis, suffers the loss of many people he loved, and crossdresses in an attempt to seduce a sleazy fat man.
In fact, I do have problems with just about all of those occurrences as plot points, and seeing as how I am allowed by all definitions to spoil the crap out of this game, I’ll describe them in detail. Thirty hours after Cloud explains his backstory, he reveals that it was actually his own mental fabrication of events, which he ended up creating as a mental guard for himself as he viewed himself as a failure and to a certain degree, utterly worthless. However, outside of these scenes he does not come across as this tortured soul, and only comes across as somebody who is either not too well written, or emotionally strange.
Aerith’s death is something that is often cited as among the saddest moments this medium has offered, but outside of the scene and on Disc 2, the girl is hardly ever mentioned and there is no mourning for her after a boss is inserted for little reason aside from it being the end of a dungeon. Hell, Barrett at least moans a bit about Biggs, Wedge, and Jessica dying, but Cloud does not seem to even think about the death of a character who I believe in my version was suppose to be his love interest. I would have probably forgotten about her as well except for how her death does leave an empty slot in the character screen. Well, at least until the very end where she becomes a martyr after being forgotten for several hours.
However, I do suppose that it is very possible that the most intimate thing Aerith and Cloud did was dress Cloud up as a lady for a scenario that has next to nothing to do with the game as a hole, and could easily be replaced with just about anything else but screwing around in an environment and looking around for the best materials to make Cloud look pretty, which does involve him breaking into a woman’s restroom after getting into a hot tub with a bunch of wrestlers. A concept I find to be more than a little entertaining, but is one of the many aspects of that would and probably should be gutted out if a remake were ever announced.
In fact, I would actually request for a lot of the storytelling to be changed, as it was hard to recall why this group of ragtag individuals included a fortune telling robot on a stuffed animal which could somehow summon dragons with extreme ease, and a genetically mutated red wolf whose very existence is confusing to me. Hell, the entire world of FF7 does not strike me as well assembled, as few of the towns, excluding the rarely visited central town Midgar, seem to have any proper value aside from scenery while locations are meshed together. Why would a slum be the only way into a theme park and who’s build a town next to monster filled mountains? Hell, how are there tourist destinations in this world if vehicles are not only rare but likely useless when there are birds that could slice tires off from ten feet away? Oh, but whole I suppose one could just assume that a woman with little muscle mass and California bags o’ sunshine large enough to cause back problems, can punch demigods to death in 1997, but in this day such an idea shows its lack of foresight and also its datedness.
And boy of boy would a lot of things be utterly inexcusable for a game released this day and age, which this was albeit a slapdash remastering. However, the core of the game, which is primarily based on the active time battle system from what I tentatively refer to as the franchise’s high point, does remain a rather enjoyable system that never gets too busy due to the party of three characters, all of whom are equipped with a limit break bar that ideally gives the characters an edge when things get dicey. However, right when I get to that part, before describing the material or the many minigames this game boasts, I have to address one very common problem I had with the game that went into everything from raising abilities to a higher level, to being able to get certain items.
I do realize that this idea might strike some people the wrong way, but I consider it to be a failure of the game designer when the player is mindlessly mashing a simple situational input in order to obtain something. Throw that in with mindless running around and a quantity of secretive bullcrap that can only be gathered through a strategy guide, web forum, or strenuous note taking of text from a character who is difficult to even find, and I believe I do not need to dedicate a page to explaining in great detail why Chocobo Breeding is wretched. I mean, other than how much running around and resetting that must be done in order to get maybe one really good ability.
I will, however, go into more detail about the Materia system, perfect multicolored spheres filled with accessible magic, but is seldom used by the population of the world because of reasons. While I do like the idea of equipping them to weapons and armor as the game progresses as they do grow with you, some of the numbers for growing Materia hover around baffling when you consider how it scales through the game. The worst offender was a group of mushrooms that I encountered when my party was level 25 and offered me 192 AP, while near the end when my party was level 70, getting 400 AP was a rare treat. The only hope of getting something that required 35,000 AP for a single level to grow was to go to one island with sand worms, equip an item that comes from an obscure location and is extracted through an obscure means, equip gear with higher growth rates, and then run into a chunk of the map where Cloud moves just by holding down, then hold A through the battle to win. It was a soulless and mundane act that I did simply due to my completionist nature which this game, even beyond the virtue of having worthless acts like this, encourages due to either a lack of foresight, poor number placement, or just flat out incompetence.
It’s not even like I had much of a reason to do these acts in the main game, as before I decided to drop the game before hitting the 70 hour mark I was more or less unstoppable with a large reserve of magic and the ability to easily siphon large chunks of MP from any foe. Hell, every character excluding Vincent and Tifa were doing 5,000+ damage with their basic attack in a game with a four digit damage cap. The only thing that gave me any trouble were optional bosses who require a very detailed strategy in order to defeat, which the main game uses about as often as it uses elongated 3D battle animations in order to show off what it invested $45 million into. And that number is almost comical when actually looking at the game nowadays, as I genuinely believe it is the worst looking game I own.
I mentioned how I was fine with the battle models, but the actual overworld models, the most commonly used representations of the characters and all characters in this narrative heavy game, are low poly poorly articulated characters that would be considered wretched if shown today in just about any capacity. From visible joints to low textured faces and flat out bad physical proportions, I cannot believe that anybody actually formed a connection with these ugly models. It’s not even the case of their simplicity, Thomas Was Alone had rectangles for protagonists they were loads more appealing than the model from FF7. Not even the well composed and undoubtedly work intensive backgrounds hold up as their original files were thrown out, leaving behind these overly pixelated backdrops that gel terribly with the clean cut 3D models they are placed on. Even navigating these areas and figuring out what you are looking at is a challenge at times, as missing, say, a path can be far easier than it has any right to be.
But surely the music provided would serve as something of a high point for this series, even if it is in Medi form from what I’ve heard. Well, FF7’s soundtrack was used in such a manner that I now find just about every track from it to be annoying on some level. From the many event themes to the simple battle theme that became the most obnoxious track I have had to listen to a couple hundred, hell, probably thousand times in a short period of time. Whatever merits the score has, and I am hardly going to bad mouth Nobuo Uematsu, actually playing Final Fantasy VII made me want to actively avoid hearing its music. In fact, in the weeks that have passed since playing the game I have found the remixes I possessed of the score to be unlistenable due to the crap experience tied to them.
Although, I suppose I do want to distance myself from just about everything this game has to offer. While I will not by any stretch of the imagination say that people were or are wrong to like Final Fantasy VII, it has stood the test of time horrendously. From just flat out looking at it to its boasting or very archaic practices in game expansion that come across as occasionally vile busywork left me only playing to test my own patience and see how well the game would stand after I examine most of its orifices. It is an ugly, bloated, and amazingly repetitious experience that I should have put down after the first disc, but nope, I just had to go through the catacombs of hogwash and aggravation that followed along suit with the next elongated dungeon. Even now, over a week after I finished the game, I have noticed what little good graces I had to say about the game slip, as it is growing into full blown hatred. I don’t normally say it, but Final Fantasy VII is one of the few games I consider to be a full and absolute waste of time for any unfortunate individual who picks this game up for reasons beyond pitiful nostalgia.
Meager (3/10)The title is on the pitiable side of things, as it is where the starting intentions, whatever they may have been, have apparently gone very wrong over the course of development. Resulting in a game that, if it could emote, would be sad.