Final Fantasy VII Review: Do the Shinra Shuffle!

Posted: 12/19/2012 in Video Game Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

Final Fantasy VII Review: Do the Shinra Shuffle!

Click “Shinra Shuffle” for an awesome song to accompany this review!

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The heroes of Final Fantasy VII. From left to right, Cait Sith, Aerith Gainsborough, Vincent Valentine, Yuffie Kisaragi, Red XIII, Cloud Strife, Cid Highwind, Tifa Lockhart, Barret Wallace.

Final Fantasy VII was the reigning champion of RPGs when it released in 1997. It helped make the Playstation brand what it is today, and revolutionized 3D gaming technology. Unlike a fine bottle of wine, this game does not grow better with time. It has aged the worst out of the whole series. Despite aging problems, it still continues to be the most polarizing game of the series. When released, the old school Final Fantasy fans who loved the sprites of Final Fantasy I-VI found the new 3D graphics to be appalling and the futuristic setting blasphemous to the series while new gamers had trouble falling in love with the NES and SNES console games enjoyed the 3D graphics and more sci-fi versions of the Final Fantasy world.

What both sides agree on now, however, is that Final Fantasy VII looks like garbage. The once extraordinary graphics now look blockier than Legos, and mistranslations, missing instructions, and broken English run rampant. That said, the game can still be loved for what it is: one of the best Final Fantasy games made and one that fans continue to clamor for a remake for, despite Square Enix basically saying that it would never happen.

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Originally (and furthermore known) as “Aerith” in the Japanese release, the name “Aeris” appeared in the Western translations.

Final Fantasy VII stars Cloud Strife, ex-SOLDIER turned mercenary, as he helps the group AVALANCHE, which can be described as a cross between a terrorist organization and the Environmental Protection Agency, save the planet from the evil Shinra Corporation who is literally sucking the Life(stream) out of it and turning it into an energy called Mako. Along the way, they square (no pun intended) off against Sephiroth, the strongest SOLDIER in Shinra’s history, and everything he can throw at them. One of the biggest moments of Final Fantasy (and video games as a whole) history occurs in Final Fantasy VII, and although it has been spoiled like three week old bananas by the internet, I still believe that it should remain secret for new gamers, and equate it to ruining Fight Club for a first time watcher.
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Final Fantasy VII’s battle system is an improvement on its predecessors. The Active Time Battle system returns, with little noticeable changes. Limit Breaks are back from Final Fantasy VI, but this time they are much more accessible and overall more useful. Magic, summon, and ability customization takes place in the form of Materia, which basically grants the user special powers. The weapons and armor of characters contains Materia slots, and the limit of each expands as more powerful equipment is found throughout the game, allowing for greater character customization. The majority of the sidequests in Final Fantasy VII relate to wrapping up character arcs and finding powerful new weapons, and fighting the Weapons.

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While not the first Final Fantasy game I’ve played (that honor goes to my favorite, Final Fantasy IX), Final Fantasy VII was the first I beat, and is still one of the best, despite its aging problems. For many years it was almost ridiculous hard to come across and play, but with the advent of downloadable media, there’s absolutely no reason to not pick it up off the Playstation Network or Square Enix’s website. This is one of the best games in the world, and you’ll love it. I guarantee it.

Score: 9/10

By: Keith Crandell Jr.

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