Let’s Play #39: Final Fantasy VII

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The main character of Final Fantasy VII confronting two soldiers on the very first battle of the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final fantasy VII is one of those games that many would call a “classic” a “milestone” a “masterpiece” like GTA San Andreas, Metal Gear Solid or Super Mario 64. Games which have become so famous it’s very difficult you haven’t heard about them.

Yet, some other people say that Final Fantsy VII it’s plain garbage.

Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re going to remember Final Fantasy VII forever once you’ve played it.

Final Fantasy VII was the first Final Fantasy game developed for the Sony Playstation, followed by Final Fantasy VIII and IX. In my opinion it took cetrain elements from Final Fantasy VI (and previous titles) which Square knew the players liked and tried to implement them with the use of the Playstaion hardware.

The battle system still uses the ATB mechanic first found in the 4th chapter, the setting of the game is in a more modern area instead of the usual medieval-like world (Final Fantasy VI tried to do this as well).

This was the first game of the franchise to use 3D graphics, so the developers, used to program Final Fantasies in 2Ds, had to face a new challenge. Some people will say that the character models (while you explore the locations of the game) look kind of strange and they seem to be Lego figurines; problem that was solved in following titles.

Some others will say that the idea of having flat backgrounds to move 3D charactes is ok, some others say it should’ve been done like in Xenogears: 2D characters in 3D areas.

Fun fact many don’t know: Before Final Fantasy VII’s development started, it was the game now known as Xenogears who should have been the “Final Fantasy VII”. However, later Square decided otherwise.

In my opinion, Final Fantasy VII was the test ground for the 3D capabilities of the Playstaion so that the developers could prepare for the next title and create some better 3D stuff, exactly like Wonder Project J2 was made to test the capabilities of the N64 before creating a new episode of Dragon Quest. Infact Final Fantasy VIII and IX have way better looking 3D models in general.

Changing topic a little bit, Final Fantasy VII was probably the game that intoduced the “western” regions to JRPGs, and so it set the “standard” for the following JRPGs. Many look at Final Fantasy VII as a model to follow when talking about JRPGs.

With three disks worth of contnent, it’s a really enjoyable game which will take you on a long journey.

So what it is all about?

ffvii2
The characters trying to figure out where Sephiroth went.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The game tells us about the adventures of the 21-year-old Cloud Strife who works as a mercenary in the city of Midgar. He was contacted by a rebel group called AVALANCE. These guys want to take down the powerful energy-providing company, the Shin-ra, who gives power to Midgar by the use of 8 nuclear reactors. They can be though as some kind of eco-terrorists.

They chose Cloud because he was once in the highest rank of Shin-ra’s military corps, the SOLDIER, and because in AVALANCE there’s one of Cloud’s childhood friends, Tifa Lockheart.

Anyway, Cloud joins forces with AVALANCE and his big badass leader, Baracus Wallace, and they start doing some missions togheter. During a mission, Cloud gets separated from the others and meets Aeris (or Aerith in the japanese release) a young lady who’s apperantlely chased down by the Shin-ra as she is the last “Ancient”. Cloud doesn’t really understand, and tries to protect her from the Shin-ra anyway, while trying to re-unite with Tifa and Barret.

However, Aeris eventually gets kidnapped and Cloud is set to rescue her. As he’s about to do that, the president of the Shin-ra, the most powerful man in the world, is murdered by a man called Sephiroth. Sephiroth was the best SOLDIER there ever was, but he was though dead in a incident years before. The heroes then leave Midgar and Cloud is now focused on chasing down Sephiroth, finding out what his plans are, and stop him as “this is the real crisis for the planet.”

I’m going to stop here to avoid unnecessary spoilers but from now on the game becomes a long journey through the most remotes places of Final Fantasy VII world, in a climax of events, leading to the fight with the big bad evil guy in the end.

Generaly speaking though, don’t expect an easy plot to understand. As you progress things will become confusing (expecially regarding Cloud’s past) and it took me a lot of effort to put all the pieces togheter so it all made sense in my mind.

About the game’s system: it’s basically the same as any Final Fantasy, the peculiar mechanic here is the Limit Break. As characters take damage, a gauge fills up and once filled that character will be able to perfor a special attack called Limit break. Each character can learn several Limit Breaks, which differ from character to character.

This is also one of the things some people complain about. Other than the Limits, the charactes tend to be pretty much all the same in terms of stats. Nobody gets more magic power just because they look like a mage or something, nobody gets more Strenght because they seem cut to be a physical fighter. Cloud is a physical fighter, but you can have him be the healer or the “black mage” who casts offensive spells no problem. Some say that this makes the character all the same. Some say it’s good ’cause you can customize them a lot.

When customizing equipment with materia, one must consider the various proprieties of the materia.

 

Some other complains about the game come from the difficulty itself. I’ll admit it, Final Fantasy VII is an easy game, expecially if you know where to look for things. I’ll explain: at the beginning of the game, Magic is way more proficient in terms of damage than normal attacks. As you leave Midgar however, you start getting some so-called “Enemy skills” who make offensive and support Magic seem useless (healing magic keeps its usefulness ’till the end though).

For example, why using Haste, Barrier and Magic Barrier to protect your character, when there is a skill called Big Guard that let’s you do put all of those in one fell swoop? Why bothering using Fire or Fire2 when Beta is way stronger and costs less MPs? Seriously, you just need a couple of Enemy Skills and you’ll be using those instead of Magic. Just get Big Guard, White Wind and Magic hammer and you’ll just use those over and over.

Later on, offensive Enemy Skills (useful near the beginning) leave their place to basic attacks as your characters will do thousands of damage just by using the “attack” command. This make the game easy to play and many people just rely on basic attacks only ditching magic really soon, making the game very plain and repetitive.

This only applies to people who knows where to look for stuff. People play through casually without deep knowledge of all the game’s hidden contnents, might find a little more fair challenge. Still not that hard though.

To make up for this lack of difficulty, from the first americal PS1 release onward, two optional “superbosses” where added to the game, to provide some serious challege even to the most advanced players.

On another note though, how much is Final Fantasy VII bug free? Not a lot.

Apperantly the development of the game was kinda of difficult, and once the developer managed to create a stable version they released it right away. There are a number of bugs and glitches still in the game as well as two entire debug rooms which weren’t removed. Those were thought to be inaccessible, until recently someone found a way to access one of those on the PC version without using external devices as Gamesharks or Save Editors.

One example of a glitch that everyone can do, is going to the Wutai continent and find an enemy on the beach called Adamantaimai (looks like a turtle) and cast Big Guard on it before it can take its first turn. Doing this, makes the enemy try to use Cure, but he doesn’t have the proper animation for Cure so instead an error message pops up (in the Steam release the game crashes instead).

There are many other bugs and glitches such us the “Yuffie warp”, the “Mug glitch”, the “W-Item glitch” and the “Mdef bug”. Some of those where also covered and explained in the Let’s Play.

As for the music, in my opinion it’s pretty nice. It has to be said that Final Fantasy VII contains the first music in the series which contains actual lyrics (the famous “One Winged Angel”).

The only one thing I really don’t like about this game is the ending. As I’ve said in the Final Fantasy VI (Blind) page, the only Final Fantasy’s ending which I liked is IX’s.

Doing this LP was a challenge. Final Fantasy VII is long and complex. Explaing most if not all of its intricacies is hard. Unlike the game is.

Let’s Play’s stats:

-First episode aired on: Feb 22, 2018
-Last episode aired on: Sep 1, 2017
-Number of episodes: 89
-Total time of Let’s Play: 37 hours and 25 minutes