final fantasy 7 (ps1)

i have a strange history with ff7. ff6 on the snes was one of my greatest game experiences of all time so it was inevitable that any followup would be disappointing. that kind of thinking never dawned on my bratty 16 year old self. instead, i was all hyped up by the idea of another final fantasy and of the fancy new 3d graphics. ff7 is literally the only reason i got a playstation when when largely been a nintendo loyalist for some time. the playstation1 was impressive to me. when i got ff7 and started playing it though i couldn’t help feeling that it was just okay…

i think i liked it well enough. it was not a bad game, but for me it could never compare to ff6. and it was such a departure from ff6 with the setting and characters. back when i had a ps1 i ended up only playing through disc 1 and then stopped playing entirely. that pretty much sums up how i felt about ff7 at the time. instead, i spent way more time playing final fantasy tactics which i found to be much more engaging.

over the years i’ve tried revisiting ff7 from time to time because of all the hype surrounding the game. i always wondered maybe i missed something playing this game? or maybe i really need to finish it to understand how good it is? but each time i tried picking it i ended up feeling the same way as before…basically, yes it’s decent, but i rather play something else.

it’s now 2016 and there’s a remastered version of ff7 coming out. i started playing the game again coincidentally and this time i approached it differently. i kind of cleared out all my previous opinions and suppressed the super hype surrounding this game. i approached the game objectively and just tried to enjoy it. and it turns out that i actually am enjoying it. the story is decent enough although kind of reminiscent of generic anime. there’s plenty of cute moments with the dialogue and characters. i really enjoy the battle segments, especially the way the enemy is all jittery. the special ability effects look great.

i’m probably close to getting to the 2nd disc now. it is a good game (and i never said it was bad), but is it the masterpiece that everyone makes it out to be – probably not. i imagine the ps1 and n64 generation of consoles were played by a lot of pre-teens that were born in the late 80’s. if i was that age when this game came out i’m sure it would be a beloved classic to me as well.

update 1/19/16:
not quite to the 2nd disc yet i had a bit further to go than i had though. ff7 has a really weird visual style. the style makes a lot of sense when you’re in midgar – a cyberpunk/anime sort of vibe. when you leave midgar though you run into traditional ff fantasy elements, european villages, a beach resort, traditional japanese settings, a native american pueblo with a planetarium, and so on. it certainly doesn’t feel cohesive. sort of reminds me of the batman forever movie where it simultaneously went for gothic batman, 60’s camp, neon vegas, etc. it seems from a design perspective that the game is a free for all…to me that is not a good thing.

ff7 suffers graphically from the technical constraints at the time which is a shame. i feel as though the art team probably came up with some beautiful hi-res renders which had to be mangled by dropping the quality down 300%. the low-res heavily pixelated jpeg backgrounds are often very difficul to navigate because you can’t tell what you’re looking at. i commonly think i’m looking at a pathway which in fact is actually nothing. the backgrounds remind me of early to mid 90’s PC adventure games.

the designers must have realized there would be navigation difficulties and resorted to putting large plain text labels in several places. the labels are incredibly ugly, but they are a necessity because it’s nearly impossible to discern what you are looking at.

one final gripe before i go to bed is combat-related. in traditional jrpgs when you advance your characters and buy new armor, you could expect to be taking less damage. especially from run of the mill common enemies. in ff7 i feel like i’m super leveled up for where i am in the game and have the best armor available (which there’s only one slot for armor…perhaps part of the problem?). anyways, i run into random encounters with common enemies that still take off ~200hp per hit. i’m never in any danger because all of my character max hps are over 1000, but nonetheless it’s annoying because i never feel like all my work on leveling is getting me any where. and the game levels you fairly often. maybe it’s somewhat of a meaningles gesture in ff7?

This entry was written by resinblade , posted on Thursday January 14 2016at 10:01 pm , filed under Games . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.