350: Final Fantasy VII

This is where you'll find threads specific to the games we're covering in Volume Six
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350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by JaySevenZero » December 31st, 2017, 3:03 pm

Here's where you can leave your thoughts regarding Final fantasy VII for possible inclusion in the podcast when it's recorded.

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by lowestformofwit » January 6th, 2018, 8:06 pm

I feel I almost lost my job in the nineties because of FFVII. From the moment the sector 7 plate fell and killed all those innocent people I was hooked and I couldn't stop playing as I wanted to know how the story would develop. I played for long periods each night until silly hours in the morning and this affected my professional performance at work the next day.

This game sparked my interest for strong narrative-led titles (to this day) and the Final Fantasy series in general.

I didn't lose my job in the end and I very much no longer work at that company but yeah, lessons kids. I was young and immature in the 90s but so much more responsible now...

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by Madsocks » January 10th, 2018, 10:59 am

Funnily enough I am currently playing this back at the moment via the PS4 platform. I remember vividly when this game came out. My college coursework suffered immensely thanks to this game but it was well worth it. Thinking about it, I think I completed it once and that's all. My current playback consists of grinding, grinding and more grinding.

Gameplay wise, the first section of the game felt so long winded, yet I couldn't tear myself away from it. The beginning when you blow up the Sector 5 reactor in Midgar, the aftermath in the Sector 7 slums, meeting Aeries, the horrible horrible act that Shinra perpetrated by blowing up the upper city, rushing Shinra HQ, and then finally escaping Midgar and getting access to the World Map. That's when it started to pick up.

And it wasn't just the main questline you had to get involved with, it was herding chocobo's, looking for the competition flyers, and my favourite location, the Gold Saucer. There was just so much to do on this game, it was ridiculous, yet provided weeks and months of fun.

Nobou Uematsu's musical score was just perfection, and it still resides on my MP3 player to this day. The characters had their own backstories, and the idea to rename them when you first meet was great, but I never did.

This is without doubt one of my favourite games of all time and arguably one of the greatest games that have ever been made. Unlike FFVIII and FFIX, I don't think I will ever get tired of this game.

Just don't get me started on what happens to Aerith........

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by Alex79uk » January 10th, 2018, 2:35 pm

This was the first Final Fantasy, or indeed the first J-RPG that I ever played. And what an incredible introduction to the genre it was. In a way, it almost spoiled other games for me for a good while after. I borrowed Final Fantasy VII from a friend of my brothers who had dismissed it as 'rubbish', but after reading reviews in the gaming press at the time, my interest was most definitely piqued. I was spellbound right from the introduction, the camera panning through Midgar, giving you a glimpse of the world you would spend hours exploring. I loved the way it threw you right in to the action, as Cloud jumped from the train right in to battle. Those first few hours were amazing, I really felt like I was playing one small part of a band of outlaws, renegades fighting for their city.

So many great memories - discovering all the different summon creatures, developing materia to it's uppermost levels and selling them for a ridiculous amount of gil, riding motorbikes and snowboards, but one of the best in-game distractions for me was breeding the Chocobo's. My girlfriend and I had a game guide, and spent hour upon hour trying to breed the holy grail - a golden Chocobo! We finally managed it, and used it to navigate to the area whereupon we could collect Cloud's ultimate limit break attack. We were unstoppable!

The game had a brilliant cast of characters, including several easily missed. The rocket enthusiast Cid, the vampiric Vincent, and the cheeky scamp from the forest, Yuffie. Even though I'd regularly rotate the characters through my team, my main crew were always Barret and Red XIII.

Whenever people talk about Final Fantasy VII, someone will always mention the death of Aeries, and how it brought a tear to their eye. Well, the game did actually make me well up at one point, but it wasn't then. No, what really got me was when Barret returned to his village later in the game to find it destroyed, and everyone blames him. Don't know why, for some reason that just got me.

If I'm being honest (and I am), I can't really remember much of what the story was about. I remember the ultra-cool Sephiroth being a badass, and something about saving the world, but I do remember the game immediately leapt to 'my favourite game of all time' status on completing it.

