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Final Fantasy VII
Review By: Jared Black
Developer:   Square
Publisher:   Sony
# of Players:   1
Genre:   RPG
ESRB:   Teen
 

Without a doubt, Final Fantasy VII has been the most hyped as well as most anticipated game of 1997. Throughout 1996, gamers here in the US continued to receive little pieces of information about the game. Rumors abounded, and talk of a two or even three disk RPG generated an enormous amount of hype surrounding the game. Not only that, but the fact that it is part of the greatest RPG series of all-time just added to it all. Well, it’s finally here. The day all of us RPG gamers have been waiting for. So, does it live up to the hype? Read on and find out for yourself.

The visual quality of this game is absolutely stunning. The pre-rendered backgrounds are easily the most detailed and varied to ever appear on a console game. Other objects are also very nicely animated, and although they lack the sophistication that a N64 polygonal object has, they still look very nice. Perhaps the most impressive of the graphic treats found in this game are the spells. The spells are phenomenal, and can keep you mesmerised even after seeing them over and over (although they can be a bit taxing at times...they’re long!). Overall, I was very impressed with the graphics in this game.

Now onto the sound. This is the part of the game that has been criticized the most by other sites, but for the life of me I don’t know why. I was totally blown away by the soundtrack. When I first got out of Midgar, I honestly just sat there and listened to the whole Overworld song (over six minutes)! Every sound effect is crisp and clear, and they all fit the action onscreen. The music does more than just add background sound, it literally transports the player into a state of awe. The music totally fits the action onscreen, especially at the end of the first disk when......hehehe, I won’t spoil it for you! :-)

The storyline is what really sets this one apart from every other RPG on the Playstation. As Cloud progresses throughout the game, he encounters many dangers. Not only does he have to worry about the big evil corporation known as Shinra, but he also has to worry about a young vagabond by the name of Sephiroth. The one thing I've always hated is when someone tells me a good plot before I actually get to experience it for myself, but trust me you won't find a better heart pumping, gut wrenching, brain teasing plot on any RPG on the Playstation. Although it does fall slightly below previous efforts (it's better than FF4 but worse than FF6), it's still awesome and well worth the time invested in it (it took me about 70 hours the first time through....but I like to just let it all soak in and enjoy the ride, so I don't rush at all).

So, does this awesome game have any flaws? Well, of course it does! First of all, the spells can become tedious. One can only watch Bahamut so many times before it becomes boring (although it is spectacular). Secondly, it does take some time to get into and enjoy to its fullest extent, which can be a burden to some people. Finally, it's a RPG, and RPGs generally have limited replay value. Although FFVII has a ton of secrets which give it great replay value for a RPG, once you've seen the story, you know what's gonna happen the second time through. Will I play it again? Of course....but I'll know beforehand what happens at the end of disk one this time :-)

Bottom line, this is a must have title for any Playstation owner. Even if you don't like RPGs, the little mini games throughout the game (Motorcycles! WOO-HOO!) will keep you interested and wanting more. Square did an amazing job, and I for one can't wait to see Final Fantasy VIII.

Overall: 8.8


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