Review #1 by Kenneth Lee
When 'Star Wars' first came out, it marked an important event for not only the film industry, but for movie goers around the world as well. While the financial success of the films are undisputed, its greatest effect was in bringing the ‘Magic’ back to ‘Movies.’ It brought together a powerful tale of good versus evil, memorable and inspiring characters, amazing battles, and above all, characters that you wanted to believe in ' and it brought it all together in an unforgettable adventure. What the 'Star Wars' Trilogy did for movies, so Square Japan’s 'Final Fantasy VII' does for video games. If there is one game in recent memory that has re-ignited the ‘flame’ of videogames and brings back all the magical splendor of what great games are all about, it is 'Final Fantasy VII.' Never before has a game taken you to such pinnacles of gaming glory as FFVII’s gorgeous battles, awe-inspiring backgrounds, wonderful characters (and their development), and earth-shattering plot.
Considering that most people have bought this game, or seen parts of it, I will depart from the usual game analysis in the Reviews, and just touch briefly on each area. Please note that I’m being deliberately vague in case there are people who have not played the game yet.
As in life, the first thing that people have a tendency to look to are the graphics and visuals. And in FF7, the visuals alone are worth buying the game. The backgrounds (in towns, dungeons) are beautifully rendered-SGI scenes, literally filled to the brim with so much lush detail that it is overwhelming. The 3D real-time battles are just as powerful, with Square’s use of dynamic camera angles when seeing powerful Summon spells like 'Ifrit' or 'Knights of the Round.'
Musically, while PCM-based, FF7’s soundtrack is one of the greatest soundtracks ever to grace a video game, as veteran Final Fantasy music composer, Nobuo Uematsu, returns and brings us over 100+ musical tracks(!) that spans Four CD’s! (the FF7 soundtrack is a 4 CD set). While some may argue that Final Fantasy 6’s soundtrack is greater (and I’ll leave that debate for the BBS’), it cannot be denied that Final Fantasy 7’s soundtrack is definitely worthy enough to compliment its epic gameplay elements and is definitely one of the best soundtracks of all-time.
A note about the US conversion of this game: The translations for each of the characters are the best translations that I have ever seen in a US RPG - Each of the characters exhibit an idiosyncratic personality that remains as true to the original artistic vision as possible. From Barret’s Ebonics-laden dialogue (which is done solidly, unlike Working Designs failed humor in their Saturn projects), to Yuffie’s spunky teenager personality (she IS 16 after all) "I know you're all dyin' to talk to a BABE like me! But please leave me alone, this ship makes me... URK!' Square U.S. has to be commended for the time and care they put into translating this game. They opted to keep the US version of the game uncensored (thank goodness), and they kept the original art as well. In addition, the new movies, spell and Weapons are all welcome additions and just make this game better than the original Japanese version(!).
Finally, beyond all the jaw-dropping graphics and music are the soon-to-be legendary cast of characters that make this game so unforgettable. And with a plot so well-crafted that you’ll need a week to recover from, Final Fantasy VII is indeed the greatest game of all-time. To paraphrase Nick Rox (GF), indeed, Final Fantasy VII is so mind- numbingly powerful, that only when you step away from the game and play some other game do you realize just how Godly Final Fantasy VII is, and just how much Power Square Japan wields. Ultimately, Final Fantasy VII is by no means ‘Perfect,’ as all games have flaws. Even the 'Star Wars' Trilogy had a few Cheese-filled moments. But like 'Star Wars,' Final Fantasy VII has managed to bring all the right elements together (that far outweigh any flaws) to deliver the most Fantastic, Magical adventure ever to grace any game system.
Final Scores: (out of possible 10, with 10 being 'Perfect')
+ Godly, beautiful SGI-rendered backdrops + Awesome 3D battles, with jaw-dropping spells + Powerful CG Movies/cut-scenes, the best I’ve seen on any game system. - Slight polygon breakup in certain situations
+ Beautiful Nobuo Uematsu soundtrack + One of the coolest Final Boss musical pieces ever
+ Mature, powerful storyline that is too godly to sum up in a few words. + Very distinct, believable characters (NPC’s and Player characters). + The ability to take the player to new emotional depths and pinnacles. + Tons of secrets, extras, mini-games, side-quests that are just as fun as the main game itself.