The Never Ending Realm
Final Fantasy VII Review By Samuel Rivera
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Even on the rise of Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, and Final Fantasy X. Final Fantasy VII stands tall as the best Final Fantasy to date and to some degree maybe the best RPG ever made. This is the game that injected life and popularized in the US and the world the RPG genre.

As a literary work, Final Fantasy VII is magnificent! You play as Cloud a mercenary hired by AVALANCHE, (a rebel faction trying to take down the powerful Shinra Inc. Empire), to destroy one of the Mako reactors in Midgar. The Mako reactors suck Mako out of the planet, and then coverts it to energy to power up cities and factories, however, Mako is the life of the planet, so the planet is slowly dying, that's why AVALANCHE is trying to destroy the reactors. This is the introduction to one of the most amazing Sci-fi stories you will ever experience in your life.

The story is full twists and shocks, the story develops in such way that it leads the player to make assumptions about the plot at one point and then maybe an hour or two down the stretch shocks the player by presenting an event totally unexpected. Perhaps it is because the characters' past is so complicated. Much like the great Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII's story focuses on each and every single one of the characters' past. In fact you will want to play this game at least twice to understand the plot better.

Strong Villains have always been important to me, and I am pleased to say that Final Fantasy VII has the best villain in any RPG I have played (And I have played lots of them). The villain in Final Fantasy VII is cold, feeling less and he looks intimidating. His past is a mystery that you will slowly unravel as you play. However he is not like some other villains (FFVIII I am looking your way) who are evil just for the sake of being evil, Sephiroth has many powerful reasons for doing what he is doing.

Character development is beautifully done you will love each and every one of them. At one point in the game something will happen, something that will change your video gaming life forever, something that left me stunned on my sofa for hours, Final Fantasy VII has the most absolutely heartless scene in video game history. After the scene you will realize how great Final Fantasy VII's story is. I will not go into more details because doing so will ruin a personal moment that has to be experienced by the player him/herself.

I must mention however that the relationship between the hero and the villain is peerless Cloud knows Sephiroth, and conversely Sephiroth knows Cloud. What is really interesting is that Sephiroth knows more about Cloud than Cloud knows about himself.

If FFVII's plot was just about solving Cloud's and Sephiroth's secret past the plot would still be a great literary masterpiece. But to my delight FFVII has much more going on its story. So much going on that after finishing the game you could make an entire epic sized fan fiction on just individual characters, it gives me the chills when I think deeply into the plot because the possibilities to make a fiction out of it are endless. FFVII's world has a deep complex past that if analyzed well, you could actually come to a conclusion (at least in my case) that a lot of the important mysteries surrounding the plot are so deep that this whole mess with the Ancients, Jenova etc. Started millions of years ago in another planet deep in outer space before the game story began. And that its just one of the many possibilities, Final Fantasy VII is Science Fiction at its best.

Even today, people are still debating and writing Fan Fictions to chroncle the events that happened before the game's start and what happened after the game's finish. Perhaps the movie Advent Children will resolve some of the questions that the ending left us or perhaps even leave us with new questions to ponder about for the next decade or until an innevitable sequel to Advent Children (if it sells well) is released.

Trust me on this you wont find a better story in any game today than this one. FFVII epic tale might never be surpassed.

Going in to the graphics department, even today Final Fantasy VII is a visual work of art. The pre-rendered backgrounds are beautiful. The polygonal characters though could have used a little more work because they look incredibly bad a least when compared to those in more recent Fantasies. The FMVs are good but they don't match the quality of those found in Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX and much less in FFX. But with this good of a story, who cares? During battles however, the game characters look amazingly well, close to those found on the FMVs. The over world map is wonderfully huge! You will appreciate the over world map more once you get the airship and the submarine.

Sound wise the game shows the brilliance of Nobuo Uematsu. Final Fantasy VI is still Uematsu's best work, but Final Fantasy VII sounds just as good. The songs I really liked the most were Aeris theme and the main game's theme that played in the world map. Most of Final Fantasy VII's music is the same as that played on previous Final Fantasies; of course it has changed a little. So the compositions are not entirely original, but who can complain? The previous Final Fantasy's have the best music ever written.

Gameplay wise not much has changed ( The turn based battle system is essentially the same) if you have played any Final Fantasy before you will feel right at home with Final Fantasy VII. The only innovation is the materia system, which allows you to use spells by equipping crystal balls in to your weapons. All sorts of materia combinations can be made.

The difficulty of the battles is moderate, and while the last boss is sort of tough if you took your time to complete the Chocobo breeding mini game, you should get a spell that can pretty much annihilate the final bosses without much trouble.

Last but not least there are tons of mini-games, more than in any other FF, this gives this game an incredibly high replay value. Especially the Chocobo breeding game I was talking about earlier, the Chocobo game should keep you playing for awhile even after you finish the main game because if you get that golden chocobo not only can you win great prizes at the Chocobo Racing Stadium but you can also freely explore every nook and cranny of the huge over-world, it's pretty hard to get that golden Chocobo though. There is even an Arcade in which you can play many types of games (the Snow boarding one being my favorite). I managed to finish the main game in 52 hours my first time through but I hadnt completed a lot of side quests I strongly recommend at least finding the two optional characters Vincent especially because they provide more useful and interesting insight in the already extraordinary plot.

Final Fantasy VII is a true masterpiece by which all other RPGs are to be measured, the story is so good that I wonder if I will ever live long enough to see a Sci-fi story that surpasses this. Some day when I grow old and I feel that my time to leave this world is near I will look back at the best moments of my life, and some where within those moments the memory of Final Fantasy VII will forever stay with me.

Gameplay: 10- Replay value is the highest in any FF, plus tons of secrets and great minigames. Materia system allows customization and it's simple and easy to learn.

Graphics: 9.0-The character's blockyness take the score down some notches. But the world map's graphical glory was unmatched in its heyday.

Music: 9.9-On par with FFVI.

Story:10.0 -The best story in any game ever. Don't believe me? Check the millions of Fan Fictions written about this game on the net, no other RPG Story has ever commanded such fanatism.

Addictiveness: 10.0- Mini games and Sidequests galore!

Overall:10.0- It's a masterpiece! Will perhaps go down in time as the greatest Traditional RPG ever.

2003 RicanSaiyan. All works here are copyrighted by their owners.