15 years later: still playing Final Fantasy VII

Boy do I feel old writing FFVII was released 15 years ago. I remember watching a review on TV and I feel like it’s not so long ago. Clearly I’m mistaken.

When I first got to play it, I must have been about 12 and I remember that the game seemed to be extremely complex, not only because of its fighting system, but also the exploration of the Midgar, which was rather chaotic. Since I could only managed part of the features, the difficulty was rather high: I had no idea about summons, I did not realise you could change limit breaks, the active time battle was a new concept, etc.

I thought that achieving the perfect game was as good as impossible: remember that the Internet did not have as many resources at the time (truth is, we did not even have a computer at home).

Playing it now, I have, thank God, a much better control over the game and it’s not that hard to beat provided you make the best of protective spells, use the right equipment, come up with the right materia combinations, etc.

Even though the story is still very much enjoyable after all this time, I find the graphics to have become rather uneasy on the eye. Granted, it was one of the first games to use 3D and it was a revolution at the time, however I find Suikoden II for instance to be aging much more gracefully.

The other negative point is the time you’ll find yourself spending maxing out your materia. It’s extremely long and repetitive, possibly the worst magic system of any Final Fantasy. Acquiring a gold chocobo is also a long and pricey task, not to mention a rather obscure one. If it was not for online guides, I would have never come to get even a green or blue chocobo.

Another major turn down is the horrible localisation and sometimes translation – there was no quality control in 1997 at Squaresoft.

Final_Fantasy_VII_Charaktere

The group of characters is however one of the most appealing ones: Cloud, Barret, Tifa, Aeris and Red XIII make a solid core, stronger than most games have ever offered. The fighting system is also pleasant and fun, quite fortunately since a lot of fighting is necessary to boost that materia.

Final Fantasy VII leaves you replete if you go through everything it has to offer. As a result, I don’t play it so often; once done, I can’t take anymore of it, unlike Suikoden I and II, FF IX or Wild Arms, which I am happy to play again every now and then.

All in all FFVII is still a classic opus that most players consider one of the best games ever. When to a relaunched version?

Credit image: de.finalfantasy.wikia

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About John Barré

English & German into French translator. Interested in languages, literature, video games, localisation & translation - among many other topics.
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4 Responses to 15 years later: still playing Final Fantasy VII

  1. gamerwill says:

    I’d argue that the junction system from FF8 is worse than materia, but only because mass drawing spells has to be Square’s worst idea of fun ever.

    • John Barré says:

      True, the junction system is a very, very repetitive way of making you steal for what looks like forever. The materia system would actually be fun-ish if they had not make them need so many APs!

  2. Hecubus says:

    I still love playing FFVII, and while I agree with you that the materia system and chocobo raising is a bit complicated and time consuming, it works for the game. I love the story (I still cry at the death of Aeris), and love each character. It’s still a great game!

  3. Pingback: The importance of intuitive gameplay | John Barre

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