It's an absolutely magnificent game, and one I so wish I had time to fully replay. I'm cautiously looking forward to the remake, but however good it may or may not be, it'll never capture the feeling I got from the original. It's a game that really sparked my love of Japanese Role Playing Games, and it came at just the right time in my life that I could afford to give it the love and attention it deserved. It'll always have a special place in my heart.

THREE WORD REVIEW : Truly special game.

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by TheEmailer » March 3rd, 2018, 7:55 pm

I was too young when this came out, so came back to it post FF8 and FF9.
One thing I wanted to say, whilst the story is interesting, the writing of dialogue in this game is frequently atrocious. However, this is rarely acknowledged, whereas the same issue is used to beat FF8 with.

Anyway, many many people will have more insightful things to say on this game so I'll leave it to them. Just wanted to post in case the hosts ended up talking about dialogue.

(disclosure, FF8 was my first RPG so I'm not sure I can be truly impartial!)

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by TheProf » May 5th, 2018, 4:52 pm

I originally played this game around the time it came out. I had played some previous RPGs but more in the action RPG genre - the likes of Secret of Mana, Illusion of Time and Secret of Evermore. As such a lot of the concepts introduced to me in this game were new and confusing. Random battles and the ATB system took some getting used to, and the amount of equipment you could gather with all its differing stats blew my mind.

Of course what drew me in (as I suspect drew many other in also) were the cutscenes, which at the time I had seen nothing like. Looking back now it seems bizarre that they were such a draw considering how rudimentary they appear (even compared to Final Fantasy VII's successor), but of course hindsight is always 20/20. To be honest I didn't enjoy the gameplay much at the time and only continued playing to make it to the next cutscene and see what for the time was an amazing visual display. I didn't have a clue what was happening in the story, but by God those cutscenes looked pretty!

Fast forward to now and I recently finished another play through of the game. To my surprise...it's one of my favorites ever. I don't have a lot of time for RPGs these days, but a friend wanted to do a play through and I said I would join her so we could share stories. What a great experience! As a more seasoned gamer I understood the mechanics much better allowing me to enjoy the random battles and focus on the story. And what a great tale is told. I love the themes of environmentalism, the fine line between terrorism and rebellion, reproduction, life and death and everything is woven into a surprisingly mature plot. I highly recommend playing through with a friend if possible because it's great to share knowledge of the systems and the twists and turns of the plot as the game progresses.

A mention also must be made of the outstanding soundtrack and the great in game visuals which all come together to provide a truly memorable experience - I even like the blocky character models! I know it's a cliche to say that Final Fantasy VII is your favorite, but after playing VI, IX, X, XII and XIII I can confidently say that it is.

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by shadowless_kick » May 19th, 2018, 9:49 am

Final Fantasy VII has the dubious honor of being the origin of my passionate spoiler-evasion tendencies. Well before the game hit the U.S., while surfing a gaming message board via my Netscape browser, I stumbled on a sound file someone posted from the game entitled "Aerith Death Theme."

That really sucked.

But I soldiered on, determined to enjoy the experience as much as I could. I'd never been into RPGs, and prior to FFVII, the only one I owned and played through was Chrono Trigger, which remains a personal favorite. Aside from getting swept up in the zeitgeist, FFVII intrigued me with its very un-RPG-like industrial aesthetic. That, and I found Testuya Nomura's artwork quite cool at the time. (However, I must say that coming to Japan and seeing the host club staff members that prowl the back alleys of Shinjuku make it impossible to look at spiky haired protagonists like Cloud and Noctis the same way ever again. If you care about the FF series, don't do it to yourself!)

To be honest, I don't have much to say about the game itself. I played it, enjoyed it, and then moved on. Aside from the soundtrack, it didn't leave much of a lasting impression on me, and I haven't played a Final Fantasy game since.

Given its impact at the time of its release, I understand why people are excited for a remake. For me, though, once was probably enough.

PS- Shout out to Tobal No. 1, which most people likely bought purely for the FFVII demo, but was a genuinely fun and innovative fighter/dungeon crawler that deserved more recognition. And Tobal 2 ?? Don't even get me started...

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by rob25X » May 20th, 2018, 9:31 pm

Ah, Final Fantasy VII... one of my favourite games of all time.

