The Japanese Role-Playing Gamer

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The Breathtaking World of Final Fantasy 7 – A Retrospective

MidgarWay back in 1998, I played Final Fantasy 7 for the first time on the PC. That game literally changed how I played video games forever. It was one of the longest role-playing adventures at the time and all the 3D graphics looked amazing. However, I never really remembered the ending of the game very well. So I decided to download the game onto my PSP system, just to revisit those fond memories.

I have to say, the Final Fantasy 7 experience still looks as breathtaking as it did when it first came out.

Sure, the graphics might not look as detailed as the current-gen 3D games. However, Final Fantasy 7’s world has a cinematic flair like no other game. The opening sequence itself sucks people into the dark, grungy alleys of a city named Midgar. For the first time, the cities in Final Fantasy look more like modern-day cities, complete with spewing smoke and trains. Everything looked bigger and grander than any other game before it.

Final Fantasy 7 slums

The story also plays out in an unusual way in Final Fantasy 7. Most of the Final Fantasy games start in a large, grassy overworld. In sharp contrast, 7 starts in the dangerous world of an underground eco-terrorist group named Avalanche. The entire opening sequence is jam-packed with battles, big robots and explosions. And these aren’t those lame 2D explosions in the Super Nintendo days. These are huge explosions where characters could burn and die. The entire game has a classy cinematic style.

Final Fantasy 7 also introduces characters into the game in a unique, intimate way. One of my favorite moments is when the main character, Cloud, meets a girl in the ruins of a church. He literally falls hundreds of feet into a flower bed in the middle of a church chapel. Once there, he meets Aeris, a kind girl in the slums who talks about how she loves to take care of plants and nature. She literally appears like a shining beacon of hope in the middle of the dirty city of Midgar.

finalFantasy7Church

All the characters in Final Fantasy 7 have their own complex history. I always had a fun time learning about the detailed background that each character contributed to the adventure. The rest of the game feels a bit repetitive, though. The fights in the game all use an active-time battle system. This is pretty much just a glorified version of a turn-based battle system, where each characters takes turns to attack their enemies. Although the animation moves very quickly, some of the attacks can take forever to complete.

The ending is also a bit of a letdown, because the game doesn’t use voice samples. The final cutscene looks more like a bunch of really cheap, computer-generated marionettes caught in some meteor explosion. It still doesn’t make very much sense at all. I just¬†wanted to see what happened to the characters, because I was more interested in the romance between Cloud and his childhood girlfriend, Tifa.

Although this game isn’t quite as cutting edge as it was when it first came out, Final Fantasy 7 is still an amazing experience. The entire adventure is an artistic masterpiece that added more depth to the role-playing genre than anyone could possibly imagine. Everything just looked larger than life back when Final Fantasy 7 first came out. To this day, I still wish for a game that could take me through the grungy city of Midgar. That city is still full of unforgettable memories.