I still think of it often, even 20 years or so later yet I have little desire to go back to play it (PS1 original or other versions). Don't get me wrong, Final Fantasy VII was, and probably still is one of the best RPGs there is but for me it's like all games in the Final Fantasy series (pre-HD) best in it's time and hasn't aged well. One thing about Final Fantasy VII that remains timeless for me is the soundtrack, which I still listen to regularly.

Why do I say FF7 has aged badly? Final Fantasy X improved a lot (visually, bringing in voice acting etc.), Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children showed how FF7 needed to be updated visually and remade and Crisis Core, Dirge of Cerberus, Chocobo Racing and all the spin-off games ruined Final Fantasy a bit by taking it in too many directions. I've since played XIII and XIII-2 for over 200 hours each and connect myself with them more now than with any of the older games. Also other games have made a big impact since FF7 such as Shenmue, The Elder Scrolls, the Fallout games etc.

Would I like to play the original PS1 Final Fantasy VII today, not really, Would I like to play a Final Fantasy VII remake on PS4? Absolutely. Whether the magic of Final Fantasy VII could be reignited in 2018 I'm not sure. maybe they've left it too late.

An amazing game in it's day. A timeless soundtrack and a true work of art. 10/10 in it's day but unfortunately not the same game in 2018.

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by Beastwood » July 15th, 2018, 11:20 am

I don't think any game has had the cultural impact that final fantasy 7 has. It was truly a phenomenon and holds a special nostalgic place in many people's hearts. I had never played an jrpg before this... Nor had I ever wanted to. For me and many other British kids this was the moment that all changed. I couldn't even get past the first boss initially, the gameplay was so alien to me. Through word of mouth and 5th hand guides I improved and eventually managed to topple sephiroth and save the world. Having played it for maybe the 20th time last year I realised it would be impossible for me to give this game an objective review. The music... The characters... Story... They are so ingrained in my psyche that I could never wring the warm feelings of nostalgia from cold facts. Sure this game has its daft moments or dull gameplay sections. It isn't perfect or the best game ever. But for a beautiful moment in the late 90s this game started something special in the west that hadn't been there before. For that I believe it deserves all the accolades, the spin offs, movies, remakes, YouTube documentaries. I have seen some cynical analysis in recent times but maybe you just had to be there to feel it? What a feeling that was.

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by ashman86 » August 9th, 2018, 11:14 pm

I felt the impact of Final Fantasy VII's existence long before I ever actually got to play it. As a kid, my dad and I would sometimes while away the time by browsing the Media Play (a now-defunct chain of retail stores here in the states) down the street. We typically didn't plan to buy anything, but the internet wasn't what it is now, and finding a new release in the store always felt exciting and special.

I remember a massive poster hanging high up at the back of the store of Cloud, his buster sword drawn, gazing up at a Mako reactor. That's probably my earliest memory of the game, now that I'm thinking about it.

Eventually, a friend invited me over to his house and, shocked as he was that I'd never played a Final Fantasy game or anything he'd deem a proper JRPG, sat me down at his Playstation to check out Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics, and a few other console-exclusives. They were only cursory playthroughs, but I was immediately enamored with the narrative approach the Final Fantasy games took.

Although the game got a port to the PC, I didn't actually play it until years later, after I'd already finished and fallen in love with Final Fantasy 8 (also on the PC). There isn't much to say about the game that hasn't already been said, although I'm sure my experience was at least somewhat unique in that I don't know how many others played the game on the original PC port. You controlled the game using the num pad on your keyboard, and you ran by holding the 0 key. My thumb still has a callus from the 100s of hours I spent on the game.

FF7 is seminal, that much is certain. It's a juggernaut in the world of not just JRPGs, but the entirety of video gaming. It's a game whose impact can't be understated, but it also will never be able to live up to its own legacy. I've seen younger gamers go back to 7 expecting something mind-blowing only to walk away feeling disillusioned. They don't understand why it was--why it *is*--special, and how could they?

It's a poorly translated mess of a game at times. Barret's an offensive Mr. T stereotype. The subplot about Sephiroth clones is disjointed at best. The FMV videos look like they're decades older than those we saw in FF8 just a few short years later, and the simple polygonanl character models (out of combat) clash jarringly with the serious tones of the game's story, which isn't to say they're not charming in their own way. Frankly, I'm not even sure how much new ground it breaks after its own predecessor, FF6, which had already shown how well a game could tell a story.

But it touched a generation of gamers profoundly. Maybe it was just a happy coincidence. Maybe FF7 just landed at the right time, as the PS1 was opening the gates wide open for gamers who hadn't grown up with the 16-bit consoles or were too young to appreciate FF6's storytelling. But it shaped us as gamers and, maybe, as people. Aeris's death, Red XIII howling by his petrified father, the burning of Nibelheim, the showdown with the one-winged Sephiroth: these scenes are as vivid to me as the day I played them. For us, the children of the 90s, I wonder if FF7 resonated in a way other games couldn't with its focus on taking on an industry hellbent on destroying the world for profit. Or perhaps it was in its distinctly eastern take on the afterlife for a generation of young people who were only just barely old enough to come to terms with what loss meant for them.

I'm rambling now, so I'll wrap up: Final Fantasy 7 isn't my favorite game of all time. It's not even my favorite Final Fantasy game. But I don't for a minute believe it was overrated, and I know that even now, after at least a half-dozen complete play-throughs, I could sit down and completely lose myself in the game all over again.

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by KSubzero1000 » August 10th, 2018, 6:35 am

I hesitate to even post in this thread considering I don't feel entirely qualified to do so. But in the interest of having a broader gamut of opinions to choose from, I'll say that I couldn't get on with Final Fantasy VII in the ten or so hours I spent with it when playing it for the first time around 2009.

It would be very easy at this point to point out that the reason I don't like it is because I didn't play it when it first came out, but I don't think that's entirely accurate. I adore Chrono Trigger, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War and Suikoden that all came out before FF7, and while early-polygonal graphics find it notoriously difficult to stand the test of time, it's the setting that puts me off more than anything. The latter entry Final Fantasy games are often set in futuristic environments that tend to make me depressed instead of dreamy. People shooting each other over issues involving corrupt corporations and industrial pollution certainly feels chillingly "Final" at times, but not so much like a "Fantasy". The game itself is a bit stale: The writing is nothing remarkable, the combat doesn't have any of the panache of Square's previous Chrono Trigger, and the environment is mostly composed of static backgrounds without the type of ingenious mechanical interaction that Golden Sun was able to pull off only a few years later, as far as I could tell. The music is very good, however.

It's often been said that one's first introduction to a genre often remains one's favorite later on. While the saying is usually aimed at niche genres like visual novels, strategy games (or Mario Kart), I think it also applies to JRPGs and that one major reason as to why this game became such a cultural milestone is that it captured a lot of kids' imagination by way of coming out early in the life cycle of such a popular platform, coupled with the handful of heavy narrative turns which certainly opened a lot of teary eyes to the possibilities of narrative-driven video games in a way that Tekken, Crash Bandicoot and Gran Turismo simply couldn't hope to match. But I'm not convinced it's quite the stone-cold masterpiece it's often heralded as when judged on its own merit. Although I do reserve the right to change my opinion if I ever revisit it in the future.

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Re: 350: Final Fantasy VII

Post by duskvstweak » August 14th, 2018, 4:08 pm

I played Final Fantasy VII years after it was released, yet right after my Final Fantasy VI play through. So, if the graphics were dated in 2001, I didn't notice. What I did notice was just how cool the game was. I had loved the steampunk world of VI but VII's weird cyberpunk, fantasy future was just as impressive and strange. The characters, for my taste, were fun and a bit edgier than VI's quirky characters, which suited my teenage sensibilities just fine. Plus, I had renamed each of the characters after friends and family, so there was another layer of attachment to it all. Though, I did name Aerith (Aeris) after my 8th grade crush and that proved to be a bad omen in the long run.

The game has it's shortcomings in retrospect, with it's overlong summons and dated graphics, but I still find it completely playable today and grand in scope. I have zero interest in a remake, because the goofy graphics taking everything so seriously are part of the charm.

One quick story. At the final dungeon of the game, you're given a save point that you can place anywhere. I had no clue what it was, so, I used the item, created a save point and then proceeded to save. That's when I realized that it would be my only save point and I was going to have to do the final dungeon and bosses in one go. I'm sure many people have done that and found it incredibly easy, but, back then, without the Knights summon or half the parties best limit breaks, it was a terrifying task that made beating the game even more exciting.

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